Sunday, 29 May 2011

Looking for Julia Moynihan, Grandad's Sister the Sister

In my usual scattered, "let's see who I can find today" approach -- which I really don't recommend -- I recently became interested in finding out more about my grandfather's older sister Julia Moynihan.  All my dad knew was that she became a Nun in Boston, Massachusetts.  I'd been working on the assumption that because Nun's take a religious name, I'd never be able to track Julia Moynihan, but that may not be true.

Can anyone help me find my grandaunt Julia Moynihan, the Sister?

Here's what I know (or in some cases am pretty sure about):
  • 1883 (Dec. 29):  Julia was born in Shountullig, Cork, Ireland to Jeremiah Moynihan and Hanora Harnedy (Source: baptismal record)
  • 1901 (Mar. 31):  Julia was 17, literate, living at home with her parents and a "general servant". (Source: 1901 Census of Ireland)  [1911 (Apr. 2):  Julia was not in Ireland.  She was not with her family and no other Julia Moynihan in the Census matches her.]
  • 1907 (May 23):  A Julia Moynihan, aged 23, arrives in Boston on the Ivernia.  (Source:  Book Indexes to Boston Passenger Lists.)  Note:  Given the absence of detail on this Book Index, compared to a full ship's manifest, I don't know this is my Julia. I think it is her given that the age is right and it's the same ship her brother and cousins took the following year.
  • 1908 (May 14):  Julia lived at 71 Bartlett Street, in Andover, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. (Source:  ships manifest for the Ivernia arriving in Boston with her brother Jeremiah and her cousins John and Maggie Sullivan)
  • 1908 and 1913:  Julia lived at 92 North Main Street in Andover, the same address and Annie (aka Hannah) Harnedy, her aunt.  (Source: 1908 and 1913 Andover City Directories)  Note:  Julia does not appear in the previous city directory in 1904, nor in an alternate 1913 directory nor later Andover directories.
I cannot find any further record that I even suspect is my Julia Moynihan after 1913.  There are some Julias in the censuses, including with the Notre-Dame Academy, however they age is a bit off.  Regarding the Sisters of Notre-Dame, I found the following at :
Lowell Sun Lowell, MA April 3, 1945

Tyngsboro - Rev. Sr. Mary Josephine, stationed for the past twelve years at the Academy of Notre Dame, died yesterday at the academy, aged 60 years, following an illness of one week's duration.

The former Julia Moynihan, Sr. Mary Josephine was a native of Ireland, and had been for 35 years in the order of Notre Dame de Namur. During her years at the academy she was in charge of the sacristy.

I sent an inquiry through the order of Notre Dame de Namur website, they confirmed that this Sister Mary Josephine was actually a Cronin. They had no Julia Moynihan matching mine.

The Poor Clares of Boston have also indicated she wasn't a member of their order.

I have messages in now with the Carmelites and the Sisters of St. Joseph.  I have a list of other convents in the Boston area and I will check with each one.  I must mention that I was surprised how quickly both the Poor Clare and the Notre-Dame sisters responded by email.  I am lucky to live in a time when I can make these long-shot inquiries by email and receive such quick replies.

Is there anyone out there who knows more about my grandad's sister the Sister?  Who knew Julia Moynihan?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Leahy Place at Gortnamona, County Cork

I took this photo during my trip to Ireland in 1989.  This is the entrance to my grandmother's family home in the Gortnamona township in County Cork.

I know you can't see the house (which I think was abandoned when I visited), but I can look at this photo all day.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sunday Obituary: Jeremiah Francis Moynihan of Ventura, California

I've mentioned in a previous post that I sometimes Google my relatives.  I've come to expect few useful results and the occasional gem.  The other night, I Googled "Jerry Moynihan" and found sad news.  My dad's cousin Jerry Moynihan of Ventura, California passed away in April of this year.  Here is a link to the lovely obituary for Jerry which appeared in the Ventura County Star.

I didn't know Jerry; he was a name on the family tree.  But after reading the obituary, I feel like I know him a little.  And I wish I had met him.

