Friday, July 13, 2012

Dominick Gaffney Naturalized 1867 in Worcester Superior Court

Dominick Gaffney was born in County Sligo, Ireland on or about October 1823 and came to the US, arriving in Boston on 19 May 1847.  He settled in West Brookfield.  Dominick declared his intention to become a United States citizen on 20 August 1860 and was naturalized in Worcester Superior Court on Nov. 13, 1867.  Sponsors were Thomas Roach and Christopher Lovett. Copies of his papers may be found in the West Brookfield Families tree, by clicking on the Documents link.

Dominick married Ellen Nugent (no record found), and the couple raised five children in their home on Front Street.  Dominick died on Oct. 8, 1885 and was buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

McRevey Property becomes West Brookfield Wildlife Management Area

An article published May 6, 2012 by the Worcester Telegram Farm land a state haven: McRevey family trust,  is available online.

Michael McCrevey and his wife Minnie (O'Hare) settled in West Brookfield in the late 1880's or early 1890's.  Sons Daniel and Francis were born there in 1891 and 1894 respectively, and the family farmed in Wickaboag Valley for three generations. 

Now much of the McRevey land has been preserved by the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

1940 Census - West Brookfield

This morning I was able to download all the 1940 census pages for the town of West Brookfield.  I will be adding the information to my database whenever I have a spare minute.  Please contact me if you are interested in a particular family and I will try to find their household and email you the page.  You can browse the images for yourself, if you go to 

The enumeration district for West Brookfield in 1940 was ED 14-315.  The census taker named on Page 1A was John Blake.  The first household to be listed was that of Alan Godfrey and his wife Nellie.  The next few families on the page were Merriam, O'Day, Parker, Murphy, Bronson, Hall, Cassidy and Wilson.

Go to  to see a sample form

Steve Morse's web site also has links to lots of information on the 1940 census.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

John Ducy from Waterford, Ireland - Naturalization Document

This week I received a  document from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Archives.  I was surprised to know that the document was still available, because I had found the Naturalization Index Card on which said, "Missing Record."  The online index card did note the court and its location; as well as, a volume and page number.  I also had a copy of two pages of a document with names, volume numbers, years, and page numbers of Missing Naturalization Records from Worcester County, MA, Court of Common Pleas.  One of the names listed was John Ducy from Vol. 2 under the year 1852, page 202. I contacted the Judicial Archives by email and gave the archivist the information I had.  I asked if the fact that the card from the index said , "Missing Record", meant that there were no naturalization or citizenship documents available.  I received a reply in a matter of a few days.  It simply asked that I send a SASE to the archivist for a copy.  I had no idea what I would receive for the price of two envelopes,and two stamps.

I was very pleasantly surprised when less than a week later I received a naturalization document with information I had been hoping to find for many years.
I realize that this image is somewhat difficult to read.  It is also missing a small part of the right side possibly due to a filming or copying error. 

Below is some of what the document says.

John Ducy of West Brookfield, in the
C[ounty] of Worcester, an alien and a free white person, rep[resents] that he was born at Sillow in County of Waterford, Ireland, on or a[bout] Month of December, in the year one thousand eight [hundred] and fifteen, and is now about thirty-six years of age: that he ar[rived ?] New York in the State of New York on the Month of April, in the year one thousand eight hundred thirty nine; that it is his bona fide intention to become a Citizen of the United [States of ] America, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign Prince, Potentate, State, and Sovereignt[y ?] ever and particularly to Victoria Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, whose subject he has heretofor[e?] All which together with his declaration thereof on oath, before the Albany Justice Court in t[he] County of Albany appears in the records of said court, to wit: on the first day of December Term thereof,  A. D. [ ]

And said petitioner further represents, that he has ever since continued to reside within the jurisdiction [ ] United States, to wit: West Brookfield, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Charl[ton] and Worcester in the County of Worcester.

The document goes on to name witnesses Donald Donah[ue] and Cornelius Donahue of Worcester, in the County of Worcester who say that they have known the petitioner for five years during which time he has been a resident of West Brookfield in the said county.

Whereupon the Court here, to wit: on the first day of October [1852] during said term, admit the said John Ducy to become a Citi[zen of the] United States of America; and order that the record thereof be made accordingly.

Attest: Wm. L. Smith  Asst. Clerk

This was a great find!  I now have more specific date and place of birth, and a year of immigration.  I know that John Ducy immigrated earlier than the famine immigrants, and after consulting an expert, I know that he possibly worked on the railroad which ran between Worcester, MA and Albany, New York.

