Monday, December 31, 2012

My Coffey Connection

This is the cover of Eddie Coffey's C/D "Jack of all Trades" from Newfoundland Canada.  We have several copies of his music in our family, in cassette form and C/D and even possibly a vinyl album version.  My mother told us as children, that he was a cousin of hers, who has done very well singing "Newfie Music". He is a Balladeer of Newfoundland History.

With my recent review of my Coffey Family Connection, I am interested in finding out exactly how we are related.  Here is a little Christmas Melody for you to enjoy!

Listening to Eddie Coffey always brings a smile to my mom's face.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Photo for a Family Story

In studying Genealogy, it is recommended to find supporting documentation to prove actual events of birth, marriage and death of family members. When documents are not available, the next best source is family history stories and notes.

Aunt Chris and Uncle Mike Bourke 1981
50th Wedding Anniversary
In 1985, my Great Aunt Chris ( Mary Christina Tobin Bourke) my grandmother Ellen Mary Tobin Flynn's sister, put together a type-written summary, entitled "History of the Tobin Family". Aunt Chris was 76 years old at the time she wrote this statement. In this summary, she listed her Great Grandparents along with their children on both her mother and father's side.  My mother, who loved family history had a copy of this account, which is now part of my genealogy file.  This information has been extremely helpful in my own personal research.

This is what Aunt Chris wrote regarding her Grandparents and her Great Grandparents on her mother's side.

"Grandfather Follett came from Clattice Harbour on the Western Shore.  He had a boat and freighted supplies from St John's to Cape Shore.  He married grandmother Ellen Coffey and lived with her parents ( James Coffey and Catherine McGrath) in Angel's Cove Newfoundland.  He had a brother William.  I don't know if there are any children left as 2 sons were drown in a big storm.  Grandfather never shaved nor smoked.  He didn't eat any butter or milk.  It was fish - smoked, dried and salted. He was never sick. At the age of 86, he got pneumonia and died within 2 weeks. They were married over 50 years.  His people came from Chantilly, North France."

James Follett b. 1842 and d. 1923, He was actually 81 yrs at when he died. ( Info found through NFLD Grand Banks Genealogy Site) Ellen Coffey Follett b.1843 d. unknown ( My 2nd Great Grandparents)

Their children - Elizabeth - 1871, Mary Bridget - 1874, ( My Great Grandmother), George - 1876, James - 1878, Margaret - 1881, Peter - 1883, John - 1886 and Hanna - 1895
James Follet and Ellen Coffey Follett
(family members not identified)
taken around 1898
The following information is taken from the publication " Our Cultural History" A short History of the Cape Shore Area, Editors: Ernestine Power, Bernadine Careen, Cathy Nash

"A family of Folletts also lived in Angel's Cove in it's earlier days.  James Follett from Clattice Harbour, commanded a schooner that traded on the Cape Shore, bringing provisions to the people and freighting their fish to St. John's.  he married Ellen Coffey and settled down in Angel's Cove.

They had 4 sons and 3 daughters.  Mr. Follett's sons were great seamen and in the early 1900's built their own schooner.  James Follet was considered one of the best captains in Newfoundland.  His wife Ellen was one of the most prominent midwives on the Cape Shore."

I  was very excited when I recently found the above photo of James Follett and Ellen Coffey Follett. I found it through, by way of the Hanlon2 Family Tree, a decedent from Ellen Coffey's brother David Coffey. Having this photo helps make Aunt Chris' story complete. It is possible that one of the two younger women could be my Great Grandmother Mary Bridget Follett, I will continue researching this possibility.

Some of this information I have shared in a previous entry "My Grandmother's Family". I feel it merits repeating, especially when you find "A Photo for a Family Story"!



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One Year in Time

This day marks the 1st Anniversary for my Flynn Family History Blog, I remember telling Aunt Agnes when I started the Blog one year ago, " I am not sure where this will go".

But after 64 Postings and 6,416 Views from people all over the world including countries such as, Sri Lanka, Chile, France, Russia, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Mongolia, United Kingdom, Germany, Costa Rica and of course Canada and the USA. I feel confident in saying "It is going well!"

There are some people listed as "Official Followers" of the Blog and others that just check in consistently from time to time. Many though, are those who come across "Flynn's Hill" by accident, by searching common words that are in the Title Entries, for example " The Newfoundland Dog" and "U.S Naval Air Base-Argentia" are extremely popular. The most viewed entry though is "I Dedicate my First Post to my Mother", which is the heart of my writing.

The most rewarding aspect of writing the Flynn Family History and putting it out on the Internet is being able to share the information with my relatives that I may not have ever had contact with. I have collected new stories and family members along the way.  It is amazing to be able to communicate with so many people from my laptop computer that sits on my desk, in the corner my kitchen, in the little town of Silver Lake, located in Southeastern Wisconsin, USA.

I started "Flynn's Hill" in attempt to preserve the stories told to me by my mother, so that they would be remembered and passed along to generations to come. Thank you for your interest and words of encouragement!

Me with my grand daughters, Avery and Mayce
 Summer 2012

To Vote in America

"Statue of Liberty" in New York Harbour
 photo from my mother's collection
 taken around 1950
Today!, in America, it is Election Day! All United States Citizens will cast their vote and then anxiously await the results, which will determine the path our country will take.  It has been a extremely long, grueling process to get to this day with many passionate people stating their concerns and beliefs for a better, stronger America.
 They say this is to be a "Historic Presidential Election".

