Ellen Neagle’s family

My third great uncle James B. Parker headed west to California from Wisconsin about 1860. I’ve tracked he and his wife in the census from San Joaquin Township near Sacramento in 1860, to San Buenaventura, Santa Barbara County in 1870, to Compton in 1880. James Parker died in 1895 in Lemon, near Los Angeles.

But at the time he died, his wife was named Harriet. His wife when he left Wisconsin was Ellen. So what happened to her? At this point, I don’t know.

In an effort to find out, today I researched her family. Often times, the obituaries for siblings will mention their family. Or a will will give the status of possible heirs. Or other researchers will have found information that I don’t have.

The Saint Patrick’s parish (Biddulph, Ontario) marriage record for Ellen Neagle gives her date of marriage to James Parker as 8 Jun 1857.

Portion of marriage register for James Parker and Ellen Neagle showing date of marriage as 8 Jun 1857
Saint Patrick’s Marriage register entry for Ellen Neagle

I found an 1851 Canada Census record that matched in nearby Usborne township, Huron County. There Ellen Neagle lived with her father John Neagle, and siblings James, Thomas, Catherine, Mary and John. From that, I was able to quickly find information to establish their marriages, entries in later Canadian censuses, and dates of death. My evidence would in no way be strong enough to satisfy the Genealogical Proof Standard, but I don’t need it to be. I just need clues from their obituaries, wills, other researchers, etc.

This is what I turned up:

Husband: First Names
John
Surname
Neagle
Born: abt 1798 Ireland
Married: unknown
Died: unknown
Wife: First Names
Catherine
Surname
Condon
Born: unknown
Died: unknown

Children:

Name Birth Death Spouse
James Nagle 8 Dec 1826
Ireland
25 Feb 1902
Perth, Ontario, Canada
Thomas Nagle 28 Mar 1828
Cork, Ireland
31 Jan 1905
Perth, Ontario, Canada
Catherine Nagle abt 1832
Ireland
2 Nov 1902
London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada
Thomas Casey
Mary Nagle abt Sep 1834
Ireland
17 Nov 1918
London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada
John Hagarty
Ellen Nagle abt 1836
Ireland
James Parker
John Nagle abt 1837
Ireland
12 Nov 1902
Perth, Ontario, Canada

Every single one of them died in Ontario, so I don’t have easy access to obituaries or wills. Additionally, every other public tree on Ancestry (as well as the ones I could find on the web) don’t include Ellen. No one else has a clue either.

The exercise isn’t worthless though. Perhaps someday I will have better access to Canadian records, or other families will post their information, or search for them and stumble cross this post. Over time, I get a fair number of people who contact me about what I post here. So hopefully that will continue with this, and I’ll get some clues as to what happened to Ellen.

Ellen Parker, a clue

Some of my third great aunts and uncles from the Parker family have been really easy to trace. Some have not. One of the latter is Thomas Parker, and one of the mysteries has been his second wife, Ellen Clinton. According to his marriage record, he married Ellen on 10 Sep 1868 in New London, Wisconsin. The record does not indicate who Ellen’s parents are, her age, or anything that is a direct clue as to who she is. The best clue from that are the witnesses on the record: Thomas Broove and E.P. Perry.

Marriage record for Thomas Parker / Ellen Clinton
Marriage record for Thomas Parker / Ellen Clinton

Some time ago I happened across a message board transcription of an obituary for a Mrs. Kate Hutchinson. The transcription, posted in 2002, mentions an Ellen Parker of Belmond, Iowa. A couple of weeks ago, I got around to requesting a copy of that obituary from the Waupaca Area Library and I received it today.

Death of Mrs. Hutchinson - Waupaca County Post
Death of Mrs. Hutchinson – Waupaca County Post

And while the main part of the transcription is pretty close to what was published, it appears the transcriber took liberties with the headline as well as a poem that doesn’t appear in the original. What’s even more interesting is that the original says “Ellen Parke” rather than the transcribed “Ellen Parker”. I’d be willing to bet it’s the right person nevertheless, but what luck in that it is a mistranscribed name that led me to the clue.

