Mary Frances Dolan, Cambridgeport, Massachusetts

1904 postal card, Castlewellan, Co. Down, to Cambridgeport, Massachusetts

1904 postal card, Castlewellan, Co. Down,
to Cambridgeport, Massachusetts

On November 26, 1904, Miss Fannie Dolan of 16 Watson Street, Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, received a postcard. It had been mailed 11 days earlier from Castlewellan, County Down, Ireland, and carried the message

"It is very cold here today.—L.E.B. Nov 15, 1904"


Mary Francis Dolan was born April 20, 1883, in Roslindale, Massachusetts, the daughter of John H Dolan and Mary A Noonan. I will refer to her as Frances, since she seemed to go by her second given name throughout her life.

In 1910, John Dolan's household at 16 Watson Street included his wife, his daughters Mary Frances ("Fannie"), Elizabeth, and Rosalie, and his mother-in-law Ellen Noonan. His son Edward, born 1881, had married Alice Duffy in 1903 and was living a few blocks away on Pearl Street. Edward's marriage record indicates that the family was on Watson Street when he married.

So with all those Irish names, does the postcard tell us anything about the Irish origins of Frances' family? No, not really, as it turns out. Unlike the other in this series of articles, it is really a tourist type item, and carried no meaningful text. But my curiosity was piqued, so here goes.

The Dolans

John Dolan was born October 19, 1854, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, son of John Dolan and Bridget Dillon. They had at least two earlier children, Mary Ellen (1851), who died the following year, and William Henry (1853-1888). With that start, I thought I might get somewhere, but I was soon lost in the sea of Dolans in the Boston area. West Roxbury was a separate town at the time but even there, if I am not mistaken, there was another John and Bridget Dolan couple. So the Dolans were a dead end.

1904 postal card, Castlewellan, Co. Down, to Cambridgeport, Massachusetts

The Noonans

I got farther with the Noonans. Frances Dolan's mother, Mary Ann Noonan, was born January 1858, in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of Dennis Noonan and Ellen O'Brien. In turn, Dennis was born about 1829 in Ireland, the son of John Noonan and Ellen Murphy. John, Ellen, and sons Dennis, Robert, and John were all in Lowell in the 1850s and 1860s.

Dennis' brother Robert proved to be the key to success for this family. His naturalization papers in US District Court, Boston, said that he was born in County Tipperary "on or about" May 3, 1835. I didn't find Dennis or Robert, but there was a John Noonan, son of John Noonan and Ellen Murphy, baptized 7 April 1833 in Galbally and Aherlow parish, Co. Tipperary. This was a couple years earlier than John's American records say he was born, but it is a possible match.

Tipperary was loaded with Noonans and Ireland is loaded with Murphys, so this might not be the right couple, but at least we found a county.

The O'Briens

The 1865 household of Dennis Noonan in Lowell also included his father in law, Patrick O'Brien. Patrick was married to Ellen Connors. Ellen's death record, Lowell, 1859, said she was the daughter of John Connors and Catherine "Manesse". The name Manesse didn't show up at all on John Grenham's surname search site. I don't know what name was meant, and that was the end of the line for the O'Briens anyway.


Compared to the other postal covers I have researched, I would say that I came in below average on this one. Once again, the famine immigrant generation proved difficult.

All of the sources I used are available at either familysearch or They include federal and state censuses, Massachusetts vital records, city directories of Boston and Lowell, and Robert Noonan's naturalization record.

I have uploaded a brief tree of the families mentioned in this article. You can find it here.

Eileen Quinn, 1922, Newburgh, Cleveland

Eileen Quinn, 1922

Eileen Quinn,

This website includes a picture of the 1922 second grade class at Holy Name Parish on Broadway on the southeast side of Cleveland. My mother was in that class and identified most of the children in the picture. She identified the young lady on our far right in the back row as Eileen Quinn. There was a Eileen Quinn living in the area, described below, who is probably her.

Eileen Quinn was born August 10, 1913, in Cleveland, the first child of John Joseph Quinn and Agnes May Francis.1 They had married on August 17, 1912. Eileen was followed by four more children: John "Jack" born 1914, William (1917), Kathleen (1918), and Allan (1921). William died in 1918, but the other children lived to adulthood. In 1930, the family was living at 7808 Goodman Avenue on the southeast side of Cleveland.