Mary Bridget Flynn
taken 1951
My mother, Mary Bridget Flynn came to America in October, 1949 from Flynn's Hill in Harbour Main, Newfoundland to live with her mother's sister, her Aunt Agnes in Brooklyn, New York at the age of 20 years old.  After living in the U/S for six years and marrying an U/S citizen, my father LeRoy Otto Dollen, she became an U/S Citizen in 1955.  My mother worked for the U/S Navy Civil Service as a Legal Secretary for 33 years, she took her career very seriously and always strived to do her very best. She took her duty of voting serious as well and had great respect for the United States of America.  My mother understood that voting was her right, her privilege and her responsibility as a citizen of the United States of America!  
I have the opportunity to vote in America today, because this young woman had the courage and the strength to leave her home and her family to come to America.
I am proud to be her daughter!, I am proud to be an American!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Philip Martin Flynn

When Uncle Ray came to Wisconsin for a visit in March 2011, we reviewed the Flynn Family History.  He shared some stories I had never heard before, like the story of "Uncle Martin". Uncle Ray explained that he was told, Uncle Martin went off to WWI at a very young age (too young to really join) and never returned to Flynn's Hill.  It was not until many years after the war had ended that a letter came from New York City stating that he was living there now.       

I found this unlabeled photo in my mother's collection,  I believe this photo is of Uncle Martin, a young man in a military uniform who went off to war, in a family collection of  photos. Looking closely at his hat you will see an anchor symbol under a crown which would indicated the British Navy. Newfoundland was a Colony of England in the early 1900's.  

Philip Martin Flynn was born May 12th, 1900 in Harbour Main, Newfoundland. He was the 8th child born to Stephen Flynn Sr and Mary Ann Tubrett, making him my Great Uncle. He would of been about 15 - 18 years old during WWI. This young man in the photo looks to be around that age. There were only a few early photos, in my mother's collection and as stories are learned the fragments of that time period come together. I strongly feel that the story told by Uncle Ray is a match to this photo!

Several records found through show Philip Martin Flynn traveled back and forth from North Sydney, Nova Soctia, Canada  to New York, USA between Feb 1919 to Sept 1923 for work. His occupation is listed as Iron Worker and Laborer. The U.S Dept of Labor Memorandum (on the right) dated Sept 22, 1923  records his last permanent residence as Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and his destination as Franklin, New York, USA. Uncle Martin's older brother Patrick was living in Hamilton, Ontario from 1918 on, so that would make sense that he went to live with his brother after WWI and not return to Harbour Main.  The 1940's U.S Census shows Philip Martin living in Rockville Centre, Nassau County in Long Island, New York living as a lodger in the house of Leroy Baily on Sunrise Hwy. He is single at the time and his occupation was Laborer for the Village Water Dept.

Aunt Agnes holding daughter Denise, Great Uncle Martin, his daughter Mary,
his wife Mary and my Mother Mary

The above photo was taken in New York around 1956 during a visit to see Uncle Martin and his family by my mother and her sister.  Aunt Agnes helped to identify this photo of Uncle Martin, his daughter Mary and his wife Mary. I have not found any additional information on Uncle Martin's family.

This photo of Uncle Martin was taken July 13, 1993 by my second cousin Joe Flynn.  He sent a card with this photo to my mother Christmas 1993. Joe writes in the card, "I found Uncle Martin to be a pleasant old man full of stories of home".  
Philip Martin Flynn died January 19th, 1994, at 93 years old, in Uniondale, Nassau, New York.
My cousin Joe tape recorded his visit with Uncle Martin for his father, I hope one day, to hear that tape.



Friday, October 5, 2012

Memories of Uncle George

Me, Uncle George and his oldest son Wayne
taken abt 1966

My first memory of Uncle George would have to be sitting around the dinner table.  His presence was that of a "Gentle Giant", tall, towering, respected and sometimes intimidating.  He would insist that each food on your plate be tried and would notice if any had not. I remember "collard greens", especially ( they were not my favorite) Uncle George would persist until they were tried.  I would get so mad and refuse to eat them, stating  " I do not like them and I will not eat them".  Thinking back over this time, I am sure it was the reaction he was after the most, dinner would end with his chuckle. Although, Brenda his daughter once told me, "No, He was serious and he meant it!"

 I remember how he played the Violin and the Accordion, my mom told me Uncle George learned to play by listening. Aunt Agnes clarified he learned to play the accordion by ear, and took lessons to play the violin. I was always in awe when he played, I remember thinking "How does he know how to do that?"

 Uncle George would play and anyone listening would dance, especially my Aunts.  He loved to play and they loved to dance!

Uncle George was a Plumber by Trade, his father Stephen Jr was a Plumber also. Uncle George was a very hardworking man, owned his own business and taught at the local Technical School. It just so happened that I married a plumber as well. In July 2006 while at a Plumbing Convention in Las Vegas, NV, my husband was talking to a group of men who were from Newfoundland. Roger mentioned that my mother was from Newfoundland near St. John's. He then asked if any of them knew George Flynn? One gentlemen spoke up and said that he did, that George Flynn had been his instructor and that he was the best instructor he had ever had, saying with much respect.  Imagine being so many miles away from home and those two men would meet and know of George Flynn.