Why do I think it’s the right person still? In the 1900 U.S. census and 1905 Iowa census, there is no one by the name Ellen Park or Parke in or around Belmond. There are two Ellen Parkers, however. One is married to my great uncle Frank Parker and one is married to my great uncle Thomas Parker. The Ellen Clinton who shows up in Kate Clinton’s family in the 1860 U.S. census is about the same age, and New London is just a skip away from Waupaca. Worth pursuing.

What I still haven’t found is Ellen Clinton Parker’s death. She’s in the 1910 U.S. census in Belmond, but not the 1915 Iowa census. She’s got no marker in the Saint Francis Cemetery where many other Parkers, ostensibly including her husband, are buried. Did she die? Did she divorce Thomas Parker? Did she abscond? Currently a mystery.

Sister Genevieve Parker

The following picture is in a photo album of images from my great grandparents travels.

Sister M. Genevieve Parker
Sister M. Genevieve Parker

I didn’t know how Sister Genevieve Parker fit into my family tree. None of my branches contained anyone by that name, but nuns sometimes adopt new names when they take their vows. Last fall, after I tracked down my third great uncle James Parker in California and some of his family, I suspected Genevieve belonged in that branch of the tree. But where?

I still don’t know exactly who she is, but I know where she fits. To kill some time while I was in California last week, I was doing some unfocused searching for a daughter of James Parker, Mary. I’d suspected she was the Mary Parker who married a Thomas Lyons. I found an index death record that could be her then a copy of the death certificate, and those indeed indicated she was a daughter of James Parker. And today I found a copy of her obituary:

Mary A Lyons obituary
Mary A Lyons obituary

Look in there! Her sister is the Very Reverend Mother Genevieve Parker! And a little bit of Google searching brings up an item on Genevieve Parker from the web site of the Immaculate Heart Community:

Mother Genevieve was elected the first Mother General of the newly established California Institute of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She guided the Community for nine years. Mother Genevieve was instrumental in securing the separation of the California IHMs from the Spanish Community. The negotiations for independence of the California group went on for several decades. With the help of Bishop John J. Cantwell the separation was completed in 1924. …

She guided the Community as an able administrator until her resignation in 1933. She died in July of that year.

Their web page has this image of Mother Genevieve Parker:

Mother Genevieve Parker
Mother Genevieve Parker

Pretty much the same person! And now I have a date of death and a pretty good starting point on digging up the rest of her life.

Interestingly, I still don’t know exactly who she is. In the 1870 U.S. Census, James Parker has 4 daughters: Catherine, Mary, Ella, and Frances. In 1880, his daughters are Kate, Ella, Fanny and Theresa. Mary is Mary Lyons. Ella is Ellen Parker Murphy. I suspect Theresa married a Frederick Donaldson, though I haven’t proven that. That leaves Catherine or Frances. At this point, I just don’t know which of the daughters she is.

Mary Murphy Parker 1804 — 13 Aug 1887

After 3 years of researching Patrick Parker and his wife Mary Murphy, I have found when they died. The marker for Patrick Parker that I previously found in Saint Mary’s church cemetery, east of Ackley Iowa, is indeed my third great grandfather. His wife Mary died on 13 Aug 1887 and was buried in the church cemetery. Her name no longer appears on a marker in the cemetery. I suspect that it once was on the same headstone as Patrick’s, but the top portion was damaged and removed.

This morning I found her obituary by serendipity. I have been working my way through scans of the baptismal register for Saint Mary’s (a project I will write about soon) and came upon an entry for Stephen Patrick Parker, son of Thomas Parker and Ellen Clinton. It had a date for the baptism, but not for his birth. The baptism was in 1885, and there’s a possible match for this Stephen Parker who was said to have been born in 1888. I decided to do a quick search of the keyword Parker in the Ackley Enterprise on NewspaperArchive.com for the years 1885 to 1888, to see if I could find his birth. I have not found it yet, because I found something else.

That was a brief mention that Julia Parker Kenefick had attended the funeral of her mother. It was third in my results list and was published on 19 Aug 1887 on page 5 column 3.

Mrs. M. Kenefick
Mr. and Mrs. M. Kenefick, of Belmond, attended the funeral of Mrs. Kenefick’s mother, Mrs. Parker, last Monday.

It did not come up in the search, but in column 6 on the same page appeared a notice of Mary Parker’s death.

