• Ireland
  • Feb18

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    Tierney grave at Second Calvary Cemetery
    After unearthing my great-grandfather’s death certificate recently, I was finally able to track down* his grave at Calvary Cemetery in Queens.

    Good news for me was that I found four folks for the price of one! Both of my great-grandparents, Michael & Anna Tierney were there, as well as my grandfather’s brother Thomas.

    The nice surprise was finding Winifred Tierney as well, who passed when only 3 years old during the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic. Winifred was one of four children of my grandfather and his first wife Sabina Gilroy who, quite sadly passed away only a few months later from the same illness.

    (Update in 2012: After researching in the death certificates at the NYC Municipal Archives, I found that little Winifred actually died from Diptheria. Primary sources are your friend.)

    For those keeping track, little Winifred would be my half-Aunt, if there is such a thing as “halfness” in this situation.

    Winifred Tierney Death NoticeWe first saw mention of Winifred in a tree online that was compiled from an interview with her sister Sabina many years later. I found a listing for Winifred in a NYC death index and also a short notice for her in the NY Times obituaries. But, when I found the grave of my grandfather John Tierney and Sabina, I was surprised that Winifred was missing. It seemed odd since she died so near her mother.

    But, now we know she has been safely set with her grandparents all this time.

    *Please note the restraint I exhibited by not using the phrase “dig up”

  • Feb7

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    Woman sitting on a wall - Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

    Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

    One of my favorite photos, courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. Notes from their site:

    Taken by J. J. Clarke (1879-1961) of Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan while he was studying in Dublin [ca.1894-1904?]
    Physical Description: 1 photonegative : glass ; 13 x 10 cm.

    See it at the NLI site here.

  • Feb6

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    Going through some old albums today I found the entire TWA printed itinerary for the trip to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales that my sister and I took in 1981. Plus, my 1980s self wrote a detailed list of the location of every photo in the album. Woohoo! Thank you, me.

    And, in case anyone doubted my gift of eloquence, the album also contains photos of us kissing the Blarney Stone. A nice overview of the history of the stone can be found in this article at the Toronto Sun.

    Me kissing the Blarney Stone in 1981 

    Me kissing the Blarney Stone in 1981The hanging upside down and kissing a castle was later followed by an awesome pizza smothered in french fries on the ferry back from Ireland to England.


  • Jan27

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    John Tierney, School Photo Fragment, circa 1907

    Click for larger version

    This photo fragment appears to be a class photo of with grandfather John Tierney (born 1892 in New York.) He is the boy on the right side of the back row and if you look closely you can see a “J” written in pencil over his head.

    I’m left wondering if someone intentionally tossed the rest of this photo or if this was all that was salvageable.
    Early photos from the Tierney side of my family are few and far between.

    In fact this and another of my great-grandfather are one of only two that are pre-1910. We have perhaps a half-dozen more of my grandfather John in various work-related photos in the mid to late 1910s.

    The number of photos increases slightly after he married my grandmother but still not a great amount. So, I’ll take whatever I can get.

    Anyone out there have any good resources for analyzing old school photos or figuring out from whence they came? (Especially in New York City.) Let me know!

  • Jan21


    Shushing Saint at Holy Cross Church in Manhattan
    Shhh! Today we are in Holy Cross Church on 42nd Street in Manhattan. It has been newly restored and I must say is a jewel of a place. The church was founded in 1852 to accommodate the influx of Irish Catholics in the neighborhood and expanded as the area population grew, eventually to include a school and convent on nearby streets.

    The building in place now is the second incarnation which replaced the lightning damaged and unstable original structure in 1868. According the the church’s web site, it is the oldest building on 42nd Street from river to river.

    Holy Cross is perhaps most commonly known as the pulpit of Reverend Francis P. Duffy, the highly decorated Chaplain of the 69th Regiment’s “Fighting Irish” in World War I.

    Mary Egan & John Tierney Marriage Certificate

    My grandparents' marriage certificate

    However, the reason I visited Holy Cross was a more personal one: almost 92 years ago, on June 1, 1919 my grandparents John Tierney and Mary Egan were married here.

    As a native New Yorker, I can’t imagine how many times I walked near this church or any number of other locations in the city without the slightest idea that something of familial significance occurred there.

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