This is for all those on the Facebook group – Ryans and Roches of Commonealine, County Tipperary.

The file is too big for Facebook. Click on the picture and you will see the chart and then zoom in. I only include information to my parents’ generation, because of privacy.

Descendants of Michael Roche and Mary Wallace

Descendants of Michael Roche and Mary Wallace

This may not be up to date, it’s the one I posted when I started the blog:
Family Group Sheet Ryan Roche

Check out the other posts in this blog – I have other information on the Ryans and the Roches.

It’s been a long time since my last post. Beacon is celebrating its 100th birthday and I am on the centennial committee. For the last two weeks I’ve been working with other volunteers from the Beacon Historical Society setting up our Centennial Exhibit.

I do check records from time to time and this weekend Irish Origins had a free look at Irish directories. I figured I would take a look – again. You never know if something new has been added.

As usual, I put in the family names, Ahern, Colbert, Keating, Whelan. Luckily the site checks for variations of the name. This is what I saw for Whelan – could one of these be a relative?

Search results for James Whelan in Irish Origins

Search results for James Whelan in Irish Origins. Click to see larger view.

I checked the first one and had success.

James Whelan, grocer, Bansha

James Whalan, Bansha    The * means that he was a grocer, not a spirit dealer.

My grandfather’s father was James Whelan and he had a shop in the village of Bansha in County Tipperary. The family lived in an apartment above the store. I don’t know exactly what he sold, whether he had a general grocery store or if he just sold one type of food product, but now I know that he did not sell spirits.

The funny thing is that my grandfather told his children that the store  had a sign over it that said “Whelan”, but his brother Tom Phelan said the sign was “Phelan”. Phelan and Whelan were interchangeable in Ireland and my family used both names. When they came to the U. S. most of them chose Phelan, my grandfather was the only one who used Whelan. As my mother would say, it was pronounced “Wheeeeeelan”.

James Whelan died on January 31, 1881, so it’s just luck that he is in this directory. The information for the directory was probably collected before 1881.

As it turns out, these directories are also on FindmyPast.com. I have a subscription to that. I find the results easier to read, but I found it easier to search on Irish Origins. One more reason to check multiple sites, but not a good enough reason to sign up for yet anther genealogy subscription.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas Past

Bessie Shanley O’Hara and Annie Shanley Whelan

Colbert Christmas tree – 1939 at 525 West 182nd Street.


Grandma and Grandpa's tree

Grandma and Grandpa’s tree

The Invermark

My father’s family moved a lot. They lived in different types of houses, old tenements, old wood frame house, basement apartment, apartments with no indoor plumbing, but in 1938 they settled down.

They moved to 525 West 182nd Street – The Invermark. Here is a picture of the building and the floor plan from Apartment Houses of the Metropolis which can be found in the New York Public Library and on their website. Click on the picture and you can zoom and look at it more closely. Which apartment did the Colberts live in?

The Invermark, northeast corne... Digital ID: 465689. New York Public Library

In 1901 New York city passed a new law regulating tenements. They had to have bathrooms inside each apartment and they had more light and ventilation. Builders started designing the new buildings which came to be called “New Law” Tenements. These were often built on multiple lots or on corner lots. Often they were given names. One of these was the Invermark, built on the corner of West 182nd Street and Audubon Avenue.

They advertised that they had telephone service, but the Colberts didn’t have one in 1940. I’m  not sure when they finally got a telephone.

The Colberts moved in around 1938 or 1939. In 1940 they paid $42.00 a month rent.

Not long after they moved in Uncle Joe acquired a camera and starting taking pictures, so we have a good idea of what the apartment looked like when the Colberts lived there, almost 30 years after it was built.

Uncle Jackie looking out the window of 525 West 182nd Street.

The family had a lot of gatherings there and Uncle Joe documented them. Here’s one of my father on Christmas Day, 1939.

My father has a little fun before Christmas dinner is cooked.

Grandpa in the kitchen. “A candid shot.” snapped by Joe Colbert

Uncle Mike

The relatives came over too.

Front: Larry, Jane, Joan Colbert, Jim Rogers
Back: Peggy Rutan, Aunt Addie, Aunt Elsie, Bernadette Rutan and Josephine Wunderlich

The Invermark wasn’t far from Highbridge Park.

Frances and Larry at Highbridge Park.

Joan and Jack Colbert swimming at Highbridge Park.

No, it’s not a typo. On November 7, 1918, the country celebrated the end of the World War.

The Evening World, November 07, 1918, Final Edition. Library of Congress, Chronicling America

My father had a great memory. One story he told was about being a very young child and watching, in amazement, as his parents went crazy. His mother ran out of the house, leaving the door open, and his father kissed his mother on the stoop.  In later years he realized it had to be the day the war ended.

