sketches:

Harry and Agnes (Gratton) Billups, Letters

The documents section of this website has a transcription of thirty-five letters sent by Henry "Harry" Billups and his wife Agnes Gratton from Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, to Agnes' sister Emily Hall in Derbyshire, England.

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Anna (Cunningham) Rodgers, of Kilkeel and Cleveland

Anna Cunningham was born 3 Oct 1845, possibly in Ballymadeerfy Townland, County Down, Ireland, the daughter of James Cunningham and Catherine Devine. The exact date of her birth comes from her granddaughter Nan (Gallagher) Fleming's research.

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Edward and Anna Rodgers: the Cleveland Years

There are enough railroad tracks on the southeast side of Cleveland that the train from New York could have dropped the Rodgers off at their doorstep, but they probably had to find their way to their new address on their own. Fittingly, in the 1874 Cleveland City Directory there is a listing for an Edward Rogers living on the south side of Railroad, near Walnut, in Newburgh.

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Edward and Anna Rodgers: the Outbound Journey

As mentioned earlier, the Rodgers descendants believed that Ned fled Ireland for England and then went back to get his wife. This might be reflected in their information on the 1900 Census. When asked for their year of immigration to the United States, Ned said 1867 and Anna said 1870 ...

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Edward "Ned" Rodgers of Kilkeel and Cleveland

When I started working on the Rodgers' family history I was immediately impressed by two things: 1) the accuracy of the earlier research done by my mother's cousin Nan (Gallagher) Fleming, and 2) the reliability of the oral family tradition in the Rodgers clan. Here is just one example.

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Mary (Rodgers) Kelly Anderson, of Cleveland, Ohio

When I started working on Edward and Anna Rodgers' daughter Mary, she was mostly just legend. It went: "She was married to a Patrick Kelly and a Dudley Anderson, she was on stage, we had a picture of her with Lillian Russell." Well I haven't found any picture at all of her, but there is enough information to fill out the rest of the story.

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Ned Rodgers: a Fenian in the Family?

Another bit of family oral tradition about Edward "Ned" Rodgers goes like this: He had to leave Ireland because of some "trouble" with the predecessors of Sinn Fein. He went to England, then went back to get his wife, and then they came to America. He changed his name from something like McGillicuddy to Rodgers.

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Ned Rodgers and the Blind Pig

Here I am almost at the end of this series of articles about the Rodgers family and I haven't mentioned the story of Ned Rodgers and the blind pig.

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Agnes (McKenzie) McGrath Rodgers, of Cleveland, Ohio

Agnes was born in Gore of Lochaber, Ottawa Co., Quebec, Canada,  on March 27, 1876, the daughter of George McKenzie and Bridget Doherty. They are found on the 1881 Census of Gore of Lochaber.

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Alice (McGrath) Mulzer of Cleveland, Ohio

The young lady on the right in this picture was identified in the Rodgers' anniversary picture on the Ohio photos page as Alice McGraw. I believe her name was actually Alice McGrath, since there was a McGrath family connected to the Rodgers, but no McGraws.>

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An Earlier Matt Sloan, Kilfeaghan to Cleveland

In a letter dated December 28, 1888, from Ballintur, William Doran told his brother Peter in the United States, that 'Tom Murphy and Mathew Sloan is home from cleveland a few days agow.' For a long time I've wondered who this Matthew Sloan could be. My mother's aunt married a Matthew Sloan in Cleveland in 1907, but he was born in 1879, so he would be too young. Now, I think I might have found this earlier Matt Sloan in the Newburgh section of Cleveland.

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Anastasia (Lawton) Hankard—of Cork and East Boston, Massachusetts

In the first article in this series, we identified John Aloysius Hankard's paternal grandparents as John Hankard and Anastasia Lawton, both born in Ireland. On her marriage record, Anastasia said her father's name was John. Could we find Anastasia's Irish county of origin?

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Ann Ellen (Sloan) O'Leary of Cleveland, Ohio

Ann Ellen Sloan was born about 1861, the daughter of James Sloan and Bridget Cunningham. She and Dennis Francis O'Leary were wed in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on September 5, 1882. They were living at 1310 Broadway when their first child was born on June 16, 1883, or at about 4600 Broadway according to the current numbering system.

