Archive for the ‘Ryan’ Category


1465 Amsterdam Avenue The Colberts lived here (1905-1908) and the Ryans lived across the street at 1456 (1907)

Last week I posted a link to Forgotten New York’s Manhattanville webpage. I thought I would point out some Ryan-Colbert connections on that page.

As my niece Kate said in her comment, we took a grand tour of  Manhattanville – twice. The second time my son, Joe, came along. I was surprised at how many of the old buildings were still around. My father grew up in Manhattanville and a few years before he died, my niece Becky videotaped him telling the stories of his childhood (and he could tell a story). They proved very helpful on our tour.

If you scroll down the Manhattanville link, you will see two yellow sigsn – Manhattan Street and Lawrence Street. Those are the old names for West 125th and West 126th Street and still in  use when my father lived there. The Ryans lived at 11 Manhattan Street at one time and later lived at 88 and 112 Lawrence Street; 88 still stands, but 112 was torn down years ago and is now the site of the police station.

Scroll down further until you see the picture of St. Joseph’s Church – Great Aunts Maggie and Addie were married here.

There’s also a picture of West 126th Street – Manhattanville was in a valley and a separate village. Even today you know you’re in a different section of New York because Manhattan and Lawrence Streets are at an angle – they cut right across the standard New York grid.

The Speyer School was a few doors down from my father’s house and St. Mary’s – directly across the street – looks much the same as it did, except the old orphanage that so fascinated my father and his brother Joe is gone. Now there’s just a sign that says “Sheltering Arms Playground”, but in the 1920s the orphans played there and Larry and Joe would watch them and even climb the wall to play with them – until the orphanage built a high brick wall to keep out the neighborhood kids.

Next is a sign for Old Broadway – this was a short stretch of the old Bloomingdale Road that was kept when the road was widened and named Broadway. My father was born at 85 which is long gone. Today, at the end of West 126th you will see a block of Old Broadway to the left – and a short stretch to the right leading to the housing complex. Old Broadway picks up again for a couple of blocks at the other side of the housing.

You’ll have to scroll down quite a bit to get to the next Colbert connection – a rather shabby three story house on West 131st Street with what appears to be the remnants of a fuel sign. Mary Colbert Grossman, my grandfather’s aunt, purchased this house in 1890. Two years later, she purchased several more lots – she (not her husband) owned 614-622 West 131st Street. Her husband, George, had a trucking business which was housed in the stables at 614-618.  These buildings will all be torn down for the Columbia University expansion.

Manhattanville is in a valley; my father always remarked on the trolleys going up these steep hills.

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The Ryans

I’ve been working on the Ryan section of the book for the past couple of weeks. I have a bit of a to do list for the next time I go to the Municipal Archives. Now I’m trying to review and rewrite the narrative section of the book – the stories of Michael Roche and Mary Wallace and Lawrence Ryan and Johanna Roche. I hadn’t looked at my draft in a long time and it seems that the Roche-Wallace story is in pretty good shape, but the Ryan-Roche story – ugh – it’s really bad. I just wrote down some basic facts, I guess I was planning to do more and then just stopped. Fortunately, I have a lot of material around and am reviewing all of it. The Ryans moved to Manhattanville around 1890. It’s been interesting reading up on the changes in Manhattanvile during the period they lived there. Looking at the maps of the area, I can see how close they lived to schools, churches, and each other.

The Colberts also lived in Manhattanville – they moved there about the same time as the Ryans, so research for the Ryan section does double duty. I want to check out the addresses and see how close they were to each other. They would both have gone to Annunciation Church, and maybe even to the same schools. Josephine Ryan was a bit older than William Colbert, so they wouldn’t have been in the same class. Her sister Helen was the same age as his brother James; her brother Larry the same age as his sister May – so maybe they went to school together?? Who knows.

Church of the Annunciation - the new church built in 1907 - the old church was two blocks west.

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I didn’t get much done on the book or research this past week. I was working on a class for the Dutchess County Genealogical Society (DCGS) on Immigration and Naturalization. Since I used so many family examples, I thought I would edit the slides for a family version:

Immigration and Naturalization Slides Family version

This Saturday I’ll be at the Hudson Valley Family Fest at the Dutchess Stadium with others from the DCGS.

Next week – back on track – I hope. I plan to work on the Ryan family and revise their story, then go through pictures and illustrations for the book.


I changed the title of this post since I keep getting spam asking me questions about naturalization proceedings

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This week I didn’t get too far on the book or the background research. I was busy preparing for the class on Immigration and Naturalization that I will be teaching for the Dutchess County Genealogical Society in about a week. It’s been interesting preparing and I did get to review a lot of my records. After reviewing the passenger list again, I am pretty certain I found the ship on which Johanna Ryan and her 3 children arrived, with her mother. It’s not an exact match – that happens so often in genealogy. You would think it would be easy to find a woman traveling with three young children, but no, the names of two of the children are wrong, but their ages are right. Instead of Margaret, Michael, and Mary, it’s Mary, Michael, and Pat. Oh well.

I did get some more information on Aunt Addie’s family, but I’m still missing details of 7 of her children – she had 13.

I’m still trying to figure out how to set up this blog, I keep trying new themes.

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Summer Weather

It’s been hot and muggy all week, and my house is not air-conditioned. I tend to slack off the genealogy this time of year, but I am determined to stay on track with this book.

I’ve decided to make the project more manageable by breaking the book down into four sections: Colbert, Ryan, Whelan, and Shanley/Ahern. For some reason I started with Ryan. I’ve been going through my records on Roots Magic and checking Ancestry and writing relatives to make sure I have accurate and complete information. I have a long way to go. Larry Ryan and Johanna Roche had 10 children and 5 of those children had children. Maggie had 6 or 7 children; Mamie had 3; Josephine 6, Addie 13, and Peter, 1. That’s a lot of people to track.

I’m also filling in the blanks on Johanna’s sister Ellen Durney. I found her great-grandchildren and they provided an update on that branch of the family.

I plan to update this blog periodically with a progress report on the book. And while I’m at it, I might as well report on my garden – which is what usually distracts me from genealogy. It’s growing – with the rain and the heat the flowers are growing like crazy – the peonies here and gone, the roses in bloom – luckily they bloom all summer long.

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