Jerry was born in 1928 in Buffalo, New York, the eldest of three sons of William Moynihan and Elizabeth O'Connor.  William died young and Elizabeth remarried and had two more boys.

According to the obituary: Jeremiah (Jerry) Francis Moynihan passed away on April 17, 2011 after a long and courageous battle with a bone marrow disorder.

Jerry lived most of his life in Ventura, California, most of those as a teacher and school principal. Judging by the comments in the online memorial book, Jerry was not only respected but loved by family, friends and the students and teachers with whom he worked.
Jerry was predeceased by his parents and his brothers, Mike Moynihan and Jack Daly. He is survived by his best friend and wife of 60 years, Lois Chatham Moynihan; daughters, Cathy Mason (Terry), Karen Haggerty; granddaughters, Kerry Haggerty Thomas (Tim), Tara Mason, Erin Haggerty, and Laura Mason; great-grandson, Joshua Jeremiah Thomas; brothers, Martin Daly (Frances), William Moynihan (Dorothy); sister-in-law, Helen Chatham; niece, Linda Etter (Larry); "Little Brother" David Hart Gandolfo (Rhonda); niece, Stephanie Daly D'Andrea and her children, Matt, Joey and Grace.
The sympathies of the Canadian branch of the Shountullig Moynihans go out to Lois, Cathy, Karen and the rest of the family.  They have lost a good man.

Stay tuned for a future post about Jerry's dad William and another Jeremiah Moynihan.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Mattioli Family in Fano

Back Row:  Lina Mattioli, Onofrio Giacomini, Maria Mattioli in Giacomini (that's Italian for Maria Giacomini, née Mattioli)
Front Row:  Filomena Barboni in Mattioli, Luisa Mattioli

This photo was taken before Filomena, Luisa and Lina left Fano (in the Marche region of Italy) in late January 1929 to join Filomena's husband Augusto Mattioli in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.

Maria and Onofrio stayed in Italy for several more years, through the war, before joining the family in Ontario.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sunday Dinner, Sault Ste. Marie Style, Where Italians Don't Eat Spaghetti

I have a confession to make:  I never ate spaghetti until I moved away from home.  Well, maybe in a restaurant somewhere earlier, but the first memory I have of spaghetti was my dear friend Brad's.  Brad's from the Sault, but doesn't have a drop of Italian blood in him.  As you know, I'm half Italian.  My friends experimented with all sorts of things in university; I tried spaghetti.  It didn't become a habit.

You see, in the Sault, we ate "pasta."  That's pronounced "pah-stah," not "pass-ta."  Some of the pasta we made by hand, some we got from Primo Foods.  We made long, thin, fairly wide, flat pasta that we called "tagliolin'" plus lasagna and stuffed pastas like cappelletti.  Our cappelletti was usually small, square and suffed with meat, like ravioli. But sometimes they were shaped more like tortellini.  The bought pasta was usually penne rigate.  The "rigate" part is important.  That means the penne have lines along the outside that hold the sauce.  I once bought penne lisce, which is smooth.  It didn't taste very good.  You need your pasta to hold onto the sauce!

Since moving away from the Sault, I've discovered that my experiences eating out in the Sault are different from what is found in other cities, even in Italian establishments in other Canadian locations.  In addition to the serving of pasta in shapes other than spaghetti, a key difference about dinners in the Sault is that they are served family-style.  Platters of food are brought to the table and people serve themselves. If you want seconds, you can take more food from the platter and after that ask for another platter if you're still hungry.  No one hesitated to ask for more.

If you're from the Sault, right now you're nodding your head.  If you're not from the Sault, you're looking at the screen like I have three heads.  Believe me, when we were planning our wedding reception in Ottawa, a few caterers looked at me very strange.  We chose an Italian cater who at least had the savvy to say, "ah yes, you're from the Sault.  We don't to it that way here, but if people want seconds, we will bring them another plate."  Well, I suppose that would do in a pinch.