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Ann (McAlister) Paige, Bucksport, Maine

Ann McAlister was born in Bucksport, Maine, Dec 16, 1905, the daughter of Frank and Josephine (Delano) McAlister. In 1910 and 1920 she was living in Bucksport with her parents and her brother, Royce.

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Another James O'Rourke, Killowen to Cleveland

James O'Rourke was born Jul 7, 1894, presumably at home in Ballintur Townland, Kilbroney, County Down, the son of Francis Rourke and Sarah Brennan. In 1901 he and his parents were living with his grandparents James Rourke and Mary Hughes in house 18 in Ballintur. I believe this family occupied parcels 1A, 1Ba, 1C,and 1Da in the townland.

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Augustus "Zeke" Paige, Bucksport, Maine

Augustus Ezra Paige, or "Zeke" as he was known, was born Apr 13, 1905, most likely in Bangor, Maine, the first son of William Paige and Margaret Jenkins.

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Barbara (Paige) Deegan, Ritchfield, Connecticut

Barbara Ann Paige was born August 27, 1931 in Old Town, Maine, the daughter of Augustus and Ann (McAlister) Paige, of Bucksport, Maine. Between 1935 and 1940 Barbara's family moved to Orland, Maine.

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Bartley Carr of Tonabrocky, Galway, and Cleveland

In 1910 there was a man boarding with my great grandfather named Bartley Carr. He was unrelated to our family. Here are a few things about him from my research. Bartley Carr was born about 1884 in Galway, Ireland, the son of Walter Carr and Honora Kelly.

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Benjamin Cowan of Monson, Maine–A Brief Ancestry

Benjamin Cowan was born between 1834 and 1838, probably in Salem, Maine, the son of James Cowan and Lucrecia Winslow. According to a descendant, Benjamin Cowan's great grandfather Thomas Cowan arrived in America with a group of Scottish Presbyterians from northern Ireland, led by a minister named James McGregor.

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Benjamin Cowan of Monson, Maine—His Families

Benjamin Cowan was born between 1834 and 1838, probably in Salem, Maine, where his parents James and Lucretia Cowan were living in 1840.  The earlier date reflects his age as given on his censuses, while the later date comes from his age at death in 1903.

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Benjamin & Sarah (Newell) Cowan of Monson, Maine

After Benjamin Cowan's divorce from Rosanna Inman, he apparently went back to Salem, Maine, for a while. The 1870-71 Report of the Selectmen of the Town of Hampden says that Hampton had received $351.34 from Salem for support of residents of the town farm. That would have been for Benjamin's children, as explained in part two of this series.

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Bridget McCartan—Kilkeel to Cleveland

As mentioned in her husband's article, I was pretty sure that Bridget McCartan was from the Rostrevor - Kilkeel area of County Down, but I couldn't prove it using only her records. What made the difference in her case was her death notice. It called her the aunt of Michael White and the late Thomas Fearon.

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Charles and Margaret (O'Rourke) McNally of Cleveland, Ohio

Before we get back to Michael O'Rourke's family, we need to say a few words about the family of his wife, Mary McNally. It looks to me like Mary McNally was born in the fourth quarter of 1876 in the Stockton Registration District of Durham, England, and was baptized in Pontop, Durham, England, on February 11, 1877.

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Christina O'Rourke, Killowen to Chicago

Besides the children we mentioned in the last article, Michael Rourke and Alice Cunningham had two other sons and another daughter listed in the Kilbroney Church Records. they are ...

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Elizabeth Lawler, Kilkenny to Cleveland

Elizabeth Lawler was born about 1838 in Castlecomer, County Kilkenny, Ireland, the daughter of Michael Lawler and Mary Curran. Elizabeth was married on November 27, 1855, in Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal, Canada, to John Kerwin.

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Henry Sands, Killowen to Cleveland

Henry Sands was born October 18, 1867 most likely in Ballincurry Townland, south of Rostrevor, County Down.1 He was the third son of Daniel Sands and Susan Sloan.