Mrs. Mary Parker died last Saturday
Mrs. Mary Parker died last Saturday morning at the residence of her son Mr. Patrick Parker, in Washington township, Butler county. She was eighty-three years of age and has [for] the last three years been quite feeble. Mrs. Parker was the mother of ten children, nine of whom are living. She was one of the oldest settlers having located at Ackley in 1870. The funeral took place last Monday morning and was lagely attended, Rev. Father Burns officiating. The remains were laid peacefully to rest in the Catholic cemetery.

Mary Parker died 13 August 1887 at the home of her son in Washington township, Butler County, Iowa. She was buried in the church cemetery with Reverend Father Burns officiating. L.H. Burns was the parish priest of Saint Mary’s in Ackley, meaning Mary Parker was buried in their cemetery. And meaning that I have enough evidence that I will consider the Patrick Parker buried there to be my third great grandfather.

First cousins, Patrick Parker and Leonard Parker

Last month I requested a copy of the pension application for my second great grand uncle, Stephen Parker, from the National Archives. I got the first 100 pages on CD today. Much of it I already know. But there are some great pieces of evidence in the file that solidify and confirm important details about Stephen and his family. One item was very new information though, and stood out.

Below is the deposition of Mary Morkin née Parker. She was the daughter of Leonard Parker, who lived near my third great grandfather Patrick Parker in Blanshard township in western Ontario. Leonard and Patrick also have records that put them together in County Westmeath and in Lanark County of Ontario. Other family researchers had written that they were brothers, and I’d tended to go with that assumption as well. Mary Morkin gives the most direct evidence so far that they were in fact related. She testifies that Stephen Parker’s father (Patrick) and her father (Leonard) were first cousins.

Eliminating the possibility they are brothers is going to make looking at any possible records a better process. For instance, I won’t reject families with a Patrick Parker as incorrect matches if there’s no sign of a Leonard in the family. Or if descendants of Leonard Parker take DNA tests, we’ll expect them to be much more distant genetically.

There are more things to glean from this file, but that’s the biggest in the first batch.

Maggie Burk Parker

The aforementioned Stephen Parker married a Margaret Burk in 1873 in Webster County, Iowa, most likely at the Catholic Church. I’ve also previously noted that their daughters became teachers in the Seattle Public Schools. I’d really like to find out more about his family, so the last week or so I’ve spent looking for records on Maggie.

Margaret and Mary Parker in 1909 Seattle Directory
Margaret and Mary Parker in 1909 Seattle Directory

Ancestry has a good collection of Polks city directories for Seattle, so I looked for her and found her in most of them from 1910 to 1924. Where she was missing, Ancestry was missing pages. One of those was 1909, and Margaret wasn’t to be found in 1908. So I hopped on the bus and went to the Seattle Public Library to look at their collection of directories. Margaret was in 1909. So that puts her arrival in Seattle in 1908 or early 1909. Her daughter Agnes was listed as a teacher at the Ross School in the 1906 directory. As best I can tell, Margaret and Mary arrived together and then the three of them rented an apartment at 1321 E Union where they lived until Margaret’s death in 1924.

1321 E Union Seattle in Sep 2011
1321 E Union Seattle in Sep 2011

The image above is the location in 2011. I haven’t researched the property properly, but the apartment in the background is 1319 E Union and there is no 1321. Either the apartment was renumbered, 1321 was located in the parking lot in the image, or I have the wrong location. The apartment building shown was built in 1909.

I also finally ordered the death certificate for Margaret, which arrived today. Most of it I knew because the folks from the Family History Library indexed a lot of the fields, including the names of her parents. The death certificate did give an exact date of birth for Margaret, if it can be believed. It also has a cause (pneumonia) and exact place (Columbus Sanitarium) of death, which are also new to me. The date of birth may be helpful in finding out who she is.

There are some additional queries I’ve sent, which I haven’t yet received returns for. I wrote to the Archives of the Archdiocese of Seattle seeking information on her funeral, if they have it. They replied via email that I’ll need to query Saint James Cathedral. I sent a letter to Calvary Cemetery, hoping they have some records on her that will reveal something about her. And finally I sent a letter to the Webster County Genealogical Association asking if they’ve got anything on Margaret or her marriage. The Family History Library says it has a book listing marriages compiled by the W.C.G.S., so I figured I would go straight to the source before getting a copy of the book. Hopefully they’ve got Margaret in an index somewhere with a connection to Webster County.

