Friday, October 24, 2014

CT Research Trip: Derby Historical Society



37 Elm Street
Ansonia, CT  203- 735- 1908



Before traveling to CT to research our Brady family I visited the website for the Derby Historical Society in Ansonia. It looked like there were lots of possibilities to uncover historical facts. As advised by the website, I emailed in advance of our visit. The response was not encouraging:

Thank you for your e-mail. We have very limited information here at the Society office. I have a few listings from the city directories that list the addresses of where some of your relatives lived. I have scanned those in for you to review. We do not have birth, death, or cemetery records. You may want to check with the Ansonia & Derby City Halls and libraries. I have provided some contact information below.
When my cousin, Pat, and I arrived we found a tiny building with a friendly woman who offered us a couple folding chairs. She had photocopied two pages from city directories. We had already found extensive city directory entries for our family at the Ansonia Library but we smiled and thanked her for the copies.

Then she gave us a binder with Headstone Inscriptions from Mt St Peter’s Cemetery. We quickly found three Brady entries:




Eugene H Brady; b 13 Mar 1888; d 21 June 1930 {flag)

· Bridget H Brady; wife of William; b 8 Apr 1855; d 2 Aug 1914

· William Brady; b 1 Oct 1848; d 4 Oct 1926



We were happy to find these listings and the next day we found the cemetery and the stones.

I was hoping to find more historical records. There was a second small room in the building with people in there spreading out maps and looking through books. Our helper was looking at the clock because of an upcoming meeting she had to attend and we were not offered any other records. We gave our thanks and headed back out into the rain.


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

CT Research Trip: The Ansonia Library


Ansonia Library
53 Cliff Street
Ansonia, CT 203- 734- 6275


The Ansonia Library was the first stop in my recent research trip in Connecticut to find the children of Thomas Brady & Catherine Gibney. When I parked near the large stone building I had no idea what I might find inside. The website did not reveal their genealogy & history holdings. I gathered my notes and my iPad and quickly walked through the rain and into the library. 


Construction of the building began in April, 1891. It was dedicated June 9, 1892, and became a library in 1896... The library started with a collection of 1,515 books, and a circulation the first year of 31,512.
         from:  Molloy, Leo T. Tercentenary Pictorial and History of the Lower Naugatuck Valley.      Ansonia, Connecticut: Press of the Emerson Bros., Inc., 1933. 


After speaking to the librarians I was given a key and directed up a narrow wooden staircase to the history room.



In the center of the room are large wooden tables. I set down all my things and hung my rain jacket over the back of a wooden chair. Then I walked around the room to discover just what was there. First I found books on the history of the state, neighboring states, counties in CT, and towns in those counties. I like to learn what was happening in the area where my ancestors lived so I gathered a few to look through.



Most of the history books there are best for families who were in the area early. Our Irish Bradys did not arrive till the late 1800s. A  book  by Leo T. Molloy gave me information on the area with brief histories of the towns, the local newspaper, industries, churches & etc. It even gave a history of the library I was in.

Molloy, Leo T. Tercentenary Pictorial and History of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. Ansonia, Connecticut: Press of the Emerson Bros., Inc., 1933. 





A collection of City Directories was my next useful discovery. I found our family in those volumes for a period of over a hundred years.

Ansonia, Birmingham, Derby, Shelton, Seymour Directory. New Haven, Connecticut: Price, Lee & Co., Publishers.

By the time I was deep into taking notes from the directories my cousin arrived from NJ. She made her way up to the history room. We greeted each other with big hugs and then Pat had her turn to explore the room.






During the weekend we headed off in other directions: the Derby Historical Society, Ansonia City Hall & cemeteries in the area. However, we kept returning to the library. After uncovering tombstones we had death dates in hand and we returned to the library to use the microfilms of the Ansonia Evening Sentinel and found many obituaries. We could have worked twice as fast if we each could have used a machine. However we had a nice pile of obituaries [and only 10 cents a copy] when we finished.