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Hugh Quinn, Kilkeel to Cleveland

Hugh Quinn was born between 1846 and 1852 in Ballynahatten Townland, Kilkeel, County Down, Ireland.1, 2 He died on Dec 12, 1928 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and was buried on Dec 15, 1928 in Calvary Cemetery.3 He was the son of William Quinn and Ellen Clark. He married Maria Cunningham.

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James and Henry O'Rourke, Killowen to Cleveland

While looking through some other O'Rourkes in Cleveland, I came across first James then Henry O'Rourke and filed them in the "mysteries waiting to be solved" category. As soon as I started working on them I realized they were father and son. Here is a brief account of both of them.

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James Carrigan of County Meath, Ireland, and Salem, Massachusetts

Earlier this week I received a photocopy of the naturalization papers for a James Carrigan, naturalized in Manchester Police Court, Manchester, New Hampshire, on March 13, 1866. He wasn’t our James Carrigan, my wife’s great, great grandfather, as I had hoped. But he was someone’s James Carrigan, so rather than let the work go to waste, I thought I would put it here.

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James Dudley and Abigail Hook, of Orono and Veazie, Maine

There are a few family trees on ancestry.com, familysearch.org, and rootsweb.com that identify James Dudley, the husband of Abigail Hook, as the son of Samuel6 Dudley of Pittston, Maine. None, however, show how to make the connection between a James Dudley born in Pittston and one who died in Veazie. Since there was more than one James Dudley in Maine at the time, I thought I would lay out the reasons why we can come to that conclusion.

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James Murney, Killowen to Cleveland

While we are still at one degree of separation from the O'Rourkes and Rodgers families, let's spend a few minutes on James Murney. James was born 31 Aug 1878 in Ballinran, County Down, Ireland. His family, and those of his uncles who remained in Ireland, are on the transcription of the 1901 Census of Ballincurry.

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James O'Rourke, Killowen to Cleveland

On 9 Jun 1900, James O'Rourke, son of John Rourke and Ellen Rodgers, arrived in the United States aboard the HMS Campania, which had left from Liverpool. He was on the way to his brother William's home on Harvard St. in Cleveland.

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John Aloysius Hankard, East Boston, Massachusetts

On November 22, 1902 in Boston, Massachusetts, my wife's great aunt, Abigail Ellen "Abbie" (Page) Heise married John Aloysius Hankard. John's parents were recorded as John Hankard and Hannah Keegan. I recognized Keegan as an Irish name, assumed Hankard was also, and decided to see if I could trace either family back to at least the county of origin in Ireland.

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John and Henry O'Rourke—Kilkeel to Cleveland

While looking for the John O'Rourke who came with my grandfather from Killowen to Cleveland, I found another John O'Rourke in Cleveland instead. This man and his brother Henry were from Kilkeel. The evidence is a bit circumstantial, but I think it is solid enough to put the family together.

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John and Mary (McGee) McVeigh of Dunnaval Townland, Kilkeel

John McVeigh was born in County Down, Ireland, about 1813. As we have seen in the article, Christina O'Rourke, Killowen to Chicago, John was a widower living in Dunnaval Townland in 1901 with granddaughters Christina and Joanna O'Rourke and a grandson James Doyle. John had been on parcel 38A and 38B in Dunnaval from 1866 onward according to the Valuation Revision Books.

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John Hankard of East Boston, Massachusetts

Having found John Hankard's father's name (Thomas) and a range of years for his birth (1820-1830), I started to look for his county of origin in Ireland. The first thing I did was to try the Irish Times surname search page for "Hankard". The results said ...

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John Mcavoy—Rostrevor to Cleveland

While I was working on Bernice Hurley, 1922, Newburgh, Cleveland, I came across John and Bridget (McCartan) Mcavoy living on Elmo Street, Cleveland, in 1900. Both of their mother's maiden names were Sloan. With surnames like those going for them, they almost had to be from the Rostrevor - Kilkeel area of County Down.

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John McGee, Kilkeel to Cleveland

John McGee was born October 7, 1875, most likely in Tullyframe Townland, Kilkeel District, County Down, Ireland, the son of James McGee and Mary O'Hare. He was baptized that same day; the record is on the Kilkeel Parish Register.

