Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A happy New Year - and the 2009 "State of the Nation" address

Dear Readers
We've had another great year here at Fitz(-)henry Towers and Ann, Lesley and I would like thank all those who wrote to us and shared information and stories, much of which we've been able to share with you here.

Big highlights were
  • the results from our Fitz(-)henry DNA study which linked the US line of Enoch Fitzhenry with a branch of the family in Australia who have a documented link to Wexford.
  • Enoch Fitzhenry gets a memorial in Dublin Ohio to commemorate his part in the American War of Independence.
  • the discovery of the marriage certificate of Michael Fitzhenry and Anastasia Welch (Lambeth, London)
  • the trip around Wexford to find some of the Fitzhenrys of the Ballymackessy area.
  • the link between Rodrigo Palacios Fitz-Henry's Chilean branch and an ironmonger in South London.
We're now up to 35 regular subscribers, double the number this time last year.

I'd like to say a big hello and thanks for their help this year to:
  • Brit Kavli from Norway (descendant of Michael Fitzhenry and Anastasia Welch) who is 80 years young and still researching when she can fit it in between her walking holidays!
  • Wendy Rutter - What a star - with all her beavering away behind the scenes - thank you Wendy.
  • Sid Rodger - again, a mine of information
  • Ann Harris from Boston
  • Rodrigo Palacios Fitz-Henry for the photographs that linked his family to the South London Fitz-Henrys
  • Debra Mort for the Fitzhenrys of Dedham Massachusetts
  • Lenard Baldy and his huge family of Fitzhenrys in Pittsburg
  • Alan Hagenson for his information about his sister's Fitzhenry family of Queensland Australia
  • Paul Fitzhenry, of family group 20 (Australia and New Zealand) who showed that the DNA of their family was the same as that of the family of Enoch Fitzhenry in the USA.
  • Brian Bouchard for his assistance with the Winchester-Ashtead Fitz-Henry families.
  • Gary Wemyss of the Anglo-Indian Fitzhenry line
  • Michael Volante for his photos of my own line from the docks in East London
and everyone else who's emailed us or left a comment to the posts.

And if you need (another) resolution for the New Year - send us even more of your Fitz(-)henry stories old and new!

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Monday, 21 December 2009

Miles the Cowkeeper - an update

Earlier in the year, a random search through the Birmingham Directory of 1869 led me to Miles Fitzhenry who was variously a cowkeeper and gardener in Birmingham and Worcestershire.

Debra Harris wrote to us from Boston Massachusetts after seeing the post . She is Miles' great-great-grandaughter through her mother's side of the family. Her great-grandfather was Albert Miles Fitzhenry born in 1874, the thirteenth of fourteen children born to the Irishman Miles and his wife Betsy Young from Worcestershire.

Albert Miles married Mary (also known as Polly) in about 1894 (another of those elusive marriages that aren't in the GRO indexes - estimated to be about 1% of the overall total in England and Wales during the Victorian era). In the 1901 census he was a bicycle polisher - Birmingham having a florishing bicycle manufacturing industry at this time, and the couple had already had 4 of their 8 children. Debra tells me that Albert later owned a pet shop in Birmingham.

So who is the dapper looking chap in the photo with the natty suit? He's Debra's grandfather Percival Albert Fitzhenry (1897- 1995 and known as Henry) the third of the eight children.
He enlisted for army service in WW1 and his service records have recently been released as part of the digitisation of the records badly damaged during bombing in London during WW2. We know he was 18 years old when he enlisted in Birmingham in 1915, was 5 foot 8 inches tall, a machinist by trade and he gave his mother Mary as next of kin.

Thanks to Debra for the photo. If you think that you are descended from this family, then Debra would love to hear from you and she can be contacted be an email to the Blog or via the comments section. Considering Miles and Betsy had 14 children, there's bound to be some of you out there....

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Sunday, 20 December 2009

Missing persons adverts from the University of Boston

Quite randomly I found the "Information Wanted - a database of advertisements for Irish Immigrants published in the Boston Pilot" on the Boston College website.
Here's their description which I've copied verbatim as I couldn't put it any more succinctly
From October 1831 through October 1921, the Boston Pilot newspaper printed a “Missing Friends” column with advertisements from people looking for “lost” friends and relatives who had emigrated from Ireland to the United States. This extraordinary collection of 32,793 records is available here as a searchable online database, which contains a text record for each ad that appeared in the Pilot.
There are 3 Fitzhenry mentions in the database - two as "lost" and one as seeker, although two of these appear in the same advert.
Here's the extracted information - well done to Boston College for such a great resource. Now I've just got to work out where they fit....
Edward Fitzhenry
Home county: Wexford
Parish: Chapel
Townland: Chlobone Near Ennniscorthy
Barony: Bantry
Poor-law: Enniscorthy
Occupation in US: Farmer
Emmigrated in 1835
Location after Emmigration: PEI (assuming Prince Edward Island)
Person seeking information: John Doyle - nephew
Date of Advertisement: 28 January 1860
Contact: M D Hart, in Lawrence Massachussetts
James Fitzhenry
Home county: Wexford
Occupation in US: Farmer
Emmigrated in August 1854
Location after Emmigration: Benton, Maine
Person seeking information: Philip Fitzhenry - brother
Date of Advertisement: 26 May 1855
Contact:James Keogh in New Orleans, Louisiana

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