Thanks to the librarians who retrieved the boxes of microfilm for us, gave us some driving directions and were always friendly.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks; Week 42; William Jasper Fortenberry


This prompt comes from Amy Johnson Crow at her blog, No Story Too Small.I began with my grandparents and am working my way back in time through the generations of my direct ancestors. With this post I begin focusing on my 4x Great Grandparents.


William Jasper Fortenberry
c 1772 SC – 7 February 1842 MS
My 4x great grandfather

WilliamJasper Fortenberry was the second of six children of John Faulkenberry & Hannah Hubanks. His siblings were: Robert, Lee, Jacob, Israel & Nathaniel.[1]

The 1810 US Census for Lancaster Co., SC shows several Fortenberry families including William Fortenberry and his brothers, Israel and Jacob.[2]

About 1812 William married Violette Kennington, daughter of John & Martha Kennington.[3],[4] They “had a beautiful romance which never gave out. On their honeymoon, they traveled in an ox-wagon from Lancaster, South Carolina about 1812 to southern climes and found contentment in hard work and rearing a large family. From that union, our grand-sires emanated, 10 in actual count." 

This sounds romantic, however we get a different picture of this journey if we read Criminger’s book. This book tells us that Williams mother, Hannah, and six of their children traveled with the couple from Virginia to South Carolina. Two of Williams brothers also traveled with them. One brother froze to death in Alabama. This hardly sounds like a honeymoon.[5]

In October 1814, William Fortenberry enlisted in the South Carolina State Militia to fight the British. He served from 6 October 1814 to 8 January 1815, when he was discharged by enlistment in the service of the United States. The company was commanded to help defend the port at Charleston. His brother in law, John Kennington, and other family members also served in the same Regiment, led by Lieutenant Colonel Adam McWillie. The regiment stood ready to defend the port but they did not participate in any battles.[6]

“William Fortinberry came from Lancaster District, South Carolina, and settled in the southeastern portion of the county [Pike, MS] in 1819.”[7] He is listed in the 1820 Tax List for Pike County.  William and Violette are listed as early members of the New Zion Baptist Church in Pike County. They are shown in those records beginning 1823. William is also on the 1835 Tax List for the county.[8]

William “died in 1840, leaving six sons and four daughters. One of his sons, W. J. Fortinberry, was a Baptist minister and spent his life in that section of the county in the cause of the Church. Another son, G. C. Fortinberry, was a member of the 9th Mississippi Regiment of the United States Militia, under Col. Peter Quinn, in 1825 and 1827.”[9]

Violette Kennington Fortenberry


1 William Jasper Fortenberry b: Abt. 1772 in Lancaster, SC, d: 07 Feb 1842 MS
... + Violette Kennington b: 1786 in South Carolina, USA, m: Abt. 1812, d: 18 May 1858 MS

......2 Gasua Chapman Fortenberry b: 16 Jul 1805  Lancaster, SC, d: 21 Jun 1884 MS
...... + Sarah Brown b: 5 Feb 1810 Liberty, GA, m: 29 Sep 1832 Marion, MS d: 19 Jul 1883 MS
......2 Calvin Kennington Fortenberry b: 1806  Lancaster, SC, d: 18 Dec 1877
...... + Narcissa Simmons b: 11 Apr 1813 Simmonsville, Pike, MS, d: 05 Feb 1890 MS
......2 Euseba Fortenberry b: 3 Dec 1809 SC, d: 13 Oct 1878 MS
...... + Wyatt Smith b: 31 Aug 1809 LA, d: 16 Feb 1894 Pike, MS
......2 Isabella Fortenberry b: 23 Nov 1812 Lancaster, SC, d: 30 Sep 1886 Pike, MS
......2 William J. Fortenberry b: 09 Dec 1814 Lancaster, SC, d: 8 Jan 1896
...... + Elizabeth Martha Ann Cutrer b: 24 Jan 1827, m: 16 Mar 1848, d: 12 Oct 1909
......2 Olevia Fortenberry b: 22 Sep 1817 Lancaster, SC, d: 22 Jan 1881 in Pike, MS
......2 Burrell Taylor Fortenberry b: 1820 Pike, MS, d: 14 Sep 1863 MS
...... + Eliza Jane Ellzey b: 05 Sep 1830 MS, m: 15 Aug 1850, d: 04 Apr 1899
......2 Alfred Fortenberry b: 25 Jan 1823 Pike, MS, d: 27 Mar 1861
...... + Aderine Mary Faulk b: 07 Feb 1828, m: 24 Feb 1848, d: 4 Jan 1888
......2 Hollis Horton Fortenberry b: 12 Feb 1825 in Pike, MS, d: 24 Oct 1867
...... + Louisa Margany James b: 05 Dec 1828 LA, d: 9 Aug 1909
......2 Willis James Fortenberry b: 28 Nov 1829 Pike, MS, d: 1 Oct 1905
...... + Louisa Blackwell b: 17 Apr 1828 KY, m: 13 Oct 1912, d: 29 Feb 1912 MS



