The Start of my Climb, Dennis O’Connell

In December of 2003, I found the obituary of my paternal great-grandfather, Dennis O’Connell. Dennis was born in NY and died in Thorold, Alberta, Canada (1950). His obituary listed his living relatives in NY and stated that his body would be returned to Hudson Falls, NY for burial. At this time, I got on the internet to get a list of cemeteries in that area so I could call them. Of course, I never got around to making any of those calls. I could not figure out how to really make that call. “Can you tell me if my dead relatives are buried there.” Anyhow, I had narrowed this list down because I knew that Dennis was divorced so he could not have been buried in the Catholic cemeteries. From here I did nothing with this information for many years.

Now it is Aug. 7, 2008 and I went to the Newberry Library with my sister-in-law to kick-start my research yet again. I found a folio of Washington County, Town of Kingston. This folio is a transcription of all the local Cemeteries. I believed that I had found Dennis and maybe his father as well. There are 6 O’Connell’s buried in the same area of St Paul’s Cemetery.

On Aug 8, I called St Paul’s and spoke with Dorothy, who did confirm that this is the Dennis I was looking for. She confirmed this by giving me Dennis’ wife name. I was so excited that I actually cried. She told me once I calmed down, she would give me all the info she had. This information did include that John O’Connell buried there as well is his father. This was confirmed through his wife’s name, Bridget Curran. Dorothy did find it odd that my Irish ancestor’s are buried in their French cemetery. I did tell her we believe that Bridget is of French decent, but have no proof at this point.

I did find it odd that Bridget was not buried here with her husband.

For me,  this was a huge find. Though, the one thing I learned is do not go with what you know to be right. Because this was the one cemetery I would never have called. It is a Catholic Cemetery. Again, Dennis and Rose were divorced! I will need to find proof of this though.



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  1. Are your O’Connells from Massachusetts? Anddo you know of a Johanna who married William Regan?

    1. Gene, Thanks for reading. At this point, my O’Connell’s are stuck in NY, unfortunately, I have not been able to get back any further yet. I do not have any information on Johanna. Sorry.

  2. It’s not necessarily the divorce that is the problem, it’s if one remarries while divorced but without a Catholic annulment. If his family was having him buried in the cemetery, they would have to provide proof of baptism in the Catholic church, but probably not a whole lot more…

    1. Interesting, Carol. Its funny that the cemetery did not tell me that when I asked them about it. Thanks for sharing the information, I really appreciate it.

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