George Anthony Flynn was born October 16th, 1931 on Flynn's Hill in Harbour Main, NFLD, he was the third child born to Stephen Jr and Ellen Mary Tobin Flynn.  He married Hilda Williams and raised a family of 5 children, Wayne, Janet, Tony, Brenda and Dennis. He lived his entire life in Newfoundland and passed away October 8th, 2006, of Colon Cancer, 8 days before his 75th Birthday.  His son Wayne told me," He worked until the very end, it was just how he was".
Uncle George playing the Accordion and my Aunts dancing!
The month of October marks the Anniversary of Uncle George's Birth and his Death. I dedicate this post to "My Uncle George"



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Elizabeth Flynn

This is a photo of Elizabeth Flynn Morey with Roy Thomas Flynn taken abt 1930 while visiting her brother Patrick and his family in Hamilton, Ontario. I obtained this photo from Roy's Daughter Susan.  Elizabeth was my Grandfather Stephen's sister making her my Great Aunt.  She was the sixth child of Stephen Sr and Mary Ann Flynn.

Elizabeth was born Oct 23, 1892 in Harbour Main, Newfoundland. She left Flynn's Hill when she was 18 years old,  moving to New York City, USA around 1910 with her older sister Mary Ellen. An U.S. Naturalization Document found through shows her married to Robert John Morey in 1919 living in Boston, Mass. Robert was from Sandy Cove, NFLD

An U.S. Social Security Death Index found also through documents her death in Feb 1973 at the age of 81 years.

This is all the information I have found regarding my Great Aunt Betty. I remember the story Uncle Ray shared about when he was young and receiving barrels of clothing from his Aunt Mary and Aunt Betty from New York.

I am hoping this post will bring forth more information about Elizabeth Flynn Morey.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Louise (Lucy) McGrath Flynn

My Great Uncle, Patrick Flynn from Harbour Main, NFLD married Louise (Lucy) McGrath in March 1912 at the Immaculate Conception Church in Harbour Grace. Lucy was born in 1889 and was raised in Harbour Grace, a town 30 miles North of Harbour Main in Conception Bay.  On the Rt, is a photo of  Lucy's son Roy at the house Lucy was born in, during a visit  to Newfoundland years ago.

In 1918, Patrick and Lucy along with their two oldest children moved to Hamilton Ontario, probably for the prospect of better work opportunities.  Lucy was pregnant at the time of the move and gave birth en route to Ontairio while in Nova Scotia.

 Lucy's grand daughter Susan states she has not found very much information about the McGrath Family, she knows her grandmother did have alot of siblings but wonders if the spelling of the last name was changed. Some say it was McGraw and was pronounced as such.

According to Susan, Lucy was a "little thing" at 4 ft 11 inches while Patrick stood tall at 6 ft 2 inches. Susan goes on to describe her grandmother as a very religious woman, she would kneel to say the rosary every morning and attended mass each day. She had beautiful red hair (later auburn) which was that colour til she died,with only one little patch of grey.  She would braid her hair and put it up in a bun.

Susan remembers her father Roy telling her, that her grandmother was a great cook.  She would bake 3 pies for her brood of 12 and since her granfather Patrick worked long 12 hour days, she would keep a piece from each pie for when he got home.

Susan states her Grandmother was a quiet, soft spoken woman who did not like gossip and never
believed in heresay unless she heard it straight from the "horse's mouth" as she she would call it.

Lucy died in 1968 at the age of 79  of Kidney Cancer. ( five years after her husband )

Thank You Susan for the Beautiful Story about your Grandma Lucy!



Saturday, September 29, 2012

A WWII Story

Stephen Flynn b 1921, has just returned from Overseas - WWII
Lt - Rt, Danny ( Gert's Fiance), Steve, Fred, Roy and Vince ( Roy's Best Friend)

My 2nd cousin, Susan shared a story with me about her two uncles Steve and Fred, who both served in WWII.  Uncle Steve was in the Canadian Air Force and Uncle Fred served in the Canadian Army.  Fred was wounded when shrapnel hit his leg while in a fox hole.  Susan's father Roy, remembered how upset Grandma Lucy was when the letter from the Army came to the house, since she was not sure if he survived.  Fred was taken in by a family in France and hidden from the enemy.

Also while in France, Fred and Steve met once during active duty, by accident.  There was a baseball game going on in the field and Fred looked over to see a tall, blond man resembling his brother Steve.  Sure enough, it was Steve and they spendt the afternoon together.  Susan states she thinks her Uncle Fred returned home first and Uncle Steve stayed til the war was over.  The above photo was taken shortly after his return home and the war was over, about 1945-46.

Susan's father Roy, was too young to join but tried several times telling a lie about his age. He was only 17 years old and tried different locations to enlist so he could be with his brothers.  His best friend Vince was in the Navy and Roy missed him as well.

Thank You Susan, for sharing this Flynn Family Story!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Patrick Flynn's Children

Patrick and Lucy Flynn had a family of 10 children, 4 Boys and 6 girls.  The above photo was taken in the early 1990's at Patrick Flynn's Grand Daughter Lori Ann's Wedding.  Eight of Patrick and Lucy's children are in this photograph.
Front Row - Lt to Rt
          Fred, Madeline (Dolly) (Mother of the Bride), Rosaleen, and Roy
Back Row
          Gertrude, Ellen ( Nell), Al Feeney and Lori Ann, Kathleen and Genevieve ( Sr Bernadette)
I came across this photo in my mother's collection, it was protected in a large envelope, labeled " Patrick Flynn's Family". I put the envelope aside and several years later filed it in my Family History Book.  I knew my grandfather had a brother named Patrick but never knew any of his family until I recently made the connection with my second cousin Susan from Ontario.  Not until she started sharing stories about her Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles did I begin to understand this branch of the Flynn Family Tree.
The photo below is of Patrick Flynn Sr and 3 of his sons.

