Monday, 27 April 2009

The Fitzhenrys of Maam, Ireland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

It's been a bit of break since my last posting, but here's the promised article about the family history sent by Lenard Baldy
Lenard's maternal tree are Fitzhenrys. As he describes them, they are an extended but close knit group who have pooled their family knowledge to make a comprehensive tree back to 1830 in Ireland but that's where they have hit their wall.
For family privacy, I have not included any details of the current three generations of the family, but if anyone reading thinks that they may be related and want to contact Lenard, you can do so by sending him an an email

This is what they know.
Edward Fitzhenry (born about 1830 in Maam Ireland) married Catherine Shaughanessy (also about 1830, probably in Maam as well).

They had at least two children that are documented but there were probably more.
William Fitzhenry born 8 August 1856 and died around 1913.
Mary Fitzhenry born 1859

William married Bridget Lydon on 24 May 1885 in Maam.
Bridget (born 1867 and died in 1953) was the daughter of William Lydon and Theresa Graham. They had 11 children:
Patrick Fitzhenry born and died 1885
* Mary Fitzhenry born 1886
* Bridget Fitzhenry born 22 April 1890 died 1971
Martin Fitzhenry born 1892 died 1973
Thomas Fitzhenry born 1893 died 1911
* Stephen Fitzhenry born 7 December 1896 died 1968
* Sabina Fitzhenry born 1898 died 1995
John Fitzhenry born 7 May 1900 died 1982
* Edward Fitzhenry born 24 March 1902 died 1957
* William Joseph "Billy" Fitzhenry born 9 June 1904 died 1985
* Myles Fitzhenry born 9 September 1906 died 1989

All of the members of this generation who have a * next to their name made the move to the USA. Mary came out first in 1909. Her immigration documents showed she was going to visit her cousin Mary Coyne. She married John J Coyne within the year and stayed in Pittsburgh.

Bridget followed in May 1910. The ship's manifest stated that she was going to stay with her sister Mary Fitzhenry. Bridget married Anthony Coyne in 1920. It is thought that Anthony and John J were brothers.

Stephen emigrated to the USA in July 1920 and was listed as visiting his sister Mary (Fitzhenry) Coyne. He married Bridget who was born in Ireland. If anything more is known about this couple, please let us know.

Sabina emigrated on or before 1925, as in that year she married James O'Donnell in Pittsburgh.

Edward emigrated before 1936, the year he married Nora Staunton. They had four children. He worked in the steel mills.

William Joseph ("Billy") emigrated in or before 1924 as by then he had married Bridget Joyce from Galway, Ireland. He also worked in the steel mills. Billy and Bridget had nine children, the fourth being Lenard's grandfather Regis Fitzhenry.

Myles originally moved to England when he was about 17 (around 1923) but after a few years joined his brothers in the steel mills in Pittsburgh. Myles married Helen Teresa Lally in Pittsburgh in 1935 and they had 3 children.
Myles and Billy were very close. Together they made the trip back to Ireland to visit their mother about 20 years after they had originally left home.

Martin and Thomas stayed behind in Maam. Martin took over the running of the family farm.

John moved sideways into England. In 1943, he married Ethel Johnson of Wetherby,Yorkshire and they then lived in London.
We'd really like to know more about these three brothers and their families in Ireland and England

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

So many developments ...

... that I can hardly keep up.

A big hello to Lenard Baldy who sent us one of the largest and most well researched Fitzhenry family trees that we have seen - a total of 214 people in it. But Lenard has hit a wall around 1830 in Maam in Ireland with his earliest ancestors Edward Fitzhenry and Catherine Shaughanessy - the next post will look at this tree in more detail to see if it jogs anyone's memory.

A big "whoop" as Sid Rodger's grandfather's elusive death certificate finally turned up in the GRO indexes for 1915 - filed as Joseph F. Henry. Yes, it was the right man.

And an even bigger "whoop" as our sole Chilean branch breaks down a bit of their wall. The head of a small hyphenated Fitz-Henry family in South London in the 1860s turns out to be the mysterious Miles Fitz-Henry whose photo was in the family album of Rodrigo Palacios Fitz-Henry. But this discovery throws up even more questions - more in the next but one post.

and finally - as if all the above wasn't exciting enough -
Ken Klare from the City of Dublin, Ohio wrote to us to tell us that they are building a veterans park in the City and wish to mark Enoch Fitzhenry's service in the American War of Independence with a memorial stone.

