Tag Archive for Moran

John Alexander Moran, age 15

John Alexander Moran, 6 September 1934 — 14 March 2013

My father at age 15.

I believe this photo was taken in the Gatineaus. My grandfather worked for the Gatineau Power Company; and for at least a couple of years, when my dad was a teenager, the family lived in company housing in the Gatineau region. “But how did you get to school?” I once asked my father (I knew he had gone to school in Ottawa, at St. Patrick’s College [which was a high school, btw]).  “Oh, I got there,” he replied. “But how?” I persisted. My dad claimed he used to hitchhike.

John Alexander Moran, age 15

John Alexander Moran, age 15

The romance of my father’s childhood: the strictness of the adults (parents, priests, and various other guardians and caretakers), combined with the freedom they accorded him (‘you hitchhiked to school?!’). As a child, I was fascinated by this apparently paradoxical mixture of repression and liberty (which was typical of a working-class Irish Catholic upbringing in the 1930s and 1940s, I’m pretty sure): the strictness sounded like something from another era, but so too did the freedom. And my father’s memories of his childhood, as recounted by him to me and my sisters, are now a part of the memories of my own childhood.

When it comes to family history research, I’m all about evidence-based standards of genealogy (exhaustive searches; careful assessment of sources; accurate citation; and so on and so forth). But it’s the romance of the family stories that led me to the research in the first place.

Family ties: how far back do they go?

When my paternal grandparents married in 1932, each was marrying into a familiar family. As I’ve mentioned before, my Moran ancestors and my Lahey ancestors have been linked by intermarriage since the middle of the 19th century. Not that my paternal grandparents were first, second, or even third cousins, as best I make out. But each had collateral ancestors who had married the other’s collateral ancestors, if that makes sense (and with collateral ancestry, things can stop making sense very quickly, which is one reason why I love my TNG database).

The first Lahey-Moran connection that I’ve discovered is not a marriage but a sponsorship. On 4 March 1832, my 3x-great-grandparents James Moran and Margaret Jamieson served as godparents to Elizabeth Lahey, born 16 August 1831, the daughter of Patrick Lahey and Elizabeth Wharton. Elizabeth Lahey was probably baptized at March township; the baptism was recorded in the register for Notre Dame, Bytown [Ottawa]. Her father Patrick was the brother of my 3x-great-grandfather James Lahey.

My paternal grandparents Allan Jerome Moran and Mary Catherine Lahey married at Ottawa on 25 May 1932, one hundred years after James Moran and Margaret Jamieson stood sponsor for Elizabeth Lahey. By Canadian standards, those family ties go back very far indeed!

NOTE: A note on baptismal sponsorship and familial relations.

If I’m looking at an Ottawa Valley area RC baptismal record from about the 1850s until about the day before yesterday, I’m going to assume that I should be looking for a blood connection between the baptized child and his or her godparents. And if I don’t readily find one, I’m going to assume that I should be looking harder. Not that I’ll always uncover one, of course, and not that such a blood connection will always exist. But for me, the presumption is always in favour of at least one of the two godparents as blood relation (aunt; uncle; cousin; etc.).

For the 1820s and 1830s, however, things look a little bit different.

In some of the early townships of Carleton County (e.g., Huntley township, where my Moran ancestors very peacefully settled; and March township, where my Lahey ancestors somewhat less than peacefully settled), Irish Catholics were very much in the minority (the same cannot be said of some of the later settlements of, say, Renfrew County, where Irish Catholics, if they did not actually form a numerical majority, certainly managed to achieve critical mass). For early Irish Catholics of the Bytown area, my sense is that strangers from very different parishes and counties of Ireland forged friendships and close ties (it helped to belong to the same New World parish, or perhaps mission, of course) which then led to marriages, and then intermarriages, which then led to close family connections. Well, that’s the story of my dad’s family, at any rate. Someone from Galway marries someone from Cavan in Upper Canada; and then someone’s sister from Tipperary marries (in Upper Canada) someone whose parents came from Galway and Cavan; and by the end of the 19th century, they’re all one big (if confusingly connected) family. Had these folks stayed in Ireland, they never would have married one another, because they never even would have met (originating from such very different Irish counties, after all). In Canada, they become close (if confusingly connected) family members.

