Posts Tagged ‘Whelan’

Family History Writing Challenge photo FHWC14-290p_zpse0310b87.jpg

I’m taking the challenge again this year – 3rd time. For the month of February I will work on the Colbert Whelan Family History book.

I know, I know, I’ve been working on this for 7 years!! I have a complete draft, but it needs work – a lot of work. I’ve edited and revised much of the Colbert section, so for this challenge month, I will edit and revise the Whelan section. The story will start in Bansha, County Tipperary, with my grandfather’s parents, James Whelan and Honora Keating.

The real challenge will be to complete each chapter – that means I must finish the index and citations too. I will post my progress from time to time, but let’s hope that the end of the month one chapter is compete. Then I will have to set up a plan to complete the rest of the book.


These pictures were taken in 1973 by my mother. She and Aunt Angela went to Ireland and visited Bansha and Ross.

Bansha - 1973

Bansha – 1973

Bansha Roman Catholic Church - Whelans were baptized here.
Bansha Roman Catholic Church – Whelans were baptized here.

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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.

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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.

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Why did I think the family had already moved to 212 Clinton Street? I have to go through my notes now. I thought that’s where my parents met. The story was that my cousin Peggy Anne was only 18 months old and she entertained my father by dancing the Irish jig for him. Hmm  – either Peggy Anne was older, or the Whelans were living at 63 Dean Street.

I found some new information

  • Uncle Vincent was in the CCC – I have to check with my cousins to see if they have any information on that.
  • My mother was a Dental Nurse and she made $572.00 in 1939.
  • My grandfather made $1300.00 in 1939
  • Aunt Nan only worked for 12 weeks as clerk for a magazine
  • Aunt Peggy was a Bottle Filler at an ink factory and made $626.00 in 1939.
  • Uncle Bill did Shellacking in a carton factory and made $624.00 in 1939.
  • The rent was $35.00 a month
  • The census also shows the education level for everyone. I knew my Grandmother went to the 6th level in Ireland, although I think it was more than 6 years of schooling – the U.S. Census probably couldn’t convert Irish school years to American. My Grandfather’s record shows “4”, so he probably went to the 4th level.
  • The Whelan children all went to different levels: Nan – 2 years of High School, Mom and Uncle Vincent – 1 year of High School; Uncle Bill – 8th grade and Aunt Peggy – 6th grade.
  • They lived at 63 Dean Street at least since 1935.
  • Mom had the longest work week – 48 hours
  • Aunt Nan was the only one unemployed in 1939 – for 16 weeks

Now I have to find the rest of the family – Aunt Angela was a nurse and probably living at  Cumberland Hospital – I think they had a dorm of some sort. Uncle Jimmy was probably in Maspeth.

The census taker spelled the name wrong - Whalen. Who gave him the information? He was supposed to mark the informant's record with an X - he didn't.

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My mother lived with her family at 212 Clinton Street, in Brooklyn. I’ve looked up the Enumeration District and it looks like it is 24-69. I’ll have to wait until Monday to know for sure.  The place to check is NARA 1940  Census. Other sites like Ancestry and Family Search won’t have it on the first day.

In 1940 my mother worked for Dr. Bonsole in Manhattan. What was her title? I hope to find out on Monday.

Fast forward to 2008:


Babsie knew a trick for pulling baby teeth that she learned back in 1940. In 2008 her great grandson asks for help - but his tooth was not loose enough.

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Will the computers crash? The experts say no – there are several sites that will have the 1940 Census and they are prepared to handle the crowd. We’ll find out.

I have a list of family members, but I still need to check addresses and enumeration districts – what am I waiting for? I guess I thought April 2nd was still weeks off. My to do list this week is to be ready on April 2nd.

The New York Public Library is planning to put the 1940 New York City Telephone Directory on line and link it to maps and the Steve Morse One Step site. This site makes it easy to find the enumeration districts throughout the U.S. by taking the Tutorial Quiz.

Of course, I really want to see the 1940 census indexed and that’s going to require a lot of volunteers. I’ve signed up, I just have to wait until the census is released before I can start indexing.

If you are interested in volunteering to index go to “The 1940 Census” site and sign up. There are more than 132,000,000 names – that’s a lot of names to search through. It will take 6 months or more to complete the indexing project. The more people who volunteer, the faster the 1940 Census will be indexed.

Were they counted? three Whelan cousins in August 1940

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On April 2, 2012, we will be able to see the 1940 U. S. Census.

My grandparents and my parents and the whole Colbert and Whelan gang should be there. My parents weren’t married yet, but they were dating – they met in 1939.

What did they say they did for a living? how much did they make in 1939? What was their education?

Who provided the information to the census taker? Grandma Whelan for the Whelan gang, I’ll bet. But who was home when the census taker came to the Colberts? Was Aunt Frances still in school or had she started working? What about Uncle Mike? Uncle Jackie and Aunt Joan were in school, I’m sure. Was my father already in Baltimore? Was Mom working as a dental hygienist? Will there be any surprises?

20 days to find out!!

June 1940 - That's my father and his cousins Bill and Jimmy Rogers - hope they filled out their census forms before they went to jail (at the New York World's Fair) - picture taken by Uncle Joe.

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