Saturday, August 15, 2009

Connollys and Conleys

Climbing to the top of the Conley family tree in the US takes one to the year 1828 when Bryan Connolly/Barnabas Conley/Bernard Conley (all one in the same) immigrated to the US, by way of New York. A naturalization document held in the Cambria County archives at Ebensburg, Pa. states the following.

October Term 1835.....
Fancis McGrath, a person who knows Bryan Connolly swore in open court that Bryan Connnolly resided in the US for the past five years and in the State of Pennsylvania one year;
"that is to say he the said Bryan Connolly resided the whole time in Pennsylvania which place is within the constitution of the United States and that during his residence within the United States he has behaved as a man of good moral character; attached to the constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and has findings of the same. Francis McGrath has sworn and subscribed in open court this 6th October 1835."
Bryan appeared in court July 3, 1832 to petition the court for naturalization. The following is from the naturalization document. "The petition of Bryan Connolly honorably showeth your petitioner was a natural of Ireland and heretofor and a subject to the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Ireland and he arrived at New York in the state of New York in October 1828."

Bryan Connolly, born about 1807, was married twice, his first wife was Bridget Green (birthdate unknown.) It is unknown as to the nationality of Bridget or where she was born. I am assuming that with a name like Bridget Green, she was Irish. Bridget and Bryan were married at St. Patrick's Church in Newry, Cambria Co., Pa. on May 21, 1830 (as per Rev. Ledoux Books)

Bridget and Bryan Connolly had children: John b. abt 1830, Thomas b. abt. 1832, Christopher b. abt. 1834, James b. abt 1836, Bernard b. abt. 1838, Elizabeth b. abt 1841, and Mary b. abt 1843. It is assumed that Bridget died prior to Jan 1844 due to the marriage date of Bryan and his second wife.

Bryan's second wife was Catherine Reilly (born about 1810-1815) in Ireland. I have no information as to when she came to the US. The couple had children: Mariam b. 17 Feb 1845, Bridget b. 30 Mar 1846, Catherine b. 05 Nov 1847, Patrick b. 01 May 1850, Ann b. 1851, Margaret b. 08 Oct 1853, Matthew b. Abt. 29 May 1855, Michael G.b. 1857(my direct ancestor), Francis b. abt 1859

That makes a total of 16 Conley children (his estate papers list 14-see below)!

On the 1850 Summerhill Twp. census Bryan's name is written as Barnabas Conly, he is listed as 46 yrs old and a blacksmith, Catherine as 40 yrs. old. Children listed include: John, Christopher, James, Bernard, Thomas, Elizabeth, and Mary

On the 1860 Summerhill Twp. census Bryan Connolly's name is recorded as Bernard Comelia (not uncommon for names to be butchered by the census takers.) In 1870

Bryan/Barnabas/Bernard passed away 14 Sep 1864, so it's obvious he no longer appears on the census records.

From his estate paper held at the Cambria County Archives in Ebensburg, Pa.:

"The petition of Catherine Connelly, widow and execution of the last will and testament of Bernard Connelly late of Summerhill Township in the said county deceased. Humbly ____ that the said Bernard Connelly died on or about the 17th day of September A.D. 1864 leaving a widow and 14 children to wit. Bernard, Thomas, Patrick, Mathew, Michael, Francis, William, John , James, Mary, Elizabeth, Bridget, Catherine, and Margaret. That there was no personal estate of the said deceased wherewith to satisfy his debts and that there are debts against the estate of the said decendant whereby it is necessary that his real estate or part thereof be sold to satisfy the same, as by the statement herewith produced appears."

Bernard owned land consisting of 121 acres and 133 perches. The document was date 1 March 1866.

The discrepencies in the number of children and their names could be due to deaths of children prior to the writing of the will or that nicknames were used or that I can find no record in the Rev Ledoux books (Catholic Vital Records of Central Pennsylvania) of these children being born.

Bernard and Catherine's some Michael G. Conley, born 1857 is my direct ancestor. I don't have much information on him at this time. His obituary from the Johnstown Tribune Dec 12, 1923 reads:

"Wilmore, Dec. 12 -Funeral services for Michael G. Conley whose death occurred at his residence here yesterday aftenoon, willbe conducted at St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church at 9:30 o'clock Friday morning. Mr. Conley was 67 years of age and the sone of the late Bernard and Catherine Conley he is survived by his widow Mrs. Rebecca Conley and the following children: Andrew Conley, Altoona; Thomas and Leo Conley, both at home; Bernard Conley, this place, Michael Conley, Portage; Charles Conley, Blairsville, and Rose (wife of Chist Boast,) Lilly."