Were there any blood ties between the Morans or the Jamiesons and the Laheys or the Whartons? I’ve yet to discover any. Both the Morans and the Laheys were Bytown area pioneers, and amongst the early Irish in the Ottawa Valley.



School Photo from…St. Malachy’s? St. Patrick’s?

This is a wonderful group photo, taken, I presume, on the steps of a school.

I only wish I knew which school.

My dad is in the second row, third from the left (here indicated with a blue arrow — which I’ve only inserted on a digital copy, of course! not on the original photo). He appears to have a lump on his forehead: perhaps as the result of a fight?

John Alexander Moran (1934-2013) in a group (presumably school) photo. Late 1940s?

John Alexander Moran (1934-2013) in a group (presumably school) photo. Late 1940s?

My father grew up in a working-class Irish and French neighbourhood of Ottawa (Mechanicsville). As children, my sisters and I used to thrill to his stories of “the street”: of street violence, and of street “smarts,” and of a seemingly anarchic, parental-free zone that we could only imagine in our dreams. To hear my dad tell the tale, apparently he and his classmates once threw an English teacher off the bridge into the Rideau Canal! (but did that really happen? er, I don’t know). Well, no doubt he embroidered and exaggerated for rhetorical effect: he always loved a good story. But of his ridiculously strict (by today’s standards) Catholic education, my dad was always dead serious and crystal clear: “We were but savages, and the priests meant to civilize us, and that was the only way out” (out of poverty, and mindless tribalism; and out of lace doilies on the arms of an ugly settee in a small, still, close room; and out of Mechanicsville).

The boy in the front row, second from the left, looks like a Lahey cousin with whom my father grew up, with whom he was especially close; but who knows?

My father attended St. Patrick’s College, Ottawa for secondary school (high school), from roughly 1947 or 1948 to 1952 or 1953 (I don’t have the exact dates, though I probably could, and perhaps should, figure this out). For the later years of his elementary education (grades 7 and 8?), he was at St. Malachy’s.

Did your father attend St. Pat’s, Ottawa? Or, perhaps, St. Malachy’s? Do you see him in this photograph?

UPDATE (6 August 2013): The boy in the front row, second from the left, is indeed the Lahey cousin (a son of Clifford Lahey and Stella McDonnell) with whom my father grew up. This cousin’s daughter is almost certain that this photo was taken in front of St. Pat’s, but is going to ask her father.

UPDATE (15 August 2013): The above photo was taken in front of St. Patrick’s, school year 1947-48.


James Fitzpatrick: Home Child

Found in the household of John Rowan and his wife Emma Hogan (Emily Julia Hogan, daughter of John Hogan and Marcella Moran) in the 1891 census of Huntley township (Lanark North, Ontario):

Jas. [James] Fitzpatrick, male, age 17, Dom. [Domestic], born England, father born England, mother born England, religion R.C. [Roman Catholic].

John Rowan Found in the household of John Rowan and his wife Emma Hogan in the 1891 census of Huntley township (Lanark North, Ontario): Jas [James] Fitzpatrick, male, age 17, Dom. [Domestic], born England, father born England, mother born England, religion R.C. [Roman Catholic].household, 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, Lanark North, Huntley, family no. 18, p. 4, lines 21-25, and p. 5, line 1.

John Rowan household, 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, Lanark North, Huntley, family no. 18, p. 4, lines 21-25, and p. 5, line 1.

This is quite possibly the James Fitzpatrick, listed as age 10 in 1884, who travelled on the SS Vancouver as a member of a party of Catholic Children, leaving Liverpool on 19 June 1884 and arriving at Quebec on 27 June 1884, with a final destination of Ottawa.

James Fitzpatrick is not found in the household of John Rowan and Emma Hogan in the 1901 census.




Parents of James Edward Sullivan?

James Edward Sullivan was born about 1866, apparently at or near Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, New York. He died in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 7 February 1931.

