Saturday, November 20, 2010

Breakthrough! John Horgan wasn't a ghost...NY State census, 1905

I have written before about my difficulties with tracking my 3rd great grandfather John Horgan from the time of his arrival in New York from Ireland in 1871 until his death in 1908. The guy was a complete ghost. I was beginning to think he might be a spy of some sort.

Well, the patience and perseverence have finally paid off.

There are so many records available online nowadays that sometimes we forget that not everything is online. It's getting to that point, that's for sure, but websites like Ancestry and FamilySearch are constantly not only adding new databases but adding to the ones that already exist. You have to constantly check databases you may have already checked. Just because it didn't pan out before, doesn't mean it won't pan out now. The repetition can be excrutiatingly dull at times. But it's worth it.

On a whim, I decided to check today and see when the New York State censuses were last updated, and the 1905 census had been added to just last week. Including records for people living in Manhattan. Within five minutes, I had found John Horgan. What had been so difficult for ages was suddenly so simple. Unfortunately, the 1905 census is not super informative, and whoever was the census taker in this district made a ton of mistakes in his record taking, but here's what it says:

At 627 East 16th Street in 1905 we have living, amongst other families:

Michael Gorry, head, 38, born in the U.S., metal polisher
Mary Gorry, daughter, 35, born in U.S., sales lady
Hannah Gorry, daughter, 32, born in U.S., underwear business (sounds scandalous!)
Elmer Gorry, daughter, 9, born in U.S., school
Fred, son, 13, born in U.S., school
John Horgin, head, 70, born in Ireland, citizen
Mary E. Gorry, sister, 32, born in U.S., pencil worker

Jeez, this thing is all over the place. So, Michael, Mary, and Hannah were the siblings of my 2nd great grandfather, James Gorry, who died in 1897. Obviously, then, Mary and Hannah are not Michael's "daughters" as this states. Elmer Gorry is my great grandfather, and a male, so also obviously not Michael's daughter. He was Michael, Mary, and Hannah's nephew. Fred is new to me. Elmer was the only surviving child of James, and Michael, Mary, and Hannah were all single, so he might be worth looking into. John Horgin (had a feeling his last name might be mispelled) is listed as a citizen. There are so many mistakes here that this might also be a mistake, but it might not, and is worth looking into. Mary E. Gorry is not his sister, but his daughter, the sister-in-law of Michael, Mary, and Hannah, as well as the mother of Elmer. What this entry also does, by way of information that is *not* there, is narrow the time frame for when John's wife and Mary's mother, Julia, died. Since she's not listed here, I assume (although this is not always the case) that she is already dead. Which narrows her window of death from Mary's birth in 1873 to John's death in 1908, to 1873-1905. Not a lot narrower, but every bit helps.

This find has invigorated me. I can't wait to see what else I turn up.

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