Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Proper Genealogy Post....Part Three

Continuing on with the O'Brien/Roche Family.

We know that Mary Roche O'Brien died on 22 Feb 1913.
Her husband Maurice out lived her by 15 years, dying on 19 Jan 1928.

In the 1920 census Maurice was living with his daughter, Catherine O'Brien Bowman(my great grandmother), Catherine's husband Frank Bowman(my great grandfather)and their 4 children--Francis Jr.(my grandfather), Mary, John and Margaret.

NY state has their own census schedule which is done every 10 years, at the midpoint after the Federal census done at the beginning of every decade.(ie, 1905, 1915, 1925, etc.)
Catherine O'Brien Bowman and Frank Bowman, Sr. evidently moved between 1920 and 1925 because they show up in the 1925 NY state census living in New Windsor, NY.
In that census, Maurice is no longer living with them.

Evidently Maurice was left behind in Connecticut when the O'Brien/Bowman family moved to NY state.

We know that Maurice was living in Middletown, CT when he died in 1928.  Seeing he had no means of support then(he was approx. 78 years), and I was told he died in Middletown, CT, that probably means he was living at the Connecticut Asylum for the Insane.
That hospital is now known as Connecticut Valley Hospital.

Back in the early part of the 20th century it was common for the elderly to end up in an Asylum or an Almshouse(Poor House).  With no visible means of support and failing mental faculties(dementia, hardening of the arteries, Alzheimer's before it had a name) the state took in these old folks who were no longer able to care for/support themselves(long before the days of company retirement pensions)or had no family to take care of them.  These elderly were housed at the asylum along with those who were truly mentally insane.  It must have been a very depressing existence and a sad end to his life.

Maurice was lucky in that once he passed away, his family came to claim his body and bury him next to his wife in the St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Ansonia, CT.

Almost 1,700 indigent who died at the CT asylum in Middletown were buried on the grounds there, many without even a marker/headstone.  If they were lucky enough to have a marker for their final resting place it didn't even have a name on it, just a number. 

The graveyard at CT State Hospital.  Photo by Larry Brownstone from the "Birding Blog".
You can read about this graveyard HERE.

With the stigma surrounding mental illness back then families didn't want it known that their loved ones had been institutionalized in mental facilities.  Remember that back then mental illness was still thought to be a purely hereditary condition and would bring shame upon the family if it became known in society.

Now let's talk about Catherine O'Brien's husband, Francis Foster Bowman, Sr.
Frank was born 19 Sep 1884 in Newburgh, NY, the son of James M.(probably Michael)Bowman and Mary Elizabeth Foster Bowman.

Putting together the family that Frank Bowman, Sr. was born into has been problematic. 
I have Frank's birth and death information from both his Social Security Index info and his headstone/memorial is on Find A Grave so I have the exact dates for him.

He is found living with both parents as the only child in 1900 census schedule but by the 1910 census he is married and no longer living with his birth family.  So finding the rest of his siblings has been piece meal work.

Frank's father, James M. Bowman, is 14 years and still living with his parents in the 1880 census.

In 1910 a James M. Bowman is found living with his son's family--a William Bowman, wife Ida and their son William, Jr.  This James' birthdate and place match my James' plus this household is also living in Ansonia, CT, the town were James' son Frank Bowman and Catherine O'Brien are living.
Yet I have no census information that puts William AND Frank Bowman in the same birth household. 

It's coincidental evidence and parallels that place people with the same name in proximity to one another.
Notice that James says he is still married, not widowed in 1910.

I then found another person's family tree with my Bowman families on it and they had a Richard, listed as the son of James M. Bowman and Mary Foster on it.

Then I found an obituary for a Richard Bowman who died in 1957 near Poughkeepsie, NY.  That obit lists he had surviving siblings, a sister Mary(married name Maroney) and 2 brothers-Frank and Gary of Little Britain, NY.
My great grandparents lived in Little Britain at the time of my great grandmother's death(Catherine O'Brien Bowman).  My great grandfather was named Frank and he had a brother named James Garrett(who went by Garrett) and "Gary" can be a nickname for Garrett, so this Richard is definitely a brother of my great grandfather Frank.

Plus the obit gave me a sister, Mary who I had no clue Frank, Sr. had either.

