Sunday, April 3, 2016

What a surprise!

Genealogy is evolving and now includes DNA as a tool for research. I recently had my DNA tested through FamilyTreeDNA. My results were surprising! After all of these years of research, I didn't expect to find anything unusual. What I got was a new perspective on my ancestry.

My DNA reveals that I am 100% European. No surprise there. The breakdown, however, is British Isles - 40%, Western and Central Europe (concentrating on France, Switzerland and Germany) - 32%, and Scandinavia (concentrating on Norway) - 28%. What? Scandinavia?! I'm Irish, Germany AND Norwegian?

Thanks to DNA testing I've found new cousins and now, possibly a new place of origin for my family. I'm curious to learn  more about this piece of my heritage. My imagination is running wild!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dietrich Family Burials

 My recent research focus has been on the parents of Elizabeth Dietrich, Heinrich Dietrich and Maria Diller. Henry and Mary Dietrich’s children included Adam, Daniel, Samuel, Henry and three daughters, one of whom was Elizabeth. According to Mary’s gravestone, she was born in 1770, married Heinrich Dietrich in 1788 and died in 1804. Henry then married Mary’s sister, Sarah and had several more children.[1]

The Trinity Lutheran Church Burial Records, 1744-1900[2] reveal more about this family many of whom are buried on the Dietrich family property. While these records will be used to properly identify the members of this family, the list of burials is rather poignant.


12 August 1793
on our churchyard, Henrich Dietrich’s little son, Philip,
                                    age 1 yr, 7 mos, 5 days, of infant cholera.

23 September 1797
in the country, Philip dietrich, age 27 yrs, 10 mos, 3 wks.
7 July 1799
in the country, Henrich’s Dietrick’s little son.
1 October 1804
in the country, Henrich Dietrich’s little daughter Salome, age 1 yr, 2 mos.
5 October 1804
Also in the country, his wife [Heinrich Dietrich’s] who died of fever.
10 June 1809
Buried in the country, Henrich Dietrich’s little son, age 8 yrs.
13 September 1816
Philip Dietrich, age 90 yrs, 8 mos, 17 dys.
8 April 1827
Heinrich Dietrich, age 62 yrs, 2 mos.
20 April 1847
Sarah Dietrich, in the country, age 66 yrs.
9 January 1873
Henry Dietrich died January 6 1873, age 47, 6 mos, 18 dys. Lancaster Cemetery.


[1] Family notes, letter written by Sallie LeFevre, transcribed and in the possession of the author.
[2] The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, Lancaster Pa, Vol. 5, Burial Records, translated and edited by Joan Kahler, Debra D. Smith and Pastor Frederick S. Weiser, Closson Press, Apollo, Pa, 2011.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Remembering Dad

Jared M. Kearney
29 March 1932 - 27 September 2002

Washington Crossing National Cemetery
Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Kin-nections in the Genealogy World

This blog is for and about my family so I debated whether to include my adventures in this format. As I thought more about that, I decided that this post really would conform to scope of my blog. So here goes.

This month, I participated in a new opportunity for professional genealogists. GenStock, a genealogical retreat, was created by Billie Fogarty and Matt McCormack to promote a dialogue within the professional genealogy world without the distractions of a conference or repository. Yes, genealogists love a good repository and tend to focus on records and not necessarily on conversation. Conversations tend to occur late in the day and are not particularly focused.

On September 10, about twenty professional genealogists from across the country and Canada gathered in Herron, Michigan. Matt’s efforts in preparing his farm and ensuring a truly magical experience complete with magnificent fall weather were outstanding. Billie’s ability to facilitate a fluid experience was superb. Great thoughts, ideas and friendships were formed. It was an experience none of us will ever forget! Communication within the genealogical community has been forever changed and the responsibility lies with us.

So how does this connected to my family?

First, I arrived at this retreat knowing several of the attendees but not all of them. By the end of the weekend, we had become more than a group of genealogists; we were a family. We laughed. We cried. We worked through difficult scenarios. In the end, we want what is best for the larger community and feel a responsibility for that community.

Second, through DNA testing, I have discovered that some of my friends in the genealogical world (not necessarily in attendance) actually are family! We are still working on finding the connections but we are related! How cool is that!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The McDermott Family

Just as with her husband, Thomas Fay, I didn’t know much about Bridget McDermott. The information was out there. I just needed to focus!

Bridget McDermott is my 2x great grandmother. She was born on 28 February 1844 to James McDermott and Bridget Clark, both born in Ireland.[1] 

Bridget Fay appears in the obituary of her sister, Mrs. Annie Monaghan, along with two other sisters, Mrs. Alice Newell and Mrs. Peter McMullen.[2] With this information, I began my search for marriage and other records for these sisters.