On May 9, 1938, Eileen married Reginald G James in Cuyahoga County, and the two were living in Garfield Heights in 1940. Reginald died May 30, 1992. Eileen survived her siblings, including Allan who died in 2006. At that time she was living in Raleigh, North Carolina. I don't know when she died or if she and Reginald had any children.

Agnes May Francis

Agnes was born in the second quarter of 1884, in Mitcham, London, England, the daughter of William Francis and Mary Matilda Mihill. The Kevin Fairley Family Tree at provided Agnes' ancestry back two generations to William Francis and Mary Jane Mead on her father's side, and William Mihill and Mary Giles on her mother's. There is no point in my rehashing it here.

Agnes arrived in the United States June 23, 1912, aboard the SS Campania, which had left Liverpool 8 days earlier. She listed her father's residence as 174 High Street, Tooting, London. Interestingly she said her destination in America was her friend, J Quinn, at the Cleveland State Hospital, in Newburgh. This was one of many hints I needed to trace John's movements before his arrival in Newburgh back to his homestead in Ireland.

In October 1919 Agnes made a trip back to England with her three children, evidently to visit her parents. She was accompanied by her brother in law, Patrick Quinn, 36, a watchman. She and the children returned to Cleveland in June 1920. I didn't find any more mention of Patrick in Cleveland, so he must have remained in England. The Fairley tree says he died in Putney, which was near Tooting, London.

Agnes (Francis) Quinn died February 5, 1958, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery.

John Joseph Quinn

My effort at researching John Quinn's ancestry was a good example of starting at both ends and working toward the middle, a strategy that doesn't usually work. The Fairley tree gave me his mother's maiden name, Bridget Fair, early in my research, and John's death record in Cleveland, on December 27, 1945, provided his father's name, Michael.

Conagher Townland

"Fair" is an unusual Irish name, so I figured I'd just throw the parents' names into a search engine and see what came out. I turned up five children of the couple, including a John and a Patrick, all born in Conagher Townland, Dunmore Civil Parish, Galway. This turned out to be the right family, but the only trouble was that their son John's date of birth was February 28, 1878. On all but one of his American records, including his naturalization papers, John Joseph Quinn insisted that he was born in 1883.

Fortunately for the genealogist, John gave the date February 28, 1878, when registering for the United States WWI Draft. And when he and Patrick arrived in Montreal September 3, 1911, en route to Cleveland, they said their closest relative in Ireland was their father Michael in Conagher. Although, from what I can tell, I think they meant "brother", or maybe they were misunderstood. At any rate on Patrick's first trip to the US, when leaving Queenstown on August 28, 1907, he said his mother Bridget Quinn was in Conagher, Tuam.

Agnes Francis' immigration destination, "a friend J Quinn, Cleveland State Hospital" made me realize they knew each other before she arrived. I looked for John in that area of London and found an Electoral Roll of Tooting Ward that included

John Quinn
Place of abode: Tooting Bee Asylum, Tooting Common

John, as mentioned, worked at the asylum in Cleveland until about 1917, so this listing seems to fit.

John's parents, Michael Quinn and Bridget Fair, were married in Kilcommon and Robeen Parish, County Mayo, on February 4, 1869, which probably explains why the Fairley Family tree says that the family was from Mayo.

The indexed information to the civil registration of the marriage, in Ballinrobe Registration District, says Bridget's father's name was John. The image is not yet online, but the certificate if obtained should list Bridget's townland at the time of her marriage. This would help identify which of the two John Fairs in the area was her father.


Sources and more details on the families covered in this article are in the Ohio Families section of this site. If you are descended from Eileen Quinn, you are welcome to download the picture of the 1922 second grade class, or contact me for a larger version which might have better resolution.


^1. Her exact date of birth comes from her father's Petition for Naturalization, but he was a bit off on two of the other children's dates, at least according to their Social Security information.


The image of the townland sign for Conagher, Galway, is used courtesy of the Milltown Heritage Group.

Laura Clary Goodenow of Rochester, Indiana

1907 Postcard, Lima, Ohio to Rochester, Indiana

1907 Postcard, Lima, Ohio to Rochester, Indiana

On September 18, 1907, Mr Harvey F Clary, of Rochester, Indiana, received a postcard from his sister Laura in Lima, Ohio. It read:

Dear Brother,
We got here alright. Genova never cried a bit coming, and this afternoon she has been saying boppa all the time nearly. Will bring you something. And will send another card soon.