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Monday, 13 April 2009

The Fitzhenrys of Dedham Massachusetts

Debra wrote to the Fitzhenry message board on asking if anyone could help with "getting back" with her Fitzhenry family.
She had a few details
  • Her great grandfather was James J. Fitzhenry from Wexford.
  • He married Elizabeth Day or O'Day and they had 1 son William James Fitzhenry.
  • James died and she remarried Michael Colbort in the USA.
This was a challenge!
And thanks to the Fitzhenry Family message board on Genforum, we found out a great deal about this branch. Our thanks to the research work of Elaine Bailey and Linda back in 2007.

Lawrence FITZHENRY, son of Thomas and Mary FITZHENRY, was born in 1830 in Ireland. He married Mary Ann DUNN, daughter of James and Margaret DUNN , who was born in 1834 in Ireland. They had the following children who were all born in Ireland before the family emigrated to the US:

Margaret or Mary FITZHENRY (1861- ). Married William DOYLE.
Thomas FITZHENRY (1863- )
James Joseph FITZHENRY (1865-1898) Debra's great grandfather - more about him below.
Catherine "Kate" FITZHENRY (1870- ) married Charles FLOOD in 1891
Bridget FITZHENRY (1870-1875)

Mary Ann died on 6 December 1874 in Dedham and Lawrence then married Margaret SHANNON, daughter of Laurence and Margaret SHANNON who was born in 1853 in Ireland. She emigrated from Ireland to USA in 1869. They had the following 5 children:

Lawrence FITZHENRY (1883- )
John Francis FITZHENRY (1885- )
Edward Joseph FITZHENRY (1886- )
Anna E FITZHENRY (1890- )
Michael James FITZHENRY (1893- )

James Joseph FITZHENRY married Elizabeth Josephine DAY in 1891. Elizabeth was born in Wexford and had emigrated to the US in 1882. As predicted, they had a son
William born 1895, and also a daughter Mary Genevieve FITZHENRY, born 1897 who died in infancy. James died in 1898.

Does anyone out there recognise this family tree, especially the other nine children of Lawrence? Debra would be very pleased to hear from any other members of this branch. You can drop her an email via the blog here

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Children of Michael and Anastasia Fitz(-)henry London

Here's some more details about Michael and Anastasia Fitz-Henry/Fitzhenry and their family.
They are both given in the 1841 census as being born outside Middlesex ("not in County") but also not in Ireland.
In the 1851 census Michael (widowed by then) is born in Ireland!

I have no proof of their marriage place and date.
They are Roman Catholics.
The hyphen comes and goes in the records.
Michael was a carpenter and the family lived in the Bloomsbury Market area of London.

The following is from notes that I made when I visited the Catholic Family History Society Library, Lancing Street London on 3 November 2003. On that day they were packing up around me as they were moving to new premises, but were marvelously accommodating!

All records were typewritten copies from the originals (not available to view)

Westminster St Mary’s Baptisms
Vol 78 1809-1838

Patrick Fitzhenry to Michael and Anastasia (nee Welch)
Sponsors: Edward Purcell and Mary Quinn
Bapt 20 April 1826, born 16 April 1826

P83 - Three seemingly related baptisms on 23 March 1828

David Sullivan to David and Ann (nee Welch)
Sponors Michael and Anastasia Fitzhenry
Born 25 January 1828

Michael Fitzhenry to Michael and Anastasia (nee Welch)
Sponsors David and Ann Sullivan
Born 17 February 1828

Patric Regan to Michael and Ellen (nee Sullivan)
Sponsors John Sullivan and Catherine Welch
Born 17 March 1828

Mary Ann Fitzhenry to Michael and Anastasia (nee Welch)
Sponsors: John ----
Bapt 31 October 1830, born 3 October 1830

James Fitzhenry to Michael and Anastasia (nee Welch)
Sponsors William Scambel and Eliz. Caughlan
Bapt 23 March 1834 born 2 March 1834

Margaret Fitzhenry to Michael and Anastasia (nee Walsh)
Sponsors Wil. Scannington, Mary Scammerton
Bapt. 29 November born 29 October 1835

These were all their children in this register but there was also:
John Fitz-Henry (spelt with a hyphen as this is Sid Rodger's branch and the hyphen "stuck" in this branch) born 25 January 1838

Anastasia Fitzhenry born 5 April 1840, died 17 October 1841 of "decline"

And lastly a possible older brother Francis or Frank Fitzhenry, who may have gone into the priesthood (communication from other correspondents)

In the 1841 census, of all the children only Patrick, Mary Anne, John and Anastasia are listed.

