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GenealogyClassBlog » Power Hitter

From Liverpool to New York, 3 June 1844

February 21st, 2011 Posted in Conversation, On the Internet | Comments Off
Ships Passenger List for the Hannibal, arriving in New York 3 Jun 1844, from Liverpool

Ships Passenger List for the Hannibal, arriving in New York 3 Jun 1844, from Liverpool

On last week’s episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Rosie O’Donnell traveled to County Kildare in Ireland. Her great-great-grandparents had lived there in poverty just after the Irish Potato Famine until the early 1850’s, when they emigrated to Canada and eventually came to the United States, settling in New Jersey. Watch the episode, or others that have already aired, at

Sometimes when I have a few minutes, I spend some time online, searching on the website of the program’s sponsor, After watching the show on Friday night I was in the mood for a little Irish searching — for my own great-great-grandparents who also reportedly came from “near Dublin, Kildare, Ireland.” County Kildare is, in fact, just outside of Dublin. And the parents of my mother’s grandmother, Anna Carr Regan, had left there around the time of the Irish Potato Famine, as had Rosie’s ancestors, Andrew Murtagh and Ann Doyle Murtagh, and their four children.

My mother had put together most of the dates and places several years ago.  I opened the family view in my genealogy software file in Reunion (for the Macintosh), so that I could find what I needed as I searched. Patrick Carr, who lived and died in Cleveland, Ohio, was reportedly born in 1805 and his wife, Bridget in either 1814 or 1824. Their first two children, both girls, were supposed to have been born in Ireland in 1842. The eldest was Mary and the next Bridget. My mother thought that the third child, Kathleen or Katherine, was either born in Ireland or in New York, in roughly 1848, and the fourth, also a daughter, named Helen, was born in about 1849 in Ohio. I was a little fuzzy on the dates we had established that the family was in Cleveland, but I was pretty sure that the date of immigration could have been anywhere from the early 1840’s to maybe 1856, when Anna Carr was born. We were not sure about the dates or places of birth of Katherine and Helen, and we still do not have the maiden name of Patrick’s wife — unless it really is Carr — what one vital record showed for mother’s maiden name: Bridget Carr.

Patrick Carr is not an uncommon name and when my mother and I were in the thick of the Carr research several years ago, the New York Passenger Arrivals were not indexed to the extent that they are today. Of course, New York was not the only port, but it seemed to be the most likely for this Cleveland family, especially because of the family tradition. Searches on for Patrick Carr resulted in lots of hits for the wrong Patrick Carr, but eventually I was able to find one passenger list that included all four members of the Carr family that immigrated. I did this by using one of my Power Hitter tricks — I searched for others of less common names who were probably in the same record, in order to locate the record.

Genealogists can often find a record of someone with the same name as their ancestor, but what they really need is something in the record that can help them to identify that they have found a record of the actual ancestor. I knew that if I found a Patrick Carr, I wouldn’t be sure whether he was my Patrick Carr unless he was with his wife Bridget, and better yet if they were together and had some of their children with them. I located this little family after a little perseverance:

  • Pat Carr 30
  • Bridget Carr 38
  • Mary Carr 2
  • Bridget Carr Inft

And I was glad that they had immigrated together. The arrival date was 4 Jun 1844 and the ship was the Hannibal, which had departed Liverpool and arrived in New York City. This was too early for the Carrs to have been processed at Ellis Island (which wasn’t established until 1892), or to have seen the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor (because it wasn’t erected until 1886). They did probably enter through Castle Garden, at Battery Park in New York City.

Looking back to try to determine why I wasn’t able to find Patrick Carr very quickly, I think there were a few reasons. First, there is a significant difference in the estimated date of birth. Instead of 1805, this Pat Carr was 30 in 1844, or born in about 1814. In addition, rather than Patrick Carr, he was listed as Pat Carr. And, when I searched the index to New York, 1820-1850 Passenger and Immigration Lists for all Patrick Carrs, I found that the one who arrived on the Hannibal was 28th on the list.

So how did I find the family without looking at every Patrick Carr in the results list? The name Bridget is not as common as is Patrick, so I searched for Bridget Carr, born in about 1842, and for her sister, Mary, born in about 1842, and compared the results lists for the two. I found the Hannibal on both results lists and then checked the digital image to see whether they had parents, Patrick and Bridget. Without the rest of the family, the age of Bridget (the mother, at 38), or the age of Pat (30) would seem to eliminate them, but considering that the information about their daughters is what we would expect, and given that the 3 June 1844 falls within a likely date range for their migration, I believe that I have found the boat — and I have called my mother to give her the news. I will continue to search for all related records, as good genealogists do, to either strengthen the case or to disprove it. I hope to establish that this family is mine, so that I can pursue them in County Kildare. But if it isn’t, then I’ll keep looking until I do find them.