[1] Criminger, Adrianne Fortenberry. The Fortenberry Families of Southern Mississippi. South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1984.
[2] Small, O. B. (). 1810 Lancaster County, South Carolina census. Monroe, N.C.: O.B. Small.
[3] Fortinberry, G. K. Abstract History of the Fortinberry Family; 1795-1940's; Family History Center Microfilm #1036152.
[4] Criminger, Adrianne Fortenberry. The Fortenberry Families of Southern Mississippi. South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1984.
[5] Fortinberry, G. K. Abstract History of the Fortinberry Family. Privately Printed. 1942. Family History Center microfilm #1036152.
[6] Criminger, Adrianne Fortenberry. The Fortenberry Families of Southern Mississippi. South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1984.
[7] Conerly, L. W. (2008). Pike County, Mississippi, 1798-1876: pioneer families and Confederate soldiers, reconstruction and redemption,. Madison, Georgia: Southern Lion Books. (Original work published 1909)
[8] Conerly, L. W., & Williams, Jr., E. R. (1989). Resource records of Pike/Walthall Counties, Mississippi, 1798-1910: containing a complete reprint of Pike County, Mississippi, 1798-1876, pioneer families and Confederate soldiers, reconstruction and redemption. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press.
[9] Conerly, L. W. (2008). Pike County, Mississippi, 1798-1876: pioneer families and Confederate soldiers, reconstruction and redemption,. Madison, Georgia: Southern Lion Books. (Original work published 1909).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Connecticut Research Trip

Several years ago, through the wonder of connecting on the internet, I discovered that my mother had relatives. My mother had no siblings and, although her mother was the oldest of seven children, my mother had no known Irish first cousins. All my known cousins came from my father’s side of our family. However, after my mother’s death, I have discovered third cousins; Irish cousins living in the northeast.




Our little group has grown over the last several years. We try to assemble once a year and this year’s gathering is approaching. Two of us, Pat Brady & I, are the researchers. We uncover bits about our history to share with the rest of the group.

In preparation for the trip I am making an excel spreadsheet with a quick summary of what we know about the children of Thomas Brady & Catherine Gibney. Thomas & Catherine spent most of their lives in Co Cavan, Ireland. Eight of their children came to the USA, settling in CT & NJ. The spread sheet will make it easy to see what facts we are missing, such as birth, immigration, marriage or death dates.

Last year we searched in Derby City Hall & the Derby Library. We found bits of our family puzzle in both locations. This year we plan to focus our research in these locations:

Ansonia City Hall
253 Main Street, Ansonia, CT. We are hoping to find a death certificate here. We have a range of years when we believe he died.

·         AnsoniaPublic Library
53 S Cliff St, Ansonia, CT. Our family lived in the area & I hope to find genealogies or histories or city directories. It is hard to get a feel for the library’s holdings from the website.
·         DerbyHistorical Society
37 Elm Street, Ansonia, CT. The website looks very promising. They are only open 3 hours a day so I want to be there when the door is unlocked and they might need to boot us out at four o’clock!
·         EvergreenCemetery
New Haven, CT. Pat is lining up the cemetery research by contacting the offices in advance. We are hoping for maps, lot cards & opportunities to photograph the stones.
·         Mt.Saint Peter’s Cemetery
219 New Haven Ave., Derby, CT. We know that some of the main characters in our family’s story are buried here. Perhaps there are even more.
·         PineGrove Cemetery
15 Church Street, Ansonia, CT. The online search option shows two of our family members.

