New Answers to Old Questions on Bannon Family

There have been other times in my years of genealogy research when re-visiting the records for a family turn up something new that answers some long standing questions. This happened recently with my Bannon family from County Fermanagh, Ireland and New Haven, Connecticut.

The Bannon family emigrated to New Haven in the mid to late 1850s. They settled in a block of buildings on what was first called “Governeur’s Lane” and later renamed to “Madison Street”. I started calling the area the “Bannon Compound” as there were so many Bannons and relatives living in the houses over the years. My direct ancestor, James Bannon and his wife, Bridget McHugh, lived on Madison Street for the longest amount of time, into the  1880s.

Madison Street 1868

The star marks Madison Street, New Haven, CT in 1868.

In the 1860 census there was a Catherine Bannon living on Madison Street. I originally thought that she was the widow of a Bannon male, although I never found a husband for her. I eventually made the connection that the Joseph Bannon, who was living there and who had immigrated with James and Margaret Bannon earlier, was actually Catherine’s son.  At that time I still thought that Catherine was the sister in law of the younger James Bannon. My original report on the family lists her as such. I was aware that Joseph Bannon’s death record only lists his mother as Catherine Bannon, but figured that could just mean that the informant had no idea what his father’s name was.

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Another Case of Family Lore Changing Details The Death of Samuel Ratcliffe

It’s been years since I did any serious research on the Ratcliffe family of Cheshire and Lancashire, England.  Recently, due to some new DNA matches, I started to look at my old information on the family.  I saw my notes  saying that “according to family, Samuel Ratcliffe supposedly drowned in the River Mersey”.   That fact remains true, however, the details passed down left out some details.

Up until now, all that I had as far as documentation was his burial record in Little Leigh, Cheshire, England.

Samuel Ratcliffe Burial

I was told that Samuel was a “waterman” and that the assumption was that he drowned while working on the river.   Today I decided to search the newspaper archive on FindMyPast and see if I could find anything on his death.  The absolute last article in the search results was exactly what I was hoping to find.

As you can see in this article,  while he was an employee of the Bridgewater Navigation Company, Samuel’s death was the result of a bad decision made after a night of drinking.  Not exactly as noble as falling off a boat while working as a waterman.

Samuel Ratcliffe Death

I had been in a discussion on Twitter the other day with other genealogists about “Family Lore” and stories handed down vs facts. This discovery is a prime example of how much they can differ. Family lore is always great to “clues”, but it’s always smart to try to back it up with facts.

The Sad Circumstances of Morgan Bevan’s Family

Swansea Wales Union Workhouse

credit: Jaggery on geograph/ wikipedia

I recently was working on a DNA match match for my Morgan family. Elizabeth Morgan born 1815, the daughter of David Morgan of Moor Corner, married John Bevan in Penrice. As I was filling in the info on their family, I came across some sad, but interesting facts concerning their son, Morgan’s, family.

I had noticed that in 1911 Morgan was a widower living with his brother John and his family in Landore. The Census taker has mistakenly written down information normally recorded for the wife in a family. It was crossed out but readable and led me to believe that Morgan’s daughter, Esther, was still living in 1911. She would have been about 22 at the time so I decided to see if I could find out where she was and if she was married.

At this point I found out that not only did Morgan’s wife, Sarah Ann Evans, die in 1907 in the Women’s Infirmary at the Swansea Union Workhouse, but a month later, Esther was admitted and was listed in later records as “feeble minded”.

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