18 September 2012

In Search of Martha Durkin

While the rain outside this morning feels and even smells great, it does alter my morning outing just a wee bit. I hate making deliveries in the rain so I decided to work on my Irish immigrants.

The rain - we'll blame it on the rain - has fogged up my thought process evidently. Here I've been searching the records online at Ellis Island for my immigrant Martha Durkin. I could not find her anywhere so I found a helpful site that tells me common nicknames and such (since Irish people rarely seem to go by their given names).  It tells me that Martha is also commonly found as (nicknames): Polly, Patsy, Marnie, Mart, Marty, Mat, Mattie. The Irish also like Marta. I searched for females beginning with M and then females beginning with P then all Durkin females. Then ...

Then I realized that Martha - who came over as a child - was born in 1839. Ellis Island did not open its doors until 1892. My Martha would have been 53. Obviously Martha did not come through Ellis Island.

Many Irish came through Philadelphia as well as New York. Since my Durkins settled in Phoenxiville, Chester County, PA, either port seems reasonable.

A quick recheck I think is in order ... the 1880 US Census shows her and her now husband Dennis O'Flaherty living in Phoenixville with six children. Unfortunately the 1880 Census - which shows her as being 41 (Dennis was 45) does not ask when they immigrated or if they are naturalized yet.

A Phoenixville directory from 1902-03 shows Martha residing at the same address as her eldest son Hugh O'Flaherty. I know Martha (who lived til 1921) survived her husband Dennis many years.

I did find an 1870 Census for a Dennis O'Flaherty age 31 and his wife HATTIE age 30 in Phoenixville with their two children Mary (age 2) and Hugh (age 1). I am not 100% certain this Hattie is my Martha but everything else fits enough that it is feasible ... so I saved for future searching.

I was able to find son Hugh and his young family in the 1910 census. Since I hit a wall and I have time and inkling this morning I decided to do things the old way - actually search that is. Going through each page of the census for Phoensixville that year is quite ... tedious but I am hoping that I am rewarded! Soon.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.