I’ll be watching “Who Do You Think You Are?” again this Friday night, highlighting Kim Cattrall. If you miss it, be sure to watch the online episode.

Boston Avenue Classes

October 2nd, 2010 Posted in On the Internet, Speaking, Tulsa Events | Comments Off
Boston Avenue Church

Boston Avenue Church

It’s time again for the School of Continuing Education at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. My five-week genealogy classes will move from their usual Tuesday evenings to Wednesday mornings, from 9:30 to 10:30 and from 10:45 to 11:45. Registration for the school is $12.00, and includes all of the classes you can take for that same price. Other classes are listed in the brochure or in the church newspaper, available at

Genealogy classes are in two different series — one to learn the basics and the other to pick up particular topics in a lecture format. All five of these are programs that I have presented locally, including two that I presented at the 2009 Federation of Genealogical Societies National Conference. Here are the specific titles:


Oct 6 – Important First Steps
Oct 13 – The Census
Oct 20 – The Family History Library
Oct 27 – Court, Land & Military Records
Nov 3 – Tour of Internet Resources

FIVE GENEALOGY TALKS  10:45 – 11:45 am

Oct 6 – How Do You Know? Understanding Evidence and Citing Your Sources
Oct 13 – How to Be a Power Hitter: Improve Your Online Searching Skills
Oct 20 – What’s New at FamilySearch®?
Oct 27 – Oklahoma Settlement:  Territorial Homestead and Allotment Records
Nov 3 – Deutsche Vorfahren:  German Ancestors

For more information call Boston Avenue at 918-583-5181 or visit the church’s web site at and download the newspaper from 24 September 2010.

Family History Fair in Pagosa Springs, Colorado

August 5th, 2010 Posted in Events, Organizations, Speaking | Comments Off

I will be presenting two programs at the Family History Fair in Pagosa Springs, Colorado on Saturday, August 14, 2010. This will be my first time ever to visit Pagosa Springs and I am looking forward to it — to a brief vacation there, to meeting the genealogists there, and to presenting two of my favorite lectures:

  • How to Be a Power Hitter:  Improve Your Online Searching Skills
  • Information Overload: Organizing Your Genealogy Records

My friend, Patricia Lee is one of the main organizers and a part-time resident of Archuleta County, Colorado. She will be presenting at the Family History Fair, too. Her lecture will be “Irish Family History Research.”

You can read more about this all-day event in the Pagosa Sun. There have been two articles:

Photo by John Fancher

Photo by John Fancher

July 14, 2010 “Pagosa to host Family History Fair” by Patricia Lee

July 22, 2010 “So, who do you think you are?” by Patricia Lee

For more information, or to register for this free Family History Fair, contact Sharron Oldham, the Director of the Family History Center in Pagosa Springs, or Barbara Ford, vice-president of the Archuleta County Genealogical Society.

Sapulpa Genealogy Club Meeting

January 8th, 2010 Posted in Events, On the Internet, Speaking | Comments Off

Bartlett-Carnegie Sapulpa Public Library    Drawing by Russell Crosby

Bartlett-Carnegie Sapulpa Public Library Drawing by Russell Crosby

I have been invited to give the program for the February 2 meeting of the recently formed Sapulpa Genealogy Club.

My topic will be “How To Be a Power Hitter: Improve Your Online Searching Skills,” one which is designed to help genealogists work around common problems found in indexes.

View Larger Map

The group meets in Frank Hall — a meeting room on the lower level of the Bartlett-Carnegie Sapulpa Public Library, 27 West Dewey Avenue, in downtown Sapulpa. Meetings begin at 10:00 a.m. and are open to the public.

New Wildcard Search Capabilities on Ancestry

January 7th, 2010 Posted in On the Internet, Speaking | Comments Off reported on its blog on Jan. 4 that they have added more variations of letters & wildcards that may be searched on its website. As long as three letters are included and you provide either the first letter or the last letter, it does not matter what letters you omit. You could search for MacAdoo or McAdoo or Mackado with the same search, by entering M*ado?, whereas previously you were required to enter the first three letters.This sounds exciting to me, and I am looking forward to try it out.

I’ll give this a try on Ancestry Library Edition at TCCL’s Genealogy Center tomorrow,too, to see whether this new feature is available on the library edition as well. At the Tulsa City-County Library, Ancestry Library Edition is available to library card holders at all branches in the system — for free.

I have been asked to present my lecture, “How To Be a Power Hitter: Improve Your Online Searching Skills,” for the new genealogy society in Sapulpa on February 2 at 10:00 a.m. This new development will necessitate some changes to the lecture. But I’ll be glad to do it. I think this is great news.

Read more at this link. And, I’d suggest reading the comments, too.