Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mary Nolan Gagan (1865-1935)

I am in the midst of documenting two more members of the family tree, Mary Nolan Gagan and her husband John William Gagan.   Each project is a work in progress- am still seeking documents and further evidence - but in the spirit of keeping my records in order, I am writing up what I have thus far right now.

Mary Nolan (b: 1865 - d: after 1930 and before 1940) was Ann(e) Hoey Nolan's oldest daughter.   From me to her is a trail of three other first born daughters - Sheila McCarthy Begg (b:1942-); Ann(e) (a) Theresa Hughes McCarthy (b: 1912-d:1984); Mary Ellen Gagan Hughes (b: 1889 - d: 1965).

This photo shows Mary holding my grandmother (Anne); sitting next to her grandmother (Anne Hoey) with her daughter, (Mary Ellen) standing behind the group.

Using answer to US Census takers, Mary's birth year is estimated to be 1865.   Her parents, John and Ann  Nolan are listed in the 1860 US Census as living in New York City (Ward 18, District 6) with Mary's brothers Maurice (Morris)(b: 1858- d: 1933) and Thomas(b:1860-d:1860(per family story).  I sought a birth certificate for Mary from the State of New York - asking them to search the district of Manhattan and none has been found.

There are numerous Mary Nolan's (ages 5 and 6) in the New York US Census, but none with parents named John and Ann(e.)  I am not yet certain if by 1870 the John Nolan family was in White Plains (as  my grandmother's narrative indicates) or not.  I've scrolled page by page through the White Plains Census twice and not found them - one hypothesis is they were in transition and not fully documented.   This has some plausabilty as it may be the summer of 1870 was just after the drowning of Mary's brother's Stephen and John.

Mary next hits the "grid" in 1880 - with her family in White Plains, New York.  She is listed as 15 years old and  "at home".  Also listed in this census entry is much of the Nolan family:
  • John Nolan: age 50; farm laborer
  • Ann: age 43; keeps house
  • Morris: age 22; farm laborer
  • Mary: age 15; at home
  • Ellen: age 12; at home
  • John Jr: age 9; at home
  • Catherine: age 8; at home
  • Nicholas F: age 5; at home
  • Margaret: age 3; at home
Mary marries in 1888 (if her answers on US Census returns are accurate). Her husband is John W. Gagan.  I have sent away to White Plains for a marriage certificate and have also contacted St Johns the Evangelist, White Plains, NY (founded 1868) the Catholic Church in White Plains at the time seeking a record of a marriage. 

The 1890 US Census is lost so there is again a 20 year gap before we find any possible record of Mary Nolan.  In 1900 she is living with her husband John W. Gagan and three of her children.  She tells the US Census take that her three children are also the only children she had (so like Ann, her mother, she clearly  had healthy and successful pregnancies.)

The John W. Gagan family in 1900 was living in Greenwich, Connecticut on Church Street. The family:
  • John W. Gagan: age 36  - a moulder at a foundry
  • Mary: age 34
  • Mary Ellen: age 11   (my great grandmother)
  • Anna: age: 5
  • Stephen: age: 3
In 1910, the family is in Rye, New York, on Locust Avenue and Irene has been born.  
  • John W. Gagan: age 46  - a moulder at a foundry
  • Mary: age 44
  • Mary Ellen: age 21   (my great grandmother)
  • Anna: age: 15
  • Stephen: age: 13
  • Irene: age 9
The 1915 New York State Census finds the family in a new home in Rye -- on Sound View Street - and Mary's younger brother John, her sister Margaret, and a servant from Austria living with them.   By this point, my grandmother has married and is no longer with the family.  At this point as well, Mary is a grandmother, as my grandmother Ann(e) (a) Theresa has been born.

By 1920, Mary's marriage to John has suffered a chasm; we know this from family stories and the US Census shows the couple living apart. Mary is found on Olivia Street, in Port Chester with her daughter Irene (age 18) and her sister Margaret.

Click here for map: These homes appear to be yards from each other - no census entry indicates home ownership so my assumption is the family rented and moved as size needs and expense fluctuated.

The 1925 New York State Census has not turned up the Gagan family yet - but I will keep searching.

In 1930, Mary is living with my grandmother, her eldest daughter, Mary Ellen Gagan Hughes, in Harrison, New York.  She is 63 years old and was likely a welcome help to her daughter with three girls in the house and according to Reet Hughes Beluk, her surviving granddaughter, a wonderful story teller.

Mary Nolan Gagan passed away on July 17, 1935.

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