Alice...where are you?

Since Alice Foley is said to be "Miss Alice Foley" in the marriage citation, I have to assume that she was not married before. She would have been 39 years old at the time of her marriage.

When looking at census information we must take it all with a grain of salt. Enumerators notoriously made errors. We also need to look at alternative name spellings, the neighbors surrounding a family, similar surnames of families in the area, occupations and anything that might point us in the right direction.

I once found a marriage in Pennsylvania to an elusive Purdy family by noticing a neighbor who had a daughter that fit the name and age of the person I was seeking. Eventually I was able to find a marriage record.

So where was Alice in 1880 prior to her marriage? There is one Alice Foley of the right age, living in a San Francisco asylum and she is noted as "idiotic". Very doubtful. Another Alice, slightly older living with her sister Ann Brisbon in Shieldsville, MN....again doubtful. An Elyce Foley living in New York City, working at Bellevue Hospital...but she is noted as a widow. Not having much luck in 1880, I turned to 1900 to see if I could find Charles McCarthy with a wife Alice and two daughters. Again....little luck. I also tried a Charles McCarthy with a wife Mary....maybe her name was Mary Alice? No one seems to fit.
So I then turned my attention to another Charles McCarthy living in Southold. He was born circa 1860 in New York, parents born Ireland. I can't help but think that he is somehow related to Alice's husband Charles McCarthy. Is this her stepson? He is of an age where he could be a son of Alice's husband by a previous marriage.

For those of you who may be new to genealogical research, this certainly shows how the pieces can get added to the puzzle, but we must now add additional questions to our research. As you can see it's a never ending quest.

So let's summarize what we know so far:

Alice Foley McCarthy was born circa 1844
She married Charles McCarthy on 20 Sep 1883 in Southold, NY
She was from Brooklyn, NY at the time of her marriage.
She gave birth to two daughters, Mary c. 1885 and Annie c. 1887
She was widowed before 1910 and living on Shelter Island, NY
She died on 2 Jul 1920 probably at her daughter Mary's 133 Central Ave., Greenport, NY
She is buried in St. Agnes Cemetery, Greenport, NY
Daughter Mary married Gustave Lellman and they had 6 children by 1918. Gustave died in 1917.
Daughter Annie married Alfred Huggler, unknown children.

While looking for Alice and her daughters, I came across some newspaper articles relating to Mary's husband. He appears to have died accidentally in January 1917.

 Unfortunately even though Gustave survived the accident itself, he died shortly thereafter on January 22, 1917. And we now also know that probably unbeknownst to Mary she was pregnant at the time of his death, as Margaret was born 8-9 months later.

Did anybody pick up on a descrepancy from these newspaper articles? We'll dicuss that when I return from Atlanta in a few days. And we'll dig out the New York State censuses for 1892 and 1905 and continue our quest for Alice and her husband.

Alice...where are you?

And I will also tell you about my latest DNA match....who happens to be a Foley!

Posted November 16, 2011

St. Agnes Church and Cemetery, Greenport, NY

Having grown up on Long Island myself, I have been to Greenport, which is located near the very eastern end of the northern fork of Long Island. A pretty little town with a long history of shipping, trade and taking advantage of the bounty of the sea. Founded in 1640 by Barnabas Horton whose granddaughter Phoebe Horton married Daniel Purdy around 1705.

But I'm getting off the track here and I only mention that because my husband is related to the Purdy clan. See:

Remember that little note for Mary Lellman "buried in St. Agnes cemetery" that someone added to her name in the 1920 census? The results of that tiny hint were enormous. The person that posted that reference is the same one who posted the pictures of their graves on the  Findagrave website . This added much more information on Alice Foley McCarthy and her family, but also added many more pieces to the puzzle. Alice is buried there along with her daughters, their husbands and her grandchildren:

Also buried here are Alice's daughter's husbands....Gustave Lellman (1884-1917); Alfred Huggler (1880-1962)

And the names, birth and death years of 4 of her grandchildren:

Charles L Lellman (1907 - 1977)
Alice Gertrude Lellmann Barnes (1909 - 1932)
Gustave Edward Lellmann (1912 - 1989)
Virginia Lellmann Wells (1916 - 2006)

But where are the other two children, Caroline and Margaret?

We find Gustave and Mary Lellman in the 1910 census with two children, Charles and Alice. This also tells us that Gustave and Mary were married sometime around 1907.

Source: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 19, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1041; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1096; Image: 709; FHL Number: 1375054. Living at 26(?) Second Ave., New York, NY

This confirms Mary's husband's name as Gustive/Gustave. Now, let's  look at the 1930 censuses. And we now see that Mary McCarthy Lellman married again to a "E. Frank Griffing".