Michael G. Conley (b. Aug. 1857 d. Dec 11, 1923) married Rebecca Barbara Burnheimer b. Nov 4, 1887(daughter of Peter and Rebecca Burnheimer.) They had children: Bernard, Andrew, Thomas, Leo, Michael, Charles, and Rose. Their son Bernard Augustus Conley is my direct descendant.

Bernard A. Conley (b. Aug. 30, 1889 d. Nov 5, 1957) married Esther Susan Bendon (b. Oct 31, 1893 d. Aug 3, 1934). The couple had children: Emily, Merle, Margaret, Kenneth, William, Mae, and Lawrence.

Obituary for Bernard Conley from the Johnstown Tribune, Nov. 6, 1957 reads:

"Conley, Bernard A. 68 of 919 Conmaugh Ave., Portage, died November 5th, 1957 at home. Born August 30th 1889 in Wilmore. Son of Michael and Rebecca (Burnheimer) Conley. Preceeded in death by wife former Esther Benden. Survived by these children: Mrs. Margaret Kordish, Portage; Kenneth and Merle both of Lilly; William, Mrs. Mae Ratosky, and Mrs. Emily Davenport, all of Barberton, Ohio, and Lawrence, Johnstown; 22 grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Brother of Mrs. Rose Boast, Lilly; Charles, Cleveland, Ohio; Michael, South Fork, and Thomas, Wilmore. Last employed by PRR. Friend received after 10:00AM Wednesday in Beck Funeral Home, Portage. Requim mass at 9:30AM Friday in St. Jospeh's Catholic Church, Portage. Interment St. Bartholomew's Cemetery,

Daughter of Bernard and Ester Susan Conley, Margaret Conley was my Grandmother. Margaret (b. Aug. 22, 1914 d. Feb 18, 1987) married Joseph Kordish (b. Dec. 25, 1911 d. Oct 16, 1989) son of Andrew Kordys/Kordish and Mary Kaszics. Their children are: Joseph, Donald, Judy, and Ronald Kordish.

For more than you'd ever want to know about the family you can look at the family tree on line at On rootsweb, go to the familytree tab then search for Andrew Kordys and my tree (kingcarsontree) will be the only one that comes up. You can then look at all of my postings.

Previous postings about this family line can also be found under the posting I uploaded in March titled "Cleaning Up the Elders." It begins with the Elder family and how they connect to the Conleys.

Enjoy and please leave a comment,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy Trails!

William Hanna was my 3rd Great Grandfather. When I think of his accomplishments it amazes me that an Irish immigrant in the very early 1800s could make a good living and accumulate 93 acres of land. I don't know when William Hanna arrived in the US but it was most likely in the late 1820s. The first record I have found of him is on the tax lists for Lower Merion in 1830. He has no property listed, but 1 horse and 1 cow. By 1870 he has 94 acres.

Deed on file at the Montgomery County, Pa. archives: Deed book 51 p. 598-599
"This indenture made the first day of February in the year of our Lord One
thousand eight hundred and thirty two between Christopher Tennant of the city of
Philadelphia in Pennsylvania marble manufacturer and Suaanna his wife of the one
and William Hanna of the Township of Lower Merion in the county of Montgomery in the state foresaid yeoman of the other part." (William Hanna paid $800.00
for 19 acres and 102 perches of land.) "It being the same parcel of land which
John Masterson and Eliza his wife by their indenture bearing date the Twenty
sixth day of January anno domini one thousand eight hundred and thirty two per
the consideration there in mentioned did grant and confirm unto the said
Christopher Tennant in fee as _________by said indenture relational being there
unto had may at large appear.""Together with all and singular the houses out
houses buildings barns ways woods water courses right liberties.........")

He must have been farming before he bought his Lower Merion, Pa. farm property from Christopher Tennant. I suspect that he was indentured to Christopher Tennant, but I have no proof at this time. More research is needed.