I have not yet found Sillow in County Waterford, and do not know if Sillow is a religious or civil name, or even if it is spelled correctly.  I am hoping to spend more time looking into the information in the document.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Patrick Moran born 1843 - 1847

A young woman from California, with help from a few others, now has a very large family tree, which includes James and Ellen (Connor) Moran, their children, including Patrick, the main subject of the project, and his known siblings, and all of their descendants.  The research now dates back to the early nineteenth century in Ireland.  The information seems to fit together nicely, but proof is lacking in a number of areas and there are some conflicts to resolve.

When was Patrick born?

A U. S. Naturalization Index Card found on, shows in Vol. 7 - 614, a Patrick Moran, of Spencer, MA, born Ireland, 15 Nov. 1943, was Naturalized Oct. 26, 1870 in Worcester Superior Court, Worcester, MA.  Our Patrick Moran married, Catherine Waters in Spencer in 1869, and they were living in Spencer at the time of the 1870 census.  From the information on that index card, we should be able to order a copy of Patrick's Naturalization records from NARA, or from the Massachusetts Archives .   The Naturalization records, may or may not, have the townland where he was born.  Often, such records, will just say Ireland.  Sponsors should be noted, and it will be interesting to discover who Patrick's sponsors were.  My bet is that at least one of his brothers sponsored him.

 The 1900 census entry says that he was born in Nov. 1847.  The 1865 Massachusetts census in Ware, has a Patrick Moran, soldier, age 22 [b. abt 1843] enumerated in household of James and Ellen Moran.  (We know that Patrick, was in military service until Nov. 1865, and that his parents were James and Ellen, and that he had sisters Mary, Eliza, and Johanna, and that the family had lived in Ware.)  The above Naturalization Index card indicates a birth date of Nov. 1843,  and we also have a transcribed church record for a birth or baptismal of a Patrick Moran, of Kilcooly, son of James and Ellen Connor, with March 1843 as the date.

Do all of these records pertain to the same Patrick Moran?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Patrick Moran: Where in Ireland was he from?

Immediately, after finding the death record and obituary of Daniel Moran, I searched for the obituaries of his sisters, Catherine Moriarty and Mary Haley, both of whom had lived in Ware.  (Catherine had been misidentified in Patrick's obituary, but was correctly named in the obituary for Daniel, and Mary had died in the years between Daniel's death and Patrick's death.)  Catherine's obituary said that she had been born in Killcooler, Ire.

Another person in our group located Dingle, as being part of Kerry County.  I had had success before with a Kerry County family using Irish Genealogy, a free web site with transcribed church records from Kerry County; as well as Carlow, Cork and Dublin.  I went back to the site and located the possible birth/baptismal  record for Patrick Moran of Killcooly.  It seemed to match the information we had gathered, although the birth month was different from the one on the Naturalization Index Card we had found.  I also found possible Baptismal records for Daniel, Catherine and Mary Moran of Kilcooley and a marriage record for their parents on this site in the Parish of Ballyferriter, in County Kerry.   It appeared we had located the place of Patrick's birth in just a matter of minutes after finding the death record of his brother Daniel.

Much of the remaining part of that afternoon was spent on the County Kerry Genealogy website where we read about the civil and Roman Catholic parish divisions in County Kerry, and gained some knowledge of the history and geography of the area.

We almost certainly had found the homeland location, but our research was not finished ...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Patrick Moran: The Continuing Research Story

Patrick's obituary, written in May of 1919,  was really a rich source of information.  Names of his surviving children, and sisters were provided.  Patrick's Civil War service and his membership in GAR Post 10 were mentioned.  Two sons who served during the Spanish American War, (one of whom died upon his return),  and three grandsons who served during World War I were also mentioned.

The obituary also provided some wonderful insight into Patrick's political view by stating that he belonged to the "Friends Of Irish Freedom" and had hoped to see the day when Ireland had self-determination.

Our little research group continued to quickly find information about Patrick's children, and grandchildren; as well as, the living siblings mentioned in the obituary.  The volume of information and the speed at which it was being found was sometimes difficult to manage, but we continued on, collecting obituaries of descendants, and trying to trace the family members found in that 1865 census in Ware.  We found death records of Patrick's parents in Ware vital records at  Sister Angela, at All Saints Parish in Ware, helped with Old St. William Cemetery Records.  We looked at census information from Winchendon, where two of Patrick's sisters had raised families. 