Larry and Joe Colbert. Taken around Spring 1918.

I figured it would be easy enough to find out how the people of New York City reacted to the end of the war. After all, I knew the date – November 11, 1918 was Armistice Day.

But I was wrong. The celebrations took place on November 7th – all because the United Press Association reported the armistice had been signed, when it hadn’t.

The Evening World, November 07, 1918, Final Edition. Library of Congress, Chronicling America

The papers knew pretty quickly that the story was false. New York Tribune, November 8, 1918 Library of Congress, Chronicling America

Everyone knew the armistice would be signed soon. On November 11th, the country celebrated again and this time it really was over. No wonder my father remembered the day so well.

Grandpa was a Teamster

My father used to talk about how his father, William Colbert, drove a coal wagon pulled by a team of big work horses. Grandpa worked for Burns Brothers Coal Company at their place on the Hudson River and 135th Street. When he finished his route he would stop by the  house to pick up my father and my Uncle Joe who were pretty young at the time. They would go back to the stable and help him unhitch the horses and feed and groom them.

Coal wagon – 1918 – Did Grandpa drive a truck like this?
From Library of Congress

My great grandfather, John Colbert, was also a teamster. He worked for his brother in law, George Grossman. From what I can tell, they not only delivered coal, but supplied horses and drivers for a variety of heavy work. A few years after George died his wife closed the business and sold all the equipment. The advertisement gives an idea of the kind of equipment they had. I suspect that my grandfather worked for the  George Grossman Company too until it closed.

Horses and equipment are sold. Note the double harnesses and all the different types of coal trucks.

My grandfather loved the horses and the way they could pull a heavy load of coal up the steep hills of upper Manhattan. He was not happy when his employer Burns Brothers Coal Company decided to convert to motorized trucks. The story is that he told them to call him when they came to their senses and brought the horses back. Needless to say, they never did.

Grandpa was not a very big man. When he registered for the draft in 1942 he gave his height as 5′ 7″.  He would have been dwarfed by the work horses he drove.

Grandpa around the time he was driving the coal truck – pulled by work horses. The two little boys are Larry and Joe. Imagine them helping with the horses.

Yesterday, I went to the Dutchess County Fair to see some draft horses for myself. No wonder Grandpa loved them. They are huge, beautiful, and powerful. It’s hard to tell from a picture just how big they are. Seeing them up close and watching them I realized why grandpa loved the horses and why he had such confidence that the team he drove could and would pull anything.

Waiting for the competition.

The team is ready for competition.

Two Belgian work horse harnessed to pull a heavy load in competition.

Unfortunately for Grandpa, Burns Brothers started to buy motorized trucks as early as 1913 and by the 1920s the horses were gone.

Ancestry now has a lot of new New York State records.They are supposed to be free, but if you don’t have an Ancestry account it’s best to go directly to the special website address – Ancestry New York.


  • 1940 U.S. Federal Census, NY NEW!

  • NY State Census, 1915 NEW!

  • NY State Census, 1925 NEW!

  • NY State Census, 1892 NEW!

  • Albany, New York State Census, 1915

  • Menands, New York, Albany Rural Cemetery Burial Cards, 1791-2011

  • New York Marriages, 1600-1784

  • New York Military Equipment Claims, War of 1812

  • New York, Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1830-1920

  • New York, Town Clerks’ Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War, ca 1861-1865

  • New York, World War I Veterans’ Service Data, 1913-1919

  • New York, WWII Enlisted Men Cards, 1940-1945 NEW!

  • Salina, New York, Records, 1805-1969

  • U.S. Census Mortality Schedules, New York, 1850-1880

  • U.S. Census Non-Population Schedules, New York, 1850-1880

  • U.S. Federal Census – 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes

Of course, I had already found many of those records the old fashioned way. I went to the New York Public Library, got the microfilm, cranked the wheel until I found the record and then tried to take a decent picture.

This way is much better and easier.

I’m going to post the census records for my parents’ families. Neither of my parents was born in 1915, but their parents were married. My father’s oldest brother was a baby. There were four kids in my mother’s family in 1915.

1915 Census


The Colberts in 1915 at 85 Old Broadway. Uncle Joe was only 120 days old. My grandfather’s brother Jim was living with them.

1925 Census


The Colberts and Ryans both lived at 112 Lawrence Street in 1925. Uncle Jackie was a month old. Naturalization information for Lawrence Ryan is wrong. He  became a citizen in 1888.

1915 Census


My mother’s family. They lived at 390 Columbus Avenue. Note the name is spelled Whalen. Aunt Bessie (Elizabeth Shanley) is living with them, she married a few years later.

1925 Census


They are living at 35 Douglass Street. They rented out two apartments and lived in the third. The whole family is there. Of course, there is a mistake. James Whelan was naturalized in 1898, not 1900.