William was married to Mary Davis (her maiden name comes from the death certificate of their daughter Letitia Hanna Lovett) date unknown, but most likely about 1840-1842. Mary Davis is listed as being born in Pennsylvania on all of the census. But because Davis is such a common name I have not had too much luck with my initial research trying to figure out which Davis family she belongs too. There is an early Davis family from Plymouth Meeting/Whitemarsh, Pa. area. I suspect she may descend from this family.

Part of William Hanna's original property is now the Riverbend Environmental Education Center ( The center runs camps for kids and has public walking trails. Their is a house on the property that was either inherited by or built by William Hanna. I have contacted the center, but they do not know the date the house was built. They were given an estimate for the house being 150 years old. I'm wondering if it is older given the wording in the Deed quoted above. The staff at Riverbend now uses it as housing for the camp staff.

Also on the property are rock walls that are shown on the copy of a deed I own. The deed dates to about 1884 after William Hanna's death. Unfortunately, he was walking along the RR tracks in order to avoid an icy road and was struck by a train. His death came shortly after on Feb. 2 1883. His age at this time was approximated 83-85years old. William Hanna is buried at the Barren Hill Cemetery in Whitemarsh, Pa. there is no stone marker. There is no record of his wife Mary beng buried there, but his daughter Letitia Hanna Lovett has a grave stone in the cemetery.

Also of Interest about William Hanna's property..... part of it was leased by the US Army at the end of the Civil War and used as a discharge camp for soldiers before they were sent home. The property also got the nickname Camp Hanna or Camp Discharge. The only item left from this time period is a sentry box that sits near the entrance of Riverbend. All of the other buildings were torn down and recycled.

Deed on file at the Montgomery County, Pa. archives: Deed Book 144, page 527 William Hanna had a 30 year agreement (beginning 19 Jun 1866) with the Philadelphia and Reading RR that he could own the property that ran between his main property to the Schuylkill River which would pass over the RR tracks.

As a nature lover, it makes my happy to know that the property is accessible to anyone who wishes to explore its trails and that children are being educated on it about our environment.

I will have more information in the future, but for now Happy Trails......................

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Just Ramblings and Resources

I'm always curious when people tell me that nothing interesting has ever happened in their family history or that they know what nationality they are. Most likely they have no clue! I never thought when I started this trip that I would find Presidents, Civil and Revolutionary War soldiers, relatives who fought agains Indian attack and never a tree that I could date back in this country to the early 1600s.

People who are starting out in genealogy will ask me where I get my information so here it goes:

Libraries - obituaries, reference books, local history books
Archives - Reference books, manuscripts, family histories, wills, estate papers, orphan's court
papers, marriage, birth and death certificates, property deeds
NARA (National Archives DC) - Civil War and Revolutionary War Pension records, immigrant
ships's records, other military records, reference books from all states, and more.

Online - (message boards and family trees) (web, newspaper, and books) and
Heritagequest - You need a subscription for this site. You can usually get one free
with a library card, if your local or county library subscribes. Great for census records,
book resources, magazine articles, revolutionary war pensions and other sources.
Check Historical Societies and Local and State Archives websites, some have great resources on the web
Library of Congress -searchable database and go there (you'll need a library card)
ARIAS - Pennsylvania in the Civil War muster roll and more. pay service, but free at my local library
NY Times and Washington Post have a searchable database. You may be able to view
some articles in full, others you will have to find at a local library.

DAR museum in Washington DC - great resource for family history books (I'm even in one!)

Historical societies will charge for you to do research on a daily basis unless you have a membership, archives do not charge.

I always try to do as much free research as I can and then hit the pay facilities.

Don't forget to check for obituaries at a library that has the microfilm. Always call first to make sure their microfilm machines are working.
Your local LDS (Latter-Day Saints, Mormon churh research facility) has a wealth of information on microfilm as well. Check their website for locations and available resources.

This list is not complete by any means, just a starting point.
Happy searching

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dungannon it is!

I've finally come across a lead as to where in Ireland Thomas Carson, the first in our Carson line, emigrated from. While checking what was new online with the John Miller Carson line (see descendary chart below) I came across a snippet view for a book called Burke's American Families With British Ancestry: The Lineages of 1600 Families of British Origin Now Residing in the United States. A typically long title from a British author. The view didn't give me all the information I was looking for, but enough to go seek out the book for more information.

