Sunday, January 03, 2010


I don't have many pictures or documents from my Mom's Irish-American
family. But this particular document and Federal census records helped
give me a bit of insight into the Mcfarland family history here in America.
It's a deed from my granduncle Frank ceding his rights to my grandmother
Agnes (McFarland) White to a building at 946 Parker St in the Jamaica
Plain section of Boston,Ma. It had been owned by their mother Anna
(Kelley)McFarland and this deed was one of the last stages of the family's
presence on Parker St that spanned almost forty years.

The earliest record I've found of the family being there is the 1910 census.
Ten years earlier they'd been recorded as living on Albert St. But in 1910
my great grandparents and eight of their children were residents of 950
Parker St, not 946. Oldest son Michael apparently was already out living
on his own.Great grandfather John McFarland was an employee of the
City of Boston and with that pay and doubtless contributions from his
children who were old enough to work, he had gotten a mortgage to
purchase 950 Parker St.

There were quite a few changes by 1920. The 950 Parker St address
had been sold outside the family. Son Michael and his family were renting
at 948 while son Robert and his family rented the adjoining 946. Only the
four daughters were still living with my greatgrandparents, who now
lived at 942 Parker upon which they were paying a mortgage.

Still more changes took place over the next ten years, the most important
being the death of my greatgrandfather John in 1924. The 942 Parker St.
house had been sold and the 950 Parker St repurchased and valued at
$2,800. Greatgrandmother Anna lived there with her youngest daughter
Winifred. The next youngest daughter my grandaunt Peggy had married
Leo McCue and they apparently rented a floor at 950 for $15/month.
Michael and his family were still at 946, paying $21/month rent, and
Robert was still in the other part of the building $12/month, although
both families were enumerated as living at the 946 address.

Based on the deed from my Granduncle Frank to my Grandmother, it looks
as though my greatgrandparents were also the owners of the 946-948
addresses and rented them out to their children and their families.
Eventually all of them would move out on their own, perhaps financed by
their inheritance when Anna McFarland passed away in 1945. I've no
idea what my grandmother Aggie did with her share of 946. Perhaps she
used it to help her own chiildren buy the house on Beach St in Malden
where my Uncle Ed and his family lived on the first floor and we lived on
the second floor.

Nothing remains of the houses the McFarlands once owned and lived in
on Parker St today. In their place stands the Bromley-Heath Playground.

Written for the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture.

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