The older Anastasia died at the King College Hospital London on 11 February 1851 of chronic nephritis (kidney infections leading to renal failure). On her death certificate she is called Anne, but she was registered by one of the hospital staff who may not have known her full name.

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Monday, 6 April 2009


A few years ago, Wills and Grants proved in English courts were very easy to access - you just went to Somerset House in London and said "Let's have a look at your loverly Wills please" and Lo, they would be brought forth at a minimal charge.

It's a bit more tricky now.
You have to find out the details of the Will and where it was proved. The Indexes have been scanned and are on Ancestry and FindMyPast, but they both need a subscription. Alternatively you can go to one of a dozen centres around England and see the Indexes there.

Then you have to write to the Principal Registry of the Family Division in London, giving the details (although they don't tell you exactly which details they want) and enclosing a cheque for £5 for each copy of the Will.

It feels a bit like the Internet had never been invented. It must be a real pain in the backside for anyone not in the UK who wants a Will copy. There is a rumour that an on-line ordering system is on its way for Wills, as for the BMD certificates.

But in the meantime, I remembered what a pen was for, wrote them a letter and wrote my first cheque this year.

The three Wills I've ordered are:
William Fitz-Henry of Ashtead and Winchester. It may give us a clue as to who his Fitz-Henry relatives were and why his children ended up in an orphanage.
Dr George Fitzhenry of London and Brynmawr Wales. This was the man who had the bigamous second marriage. Did he acknowledge his daughter from his first marriage?
Mary Fitzhenry, who died in 1885 in Dublin. I have no idea which Mary Fitzhenry this is as I have 42 of them in the database, but a woman who was rich enough to need to leave a Will could be quite interesting.

When I get them through, we'll have a bit of a Will fest here. If anyone else has a post-1856 English Fitzhenry Will (pre-1856 can be ordered on-line from the National Archives website) or a Fitzhenry Will from abroad, drop us a line at the usual address if you want to share.

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Friday, 3 April 2009

Sid Rodger's photos

I have been in email contact with Sid Rodger (Canada) for about a year. I was very pleased to be able to put him in touch with Kirsten Fitzhenry (England) who was also from his family branch.

It turns out that they are descendants of Michael Fitzhenry and Anastasia Welch of Silver Street, London. This was a Roman Catholic family in the days when it was hard to be a Catholic in England. Silver Street is very close to what is now the British Museum in London.

Michael and Anastasia's eldest son Patrick (born 1826) emigrated to Australia.
He married Sarah Phillips who had also emigrated from London and the couple founded a Fitzhenry dynasty in New South Wales.

Both Sid and Kirsten are descended from John (born 1838, London) who was Michael and Anastasia's third or fourth child.
John married Sarah Jones and their second child was Joseph James Fitzhenry born 1875 at Suffolk Street, Mile End, London.
Sid has very kindly sent me some photos of Joseph, his wife Elizabeth Larkin and their five children. When Joseph died in 1915, Elizabeth and the children emigrated to Canada.

Joseph James Fitzhenry and Elizabeth Larkin

The Fitzhenry children c.1912 - Philippa Agnes is in front barefoot, Mary Angela at the back, Joseph next to Mary, James on Philippa's right, John on the left.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Reliability you can be proud of...

Once upon a time, the Fitz-Henry name was a byword for reliability in the fashionable circles of Victorian Dublin.
It would have made us all collectively hang our heads in shame if the Fitz-Henry sisters (still going strong in Grafton Street in the 1890s) were noted for their unreliable gloves...

This is from the Irish Times archives. The Irish times are celebrating 150 years of publication by making their archives free to search and download - but for a limited time only.

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