Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Brick Wall Ancestor (post 2 of 2)

After spending yesterday with my family celebrating a birthday and my sons going off to college, I came home and went through all of my information I have on John O’Connell and his family. I also went through my brick wall problem that I laid out on GenealogyWise in September 2009, I reread all of the replies, searched for some of the tips I had received from others and even added a new reply. I also blogged about this previously, you can read more here at, My Brick Wall Ancestor: John O’Connell. Though most information is posted in both of these links, I will still give you all the information I have gathered thus far, with all the sources as well.

In 1892, John O’Connell and wife Bridget are living in Granville, Washington Co., NY. John is a Quarrysman and was listed as a citizen. Living with John and Bridget are their  6 children, Hattie, Lizzie, Dennis, John, Daniel and Kate.1

In 1900, John is raising his 6 children (Elizabeth, Dennis, John W, Daniel, Kate and Mary) alone, in a rented house, in Kingsbury, Washington Co., NY. By this time, he is a widower and has not remarried. Here we learned that John was born in Nov 1857. John is now working at the Grinders Pulp Mill. Sons Dennis and John are also working as laborers. With all information John has given for this census, he also states he was born in NY, as were his parents.2

In 1905, we find John living in Kingsbury, Washington Co., NY on River Street. John is still listed as a widow and is raising his children alone. Here he has 4 children with him and 1 grandchild; Daniel, Mary, Lizzie Cossy and her daughter Irene (?).3

By 1910, John has moved his family to Mark (?) Street in Hudson Falls, Washington Co., NY were they still rent their home. Most of the children are gone, daughter Hattie has returned to live with her father, with her she brings her husband Fred Langdon. There is also a son, Dan living there. The record shows that Dan is a Langdon, and son of Hattie and Fred. But if you look at the ages of Hattie and Fred, Hattie would have been 8 at his birth. This fits more with her brother Dan, who was 5 when she was 12 in the 1892 NY State Census. John is now telling us the he and his parents were all born in Ireland. My how 10 years changes things.4

For the longest time, this is where my census information stopped on John and his family. I had speculated that he remarried a woman named Marie who is buried in the same area of the cemetery John is in, but I had no real proof to support this theory.

On my recent trip east, I stopped at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, to look up whatever information they might have on my O’Connell line. In my research here, I found a marriage index for a John O’Connell. It states that on 9 Apr 1915, John O’Connell and Marie Goyette married at St Paul’s Catholic Church, in Hudson Falls, NY. Witnesses to this event were Rev. L. Guerin and Marie Louise Groulx.5 No other identifying information is listed and the church has no other records.

I also found a death index for St Paul’s Catholic Church, here I found a listing for Mary Herring (I knew she was a child of John and Bridget from Dennis’ obituary). In this death index, it states the residence of Mary Herring was “Chesapeake, MD; Edw. B. Cheney, son.”6

So, I took the information and did some more research last night, because until now, John has escaped me in the 1920 and 1930 census records. When I went through my GenealogyWise discussion, GeneJ, advised that I should seek information from the 1920 census in Nassau, Rensselear, NY. Listed there is a John and Marie O’Connell, plus with them is daughter Mary Cheney and her son Bruce.7 Well none of this fit, until now. I have added this information to my tree on ancestry and I am happy to finally have found John in the 1920 census. Now, I just need to find him in 1930 and I will be happy.

The 1920 census also shows that John had become a farmer in his latter years and he finally owned his home. This record also states he had become a “naturalized” citizen, but no year was given.

John died 25 Sep 1931 and rests at St Paul’s Catholic Cemetery in Hudson Falls, NY.8

Information I am looking to gather on John:

  • Who are John O’Connell’s parents?
  • When did he arrive in the USA?
  • Where in Ireland is he from?
  • Where did John and Bridget marry?
  • Where did John die?
  • Besides the index of the marriage record for John and Marie, will I be able to find the actual record?

Places and items I still need to do some research on:

  • land Records, now that I know John owned some land, it is time to start looking at these records
  • city directories to fill in none census years
  • vital records, see what I can find for each member of his family
  • probate records
  • hopefully ship records (if I ever get enough information to find it)





  1. John O’Connell household, 1892 New York State Census, Washington County, population schedule, town of Granville, page 1, line 5; ( 23 Sep 2009 

  2. John O’Connell household, 1900 U.S. Census, Washington County, New York, population schedule, town of Kingsbury, enumeration district 138, supervisor’s district 5, sheet 10, dwelling 7, family 179, National Archives,, 16 Dec 2008 

  3. John O’Connell household, 1905 New York State Census, Washington County, population schedule, Kingsbury township, page 18, line 9;, 10 Mar 2010 

  4. John O’Connell household, 1910 U.S. Census, Washington County, New York, population schedule, town of Hudson Falls, enumeration district 109, supervisor’s district 6, sheet 9A, dwelling 299, family 169, National Archives,, 16 Dec 2008 

  5. O’Connell-Goyette marriage, 9 Apr 1915, arranged by date, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, New York, American-Canadian Genealogy Society (index), New England Historic Genealogical Society, 25 Jun 2010 

  6. Mary O’Connell – Herring burial, St. Paul’s Catholic Cemetery, New York, American-Canadian Genealogy Society (index), New England Historic Genealogical Society, 25 Jun 2010 

  7. John O’Connell household, 1920 U.S. Census, Rensselear County, New York, population schedule, town of Nassau, enumeration district 16, supervisor’s district 10, sheet 3, dwelling 64, family 64, National Archives, ( 31 Jul 2010. 

  8. John O’Connell burial, St. Paul’s Catholic Cemetery, New York, American-Canadian Genealogy Society (index), New England Historic Genealogical Society, 25 Jun 2010 



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