Susan shared with me that her side of the family has been "cursed with cancer" and asked if other Flynn relatives have also.

Birth order of Patrick and Lucy's Children
       Patrick Joseph 1913 - 1980 born in NFLD died age 67 of Stomach Cancer
       Rosaleen          1914 - 2000 born in NFLD died age 86 of Throat Cancer
       Ellen (Nell)      1918 - still living, born in Nova Scotia
       Gertrude           1919 - still living, born in Hamilton, Ontario
       Stephen Michael 1921 - 1970 born in Hamilton, Ontario died age 48 of Hodgkin's Lymphoma
       Kathleen            1923 - 2002 born in Hamilton, Ontario died age 79 of Breast Cancer
       Fred                   1924 - 1996 born in Hamilton, Ontario died age 72 of Colon Cancer
       Genevieve         1926 - still living, born in Hamilton, Ontario
           (Sr. Bernadette)
       Roy Thomas      1927 - 2011 born in Hamilton, Ontario died age 84 of Lung Cancer
       Madeline            1931 - still living, born in Hamilton, Ontario

Susan states the remaining four sister Nell, Gert, Sr Bernadette and Dolly are in good health.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Patrick Thomas Flynn Sr

 Patrick Thomas Flynn Sr was my grandfather Stephen Flynn Jr's older brother,  making him my Great Uncle.
 Patrick was born July 11th, 1890 in Lakeview, Harbour Main Newfoundland, Canada.  He was the 5th child born to Stephen Flynn Sr and MaryAnn Tubrett.
Recently, I made contact with his grand daughter Susan, who shared with me that her Grandfather  Patrick and her Father Roy Thomas were Hoist Engineers. She also stated that she was told by her Aunts that Stephen Sr was a Hoist Engineer also, working in the Mines in Newfoundland.     
In March of 1912, at the age of 21, Patrick married Louise (Lucy) McGrath from Harbour Grace, NFLD. Susan informed me that her Grandfather never fought in WWI, as I had stated in a previous entry. A son Patrick Jr was born in 1913 and a daughter Rose born 1914 while they were still living in Newfoundland. Another daughter Ellen (Nell) born 1918 in Nova Scotia en route to Hamilton Ontario where they settled and raised their family of 10 children total.
I believe this photo is of a young Patrick Thomas Flynn Sr,. through process of elimination and comparision to the below photo and others sent to me by my 2nd cousin Susan.  She will have her Aunts confirm this in the near future.  (Notice the Steel-toed shoes he is wearing)

The photo on the right is of Patrick and Lucy Flynn taken May 1962 at their 50th Wedding Anniversary.     Patrick Thomas Flynn Sr died Apr 14th 1963 of cancer at the age of 73 years. Susan states she believes he sufferred from Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

I look forward to meeting Patrick and Lucy's family and learning more about their life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stephen Flynn Sr's Family

This my Great Grandfather Stephen Flynn Sr and six of his eight children. I have posted this photo before but not with all of his children, I now have the photo of my two Great Aunts Mary Ellen and Elizabeth confirmed and have received the photo of my Great Uncle Patrick. The two children I am missing are Michael, the 1st child born in 1884 and died in 1917, and Thomas the 2nd child born in 1885 and died in 1903, both of Typhoid Fever
                      Stephen Flynn Sr. and Stephen Flynn Jr.       
                             1845-1920                                            On the Rt - Patrick Flynn Sr.

Above on the Lt, is Esther Flynn Lahey.
 In the next photo, standing is Mary Ellen Flynn Holden  and sitting is Elizabeth Flynn Morey.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In a "Holding Pattern"

Entries for my Flynn Family History Blog have been somewhat in a "Holding Pattern". Just like an airplane put in a "Holding Pattern" waiting to land at a busy airport or waiting for bad weather to clear.

So here are a few updates that have been on hold over the past month.  First of all, regarding my connection with second cousin Joe Flynn and his tape recording of his visit with Great Uncle Martin Flynn in New York in 1994. I learned from his brother John, that Joe does still have the tape recording and will bring it with him when he comes home to Newfoundland around August 10th.  I must say I am very excited to hear this news,  so excited that I took all the Canadian money I had  and mailed it to John to help with the expense of copying the tape and for sending me a copy. I knew that money would come in handy one day. So today is August 13th, I imagine I will be hearing something soon.

Regarding my recent connection with my grandfather's brother Patrick Thomas Flynn's grand daughter, Susan Flynn Francis, she is now back from her month-long get-away at her cottage and will be getting together with her Great Aunts ( Uncle Patrick's daughters) in a couple of weeks. At that time, I hope to have a few questions answered and to have some photos confirmed.

There are no new developments regarding my connection with my possible 5th cousin Gerry thru my 2nd Great Grandfather Michael Flynn.  I have learned with researching ancestry, that things don't always fall into place and that waiting is part of the process.

Another bit of news I am waiting on, which might only provide information on my father's side of the family ( The Dollens) are the results of a recent DNA Test through  My 2nd cousin, Linda Dooley had the idea and my brother Michael was willing to help in our research project.  I am not sure if the results will give us any information on my mother's family  (The Flynns).  If that is the case, I may need to find a male Flynn cousin who would be willing to share his DNA!   Hmmmmmm????