Here's your standard menu for a special dinner out in the Sault, a wedding reception or a big anniversary or birthday celebration.
  • Cappelletti Soup in Chicken Broth
  • Penne with Meatballs
  • Roasted Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans
  • Green Salad -- usually iceberg lettuce (but in the old days that's all you could buy), with peeled cucumber and tomato and a plain oil and vinegar dressing.
  • Dessert?
Okay, I'm sure there was dessert, but I can't for the life of me remember what was usually served.  Cake?  It wouldn't have been Tiramisu, which as far as any North American can tell was "invented" in the late 1980s.

We ate essentially the same meal any time the family got together.  Though at Christmas the roast chicken was replaced by turkey.  At home, the dessert was usually Cherry Cheesecake (the no-bake type) and whatever pies my grandmother made.  Lemon meringue was my favourite.

If you're from the Sault, where was your favourite place to eat?  Minelli's, the Marconi Club or your nonna's?  What was your favourite part of the meal?  Who remembers "Peaches" for dessert?  Will you admit you still love iceberg lettuce?  How long has it been since you had Cappelletti Soup?

Tell me about your Sunday dinner memories.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Canada's Census 2011 -- Just say Yes!

Well, I've submitted my census questionnaire for 2011.  To all my Canadian readers:  please, please say "yes" to the question at the end requesting permission to share your census information in 92 years.

For those of you who have been researching your family history for some time, you know how useful census information can be for tracking our relations. 

I thank the censuses of Canada, the United States, England, Ireland and Wales for telling me:
  • That Mino Bertolo came to Canada in1903 and was naturalized in 1907.
  • That the uncle Patrick Moynihan went to Andover to live with was his mother's brother, William Harnedy.
  • That my great-grandmother Margaret Leahy (neé Regan) had 12 children, not 11.  So there's one more baptismal record to look for.
  • That Margaret's father-in-law Patrick Leahy was still alive in 1901 and was blind but still fluent in Irish.
  • That Jno Lawrence is John Lawrence.  Who knew John needed a short-form?!
  • That our Burrows family lived primarily in and around Bampton, Devon. 
I want to help future researchers, so I said "yes" to the StatsCan question.  I'll share my census information with future generations.

Will you?

Monday, 2 May 2011

Reflections on the A to Z Challenge

I want to start by thanking Kim at the Lunch Box, on whose blog I first saw the A to Z Challenge badge, and Lee at Tossing it Out, the force behind the challenge, as well as the other challenge hosts.

As some of you know, I started the Jim's Girl Family History Blog in mid-March 2011 for the purpose of sharing family history and genealogy research among my cousins.  I knew nothing of blog challenges, memes, awards or much of anything in blogging culture.  Then I saw the challenge badge and decided to find out what it was about.  I liked the mental challenge of coming up with genealogy-related stories for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet.  I also saw the challenge as a push, "into the deep end" if you will, to post frequently.

I may have underestimated the effort it would take to post 26 times in one month.  Whew!  I also underestimated how many other A to Z challengers would read my posts and make comments.  Remember, my intended audience was just cousins (albeit in some cases fourth cousins once removed, by marriage).

I tried to visit other blogs in the challenge, but a full time job, travel, Easter and the ever-present pressure to write more blog posts limited the number I could read.  Nonetheless, the A to Z challenge introduced me to a several interesting blogs I will follow in the future, blogs I'd never have found without the challenge.  It also brought me some new followers.

It's true I didn't enjoy the pressure to research and compose on a strict deadline.  In the future, you can expect more thoroughly researched, though less frequent posts interspersed with short blurbs on this and that; probably a few posts per week.  I hope my cousins will stay with me into the future.  And I hope some of the A to Z challengers will continue to follow my posts as well.  Who knows, maybe we are cousins after all.

Before I go...thanks to Cousin Sam and my mom for fine-tuning some recipes, to  Aunty Anna for the picture of her gorgeous genetti cookies, and to my Sweetie and the Bean for their patience.  And, Arlee Bird, how can I thank you enough?!

Check out the reflections of other challengers via Tossing it Out.