In 1910 census Mary Foster Bowman, the wife of James Bowman is living in New Windsor, NY, with her 2 sons, James Garrett and Richard. Richard at 16 is still in school but James Garrett is working but the record is illegible for his occupation.  Mary however is listed as head of the house, married and working at a diary farm.  She also states that she is the mother of 5 children and all 5 are living.  At this point I have Frank, James Garrett, Richard, Mary and William as her children so it's safe to say I have all the James & Mary Bowman kids accounted for on my tree now so I'll stop looking for more.  8-)

In 1920 census Mary is again living as head of house with her sons Richard and James Garrett, James' wife, Catherine and a granddaughter, Clara.
Mary now owns a farm(says general farm not dairy farm)and there is a mortgage on it.  Richard is working on their farm but James Garrett works for the NYS Highway Dept. as an engineer.

At this point using Mary Foster Bowman's info I was able to pull up a NY state census from 1915 and found the daughter, Mary E. living in the household with her mother and her siblings, Richard and James Garrett.  So that confirmed the information that there was a sister.

Next I had to find what happened to Mary E. Bowman.  Since she married a guy named Maroney I started looking around this part of NY for Catholic cemeteries for folks named Maroney buried in them.
This led me to some family trees back on Ancestry and then to the first name of Mary Bowman's husband-Clarence.  This was found on a family tree of someone who is the grandson of Clarence's brother, Henry Thomas Maroney.  I emailed him  and confirmed what I have documented but he isn't much help with this line of Maroneys going forward from Clarence and Mary Bowman Maroney's family.

I finally did make head way after just some dumb luck and guessing and poking around online.  Clarence and Mary Maroney had one son, listed as Leo in one census and then James L. in another census, but no official documentation after 1940 when they were living in New Windsor, NY(Orange Co.)
Then I found a telephone directory listing for 1990 in Newburgh, NY for James Moroney(spelled with an o, not an a) and another for 2002 for same person in Washingtonville, NY(still Orange Co.).

Finally I pulled up this from a website for motorized sports professionals HERE.

This is my James Leo Moroney/Maroney, my first cousin 1 x removed.....

And here is his son, Patrick, my second cousin 1 x removed.  He is 1 year older than me....

And here is Pat's son, Jimmy, my third cousin with his GF.......

They own/run a family business, the link to which is HERE.
When I read this part....."He rode a 1927 30/50 Indian over the pastures of his father's dairy farm and old country roads which are now part of the runway for Stewart International Airport at Newburgh.", I KNEW I had the right person!

So now I am at a crossroads--do I email Pat through the business or do I try to find his home address and send him a letter saying, "You don't know me, BUT we are related......"?

It's not like I want a warm close personal relationship with him but I would like to get into contact as I have so little family anymore and my father's family is mostly a mystery to me.  Maybe he can shed some light on more family facts.
 I just hope he doesn't think I am some weird creepy woman.  ;-)





  1. I would contact him, prefacing your information with the fact you are a genealogist who is related. Of course, I had one person threaten me with telephone harassment after he gave me his son's number. Another just hung up and the third argued with me. I am a cousin to all three, so I was not just fishing.

    Even the fact my grandfather died of TB in 1939 was shameful. My 17-yr-old aunt committed suicide when she contracted it. So, suicide and TB were shameful. My grandmother died in 1963 of Alzheimers before it was named.

    All you have found is so interesting.

  2. So you're saying you want to be someone OTHER than a weird creepy lady?? I say Be yourself! ;) Go ahead and send him a note. What can it hurt?!

  3. I agree he'll either say oh that's interesting or say get lost!! What have you to lose.

  4. I agree too. We found my DH's aunt - twin to his father - via a letter that we sent to a BBC Radio programme.
    I also found a whole host of my mother's distant family via an entry in a book that I was helping to re-write/update during my working life. That has been so wonderful as I am now regarded as family and invited to family reunions even organising it one year this side of the pond. Also at our very first meeting - not even having photos to go on - my DH said I don't know if this (spotting a person coming across the hotel carpark) is the person we are to meet but if not she's your mother walking!

    Go for it they can only ignore you if they are not interested.

  5. Hello, I found this during my search on the O'brien clan. I find this very interesting as my great grandparents are Frank and Catherine. My grandfather William was there son. ( also known as Sonny)He was close with Jim as well as my father Larry. I dont know how this web page works, but hoping I can find my way back! My name is Kelli Bowman by the way. Thank you for writing this and for information I knew nothing of.

  6. Ive tried to comment on this a few times. Not sure I get how to use this site!! LOL I came across this blog from a search on the O'brien clan. As Frank and Catherine are my great grandparents. Their son William (also known as Sonny) is my grandfather. Im trying to research his side of my family and find this helpful. Thank you! Also we know the Maronys and my father and grandfather were close with Jim and family. I am Kelli Bowman. Im interested in finding out more of our family.

    1. Kelli, Send me an so we can connect.


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