We will have two weekdays for our research. Then we will meet up with the cousins on Saturday for catching up, sharing our findings & just enjoying each other! Last time we gathered we had dinner at an Irish pub. Our ever increasing group gathered around a very large table for good food & laughter. Looking around the table at all the cousins from preschoolers to teens and on up to us seniors I thought of my mother and how much she would have loved to join in.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

My Great Great Great Grands – Life Spans & Other Comparisons

I have been posting about my ‘grands’ for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks & started to wonder if they were all contemporaries and how their life spans compared. So I compiled these statistics on my 3x great grandparents for my father’s family. I am not strong with statistics so these are just basics.


My father’s family:

Edward Brown                  1806 GA – 1856 MS          49 years
Mary Spurlock                   1800 GA – 1888 MS          88 years

Wyatt Smith                       1809 LA – 1894 MS           84 years
Euseba Fortenberry            1809 SC – 1878 MS           68 years

Nathaniel Brumfield           1813 LA– 1852 LA              39 years
Charlotte Ott                     1815 LA – 1895                   80 years

Edwin Alford                      1792 NC– 1878 MS           85 years
Martha Smith                     1802 SC– 1861 MS            59 years

Abraham Mark                  1812 PA – 1872 OH           59 years
Mary Heffelfinger             1819 PA – 1904 OH           84 years

Isaac Ritter                          1823 OH – 1880 OH          57 years
Isabell Fisher                        1828 OH– 1870 OH           41 years

Christian Gruissy              1811 Swiss– 1907 OH      96 years
Mary Grorisclauss            ?      - c 1849

John Wolf                            1809 PA– 1883 OH            73 years
Elizabeth Burkholder           1814 PA– 1856 OH            42 years


These ancestors were born over a span of 36 years with Edwin Alford standing out because he was born in an earlier century than the others.  They died over a span of 55 years with two born in a later century. It is interesting to look at these ancestors as a group. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks = Week #41; Thomas Brady; 110 years old?

This prompt comes from Amy Johnson Crow at her blog, No Story Too Small. She suggests we write once a week about a specific ancestor. Here is one of my mother’s Irish ancestors.


Thomas Brady
d c 1914 Ireland
My 3x Great Grandfather
County Cavan, Ireland. Home of the Brady Family

Thomas Brady lived his life in Ireland. He married Catherine Gibney on 17 May 1841 In Foxfield [also called Omard], Cavan, Ireland.[1] He was still in the area in 1857 when he leased land from Anne Coyle.[2] [His daughter, Margaret, married a Coyle.] His wife, Catherine, died 27 March 1873.[3]

In 1901[4] & 1911[5] Thomas Brady was in Killykeen, Drumlumman, Cavan, Ireland where he was a farmer. He lived with his son, Patrick, daughter in law, Ellen and their children. Interestingly, in 1901 someone told the census taker that Thomas was 85 years old. Ten years later the census taker was told Thomas was 110 years old. He had aged 25 years in 10 years and we not know which age was accurate! 

Family stories say Thomas was a pig farmer & he went blind in later life.

Of Thomas & Catherine’s ten children we believe only two stayed in Ireland. Patrick, the oldest, raised a family in Killykeen, Cavan, Ireland as his father had. Stories say Thomas Jr. went to the USA but was not allowed to stay in the country because he was missing a finger.

Those children who came to the USA lived in two different areas, either CT or NJ. William Brady lived in the Derby, CT area where he was a laborer. His sister, Ann Brady Kilday, also lived in the Derby Ct area. Margaret Brady married Patrick Coyle and lived in the Waterbury, CT area. John Brady was a chauffeur who started his own company in New Jersey. Bartholomew Brady was a police officer in New Jersey. Catherine Brady also lived in New Jersey.