John Miller Carson, Jr. was a West Point graduate and a Brigadier General so it's easy enough to find information on him. His wife, Margaret Forster Sumner, was the granddaughter of Edwin Vose Sumner, Sr. an Army General (you can google his name for his long career and achievements with photos.)

Father of John Miller Carson, Jr. was John Miller Carson, Sr. He was twice President and one of the originators of the Gridiron club (a members only newspaper journalist's club,) a Washington coorespondent for the Philadelphia Public Ledger and the New York Times, a civil war veteran, Bureau of Manufactures of the Department of Commerce and Labor, Clerk of the Ways and Means Committee, Commissioner of Manufactures, asked by President Harrison to be his Secretary of War and by President McKinley to be his private secretary, but turned both positions down. So he's easy to find information on as well, but where do you find information on an ordinary Irish immigrant who works as a weaver and does not to seem to have been a naturalized citizen?

Well, you keep searching.......Thomas Carson, the Irish immigrant and father of John Miller Carson, Sr. made it into Burke's book (by way of an article about his grandson the Brigadier General.) Burke lists Thomas' emigration from Dungannon, Tyrone Co., Ireland (Northern Ireland.) He claims Thomas married his wife Jane Miller about 1829 and emigrated the following year about 1830, settling in Philadelphia. He was born about 1802, so that would have made him about 28 years old at the time of arrival in the US.

Now, to figure out which Dungannon he came from Upper, Middle, or Lower??????
Answers only lead to more questions!

(1st marriage)Thomas and Jane (Miller) Carson>John Miller Carson,Sr.>John Miller Carson, Jr.
(2nd marriage) Thomas and Elizabeth Carson>James Carson>Robert Miller Carson
James and John Miller Carson, Sr. were half brothers

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cleaning up the Elders

I thought I should revisit some of the family hanging around in the parts of the tree that I haven't touched in a while. I wanted to clean up some of the references and family notes I had for them. I thought that the Maryland Elders were as good a place as any so that's where I began.

Many people descend from the Elder family and there's been much research on the family simply because they were Catholic. They were Cathoilic at a time when it was not prevalent in this country. William Elder II (born 1707) is reported not to have originally been Catholic, but married Ann Wheeler who was. William Elder II named the area of Maryland, Frederick, Co. at the base of the Cacotin Mountains "St. Mary's Mount." "Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary, the 2nd oldest Catholic College in the country was founded 24 Sep 1808 on what was William Elder's property and bears the name he gave the area." (source: "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Donnelly 1975 p. 1) This William Elder was a large landowner. There were 32 pieces of land in the Frederick Co., Maryland area that were sold for the building of Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary. Some of the names of William Elder's properties were "Beaver Dam Level," "Black Walnut Bottom," Ogle's Good Will," Arnold's Delight," and Elder's Choice." None of the properties listed here were under 100 acres. (source: Maryland Elder Family and Kin, Donnelly, 1975 p. v)

William Elder II and Ann Weeler had 5 children. Ann died at the age of thirty and William remarried Jacoba Clementina Livers - the daughter of his neighbor, Arnold Livers. Jacoba and William had 7 more children. "Jacoba Clementina was born in England and named by her father Arnold Livers after James II. Arnold Livers was an active partisan of this King. When the monarch collapsed Arnold fled to the country with his young daughter and came to the Province. Here he acquired a vast amount of property." (source: "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Donnelly 1975 p. 7)

William Elder II and Ann Wheeler's daughter Mary (born 1735 in Prince George's Co., Md.) married Richard Lilly. Richard was born in Bristol, England in 1728. Richard and Mary's son Joseph A. Lilly (born 1763 in Frederick Co., Md.) married the widow, Charity Ogle Costello. The couple moved to Cambria Co. about 1789. This couple was also Catholic and probably followed Father Gallitizin as many from this Maryland area did. They belonged to St. Michael's Church in Loretto, Cambria Co., Pa. The couple's son Richard Lilly (born 1785) was a member of the 1st Batallion 142nd Regiment of the Pa. militia during the war of 1812. (source: "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Donnelly 1975 p. 68) The town of Lilly, Pa. is named for this Richard Lilly. (sources: "Lilly High Flash," students of Lilly High School, 1948." and "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Donnelly 1975 p. 68)

Richard Lilly married Elizabeth Holder, also born in Maryland. Their daughter Rebecca Lilly (born 1823) married Peter Burnheimer. Their daughter Rebecca Babara Burnheimer (born 1857) married Michael G. Conley and this couple was my Grandmother's Grandparents. Michael G. Conley was the son of the Irish immigrant, but more about the Conley's at another time.