More on Stephen Parker

Since I last wrote about Stephen Parker, I’ve learned a bit more about how to do genealogy and have gained some confidence in pursuing leads.

I mentioned it only in passing on this post about my 2nd great grandmother Mary Parker, but that search turned up the baptismal record for her brother Stephen as well. Most of the records about Stephen Parker give only an approximate age for him, and it usually worked out to be around 1837. But the baptismal record for him puts his date of birth as 2 Jun 1835. I’d thought I wouldn’t ever find a real date of birth for him.

Stephen Parker baptismal record
Stephen Parker baptismal record

At the Iowa Historical Society a couple of years ago, I couldn’t find any record of his death in the county microfilm holdings. The only things I found were obituaries in their newspaper holdings. The Historical Society also did not have any records from the Hospital for the Insane where Stephen had been committed.

Recently, I wrote to both the Independence Mental Health Institute (M.H.I.) (the successor agency to the Iowa Hospital for the Insane) and to the Buchanan County Genealogical Society looking for how I might find information on Stephen Parker. The fellow who answers email for the genealogical society went above and beyond what I’d hoped, which was contact information at the M.H.I. beyond what I could find on the web site. He looked in the society’s records and after finding nothing, made a trip to the courthouse on my behalf. Unfortunately, he found that no deaths had been recorded at the county from 1889 to 1897, or that those records had been lost. Then he also provided me with instructions on how to request information from M.H.I.

At the same time, I received a response from M.H.I. with the formal version of the same instructions. Having information from the genealogical society on how to navigate the complicated forms was very helpful. I sent those in. M.H.I. didn’t have much information on Stephen Parker, but they did provide the specific date he’d arrived and date and time of death, which turned out to be a day earlier than indicated in his obituaries.

I also requested Stephen Parker’s civil war record from the National Archives. That wasn’t too interesting, but it did provide a physical description for him that came with his oath when he enlisted. He’s described as 5 foot 10 inches, hazel eyes, brown hair and dark complexion on 18 May 1863 when he enlisted.

Stephen Parker - Enlistment Oath
Stephen Parker – Enlistment Oath

He didn’t last long in the military, being discharged on 6 Aug 1862 at Fort Hamilton New York fir disability, not even three months later. The only information on that comes from the one line notation in the register of enlistments for him.

I’ve also looked for Stephen Parker in the census. He appears with his parents’ family in 1852 in Canada and in 1860 in Wisconsin. In 1870 and 1880, he’s recorded living in Clarion Iowa as a farmer. In 1870 on his own, and in 1880 with a wife and two young daughters. But he was already marked as insane by then, and in fact I believe was not even living with the family despite being recorded there. He’s also recorded on the supplemental schedules for the insane in the 1880 US Census. The records from M.H.I. indicate he’d entered the hospital on 14 Feb 1878. In 1878, there are several entries in the Wright County court docket on a guardianship being established for Stephen’s financial affairs, including this petition from May 1878 saying he’d been committed:

Petition for Appointment of a Guardian - Stephen Parker
Petition for Appointment of a Guardian – Stephen Parker

The next census where Stephen Parker appears is in the 1895 Iowa census, where he’s still listed living in the hospital. Where I haven’t found him is in the 1885 Iowa census. He doesn’t show up in the indexes for that year, and there are 124 pages for Independence. I haven’t yet had the patience to read through those pages one by one to see if he shows up in some fashion.

Blanshard township property tax assessment rolls

One of the questions I have about Patrick Parker and Mary Murphy is when they emigrated from Canada to the United States. Their family appears in the Canadian census in Blanshard township, Perth county, Canada West on 11 Jan 1852. The next recorded place I have for them is in Glen Haven township, Grant county, Wisconsin on 1 Jun 1860.

