Thursday, December 22, 2016

Manus Ferry (abt 1834-1883)

Manus Ferry was the husband of my great grandfather's sister Margaret McFadden (abt 1842-1905). I have not found much about him but today I received his death record from the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio. 

 The final entry on this image concerns Manas (sic). There are Italian terms so I used a list of common Italian words to try to figure out what it said.

12 Julio    Manas (?) Ferry (?) sepolture  est (?) (?) Wellston, 58 annos (?) (?) (?) Co. Donegal.
12 July     Manas (?) Ferry was buried (?) (?) Wellston (Ohio). 58 years (?) (?) (?) County Donegal (Ireland)

It looks like it mentions a village or town before County Donegal where Manas was born, but after looking at maps and searching online, I have not found anything to what is written above. 

While this does give me a more specific date range to search for other death records, such as an obituary or notice in the local newspaper, it brings up several more questions.  

Manas is listed as being buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Pine Grove, Ohio though it has his age as 52 instead of 58. Wellston which is listed in the death record is about an hour away from Pine Grove. I'm guessing he died in Wellston but for some reason was buried in Pine Grove. If I can figure out some of those other words are, perhaps it will clear things up a little.

 St. Mary's Cemetery

Transcribed by



aged 52y

My next task is to locate a newspaper from the Pine Grove area of Ohio and hopefully find an obituary. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New McFadden mystery: Charles McFadden

Margaret McFadden (abt 1840-1905) listed the family members in her statement to her parents (Edward (abt 1804-1887) and Alice Collum  (abt 1804-1886) McFadden) application for John McFadden’s (abt 1842-1863) Civil War pension application that they had another brother, Charles (?-?), that I was unaware of. 

Margaret McFadden applicant, sister of John McFadden, late (?) Co. K, 36th Reg, Ohio 2. Deceased. That she has lived near her father since I was married over 12 years. I am his only daughter (applicants). There was three of my brothers, Charles, John & Dennis (abt. 1847-1924). Charles went to Utah before the war of 1861 – not heard from him for over 12 years & we suppose he is dead. Dennis is living but away from home since before the war of 1861 and did not since contribute any support to father and mother. John was a good boy & man to provide for and help father and mother, he contributed to their support by his labor and earnings before the war and lived with them until he enlisted into the service which he was killed.

Alice Collum McFadden, John’s mother stated essentially the same thing. The one thing she added was that Charles was in the army when he left.

…Dennis, John and Margaret; (?) Charles left before the late rebellion, went to Utah, I have not heard from him since he left when he was with army going to Utah. I suppose him dead…

 So far I have not found anything to indicate if Charles enlisted or if any Ohio units went to Utah before 1861. I have also not found any leads on a Charles McFadden in Utah during and after the Civil War. Right now, this is the only mention of him I have found and I am not sure of the best way to proceed. Unfortunately, this pension file also mentions that the McFadden’s house burned and with it pictures and letters from John and likely information on the rest of the family.

Compiled service record, John McFadden, Pvt., Co. K, 36th Reg, Ohio 2; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sadness of a thin letter

I have been trying to find additional information on Edward McFadden (abt 1804-abt 1887) and Alice Collum (abt 1804-1886) my maternal great great grandparents. In the 1860 and 1870 census they are living in Vinton County, Ohio. Both were born in Ireland and according to their son John’s Civil War pension application they were married there before immigrating.

My great grandfather Dennis McFadden (abt. 1874-1924) and my grandmother Ruth McFadden Webb (1905-1984) were practicing Catholics, so I believe that Edward and Alice were as well. I wrote to the Diocese of Columbus Catholic Record Society so that they could search their records for the McFaddens.

I was hoping for at least a death or burial record but unfortunately they were not able to find anything on this McFadden family. When I went to the mailbox and saw the very thin envelope, I knew that they hadn't found anything.

Not sure what my next step will be, but I am finding it difficult to get any of my ancestors back to Europe.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dennis Mcfadden 1865-1886: The Missing Years

About three or four years ago I submitted a request to the NARA for my great grandfather Dennis Cornelius McFadden’s (1847-1924) Civil War pension application file. A couple of months later I received a reply stating that they did not have the file.
Next I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Veterans Administration for the pension file. A little later I received a reply that they did not have it at their location and would forward the request to another office. A while after that I received another letter saying the same thing, and then again.
I had given up hope of getting the file but then one day almost three years later it showed up in my mailbox. I was thrilled to finally have it and it has helped fill in a few gaps
Shortly after turning 18 Dennis enlisted in the United States Army in Portsmouth, Ohio on 18 July 1863.[1]  He was paid $25.00 out of a promised total of $100.00 for joining the army. He served as a private in the First Ohio Heavy Artillery, Company E.[2]  Between 14 December 1863 until February 1864 Dennis was absent with leave.[3]  His military pension file does not address this absence so it’s still a mystery[4].
Dennis mustered out of the army on 25 July 1865 at Knoxville, Tennessee.  It is currently unknown where he went and what he did immediately after the war.  According to the Declaration for Pension[5] after his service he moved to Vinton County, Ohio. Then in 1867 he moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania and remained there up to 1900.

The next time Dennis appears in the public record is 1 February 1886 in his Application and Statement of Marriage to Lizzie (Elizabeth) Neuland.  At this time both are residents of Coal Center, Washington County, Pennsylvania.[6]
So far I have been unable to locate Dennis after leaving the service and up to his marriage in 1886. I have sent a research request for the Catholic diocese for the area and am hoping they will have something in their files concerning Dennis. After that, I hopefully will be able to visit Vinton County, Ohio and Washington County, Pennsylvania and do some research there.

[1] Compiled service record, Dennis McFadden, Pvt., Co. E, Ohio First Heavy Artillery; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Dennis C. McFadden (Pvt., Co. E, 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery., Civil War) pension no. X.C. 956,627, certificate no. 1095,474; service of Dennis McFadden; Case Files of Pension Applications…, 1905-1949; Civil War Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[5] Dennis C. McFadden Civil War Pension no. X.C. 956,627, NA-Washington.
[6] “Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950” index and images, Family Search ( : accessed 8 February 2013), Dennis McFadden and Lizzie Newland, 1886.