Sunday, January 18, 2009


As frequent readers of this blog know, I've been very fortunate in
researching my father's side of the family. Even though I have a
brickwall in my 3x great-grandfather John Cutter West, I've found
a great deal of information on the families of the women who've
married into the West line. It's in my mother's Irish-American line
that I have found very little about the family. Family tradition
says her mother's family came from Roscommon but beyond that
I know very little.

I know the key here has to be my Mom's grandfathers, Edward J.
White and John McFarland. I have copies of the Federal Census
pages they appear on from 1900 through 1930 which lists their
occupations and both had worked for the City of Boston at different
times. Edward's Irish nationality is in question for me at the moment
since his father's place of birth is listed as Boston on one census but
Ireland on the others. My hope is that there are city employment
records for that period and that if Edward and John are on them, there
might be information on their place of birth and their parents names. I
need to find out where such records might be archived.

A second possible source of information might be the records of the
entity that constructed the Boston elevated railway in the late 1900's.
Family tradition says John McFarland was one of the laborers. Does
the present day Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority have
any records on those first employees?

I hope to get into Boston to the main branch public library to search
for both John and Edward's obituaries. And now that the Archdiocese
of Boston's Archives have reopened, I need to go about calling for an
appointment to search for any church records on John and Edward's
family that they might have.

So there are my keys. Hopefully I'll be able to find them and open the
door to my Irish families.

Written for the 11th Edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture.

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