Thomas Fay and Bridget McDermott married on 1 January 1869 in Trenton, New Jersey. They were both 22 years old (b. abt. 1847). Her parents are not named in the record.[3] While it is not unusual to find conflicting age information in records, this conflict will be addressed at a later time.

Maria McDermott married Peter McMullen on 30 July 1871 (b. abt. 1850) in Trenton. They were both 21 years old. Her parents are Jas and Bridget McDermott.[4] 

Anne McDermott married Michael Monahan on 7 March 1872 (b. abt. 1847) in Trenton. He was 35 and she was 25. Her parents are Jas. and Bridget McDermott.[5] 

No marriage was found for Alice McDermott Newell in Trenton. However, census records reveal that David Newell and Alice McDermott were likely married in Ireland and had at least three children before they came to the United States. This record also reveals that sisters, Alice Newell and Maria McMullen’s families lived at the same address in 1880. Their mother, Bridget [Clark] McDermott, a widow, is recorded with Maria’s family.[6] 

By researching the siblings of Bridget McDermott, her mother, Bridget Clark, my 3x great grandmother, has been found!

[1] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, State Department of Health, Trenton, Bureau of Vital Statistics, death of Bridget Fay, date of 3 March 1930; microfilm.
[2] Mortuary Notice, Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), Friday, 14 August 1914, p. 10; digital image online ( : 26 April 2015).
[3] New Jersey State Archives, State of New Jersey, Department of State, Marriage Records, May 1848 - May 1878, BH:462, marriage of Thomas Fay and Bridget McDermott, date of marriage 1 January 1869; searchable database online ( : 13 March 2015).
[4] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, Marriages 1871, BK:571, marriage of Peter McMullen and Maria McDermott, date of marriage 30 July 1871; microfilm.
[5] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, Marriages 1872, BK:570, marriage of Michael Monahan and Anne McDermott, date of marriage 7 March 1872; microfilm.
[6] 1880 US census, Mercer, New Jersey, population schedule, Trenton, ED 105, p. 339C, house 326, dwelling 259, family 280, household of David Newell; digital images online ( : 3 August 2015), citing NARA publication T9, roll 788.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Discovered – Another Fay Generation

There are many family lines on both my maternal and paternal sides for which I know many generations. The Fay family line was not one with which I was familiar. A recent trip to the New Jersey State Archives helped identify another generation in my Thomas Fay line. Thomas Fay is the father of Annie Fay Moore, my maternal great grandmother. 

Marriage records at the archives show that Thomas Fay had at least three brothers. All were married at St. John’s Catholic Church in Trenton, New Jersey.

Date of Marriage
Matthew Fay
Margaret Bryson
17 April 1865
Eugene Fay
Catharine McKanna
3 February 1861
Thomas Fay
Bridget McDermott
1 January 1869
Charles Fay
Catherine Grillens
28 November 1867

At first glance, there appears to be a discrepancy in the parents’ names. However, there are many Irish names that are used interchangeably. In this case, Eugene and Owen are the same name and are used interchangeably. The same is true for Ann and Nancy. So this establishes at least part of the family unit.

The following marriages were also identified but the connection to this family is unclear at this time.

Date of Marriage
John Fay
Bridget Connell
17 April 1865
Charles Carr
Catherine Fay
13 August 1862
No parents listed[6]

Note that John Fay [James/Ann] was married on the same day as Matthew Fay [Owen/Ann]. The parents are not consistent. Is James a transcription error of Owen or are Matthew and John cousins?

Catherine Fay was married in the same time frame as the grooms above but no parents are listed. Is she a sister? Clearly, more research is needed to accurately establish the complete family of Owen and Ann Fay.

[1] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, Marriages 1865, U:416, marriage of Matthew Fay and Margaret Bryson, date of marriage 17 April 1865; microfilm.
[2] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, Marriages 1861, U:350, marriage of Eugene Fay and Catharine McKanna, date of marriage 3 February 1861; microfilm.
[3] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, Marriages 1869, BH:462, marriage of Thomas Fay and Bridget McDermott, date of marriage 1 January 1869; microfilm.
[4] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, Marriages 1867, BG:466, marriage of Charles Fay and Catherine Grillens, date of marriage 28 November 1867; microfilm.
[5] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, Marriages 1865, U:416, marriage of John Fay and Bridget Connell, date of marriage 17 April 1865; microfilm.
[6] Mercer County, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, Marriages 1862, U:387, marriage of Charles Carr and Catherine Fay, date of marriage 13 August 1862; microfilm.