Source: 1930; Census Place: Greenport, Suffolk, New York; Roll: 1652; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 126; Image: 298.0. Living at 547 Third St., Greenport, NY

In trying to determine the whereabouts of the missing children of Mary who are not buried in St. Agnes' , the 1930 census tells us that Margaret is still alive but we find nothing yet on Caroline who was age 8 in the 1920 census. It is possible that she was already married. But I find no "Carolines" of the right age in the area.

There are also some McCarthys and Foleys buried here that might lead us to Alice's family and her husband.

I then remembered an information database from Long Island - part of which is on and another part is found at the Suffolk County Historic Newspapers site. My hunch was right and I found Alice's marriage record....or at least the newspaper article pertaining to it. In fact I found two resources!

The fact that she was married by a priest whose name was the Rev. R. S. Foley may also help us in determining her parentage, as it may  be that she was related to him.  I am somewhat familiar with this Father Foley....he is Richard S. Foley (1850-1907) and he built St. Agnes Church, Greenport in 1883. I do know that he was born in Ireland and that his mother's name was Catherine. Catherine was born circa 1810-1815. In 1900 Richard is living in Brooklyn, NY (where Alice is said to be from in the marriage notice); in 1880 he is in Southold with his mother, a niece, Katie b. c. 1861, and a nephew, James, b. c. 1863. So we know he had at least one brother. Tomorrow we'll look further into Richard Foley's family and see if we can find Alice in 1900 and possibly 1880, as well as look further into finding daughter Caroline. And what happened to Gustave Lellman...he died so young?

To be continued.....

Posted November 14, 2011


Finding sources for documenting an individual is the backbone of genealogical research.  Sources are usually either considered "Primary" or "Secondary".

Primary records are usually those created shortly after an event by someone having personal knowledge of the event. A birth or death certificate would fall into this category. Aunt Jane's letter to your father may tell you about a birth date or death date but my own research tells me to be cautious in documenting this as a primary source. Primary records are obviously the preferred sources for establishing historical facts.

Secondary records are generally compiled from a primary source or written from memory long after the event....such as Aunt Jane's letter. Sometimes we may need to rely on these sources if no primary resource is available.

We then need to cite these sources to our individual in order to have a documented record. Your sources must be written so that anyone can retrieve the same data bringing credibility and traceability to your family history.

There are so many "closet" genealogists today who think that just by posting information about an individual gives it credibility.

Here's an example of poor documentation. It shows a marriage date of 19 Jan 1869 in Salem, Massachusetts (which may be correct) but doesn't tell us where they got the information from. The second image shows a Loretta Foley Metscher's death documentation via the posting of the obit, and where the obit was found.  It only takes a few extra seconds to add this information and I just wish more people would take the time to better document their information.

Now, the above Loretta Foley also happens to be one of the women I am looking at who possibly could be my birth mother. Why is she a candidate? Based on my non-identifying information she fulfills some of the clues:

1. She is of the right birth mother was 16 yrs. old at my birth.
2. My non-id info states that my birth mother was Methodist. I believe Loretta was of the Methodist faith as her son Richard was confirmed in a  Methodist church.
3. She was born in Queens County, NY and certainly within easy distance of where I was born in Brooklyn, Kings County, NY.

The only reason why she is not on my priority list, is that her mother was Irish. My non-identifying information shows my birth mother's ancestry as "American/Polish". My DNA profile confirms the Polish link, but this could be through my birth father who was 17 at the time of my birth and whose ancestry is said to be Polish. But I continue to leave no stone unturned.

Back to Alice Foley McCarthy.

Let’s look at her daughter Mary and see what additional information we can get about this family.

The 1920 census gave me a little surprise in that Alice was still alive in April, 1920 and daughter Mary was a young widow with 6 children. I guess probate in the 1920's moved along much faster than it does today!

Alice Foley McCarthy - 1920;Census Place: Southold, Suffolk, New York; Roll: T625_1268; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 153; Image: 516. Living at 133 Central Ave., Greenport, NY

This gives us the approximate age of Mary, born circa 1885, and we can guess by the age of her youngest child that her husband must have died sometime between January 1917-April 1920. Mary's daughter Margaret is shown here as being born Oct 1917, so he had to be alive 9 months prior to her birth.

One other interesting thing on this census is that it shows Alice as not being able to read or write. My guess is that she was just getting too old and her eyesight was poor. Her age here is four years off of the 1910 census revising her possible birth years to 1844-1848.

Notice on the initial record page for this census the top under Mary's name are two corrections. This is where's platform can be most helpful in finding more clues. One of the names has a link, the other does not. The one that does not have a link just means that the person who initially put this update to Mary no longer is an subscriber. The one with the link is still a member and when we click on that link this is what we find out:

"Mary Lellmann rather than Mary Sillaman
The family name is Lellmann. This on their tombstones at St Agnes cem in Greenport LI NY.
Submitted by  jstrasse on 3/13/2011"

Now we've found out where Mary is buried, and also, there is someone who at least recognizes this family. 

Isn't technology wonderful?

Time to start traipsing through least virtually.

Posted November 13, 2011