What was the occasion for the postcard?

The Clarys of Rochester, Indiana

Laura and Harvey were children of Elbert Elihu Clary and Nevada Belle Williams of Rochester, Indiana. Laura was born August 12, 1887, and Harvey on April 18, 1896. Both were in their parents' household in 1900 in Rochester where their father was working as a liveryman.

The Goodenows of Lima, Ohio

Robert Goodenow was born in Lima, Ohio, October 13, 1885, the son of Elvin Goodenow and Irene Underwood. He too was in his parents' home in 1900. Robert's father worked as an oil well shooter, but Robert became a railroad clerk, an occupation that evidently took him to Rochester, Indiana, where–in 1906–he was wed to Laura Clary.

"Over the hills and through the woods"

Laura and Robert's first child Genova was born on March 17, 1907. By September they must have felt that she was old enough to visit her grandmother Irene in Lima. Irene Goodenow's husband Elvin had died March 18, 1904, of liver trouble, but Irene was still at 367 Jackson. Upon arriving Laura, proud of her new daughter for saying "Papa" all afternoon, wrote back to Harvey to let him know they had all arrived safely.


Robert and Laura returned to Rochester, as hinted at in Laura's message to Harvey. Their daughter Edna was born in Indiana January 29, 1909, completing their family. By 1917 the family had moved to Los Angeles, and Robert had settled into work in the insurance business, which he pursued until at least 1940.

Robert Goodenow died in 1962 and Laura in 1972, both in Mendocino County, California. Genova (Goodenow) Crane died in 1991 in Butte County. They are all buried in Cuffys Cove Community Cemetery, Mendocino County, California.


Most of the sources used for this article can be found by following the links in Laura Clary's family tree at Laura J Clary. Her father in law's death date came from an OCR scan of the Lima [Ohio] News of March 18, 1904 at Alvin Goodenou. Elvin's wife Irene was located in 1906 in the Lima City Directory for that year at


The image of the postcard to Mr Harvey F Clary is used by permission of Jim Forte Postal History.

Mary McGraw, 1922, Newburgh, Cleveland

Mary McGraw, 1922

Mary McGraw,

This website includes a picture of the 1922 second grade class at Holy Name Parish on Broadway on the southeast side of Cleveland. My mother was in that class and identified most of the children in the picture. She identified the fifth young lady from our right in the back row as Mary McGraw. There was a Mary McGraw living in the area, described below, who is probably her.

Mary McGraw was born May 6, 1913, in Cleveland, the first child of John McGraw and Mary Kelley. In 1920 the family was living at 8002 Goodman Avenue. In the household beside Mary and her parents were: her three younger siblings, William, Ruth, and Rose Rita McGraw; her mother's children from a previous marriage: Edward, Timothy, and Katherine O'Malley; and her aunt, Katherine Kelley.

John McGraw died in 1926. On the 1930 Census, Mary's mother, the three younger McGraw children, and Katherine O'Malley were at 4962 East 85th. Mary herself was at the Sisters of the Good Shepherd home at 30th and Carnegie.

On February 28, 1933, Mary McGraw married Walter A Royer, very likely at Holy Name Church. They had two children by the time of the 1940 census. Mary died April 15, 1989, and is buried in All Souls Cemetery, Chardon.

The McGraws and the Burns

John McGraw was born March 4, 1876, in Cleveland, the youngest of four children of David McGraw and Mary Burns, both of whom were born in Ireland about 1841 or 1842. David McGraw died in 1878, and his widow Mary, her children, and her mother, Bridget (Sheridan) Burns were at 2575 Bluff.

I didn't find Bridget Sheridan's husband, Patrick Burns, on the records, but their son Matthew was also in Cleveland. He lived at 16 Division from 1874 until at least 1880. In 1880 there was a Michael Burns at 18 Division, but I never proved to myself that Matthew and Michael were brothers.

I thought that with two, possibly three Burns siblings and both parents' full names I might find them in the Irish parish registers, but I didn't. So that was the end of the line for the McGraws and the Burns.

The Kelleys

Mary McGraw's mother, Mary Kelley, was born June 10, 1876, in Cleveland, the fourth known child of Peter Kelley and Bridget Hunt, both born in Ireland. Her first marriage was about October 2, 1897–the date the license was issued–to Timothy O'Malley. Timothy died of smallpox in 1902. Mary's three children were all in orphanages in 1910, and Mary herself was living and working as a cook at the Cleveland city infirmary. After Mary's marriage to John McGraw in 1912, they were evidently reunited, all being in the McGraw household in 1920.