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Strong Hunch

Lakeview, Harbour Main in the Beautiful Conception Bay Penninsula

"I have ancestors named Flynn in my Family Tree from rural areas of Harbour Main and Holyrood, Newfoundland." was the message I  received recently from a possible distant cousin.

 Again a connection made through working with This time my sister and I were found.  Gerry had also found my Blog "Flynn's Hill" and was aware of my research. If my hunch is correct. this person would be my 5th cousin, I know it sounds crazy but, I think I am on to something here.

I asked Gerry a few questions to find out more about his family line, stating there were several Flynn Families in the area. He listed his relatives going back to his 3rd Great Grandfather Edward Flynn who was born in 1805 in County Roscommon, Ireland. I could see some similarities in the names in his family tree, like Michael, Patrick Martin, George, Catherine, John, Sarah, Mary,and Bridget. Also, I believe my 2nd Great Grandfather Michael was born around that time, the early 1800's.

FLYNN, Edward
Evening Telegram September 29, 1890 (Monday)
Died. On Saturday, after a long illness, Mr. Edward Flynn, a native of County Tipperary, Ireland, aged 85 years; funeral to-morrow (Tuesday), at 2.30 p.m., from his son-in-law's (Mr. Jas. Buckley), Hoylestown.

I shared with him what Uncle Ray had told me, when he was here to visit March of 2011," as a young boy, he remembers being told a story, that there were Four Flynn Brothers that came from Ireland and settled in Newfoundland", he was not sure where they had all settled though.

The evidence gets stronger, I reviewed the 1835 Voters list for Harbour Main showing, Edward, John and Thomas ( no Michael though). And I reviewed the Release of Land written by my Great Grandfather Stephen Flynn Sr describing "a piece of land on the South Side of Harbour Main bounded by Thomas and John Flinn "

Hmmmmmm? Could Edward, John, Thomas and Michael be the Four Flynn Brothers who came from Ireland?

I don't know much about my 2nd Great Grandfather Michael,  I don't know where or when he was born, where or when he died only the brief mention of him in the "Release of Land" by my Great Grandfather. My 2nd Great Grandmother Elizabeth Dunlae came from Ireland as a young girl in the early 1800's. Michael and Elizabeth's first child was born in 1845 ( Stephen Sr) in Harbour Main. Gerry and I have agreed to stay in touch, to see if  our individual research can help make this connection.

Local land records that are not on the Internet may help in this mystery. Searching records in Roscommon County, Ireland may reveal more information. Hearing the stories from Great Uncle Martin through 2nd cousin Joe Flynn could be helpful!

It has been an amazing week for Flynn Family connections!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More Cousins!!!!!!!!!!!

2nd Cousins - Susan Flynn, Dorothy Flynn ( wife of Roy Flynn) Linda and Rosemary ( daughters of Roy Flynn )

A few months ago, I was working on and I came across the Flynn/Francis Tree.  Curious, I took a look, discovering the person who was researching this tree was a descendant of Patrick Flynn Sr. ( brother to Stephen Flynn Jr., my grandfather). I knew Patrick had moved to Hamilton, Ontario, and that he had 10 children, but really did not know much more than that.

I sent the message out, and waited, checking my message board from time to time. Last week, the day after I made contact with my second cousin John Flynn, I received a message from my second cousin Susan Flynn.  We immediately started sharing information, she was just as excited as I was, I could tell, even over the Internet.  She shared family history as well as family stories.  We plan to get together sometime soon, I checked on the I PAD, we are only a 10 hour drive away from each other.

Susan sent me several photos and even corrected some information I had wrong. For example the Patrick Flynn I had in my entry "My Great Uncles" was actually his son Patrick Jr. But now I have a photo of Patrick Sr and his children and some of his grandchildren. She was able to confirm, the photo of the 2 young women I was thinking were my Great Aunts Betty and Mary Ellen and sent me another photo of Aunt Betty. Patrick Flynn did have 10 children, 4 of whom are still living Nell ( Ellen), Sister Bernadette (Genevieve), Dolly ( Madeline) and Gertrude. Susan told me she was planning to get together with her Aunts in August and will ask them for any information they could share about Patrick Flynn Sr.

Thanks Susan for sharing your family stories.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

One Step Closer

Me with 2nd cousin John Flynn abt 1967 at my Granparents house in Lakeview, Newfoundland

This as been an amazing week as far a Flynn Family connections. There is so much information to share, that I will need to make several entry postings to explain everything.

I will start with the first connection I made early in the week. My cousin Wayne, gave me our 2nd cousin once removed Sheldon Flynn's e-mail information in order to get a hold of his father John (brother to Joe Flynn, son of William).

I was searching for Joe Flynn's information regarding the  "Christmas Card" he sent to my mother years ago.  He mentioned a visit with Great Uncle Martin in New York and that he had taped his visit for his Dad William who lived in Lakeview Harbour Main Newfoundland.  He states "I found Uncle Martin to be a pleasant old man full of stories of home." I wanted to talk to my second cousin Joe about his visit and just maybe, just maybe he still had the tape recording of his visit. (See Blog entry of 12/11/2011 " A Christmas Card")

So Sheldon gave me his father John's phone number and I placed the call.  He shared highest regards for my mother, stating she was a very intelligent woman, always concerned about family and went out of her way to stay connected.  He told me my mother was his Godmother, I did not know that. So after catching up a bit, I explained my Family History Project and that I would like to get a hold of his brother Joe. He promised he would get Joe's information for me and in our next phone conversation would share a story or two about growing up on Flynn's Hill.

