Archive for the ‘Crowley Side’ Category

Brady Cousins Found!

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

After the passing of our Mom and Dad, my sister was left with the task of going through their papers.  One of the goals we had was for her to try and track down the results of the work my folks did when they went to Ireland back in the late 1980s.  Mom was trying to gather enough documentation to prove either of her grandparents (Big Tim Crowley and Teresa Brady) had been born in Ireland.  Only by showing that she was no more than 2 generations removed could she meet the legal requirements for someone to own land in Ireland.  That was a goal my folks had.  It took almost their entire trip (I hesitate to call it a vacation) but they found the church where Mom’s grandmother had been baptised.  That enabled them to obtain her birth certificate.

My sister, Mary, found it!


Having this enabled me to show definitively that one Emma O’Gara and her mother, Genevieve Carr, are great nieces of Teresa Brady!  I’ve sent them a copy of the birth certificate and they confirm the names, dates, and places and that “our” Teresa Brady is “their” Teresa Brady!

Emma had a baby boy 3 weeks ago, so it may take a while for her to get enough free time to answer all the questions we have.  In the meantime, I’ve asked the Crowley Cousins for any stories related to them by their parents about Teresa.  Emma and Mrs Carr are as curious about Teresa in the US as we are about her in Ireland.

Im hoping this will be the beginning of a robust correspondence between us.  Perhaps even a couple of the other cousins will take part.  That would be wonderful.

Where In the World is Ken Clark?

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Well, a lot has happened over the summer — I didnt bother to write about it, my apologies for that.  Before I try to update everything that has gone on, I want to write about something I just learned last week.

Aunt Lois (my Mom’s aunt, my great aunt) is 80 years old.  She is not in good health.  She is of perfectly sound mind, however, and is proving to be a great resource in my research.  During a recent visit to her, she told me about her brother, Ken, the movie star.

Yes, movie star.

Ken Clark

Ken Clark was in about 50 movie and TV episodes in a career that spanned 5 different decades, from the 50s to the 90s.  In 1956, he won roles in three Robert D Webb movies, On the Threshold of Space, The Proud Ones, and Love Me Tender, yes THAT Love Me Tender, with Elvis!  However, the most well-known of his roles is probably that of Stewpot in South Pacific.   

That was his busiest year and after that, work seems to have gotten harder to find.  He did a lot of TV episode work, “Death Valley Days,” “The Thin Man,” “Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre,” “Highway Patrol” to name a few.  But the movie roles didnt seem to be coming.

As the 50s came to a close, the major movie studios began to change their production model.  They stopped signing actors to exclusive contracts.  Thus, Ken, as well as a host of others, lost his contract with 20th Century Fox.  In between the growing list of TV appearances, he made a couple of low budget science fiction movies, (the now classic) Attack of the Giant Leeches and 12 to the Moon.
Ken Clark in 12 to the Moon

Ken Clark in Attack of the Giant Leeches

But, movie stardom did not seem to be in the offing – at least not in the US.  So, around 1961 Ken packed up and moved to Italy.  It was there his career took off.

But I dont want to delve too much into his career.  most of what I know is public record on various web sites like  What I learned from Aunt Lois is what, to me, makes this even more exciting: no one in Aunt Lois’ family ever had contact with Ken after 1960!  No call, no card, no note, no telegram, no nothing!

Aunt Lois would not tell me why, but it must have been something big — at least, big in the 1950s.  What else could keep someone from contacting their family for 40+ years?  Nothing when his parents divorced, nothing when his father died, nothing when his mother died, nothing when his other sister died.  Just nothing.  It must have been something emotional, not just a fight between a small town Ohio boy with a dream and his father over becoming an actor.

I have been trying to track Ken Clark down, but so far no luck.  I contacted the Screen Actors Guild and they do have a record of him but they have no contact information.

If anyone out there knows of a way I can try to contact Ken Clark, please let me know.

Aunt Eleanor Almost Didn’t Come Back

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

In the early morning hours of September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland.  At 11:15 AM on September 3, 1939, England declared war on Germany.  In between those two world-changing events, something happened that went unnoticed by almost everyone in the world: the SS Athenia left Liverpool, England and sailed for Montreal, Canada.

The Athenia had departed Glasgow, Scotland a day earlier, stopping at Belfast, Ireland and Liverpool to pick up more passengers.  One of those passengers was Eleanor Crowley.  Eleanor had been married to Daniel Crowley for less than 10 months and was in England to fulfill family obligations around the death of her aunt.  She had managed to work in a visit or two to see other relatives — with the impending war she didnt know when, or if, she would see them again — but now it was time to head home and be reunited with her new husband.  News of the invasion of Poland had certainly caused him some concern for her safety.