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John O'Rourke Who Arrived in 1899

When my grandfather William O'Rourke emigrated from Ireland in 1899, he was accompanied by a John O'Rourke age 37. He was a single man who said he was from Ballintur Townland, County Down, as was my grandfather. John had been in the United States before, and had been a citizen for six years.

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John Rourke of Ballintur, Killowen, County Down

John Rourke of Ballintur Townland, County Down, Ireland was baptized on January 19, 1827, likely at Killowen Chapel. He was the son of James Roarke and Nancy Colgan. The sponsors at his baptism were Patrick Doran and Mary Colgan. John's sister Margaret had been baptized in 1822 and his brother Edward in 1824.

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Joseph Drummond, of Montreal, and the Irish Famine

At first glance it might seem strange to talk about Joseph Drummond and the Irish famine in the same article. After all, Joseph and his first wife, Judith Shea, were in Montreal, Canada, by 1844. Joseph is identified as a "gentleman" and a "man with a knowledge of commerce" on some of the parish records in Montreal.

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Joseph Whalen of Lockport and Cleveland

To a genealogist, siblings are your friends, as illustrated by the case of Catherine Rodgers' husband Joe Whalen. His death notice on February 5, 1968 said that he was survived by a brother Fenton. It was through Fenton that I found Joe Whalen's ancestry.

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Mary Burke of Cloondergan, Galway, and Cleveland, Ohio

It's hard for me to pass up looking for an Irishman's county of origin, so after finding Another James O'Rourke, Killowen to Cleveland, I thought I would try to find his wife, Mary Burke, in Ireland.

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Mary (Nugent) Keyes, of Wexford, Ireland, and Cleveland, Ohio

I’ve been looking at the family of my grandfather’s brother James O’Rourke, and have hit a soft brick wall. His wife, Mary Keyes, was the daughter of James Keyes and Mary Nugent. Mary Nugent’s death record said she was born about 1851 in County Wexford, and I can almost prove it, but not quite. Here’s the story.

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Matthew Sloan, Killowen to Cleveland

Matthew Sloan was born 27 Apr 1879, in Ballincurry Townland, Kilbroney Parish, County Down, Ireland, the son of James and Mary (Brennan) Sloan. He was baptized the same day with John Fearon and Kate Brennan as godparents.

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Michael O'Rourke, Killowen to Cleveland

Just because a man's name is O'Rourke doesn't mean he is from Killowen, County Down. But if he is living on the East side of Cleveland in the early 1900′s, and has an aunt named Mrs Farron, you start to get "suspicious." So it went with this man, whom I came across while working on my own O'Rourkes.

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Other Hankards in Eastern Massachusetts in the 1860s

Another way to find a Irish townland of origin is to trace the brothers and sisters of the person you are interested in, in this case the John Hankard who married Anastasia Lawton. His siblings' records might have the information we are looking for. There were a few other Hankards in the Boston area at the same time as John. Were they related?

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Patrick Lanagan of Sligo and Waltham

Every human being is unique and no doubt that was true of Patrick Lanagan as well. But what makes him special to me is this: he is the only person whom I have found who is recorded in Griffith's Valuation of Ireland and then emigrated to America.

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Patrick McQuaid of Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

In April 30, 1827, "Patrick McQuaid, the son of Rudy McQuaid dec'd, of Hempfield township, Westmoreland county, and state of Pennsylvania," signed indenture papers beginning his apprenticeship to George W and Jacob S Kern of Greensburg "by and with the advice and consent of his Mother."

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Peter and Mary Ann (McMahon) Keegan of Boston, Massachusetts

In the first article in this series, we established that John Aloysius Hankard's parents were John Hankard and Hannah Keegan. Hannah's death record, May 15, 1899, said that she was born in East Boston and her parents were Peter Keegan and Mary A McMann, both born in Ireland.

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Peter Curran of Galway and Norwood

A friend of mine asked me to see if I could find the Irish origins of her mother's Curran family who settled in Norwood, Massachusetts. As I soon found out, there were a lot of Currans in Norwood, but my friend supplied me with enough specifics to get going.

