Thursday, October 13, 2016

Genealogical Journey: Timothy and Mary Sullivan

The exasperating part of this genealogical journey was knowing that records exist but not having access to them.  Contrary to popular belief, not everything is available online, free of charge.  Such was the case with some pre-1850 Catholic Church records in Ireland.  They were free, on microfilm, but located in Dublin.  So I was frustrated about not being able to "look in that box."  In essence, I was back where I started: stuck at the name of my great-great-grandfather, Denis Sullivan without being able to obtain a generation beyond him.  (Surprisingly, I had previously learned the names of his wife's parents from her death certificate.  Irish, maternal, pre-1850 names are harder to find as explained in the previous blog post titled Charles and Helena O'Regan.)  I could not definitively locate a death certificate for Denis.  According to the records at St. Peter's Cemetery in Staten Island, he is not buried in the plot along with his wife or son's family.  I am still at a loss as to when and where he died.  This all could have been solved long ago if only Denis' parents were listed on his marriage record in Ireland!  But it was left blank, just like his wife's.  Denis' brother Jeremiah's death certificate has also not been located. Cousin Ed has a theory that Denis is buried along with Jeremiah and his family. Exact location unknown but probably in St. Peter's Cemetery in Staten Island, NY.  

Then another genealogy miracle happened!  The Catholic Parish Registers of the National Library of Ireland were put online--for free.  I danced an Irish jig.  They were not indexed so I had hours of happiness in front of me.  My strategy was to look through baptismal records in the Parish of Schull East in County Cork, Ireland.  I knew that Denis and Jeremiah Sullivan were brothers. 

Cousin Dorothy's interview notes with Great Aunt Margaret where we deduce Jeremiah and Denis were brothers.   

Because of Irish naming traditions, I felt that their father was named Timothy.  Both Denis and Jeremiah named their first sons Timothy, possibly after their father.  I looked for records for both of those names hoping to find a matching set of parents between 1800 and 1816.  I was never sure of Jeremiah's age because of the differences listed on census forms.  Records on Denis had him being born within a span of five years ( 1813-1818) so it was hard to determine his exact age as well.

I began searching the Catholic Parish Records. I took notes and indicated where I left off so as not to repeat the tedious task of reading 19th century handwriting. While my Mom watched TV, hour after hour I scoured the newly released records during my visit to Florida.  When yet another TV show was about to begin, my mother turned to me and said," Michele, you are probably related to everyone in West Cork."

I found baptismal records for both Denis and Jeremiah with matching parents.  Jeremiah was older and Denis was within that five year time frame of the other records.  These were baptismal records, not birth, so there could have been a delay in having that sacrament recorded.  Reasons included: health, weather, and holidays.  I believe the names of my great-great-great-grandparents on the Sullivan side were Timothy Sullivan and Mary Jones.  Another brick wall down!

Top record for the baptism of Jeremiah Sullivan., Bottom record for Denis Sullivan.  Both show the parents listed as Timothy Sullivan and Mary Jones
Relationship Summary
Lagoy, Michele Ann's great great great grandfather is Sullivan, Timothy?
Sullivan, Timothy?
Sullivan, Denis
1815 - 1880
Sullivan, Charles Joseph
1856 - 1902
Sullivan, Mary Bernadette
1896 - 1964
Lagoy, William Paul, Jr
Lagoy, Michele Ann