SS Athenia Underway

By the evening of September 3, the ship was about 250 miles northwest of the island of Inishtrahull, Ireland.  Word had reached them of the declaration of war and the mood was somber.  At about 4:30 that evening, the Athenia was spotted by a German U-boat, U-30.  The captain of the U-boat, Fritz-Julius Lemp tracked the ship for three hours.  He recorded that the ship was sailing without its lights on and sailing in a zig-zag course.  Based on these factors, plus the location – which was outside typical shipping lanes – Lemp concluded the ship was a troop carrier.  Lemp fired two torpedoes at the Athenia.  One struck home.

The torpedo ruptured the bulkhead between the engine room and the boiler room.  The engines stopped immediately as icy ocean water poured in through the enormous hole.  The Athenia was dead in the water and began to list.  The radioman began to broadcast SOS messages giving their location and situation.  Several nearby ships altered course to help.  The crew began to load passengers onto the life boats, but it was not an orderly process.  Panic gripped the ship, passengers and crew alike.  They had no idea if there were more torpedoes to come; how long the ship would remain afloat; or even if there would be enough lifeboats for everyone.  About 50 people had been killed by the explosion and many more were injured.  Later, reports were filed by some passengers that members of the crew were looting cabins after they ordered the people to the lifeboats.

Aunt Eleanor was put in a lifeboat along with about 50 other people.  But even that did not go smoothly.  One man fell out of the lifeboat and hit the water next to Aunt Eleanor.  She reached over and grabbed hold of him but she was not strong enough to lift him back into the boat.  Afraid that she might lose her grip, or worse, get pulled in too, she screamed for help.  Even as the men near her reached out to help she clenched her fists tighter so as not to let him slip away.  Finally, he was in the boat and she relaxed her grip.  They both survived, but unfortunately, Aunt Eleanor’s nails did not.  She had gripped so hard into his clothes that her nails were broken!

Their lifeboat drifted near the hulk of the Athenia for a couple of hours until a Norwegian tanker, the MS Knute Nelson, arrived and transferred the passengers aboard. 

SS Athenia Sinking

The Athenia sank about 14 hours after being struck by the torpedo.  The Knute Nelson picked up a total of 450 survivors and dropped them off in Galway, Ireland.

Uncle Dan did not learn Aunt Eleanor’s fate until a list of survivors was published on September 6.  I can not even imagine how long those three days were for him.

Aunt Eleanor finally made it back to the US on September 27 aboard the SS Orizaba.  She had lost everything except the clothes she wore, but she survived.

Timothy Crowley and Theresa Brady

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

In going through some of Mom’s things, Mary came across these pictures of Timothy Crowley, my great grandfather.

The first is of him taken on his wedding day, April 24, 1913.
Timothy J Crowley, Sr

This one was taken years later, obviously, and shows him in his police uniform.  I don’t know yet what the numbers on the uniform mean.  I am hoping the Providence Police can help me with that.
Tim Crowley in uniform

This is his wedding photo, with Theresa Brady, and was given to me by Mom’s cousin Ann Marie.
Theresa Brady and Timothy Crowley

The Crowley Side

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

I know it seems that I’ve been ignoring this branch of the Tree.  I’ve made some progress on my maternal grandmother’s side (Saucier and Pichette), but virtually no progress on my maternal grandfather’s side (Crowley and Brady).  This is mainly due to my great-grandparents having come to this country from Ireland in the early 1900s and me having no way to trace them back beyond that point.

All I had to go on were things my mom had told me and a few random things I remembered from when I was very, very young.  Obviously, my mother’s memory would be no use – after all, her affliction with Alzheimer’s is what prompted me to start this project in the first place.  In other words, there wasn’t a lot.

I had hoped that some of the things my parents had found during their trip to Ireland would be useful, but we can’t find anything from that trip.  It may be buried in storage or it may have been packed by my sister, Suzanne, before she left to go back to South Dakota.  In any event, I recalled a few things from their trip, but not a lot, and, of course, any documents they had found are missing.

About all I know for sure is my great-grand parents were Timothy J Crowley and Theresa M Brady.  He was from County Cork and she was from County Roscommon.  I knew from the records on Ancestry that Timothy was born March 18, 1888 and I was guessing that Mary was born around 1886, perhaps 1887 or 89 – there were conflicting dates in the census records.  I also found evidence they came to this country in 1907.  I have what might be a ship’s manifest for each of them, but nothing definitive to tie the people on the manifest to me.  Lastly, I found a record of their marriage on April 23, 1913.  That was it, and that was what I recorded in my Tree on Ancestry.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email from a woman in Ireland named Aoife (pronounced Ee-fuh) who offered to do some on-site research.  Im guessing she got my email from, but I dont really care.  I took her offer to look into Timothy and Theresa for $20.  I didnt know what to expect, but $20 seemed like a fairly small risk. 