I found nothing more for Bridget Hunt's origins, and only know that Peter Kelley's father was named Patrick.

The O'Malley's

Having gone 0 for 2 on Mary McGraw's lineage, I thought I might as well take a look at Timothy O'Malley's family, even though he wasn't her ancestor. Fortunately there was only one Timothy O'Malley in Cleveland at the time.

Timothy was born "on or about 17 January 1872" in County Mayo, according to his naturalization records. He arrived in the United States aboard the SS Adriatic on May 25, 1888, having boarded in Queenstown. In the 1892 Cleveland City Directory he is listed at 75 Main, along with Patrick O'Malley, a saloon keeper, and Edward O'Malley, a stonecutter. If Patrick is the man who died at 44 East River on June 7, 1903, then he was old enough to be of Timothy's father's generation. But Timothy arrived in the States alone, so the connection to Patrick and Edward is unclear, at least to me for now.

You would think that with an approximate date of birth, I would have been able to find Timothy in the birth records at, but not so. There are three Thaddeus Malleys born in Mayo between 1870 and 1874, but none of them in January. (Thaddeus is another name for Timothy.) One of them might be Timothy, but I can't say which.

Mayo is a big county but at least we narrowed down Timothy O'Malley's county a little better than the McGraws', Kelleys', etc.


I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't establish a Irish county of origin for at least one of Mary McGraw's lines, but that's the way it goes. I have a difficult time with Irish families that arrive that early in the US, say the 1870's and before. The passenger manifests have very little information, and the naturalization records usually only say "Ireland". Timothy O'Malley's might have been an exception. And the individuals don't usually live long enough for their death records to require their parents' names.

I got a taste of a different Irish settlement in Cleveland, though, besides the one in Newburgh. Most of Mary's ancestors spent their lives in the Flats, and I hope to do some background reading on the area and the time period soon.

Sources and more details on the families covered in this article are in the Ohio Families section of this site. If you are descended from Mary McGraw, you are welcome to download the picture of the 1922 second grade class, or contact me for a larger version which might have better resolution.

Arthur Hannigan of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Arthur Hannigan of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1943 Letter from Dungarvan, Waterford,
to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In 1943, Mr Arthur Hannigan of 3615 North 11th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a letter from from Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland. Does the Hannigan family have roots in County Waterford?

The Hannigans of Tipperary, Waterford, and Philadelphia

When I first saw this cover on the Jim Forte Postal History website, I decided not to write an article about it because it was too easy. But I owed myself an easy job after the last postal cover, Mary Belle Lemon, Clermont County, Ohio, so here it is.

The 1940 Census of Philadelphia shows an Arthur Hannigan at 3615 North 11th Street, the address on the envelope. He was a 50 year old carpenter born in Maryland. Also in the household was John Hannigan, 58. Arthur was renting a unit in his house to a Thomas E Quigley.

These three men can be found in the 1910 household of John Hannigan at 3640 Percy Street, Philadelphia. John was a carpenter age 50. He and his wife Anna were born in Ireland. Their family included two children born in Ireland: Mary, age 16, and Joseph 12.

Looking at the Irish Civil Birth Registers we find Mary Agnes Hannigan born August 10, 1893, in Old Pike, Dungarvan Registration District, County Waterford. Joseph was born June 19, 1897, in Garranbane, also Co. Waterford. Their parents were John Hannigan, a carpenter, and Anna Hannigan, formerly Terry. As a bonus we get the name of Anna's sister, Bridget Terry, the informant for both births and identified as the aunt of Joseph.

David Kelley's Family Tree at informs us that Arthur's father, John Hannigan, was born December 26, 1859, in Cashel, Co. Tipperary, and was married on May 5, 1879, in Waterford. John's father Jeremiah died in Dungarvan, Waterford, in August of that year.


Undoubtedly there are other records that would cement this trace-back more solidly, but I think we've found enough to say that Arthur Hannigan's family was from Waterford. The only question left is who sent him the letter? The return address might be on the back of the envelope, but we might never know for sure, because it has been sold since I first saw it. But someone in Dungarvan probably knows.


The image of the envelope to Arthur Hannigan is used by permission of Jim Forte Postal History.

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