He ended the call by saying, "You need to get home to Newfoundland, so I can have a look at you".  I told him I will be there as soon as I could.

This phone call  was an connection that made me one step closer to finding more information about the Flynn Family.

There is so much more to share, so check back in a couple of days.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Animals on the Hill

Nanny Flynn holding my mother Mary, summer 1930 with Daisy the Ayrshire Cow
Aunt Agnes tells me about the animals they raised and cared for while growing up on Flynn's Hill. They had chickens for eggs and poultry, and a horse to help with the plowing and hauling. They had a couple of pigs along with a cow for milk. She explains, they were very fond of the cows, remembering "Daisy" especially.  They would not let their parents sell her or send her to be butchered.  Much of their time was spent feeding and tending to the animals. 

She told me, "Dad would go down to the Bay", Bay Roberts that is, which was about 30 km (19 miles) from Harbour Main to buy a horse, paying $20.00. Twenty Dollars was alot of money in those days especially during the Great Depression. A white horse named "Jack" was one of their favorites.  They had only one horse at a time on their small farm.  The horse stayed up in the "pen" on the hill during the summer and in the stable during the winter.  George, her brother would take the horse down to the pond across from their house for water.

Aunt Agnes recalls an occassion when my mom got up on the horse and George hit the horse on the "rump".  The horse took off going a "mile a minute" with my mom hanging on. He did not stop until he got to Hawco's Forge,  the place where he had been shoed at one time. Aunt Agnes and her siblings chased after the "Runaway Horse" and caught up with him, consoling their sister and bringing her home. Aunt Agnes states my mother was very upset at the time, very upset to say the least. But knowing my mother, I know she would laugh at this story today.

 I would of loved to hear Uncle George's version of "The Runaway Horse".

Uncle Ray (abt 13 years) with their young cow.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Root Cellar

Ellen Mary Tobin Flynn - My Grandmother

In this photo, the small open door behind my grandmother was the mysterious luring Root Cellar.

 You could access the root cellar through this door from the outside or from a door in the back hallway of the house. This darken place evoked great curiosity for me as a young girl, wondering just what could be in there. I remember clearly when Grand Dad or Nanny would open the door a wave of cool air would come surging out encircling my little body.  I was never allowed to go into this space, I could only stand at the threshold and peer in.  I can remember a long electrical wire leading to a single hanging light bulb, and when the power string was pulled it gave this room minimal lighting but showed the detail of numerous spider webs. As Grand Dad proceeded in, I waited impatiently at the doorway.

A Root Cellar on the back of the house is something not seen these days. But for the Flynn Family in the 1930's -1960's it was a necessity in preserving their food especially with no refrigeration.  Aunt Agnes tells of how  they stored vegetables from the garden,  beef and pork salt meat, and coal for the heat stove, all for the long winter months. There was also an area where their father kept some tools like the grinding stone for the ax. As children they did not like going into the Root Cellar, being scared of the mice that may of lived in this dark place. When I questioned her as to how she knew for sure there were mice in there. She stated, that when the door would be opened they would see the mice scurry away and they could hear the mice at night scratching in the walls.

So, there you have it, the mystery of the Root Cellar, vegetables, salt meat, and coal along with tools, mice and spiders.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gardening on Flynn's Hill

My 2011 Garden in Wisconsin - featuring "Rapunzel the Scarecrow Lady"
Made by Avery my Grand Daughter and my Great Niece Skylar
with a little help from Brian my son.

My grandparents grew vegetables on Flynn's Hill to sustain there family of seven.  Their harvest of potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, cabbage and beets were stored for the winter in the Root Cellar.  The Root Cellar was built on to the back of the house right into the base of the hill, so that the back wall was the earth itself.

The gardens were in several locations around their property, things like lettuce, beets and carrots were planted in an area toward the front of the house. Potatoes, turnips, parsnips and cabbage were planted "inside the meadow" up past Bill and Nell's place, according to Aunt Agnes. Newfoundland has a very rocky terrain making it impossible to have large planting fields.

Most things were started from seed.  But turnips, she remembers came from small starter plants which were bought.  I imagine tomatoes were bought as small plants as well, to get a jump start on the very short growing season of Newfoundland. The tomatoes needed to be picked while they were still green and brought inside before the frost to ripen.

Potato planting began from leftover potatoes from the previous year.  Taken from the Root Cellar, they were cut into pieces so that an eye of the potato was exposed on each piece. They then sat for 3 weeks to "cure" before planting. Aunt Agnes states she remembers her sister Mary, my mother, helped their father plow the field in preparation for planting. Her job was to lead the horse while their father followed behind with the plow to make a "drill" or trench.  The potato pieces were placed in the "drill" with the eye facing upward.The children were responsible for digging up the potatoes in the fall. Occasionally they would miss school in order to get this done before the winter set in.

Lastly, Aunt Agnes tells me about the "Cherry Garden" which was located behind their house.  Her mother had a strawberry and rhubarb patch along with a Cherry and Plum Tree ( Damson Plums). Sweet Rewards for all their hardwork!