 So far, it has paid off better than I had hoped.

Aoife was able to find a record of the 1901 Census of County Roscommon that listed a Theresa Brady as the son of Martin Brady.  This matches the info on the ship’s register.  The census also listed Theresa’s aunt, brothers and sisters, and Martin’s father Patrick.  Amazingly, this matches a record of Patrick Brady Aoife found in the “Griffith’s Valuation” circa 1852.  No demographic details there, just a list of renters.

Quite a bit of progress, but still a long way to go.

In the meantime, I am still trying to get some info from my uncles on who their uncles’ wives were.  As I said, a long way to go.

Closest find yet

Friday, August 1st, 2008

I figured out how to export the family tree data from MyHeritage into what is known as a GEDCOM file.  Then I uploaded that file into  They have a similar function to the MyHeritage “SmartMatch.”  Using it, I found someone who seems to be decnded from Louis Pichette – Amable’s brother.  This Louis would have been a cousin to Godfrey Pichette.  So far, this is the closest relative I’ve found!

More updates to follow as I answer her response and we trade info.

A Little Break but Progress Back to 1600

Friday, July 18th, 2008

I know it’s been a bit since my last update but that is more a testimony to my laziness than to the amount of progress during the month.

I took a day and went to Rhode Island to stop in at the Archives.  I should have done a bit more homework because what I had been looking for were 5 marriage records.  I was only able to find 1 of them because the others were “too new” – having taken place fewer than 100 years ago.  Oh well.

Still, I found the marriage record of Godfroi Pichette and Genevieve Corneau.  These were the parents of Rosanna, as you recall.  Godfroi and Genevieve were married on February 13, 1888.  The record of their marriage lists their respective parents – and that was my target in heading down there.  Godfroi’s parents were Amable and Suzanne.  Genevieve’s parents were Narcisse and Marceline.

The reason this was so important is that it tied Godfroi to a genealogical history I had been sent by someone who had contacted my at  That file will let me trace this branch of the tree back to the early 1600s!!

 Mission accomplished!

Now, to continue work on the other branches.  Missions never end LOL

After I parse the file, I will be adding the people to the Family Tree on My Heritage.

What’s in a name?

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

OK, I found out who and what “Pichette” was – the maiden name of my great grandmother.  And, I found her parents – my great, great grandparents.  So now I am trying to find the parents of my great grandfather, Frank Saucier.  Typically, finding the parents of a male ancestor is easier because his name was the same before he was married as after.  There is no need to find some sort of reference that shows what he was called prior to the marriage like there is when trying to trace a female ancestor.

Not always.

I found Frank Saucier’s draft cards for both WW1 and WW2.  On both, he listed August 17, 1891 as his birthday.  On both, he listed Fall River, MA as his place of birth.  On both, he lists his occupation as “carpenter.”  So far, so good.  Information directly from the person is usually considered pretty reliable.

Knowing that Frank Saucier married Rosanna Pichette in 1912, I checked the 1910 Census for Frank Saucier figuring that was the last time he would have been living at home.  Maybe I could get his parents names.  In 1910 there was a Frank Saucier living with his parents and his brothers, John, Docithio, Henri, Alexander, and Philip.  Frank was the right age and listed his occupation as carpenter!  Yah! It worked! 

Except for one thing.  His father is listed as Isaac.



He is a carpenter too, and he is married to Matilda (which matches other birth records of Joseph and Henri Saucier) but those birth records show the father as Elzear(d) Saucier, not Isaac.

Keeping in mind that these records were taken by hand and in person (which means the accents of the speakers made a difference), I kept looking.

I found what I think is the same family in the 1900 census too.  Same kids, same ages, father listed as a “carpenter.”  And, again, the father named Isaac.  But THIS time, the mother was listed as “Julia.”  Well, not really.  That is what the person who typed it into the database typed.  The original seems to have an extra letter, but isnt clearly legible.  In any event, it clearly is NOT “Matilda.”

I am not going to be able to wade through this without a visit to the Massachusetts State Archives.  More on that after my visit.

Auntie Philly Teased Nana

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Aunty Philly used to tease Nana quite often using the word “pishette.”  I was unsure if this was a French word, an Italian word, a name, a swear, or what.  Every time Aunty Phillie said it Nana would laugh, but I could never get her to tell me what it was that was so funny.  It wasnt until much later that I figured it out.