Through the internet I have found Brady cousins, from both the NJ & CT areas. Bringing these branches of the family together once again has been wonderful. We get together periodically to research our ancestors. Maybe our combined efforts will yield more data on the Thomas Brady family.

Thomas & Family:

1 Thomas Brady b: Ireland, d: 1914
... + Catherine Gibney b: 1818 Ireland, m: 17 May 1841 Ireland, d: 27 Mar 1873 Granard, Cavan, Ireland
......2 Patrick Brady b: c. 1847 Ireland, d: Unknown
...... + Ellen Reilly
......2 William Brady b: c. 1848 Ireland, d: 4 Oct 1926 New Haven, CT
...... + Bridget Hart b: Abt. 1852 Ireland, d: 02 Aug 1914 New Haven, CT
......2 Owen Brady b: Abt. 1849 Ireland, d: Unknown
...... + Mary McGovern
......2 Margaret Brady b: c. 1855 Killykeen, Cavan, Ireland, d: 22 Nov 1934 Waterbury, New Haven, CT
...... + Patrick Coyle b: 20 May 1841 Moate, Cavan, Ireland, m: 11 Feb 1870 Granard, Cavan, Ireland, d: 21 Jun 1925 Milford, New Haven, CT
......2 Thomas Brady b: 29 Mar 1860 Cavan, Ireland, d: Unknown
......2 John Brady b: 14 Jul 1864 Finnea, Cavan, Ireland, d: 28 Nov 1957
...... + Mary Mc Cartin b: Aug 1868 Ireland, m: Jan 1895 NJ, d: 1958 E Orange, Essex, NJ
......2 Ann Brady b: c. 1865 Ireland, d: 27 Jul 1952 Milford, New Haven, CT
...... + James Kilday b: c. 1850 Ireland, m: 18 Aug 1881 CT, d: 11 Nov 1899 CT
......2 Bartholomew Anthony Brady b: 20 Oct 1866 Cavan, Ireland, d: Dec 1943 NJ
...... + Mary Agnes Reddan b: England, m: c. 1901, d: 28 Jul 1956
......2 MaryAnn Brady b: 23 Nov 1869 Cavan, Ireland, d: Unknown
......2 Catherine Brady b: 15 Jul 1872 Ireland, d: 17 Dec 1930 Newark, Essex, NJ


[1] Marriage Record of Thomas Brady and Catherine Gibney, 17 May 1841, photocopy of microfilm record from Kathleen Coyle, Sun City West, Arizona.
[2] Griffith's Valuation 1847-1864;Thomas Brady; Omard, Ballymachugh, Co Cavan, Ireland, 1857; Database. Find My Past.
[3] Civil Death Record for Catherine Brady, 27 March 1873, Deaths Registered in Union of Grarard in the Counties of Westmeath and Cavan; from Cavan Genealogy, Johnston Library, Farnham Street, Cavan, Ireland.
[4] 1901 Irish Census. Thomas Brady in Killykeen, Drumlumman, Cavan, Ireland. National Archives of Ireland website.
[5] 1911 Irish Census. Thomas Brady in Killykeen, Drumlumman, Cavan, Ireland. National Archives of Ireland website.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Census Sunday – William M Fortenberry & Christina Brown in MS


William Magee Fortenberry
28 December 1799 SC – 27 October 1867
Son of Isaac Fortenberry & Bethany Magee









Christina Brown
2 February 1805 SC – September 1860 MS
Daughter of Moses Brown & Sarah Robertson
My 3rd great grand Aunt



1850 US Census, MS, Lawrence County

William Fortenberry, 50 b SC; farmer; value of real estate: $1,200
Wife, Cristine, 46 b GA
Children: Isaac 21; Eliza 16; Jesse C, 14; John, 10

1860 US Census, MS, Marion County

William Fortenberry, 60, Baptist clergyman; value of real estate: $300
Wife, Christian, 55