Avery Elizabeth Clark
sitting in her Nana's Strawberry Patch

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Roots

My Golden Retriever, Lucy

Lately, my focus has been immersed in getting my vegetable garden started, and not on posting entries to my family history blog, especially with the extremely wonderful Wisconsin weather we are having now.

Growing my garden is a ritual for me that has developed over the years. I find a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction in producing my own vegetables, it is so simple but yet very rewarding.  I learn something every year in the garden, whether it be about spacing and watering, or about patience and timing, one just needs to pay attention and be aware.

For me, it is also a place to get lost in thought or even clear my head, it is a connection with the earth.  In the garden, there is no drama or politics just straight forward simple life.

 I remember as a young girl always wanting to grow things, but living in many different apartments throughout my childhood made it impossible. Around age 12, I was finally given a flower box that sat on the edge of the cement patio. In this box, I would plant orange marigolds, this made me very happy!  Today, I continue to plant them around the edge of the garden to keep the rabbits out!

Gardening is not something I was taught but something that came from within, it was a strong interest I had. Aunt Agnes tells me, it is part of my "Newfoundland Heritage".  Gardening was their way of life growing up, necessary for surviving.  They were taught as young children to tend to the garden, and much of their time was spent on this task.  They grew potatoes, cabbage, and turnip, also lettuce, carrots, and beets.  I imagine this was quite a challenge considering the short growing season of Newfoundland and the rocky composition of the soil. 

My next blog, " Gardening on Flynn's Hill" notes from Aunt Agnes

Lucy loves to make rounds with me early in the morning, checking the progress of the garden.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Icebergs and Whales

It currently is Iceberg Season in Newfoundland, there are many locations along the North and East sides of the island to view icebergs and whale watch. This little video features a boat tour from St. Anthony, located at the Great Northern Peninsula. Come Along!  Let's Go!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Shamrock School


For much of Canada's history and well into the Twentieth Century, many of Canada's children were educated in one room, multi-grade schools. [2]   Education was not always a public concern in the Harbour Main District of  Newfoundland.  Those children who did attend regularly were interested in book learning but the majority remained home to work with their parents either fishing or farming. [3]  The Shamrock School in Lakeveiw Harbour Main District stood at the junction of two roads, a site known locally as "Fardy's Cross". [4]   Aunt Agnes said, she believes there was a family named Fardy in the community and possibly it was their land the school had been built on.

This junction of two roads with a Cross, is also the location of The Old Irish R/C Cemetery that I wrote about in the post dated 04/21/2012, which is  at Conception Bay Hwy and Harbour Dr.

The Shamrock School was built in 1908, the white clapboard building was forty feet in length, twenty feet wide with a high peaked roof and ceilings that were at least twelve feet in height.  At the back of the school was a large attached porch that served as the school's entrance, with hooks on its walls for the children's outer garments and a large coal bin situated at it's rear.  Also attached to the back of the school were two outhouses, one for the girls and one for the boys, and these were accessed through a short partitioned hall.  During the period of study, the school had electricity but no running water.  Thirty-five to forty students seem to have been the average number attending the school at any given time.

In the center of the classroom sat a pot-bellied stove with a sheet of metal beneath to protect the floor from sparks. It was here that mittens dried after a winter's recess.  On exceptionally cold and windy days, the stove was sometimes taxed beyond it's capacity, despite the zealous efforts of the older boys to stoke it until it was red hot.  At such times, the teacher would dispense with the orderly row of desks and allow them to be moved around the stove in a roughly circular fashion. so that the children could better share the limited heat.  The lack of a schoolyard did not pose a problem, for the ponds, the woods and Kennedy's meadow were all easily available, the children organized their own activities during recess.[5]

In 1908, when the Shamrock School was built, my grandfather Stephen was 13 years old, he was well passed the age to start attending school, receiving his education from life experiences working with his father and family.  After reviewing the education history of Harbour Main District, it seems that there were schools established in neighboring communities, but the distance was probably an interfering factor for my grandfather and his siblings to attend, including the generation before him. My mother shared the story that her father was taught to read and write by her mother, who had been a school teacher before they were married.  My grandfather was 32 years old, when they married.  Uncle Ray explained that during this time period in Newfoundland, if a person could read or write they would be placed in a managerial or foremen position, and in return received higher pay.

My mother and her siblings all attended the Shamrock School in the 1930's -1940's.  Mary Costigan, who is mentioned in the top photo, taught at the school from 1942-1947 The Shamrock School was phased out at the end of 1966-67 school year upon the centralization of schools in  Harbour Main Parish.  It was demolished a few years later and with its removal a familiar landmark in Harbour Main disappeared.[6]

[1] "Our People.... Our Church...." Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Harbour Main, Chapel's Cove, Lakeview Newfoundland, 1857 - 1982, Copyright 1983 by Rev. J. Glavine, P.P. pages 68-69.

[2]   Pat Trites, "The School on Fardy's Cross" Shamrock School Remembered, Framing Our Past, Canadian Women's History in the Twentieth Century.McGill-Queen's University Press 2001, pages 184 - 188.

[3] Alice Strapp, "History of Harbour Main",  Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data, , Education.

[4] Ibid [2]

[5] Ibid [2]

[6] Ibid [1]

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Search

The process of collecting information for my Flynn Family History Blog has been most rewarding.  Especially the connections made with family members and the discoveries brought forth along the way.

After interviewing Aunt Agnes in California about her school days experience in Lakeview Newfoundland, I went online searching for additional information about The Shamrock School. My thinking was, " You just never know, what you will find".