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Peter, Michael, and Henry Farron—Kilbroney to Cleveland

In 1910 Peter and Michael Farron were living on East 89th St in Cleveland, across the street from my great-grandfather Ned Rodgers. In that neighborhood, with a name like Farron (Feran, Fearon), they seemed "likely suspects" for being from the Kilbroney/Killowen area of County Down, Ireland. It turns out that they were.

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Richard Cunningham, probably Kilkeel to Cleveland

While working on the article, I noticed that Mary's cousin Bertha Raimer married a Cunningham. That got my attention, since my great grandmother's maiden name was Cunningham, and they lived in the same part of Cleveland as the Raimers. As it turned out, Bertha's daughter married one of my second cousins. But let's begin at the beginning.

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Robert Carroll (Dudley Anderson), Actor, of Chicago, Illinois

In the last article, we learned that William Dudley Anderson had a stage name of Bobbie Carroll and died in Chicago in 1932. Can we fill in anything else in his life between the death of his wife Mary Rodgers in 1898 and his own death?

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Rose (Sloan) Farrell, Killowen to Cleveland

So far in this series, we have discussed some young men who left Killowen for Cleveland, but this time we will consider a young woman, Rose Sloan, from the same area.

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Selina (McVeigh) Kelly, of Kilkeel and Chicago

We arrive at Selina (McVeigh) Kelly by way of her niece Christina (O'Rourke) Flood ... Christina O'Rourke, Killowen to Chicago.

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Some Children of Michael Rourke and Alice Cunningham

Michael Rourke and Alice Cunningham of Killowen, County Down, Ireland, had at least seven children. Three of their daughters emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio. Let's discuss them first, since we have referred to them earlier in this series of articles.

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Susan Brennan, Kilfeaghan to Cleveland

Susan Brennan was born, probably between 1873 and 1874, the daughter of Peter Brennan and Ann Savage.1, 2 She was very likely born in Kilfeaghan townland, Kilbroney District, County Down, Ireland.

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The Hamilton Family and the 1889 Johnstown Flood

In 1889 my great grandparents Joseph and Eckie Hamilton were living in and managing a boarding house at 136 Jackson Street, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. On May 31 of that year the Johnstown Flood hit the city taking 2209 lives, the greatest one day loss of life on U.S. soil until September 11, 2001.

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Thomas, William, and Daniel Feran—Killowen to Cleveland

As I mentioned in an earlier article, when you see the names Michael O'Rourke and Mrs. Thomas Feran in the same household in Cleveland, you start to think of Killowen emigrants.

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William D Anderson of Richmond, Virginia

Some people pass through your family's history like a shadow in a dream that turns toward you and waves, then walks across the stage and out the stage door. Such was Dudley Anderson for the longest time, a trace of a person and nothing more

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William O'Rourke, Killowen to Cleveland

In the merry month of June 1899, William Rourke salutes his father dear, kisses his darling mother, and heads on down the rocky road to America, never to return. Soon after leaving his home in Ballintur Killowen, County Down—and probably on the crossing to Liverpool—William re-instates the O' in front of the Anglicized version of his name.

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William Rogers and Elizabeth Murphy of Killowen, County Down

William Rogers was born about 1790, probably not in Killowen, possibly in Kilkeel, and almost certainly in Ireland. He and his wife Elizabeth Murphy have three children listed on the baptism records of Kilbroney Parish

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George Welling, 1922, Newburgh, Cleveland

George W Welling was born in Cleveland on April 20,1914, the son of William M Welling and Catherine Farron. The family was living at 13124 Harvard in 1920, in the same home as Catherine's widowed mother Sarah. Beside George, the family included his sisters Catherine and Sarah and a brother Thomas.

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The Wallace Sisters, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 1872

On Friday August 30, 1872, the Wallace Sisters–Jennie, Minnie, and Maud–appeared in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, most likely at Johnstown's theater, the Union Hall, at the corner of Washington and Franklin streets. The photograph accompanying this article probably has been in my family ever since that date ...

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About
Most of the information here is about my family or my wife’s, or about families with ties to Cleveland, Ohio, or the area near Rostrevor and Kilkeel in County Down, Ireland. There are also some unrelated families included that I came across. Whatever the case, I hope the material is helpful in your own efforts.
-- Ed Hamilton