I can narrow the time of emigration by looking at his son James Parker. James requested his first papers in January 1859 in the Grant County District Court. James married Ellen Neagle in Jun 1857 in Middlesex county, Canada West, just across the county line from Blanshard township. James has two sons in the 1860 US Census, John Patrick and Napolean. John Patrick’s birth was likely in July 1858 in Wisconsin. If correct, James emigrated to the United States between Jun 1857 and Jul 1858. More likely than not, Patrick emigrated with his son.

One record series I thought might confirm that is the series at the Family History Library, Blanshard township property tax assessment rolls, 1851-1899, specifically the film covering 1851 to 1866. I ordered it back in December, but a new job and other life issues kept me from reviewing it until this past week. Luckily, I remembered to renew the rental before it expired in February.

This is what I found. In 1851, Patrick Parker appears paying taxes on lot 16 in concession 9. This is the same lot and concession where he was recorded in the 1848 Canadian Census.

Blanshard Tax Roll 1851 - Patrick Parker
Blanshard Tax Roll 1851 – Patrick Parker

The microfilm is missing the years 1852 through 1854, but luckily Patrick shows up in 1855, 1856, and 1857, all for the same lot and concession. (Images below don’t include the second page which shows the concession/lot.)

Blanshard Tax Roll 1855 - Patrick Parker
Blanshard Tax Roll 1855 – Patrick Parker
Blanshard Tax Roll 1856 - Patrick Parker
Blanshard Tax Roll 1856 – Patrick Parker
Blanshard Tax Roll 1857 - Patrick Parker
Blanshard Tax Roll 1857 – Patrick Parker

In 1858, Patrick Parker is not to be found on the tax roll. Instead, a James McDonald owns lot 16 on concession 9. And the roll for 1857 has the name J. McDonald to the right of Patrick Parker in a column headed, Owner. I believe this means the land had been sold to James McDonald prior to the time of the assessment, or possibly it was a notation put in after the fact when James McDonald did purchase it. This narrows the sale of the property to late 1856 or 1857. The tax rolls appear to be filed in the spring of each year.

Blanshard Tax Roll 1858 - James McDonald
Blanshard Tax Roll 1858 – James McDonald

The sale of his property matches the dates of emigration for his son James, making it even more likely he emigrated about the same time. The next place to look is to see if any records show him purchasing land in Grant county Wisconsin about that time.

Lastly, based on plat maps of Blanshard township, here’s the location of the farm today:

Location of Patrick Parker's farm in Blanshard on satellite
Location of Patrick Parker’s farm in Blanshard on satellite

The Age of Mary Parker

After a couple of years of little progress mostly due to focusing on other parts of my family tree, I’ve been making huge progress with the Parkers. You’ve probably noticed the multiple posts about them recently.

A few weeks ago, I noticed there was a Find-A-Grave memorial for a Leonard Parker at the church cemetery in Saint Mary, Ontario. Leonard Parker is reputed to be the brother of my ancestor, Patrick Parker. I wrote to the person who put up the memorial, asking if they were related. The answer was yes, and we exchanged some information about our respective family trees. One of the things she clued me in to was that the parish registers for some of the Roman Catholic churches have been scanned and are on FamilySearch. Not indexed, but available.

Which brings me to my great great grandmother, Mary Parker Ryan. She married William Dennis Ryan in 1864, had six children, and died of typhus in 1875, not quite eleven years into her marriage. She had a short and somewhat forgotten life. Every time I mentioned her to one of my relatives, I get blank looks. Apparently my great grandparents and grandparents generations talked so rarely about her that no one in the next generation had heard of her. That sort of reaction is part of why I’ve been drawn to genealogy, to remember the people who haven’t been.

The main source of information I had on Mary was her grave monument in a small cemetery on a hill about a mile east of Patch Grove, Wisconsin. I visited Saint Johns Cemetery in June 2011.

Grave marker for Mary Ryan (1841-1875)
Grave marker for Mary Ryan

It’s quite a nice monument for the time. William Ryan cared enough to spend some dough on it. Here’s a close up of the inscription.

inscription on Mary Ryan's monument
inscription on Mary Ryan’s monument

It reads:

Mary
Wife of Wm. D. Ryan.
Born Jan. 7, 1841. In
Ramsey, Township of Perth.
Canada West. Died
Feb. 20, 1875,
Aged 34 yrs. 1 mo. 13 ds.