For more reading on the Elder and Mt. St. Mary's family check out "Maryland Elder Family and Kin" by Mary Louise Donnelly, "The Story of the Mountain" by Mary Miller Meline and Rev. Edward F.X. McSweeney, S.T.D., and "Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary: A Glorious History of the One Hundred and Fifty Years 1808-1958."

More Later,

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And in the Beginning.......

I started this journey when my son was about 4 years old, but that was before the home computer and when you needed to use soundex to look up census records on microfilm. Wow, how much easier genealogy research has become over the last 22 years! I am sooooo grateful for Google Books, The Mormon Church and it's members, rootsweb, and all my fellow researchers.

My latest quest has been the Mareen Duvall Family from Maryland. Mareen Duvall (born 1635)came to America from France about 1650. One of his wives, and my direct descendant, was Susannah Brashear/Brassuer/Brassier. The couple lived on Mareen's plantation in Maryland called "Middle Plantation." Mareen was actually married three times which was not so uncommon during this time period. I have come across many men and woman who have married two and three times over. My line descendends down the tree with Mareen and Susannah Duvall's daughter Susannah who married Colonel Robert Tyler.

Colonel Robert Tyler was a member of the House of Burgesses continuously from 1704 to 1725 (Md. Archives Vol 26, 27, 29, and 30.) In 1695, Robert Tyler was commissioned one of the first magistrates of Prince George's Co. between 1697-98 and was accorded a Gentleman of the Quorum. He was also commissioned in 1708 by Gov. John Seymour. In 1704, he was a delegate to Prince George's Co. and served until 1724 he was then referred to as "Chief Justice at Marlborough." He owned hundreds of acres of land. (from "Mareen Duval of Middle Plantation" by Harry Wright Newman pgs. 162-165.)

Colonel Robert and Susannah (Duvall) Tyler had a daughter named Sabina Tyler (born 1703)who married Nathaniel Wickham. Nathaniel and Sabina (Tyler) Wickham's daughter Sabina Wickham became the wife of William Elder III (born 1729.)

William and Sabina (Wickham) Elder III lived near Emmittsburg, Maryland. Willam Elder II received a patent for land from Lord Baltimore, dated 27 Aug 1732. This is on record at the Mt. St. Mary Archives, Emmitsburg, Md. I visited the archives last summer as well as Mount Saint Mary's and the Elder Family Cemetery. The Elder Family Cemetery is marked by a plaque, surrounded by a split rail fence, and situated under a small grove of old trees. Some of the stones have been replaced and some have been crudely repaired, but yet preserved. It's very peaceful in Emmittsburg and probably not much changed from colonial times.

William and Sabina (Wickham) Elder III had a daughter Ann who married Daniel Delozier, Sr. (born 1750) "On April 2, 1804, Daniel and Ann sold part of a tract of land called "March Weather", located in the middle of the divisional line between states Maryland and Pennsylvania. They moved East of the Allegheny mountains to settle in the unbroken wilderness which is now Cambria County, Pennsylvania. According to a story taken from "History of Cambria County", page 543, "Delozier, Daniel came to Loretto with the McGuire pioneer family..." Ann Elder's father William also came from southern MD (Emmitsburg) to the Loretto area. But before influence by Father Gallitzen to move to Loretto, William Elder owned an area of land he named St. Mary's Mount and named his log cabin home "Pleasent Level". This home was in equal parts divided, one half served as residence for his family, the other half served as a Chapel. Mount St. Mary's Seminary and College at what is now Emmitsburg are on land that the Elder's owned. As mentioned and noted in Elder Family Papers, the family migrated into Pennsylvania by influence from Father Gallitzen "who advocated western settlement to his former congretation."*
*source: Guide to the Elder Family Papers

Now you know how our family got from Maryland to the middle of Pennsylvania. It's all because of Father Prince Gallitzin.

More later :-)