 My search lead me to a Biannual Journal  of  Eastern Canada's History called ACADIENSIS, this journal contained a section listing new publications relating to Eastern Canada, the listing directed me to an essay written by Pat Trites in 2001 entittled,  "The School on Fardy's Cross" Shamrock School Remembered.  The essay was nestled in the book "Framing Our Past" Canadian Women's History in the Twentieth Centery, pages 184-188.  I was able to view these pages online to confirm that this was truely the Shamrock School that Aunt Agnes was speaking about and that my mother had told me about.  An unbelievable find, five pages about the Shamrock School!!!!!!!

The next step, getting a copy of this book for my own reference. I  started searching for a source to purchase this book, checking for the possiblity of an e-book download ,but no such luck. I did find a used copy of the book available through from a former library in Florida.  The book was described as being slightly used, but in good condition, library taged and labeled. It sounded perfect to me. I made the purchase, and 3 days later, I received this very informative treasure!

Stay tuned for my next post about "The School on Fardy's Cross" using this additional information.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Schools Days

I was talking with Aunt Agnes recently on the telephone, asking her endless questions about her school days.  She told me they attended the Shamrock School in Lakeview, Harbour Main.  My mother had also told me about the Shamrock School, I remember questioning my mother," It was really called the Shamrock School?" but living in a community of many Irish descendants,  it was a good choice for a school name. In Christianity, the Shamrock is a symbol recognizing the Holy Trinity. In Canada, education during this time, was denominational.

Aunt Agnes went on to tell me, of how the Shamrock School was a one-room school house for grades 1 thru 9.  The school was just down the road, up by the Cross, a 5-7 minute walk from Flynn's Hill. During the winter months, they walked through the cold snowy blizzards.  She remembers, the teacher allowing them to stand near the pot-belly stove to warm themselves and to dry their weather dampened clothing.   The children took turns bringing firewood and coal from home contributing to the schools heat supply source.  Occasionally, she states, they would stay home from school to help with duties around their house, like digging up potatoes for the winter.  She emphasised, that this did not happen very often, especially since their mother was a former teacher and their education was a priority. But at times, it was necessary.

Mary Costigan- Teacher at The Shamrock School
(woman on the Rt- in white dress)

To further their education, which was optional for grades 10-11 , the children in the community attended the Convent School operated by The Presentation Sisters in Chapels Cove.  My mother was one of the first to attend this "Commerical Course", which offered lessons in bookkeeping, typing and shorthand.  Aunt Agnes said, she attended the Convent School also, with the determination  of following her older sister, (my mother) to get a job just like she did on the U.S Navy Base Argentia.  She not only got a job on the base, but took my mother's position as secretary to the Supply and Fiscal Commander, when my mother left for New York. The skills taught at the Convent School were mostly utilized by young women.  Further education for young men was obtained by actual on the job training, learning from their fathers or men in that trade or moving to the city for additional schooling.

During his visit last year, Uncle Ray helped to identify the above photo, Aunt Agnes then confirmed that this was their teacher Mary Costigan.  The Flynn children attended the Shamrock School in the 1930's and 1940's.

The Flynn Children
Front Lt to Rt - Agnes, Rose, Ray
Back Middle - George
In my conversation with Aunt Agnes, she mentioned that she has a postcard of the Shamrock School, hearing this, I could not hold back my response," OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" we both laughed. She promised she would look for it and would send a copy when she found it,  Thanks Aunt Agnes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Old Irish Roman Catholic Cemetery

Old Irish Roman Catholic Cemetery - Harbour Main District [1]
Photographed and Copyrighted by Craig Peterman (2007)

I have to laugh, as a young girl I did not enjoy the trips my mom and her sisters would take ( bringing me along ) to the cemetery in Harbour Main and now I can't wait to get there.

With the help of the Internet and the Newfoundland Grand Banks Genealogy Site, I have searched surrounding area cemeteries without stepping a foot on these properties, I find this amazing!

Some of these sites have photos of the cemetery along with some photos of headstones. During my search, I came across the Old Irish Roman Catholic Cemetery, which is located behind the residence of Joseph Woodford and across from the Gorman's Fish Plant in Harbour Main. This is located at the Cross in Harbour Main ( Intersection of the Conception Bay Highway and Harbor Road in Hr Main) This cemetery has not been used in years. [2]

Reviewing this cemetery, some graves date back to 1776, siting those who came from Ireland, some familiar names are listed like Woodford, Kennedy and Hawco, early settlers of the area. At the bottom of the listing, is a photo of an unknown grave with a wooden cross marking it, RIP written down the center, it looks like it is a replacment  gravemarker. A note states, " There are some 40 of these wooden crosses marking unknown graves and at least a dozen similar slate markers of unknown graves." [3]

Unknown Grave - Old Irish RC Cemetery - Hr Main
Photographed and Copyrighted by Don Tate (2007)

 I wonder if Daniel Dunlae ( Elizabeth Flynn's Father), my 3rd Great Grandfather, who it is believed to have first settled in Harbour Main in the early 1800's is buried in this cemetery. Or possibly my Flynn Ancesters are buried here. This cemetery corresponds to the time period in which they lived and died. This may be the closest I get to finding their graves. I difenitely plan to stop at this cemetery during my visit.

[1]  Old Irish R C Cemetery - Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data

[2]  History of Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Parish Church - Harbour Main
                  Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical Data

[3]  Ibid [1]