The inscription has a number of problems with it. The Parkers lived for a time in Blanshard township in Perth County, Canada West. There is no Ramsey township in Perth County, and as far as I can tell, there never has been. The only Ramsey township I’ve been able to find is in Lanark County, Ontario. That sort of fits with another family legend, that Mary’s mother was one Mary Murphy who was part of the Peter Robinson settlement of Canada. One of those settlements was in Ramsey township. I have doubts as to whether Mary Murphy really was part of that endeavor, but there’s a geographical connection at least. Oh, and the nearest city to Ramsey township is Perth. My working hypothesis was that this particular Ramsey was the one indicated on her grave.

Additionally, her death certificate and other accounts put her date of death as 23 Feb 1875. Three days difference isn’t that big of a deal. Still…

A further problem is that there is a second marker for Mary in front of the monument:

Second marker for Mary Ryan
Second marker for Mary Ryan

You’ll notice this one gives a year of birth as 1840, rather than 1841. Rather confusing.

And, as it turns out, both are likely wrong. Going back to the thing above about the Ontario parish registers being online… I looked at the register for Perth’s Saint John the Baptist parish. There was no entry for Mary Parker in 1841. Her brothers Stephen and Patrick were there in 1835 and 1837, but no Mary. On the first perusal, I missed it. But on the second look through, I saw an entry for a Mary Parker in 1839:

Mary Parker baptismal register entry
Mary Parker baptismal register entry

On the 28th day of February 1839 the undersigned Priest of this Parish
has Baptized Mary seven weeks old of the lawful marriage of Patrick
Parker & Mary Murphy of Ramsey.
Sponsors Nicholas Dison and Emilia Dison

That’s an entry in a contemporaneous journal of parish actions. Unless it’s for a different Mary Parker, it’s pretty convincing evidence she was actually born in January 1839. January 7th fits, so I’m guessing that’s her actual birthday.

However, by the time the monument was erected, people were guessing at her actual age. Maybe she’d shaved off a couple of years. Maybe she forgot or didn’t know. Maybe the monument was erected years after her death. I’ve no idea the reason.

As an added bonus for this post, among the effects found in my great aunt’s house last year when she died was this photograph:

Mary Parker Ryan
Mary Parker

On the back is the inscription “Mary Park” and the paper is torn. Is it my ancestor or another Mary Parker or did whoever wrote the inscription just guess? I’ve no idea.

Patrick Parker in Grant County

My genealogy white whale since shortly after I started has been finding Patrick Parker and his wife Mary Murphy. I’ve written about them here multiple times. I’d found pretty solid evidence on what happened to 8 of their 10 children, the only two where I was missing basic information were the sons James and John. Last month I found good evidence for James. Two weeks ago I found John, though I haven’t pursued it much yet.

But as much information as I’ve found on all their children, the evidence I have for the pair themselves is aggravatingly small. I’ve located them together in the 1851 Canada Census, the 1860 US Census, and the 1870 US Census. I have a possible grave site for Patrick in Iowa. And Mary Murphy can be found in the 1885 Iowa Census. That’s the sum total of direct evidence I have for them.

I have indirect evidence for them. I know they arrived in Canada between 1832 and 1835, based on the listed countries of birth for their children. The death records for several children list their names. The grave marker for my great great grandmother Mary Parker Ryan gives a place of birth for her, which places Mary Murphy in that place at least.

Today I was looking through the online maps collection for the Wisconsin Historical Society, and I saw they had added a map for Grant County from 1868, and the description included “shows townships and sections, landownership, …” The earliest landownership map for Grant County that I’ve viewed came from 1878 and the Parkers were not to be found on it. So, I took a peek at the 1868 map:

1868 map of Grant County, Wisconsin showing the Parker and Ryan farms highlighed
1868 map of Grant County, Wisconsin showing the Parker and Ryan farms highlighed

Lo and behold, there he is! The P. Parker farm is just southwest of North Andover (a town which is no longer a town). On the map, I also highlighted the location of the farm for Patrick Parker’s son in law, William Dennis Ryan. And with handy Google Maps, I can show you where the Parker farm is on today’s maps.

This is the first direct piece of evidence for their existence that I’ve found in nearly 2 years. You don’t know how thrilled I am about this.