His Ontario civil death record records his birthplace as Potsdam, NY, and lists his parents as Jeremiah Sullivan, birthplace Ireland, and Ellen Sullivan, birthplace Ireland.1

At some point in his early life (childhood? adolescence? early adulthood?) James Edward Sullivan migrated west, to East Grand Forks, Polk Co., Minnesota. Here he met Anna (“Annie”) Moran, a daughter of Alexander Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy, and one of the six of their twelve children who moved from Huntley township, Carleton Co., Ontario to the Grand Forks area (Grand Forks, North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota) in the late 1870s to early 1890s. James Edward Sullivan and Annie Moran married in Polk County, Minnesota on 26 June 1894; and the first two of their five children (Henry Joseph Sullivan [1895-1952] and Charles Alexander Sullivan [1896-1949]) were born in Minnesota.

  1. Was Sullivan both her maiden name and her married name? or was it, as I suspect, only her married name?

John Vallely (1861-1935)

John Vallely was a son of Michael Vallely and Mary Ryan. He was born in Lanark Co., Ontario in 1861, and emigrated to Grand Forks, North Dakota about 1882. In 1889 he married another Canadian emigrant to North Dakota: Anna Lillian (“Lila”) Moran (1861-1915), daughter of Alexander Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy.

This photograph comes from Clement A. Lounsberry’s North Dakota History and People: Outlines of American History, vol. 3 (Chicago: The S.J. Clark Pub. Co., 1917), which I discovered through a google search.

John Vallely (1861-1935)

John Vallely (1861-1935)

Local, regional, and state histories will often provide useful biographical information about prominent (male) citizens, and will occasionally even supply a photograph. The biographical coverage of such histories is typically skewed toward businessmen, politicians, and other local worthies, and is therefore extremely unrepresentative of the area’s population as a whole (no labourers; no humble farmers; and almost no women).

Home Children: Open Secrets (Part 1)

“Could you look up Mary Hogan?” asked my dad’s cousin Aggie. “I think she may have been,” and this added sotto voce, as if, even after so many years, there might yet be something to hide, “a Home Girl.”1

A Home Girl?

At the time, I knew next to nothing about the Home Child movement, the child emigration scheme which saw over 100,000 children sent from Britain to Canada between 1869 and 1930. And yet, I must have already encountered the term somewhere, because the “Home Girl” designation immediately made some sort of sense to me. I imagined an orphan: an orphan from England? (though Hogan is an Irish surname, obviously, and from the description provided by my father and his cousin Aggie, Mary Hogan certainly sounded Irish).2

Well, I had heard of the “Barnado Boys,” of course. Indeed, I had no doubt first encountered the term as a young girl, when I avidly devoured Lucy Maud Montgomery’s series about Canada’s most beloved (though fictional!) orphan girl ever. As a childhood devotee of “Anne with an e,” I had read of Marilla Cuthbert drawing a line in the sand at the thought of a Barnardo Boy, or, in a phrase which captures the casual racism of the time, a “London street Arab.”3

My father and his cousin recalled Mary Hogan from their childhood as a somewhat elderly and somewhat eccentric fixture on the Burke family farm: not quite a blood relation, perhaps, but no mere “hired girl,” either, and “almost family” through affinity and through sheer length of tenure: apparently she had been with the Laheys and the Burkes since forever.

Well, since at least as far back as 1891, at any rate…

  1. Oral interview with Mary Frances Agnes O’Neill, January 2007.
  2. As I was later to learn, there was nothing unusual about “English” Home Children of Irish origin. In fact, Ottawa (more specifically, St. George’s Home on Wellington Street in Ottawa, now Holy Rosary Rectory) was one of the main receiving centres for Catholic children sent to Canada from Great Britain under the auspices of various English Catholic “protection societies,” which apparently set themselves up as Roman Catholic alternatives to the Protestant-centred Barnardo scheme. Many, probably most, of these Catholic children were of Irish background. For more on the Catholic Home Child movement, see  Frederick J. McEvoy, “‘These Treasured Children of God’: Catholic Child Immigration to Canada” (CCHA, Historical Studies, 65, 1999, 50-70).
  3. “‘At first Matthew suggested getting a Barnardo boy. But I said “no” flat to that. ‘They may be all right — I’m not saying they’re not, but no London street Arabs for me,’ I said. ‘Give me a native born at least. There’ll be a risk, no matter who we get. But I’ll feel easier in my mind and sleep sounder at nights if we get a born Canadian.'” Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, cap. 1