The Moran family tree was filling out nicely, but we knew we were not at all finished.  Then one day, while searching Moran vital records from Ware, a member of our group came upon an interesting death record.  It was a death record for a Daniel Moran, born in Dingle, Ireland, who had died four years prior to Patrick's death, and who had parents with the same names as Patrick's parents. Was this a brother?  Quickly, an obituary was found on, and our suspicion was confirmed.  Now we had a location in Ireland, more siblings, and much more work to do.

To be continued ...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Patrick Moran: From Ireland to Worcester

One month ago, I received an email from a descendant of Patrick Moran asking for information.  Beginning with what this California resident knew, and collaborating with others, we were able to find a large volume of information in just a few weeks.  We even discovered what Irish American researchers value most - the location of the homeland in Ireland. 

Patrick lived in West Brookfield from about 1876 until about 1882.  Information from this time period,  proved to be very helpful in our research.  Four children were born to Patrick and wife Kate (Waters),  Kate died, and Patrick remarried during these years.  West Brookfield vital records from these events yielded the names of Patrick's and Kate's parents, and their county of origin, as well as information about Patrick's second wife, Mary (Canty). 

What did we find next?

We were able to find the family quite quickly in the 1900 census in Worcester, because Mary Canty's brother William was living in the household.  By this time there were more children.  Now we concentrated on Worcester Vital Records, census information, and burial plot information.  We continued using online resources, such as,, and others, but also contacted via telephone and email, the Worcester City Clerk (for vital record information not yet online), the St. John's Cemetery Office, for burial plot information, and some local researchers with access to newspaper obituaries from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Meanwhile, we found promising online information that we thought was probably connected to Patrick and his family.  The 1865 Massachusetts census, in Ware, some birth records in Spencer, a possible Naturalization Index Card, and Civil War Service information.

Patrick Moran's obituary turned out to be a wonderful find.  It was lengthy and detailed.  Siblings were named, his Civil War service was detailed.  Now we had confirmation that he had indeed lived in Ware, and Spencer, and that he had living siblings. 

To be continued...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cora Ellen (Parker) Campbell Photo Found

Cora Ellen Parker - age 1
Today I received an email from someone who has rescued an old photo of Cora Ellen Parker, age 1year.  This photo was taken in the 1890's at Menard Beardsley Co. Studio in Northampton, Massachusetts.  The age of the photo and its subject, and the location of the studio, make it reasonable to conclude that the person in the photo is Cora Ellen Parker, born April 30, 1893 in Northampton, to Herbert M. and Alta Gould Parker. 

Cora married Allen Wales Campbell probably between 1915 and 1917.  Their children included Allen W. Jr, twins Warren and Wendell, and daughters, Alta and Lois.  The family lived in West Brookfield probably from the 1920's to at least the 1960's.  Warren Campbell was living in Brookfield in the 1960's.

I was able to find a family member who was interested in having the photo. It took about an hour of research and a telephone call.  What a nice way to begin the week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

West Brookfied By-Laws 1877- Images now available

The images of the content pages of the By-Laws of West Brookfield booklet mentioned in the last post have been placed on the West Brookfield Genealogy site.  The sight may be searched without a User Account or Log In.

By-Laws of the Town of West Brookfield - 1877

Last October, while in Massachusetts visiting family, an old friend gave me an eleven page booklet, entitled By-Laws of the Town of West Brookfield: Approved June 16, 1877. The booklet was published by the town of West Brookfield, and printed by Thomas Morey in 1877.  It contains four articles.  The first deals with rules governing the Town Meeting.  The second article lists the town offices and the duties of the office holders.  Article three is "Concerning truant children and absentees from school." Penal laws and penalties are the subject of the fourth and last article.  The by-laws were approved June 16, 1877, by the Worcester County Superior Court, held at Fitchburg. 

The names of West Brookfield residents L. Fullam, Geo. H. Brown, George A. Parratt, Enos Gilbert, and Horace W. Bush are listed as the Commitee.

Cover of Booklet

Last page of booklet
Thanks to Pete Hastings of West Warren who gave me this document.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

West Brookfield Town Website has links to Annual Town Reports 2007 - 2010

West Brookfield Massachusetts: A Town for All Seasons has links to Annual Town Reports including Warrants from 2007 - 2010.  These town reports include the report of the Burial Ground Commissioners, which lists each person buried in Pine Grove Cemetery that year, and where each was from.

Links to all the various town departments and boards, and email addresses are also available on the site, along with meeting and event schedules.  This is a great resource for anyone interested in West Brookfield.