Wednesday, January 14, 2009 Sheri Fenley
Small-leaved Shamrock is the host of the upcoming 11th Edition Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture The theme for this edition is "My Key to Ireland" and asks if you have found your ancestral county or village in Ireland, just how did you find your way there? What resources led you to learn the original county or townland or your ancestors?
This is my first time participating in this carnival. A significant portion of my ancestry is Irish but I have yet to conduct research in Ireland. Until recently I didn't have a clue as where to begin. Last year however I had a breakthrough and it seems to tie in with the theme for this carnival.
My 3rd great grandparents are Daniel Derondo Delaney and Ellen Collins. From a biography in a county history book about one of their sons, I knew that the oldest child of Daniel and Ellen had been born in Lockport, Niagara County, New York in September 1851 so I needed to look at passenger lists previous to this date. The National Archives has online searchable databases of ship passenger lists. One of them is "Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine" documenting the period 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851. You can find the page to search from here .
I got nowhere searching for Daniel Delaney, so I used several different combinations and finally got lucky. I asked for a search of all Ellens and did it month by month. Damiel DELERNEY (age 20) and Ellen Delerney (age 20) arrived 8 January 1851 aboard the ship "Elizabeth Bentley". Unfortunately all this did for me was confirm that they were from Ireland.
I have never been able to find a sibling or any other family member from Ireland for either Daniel or Ellen living in the U.S. This technique usually leads to locating the ancestral home but didn't work in this instance for me.
My file for Daniel Derondo Delaney is actually 5 mega-folders full of information about him, his wife and children. I finally just sat down and literally went through the entire thing page by page and found what I needed.
Daniel had enlisted in the Union army during the Civil War. I had his complete pension file (over 150 pages). It has been over 10 years since I had first looked at this overwhelming amount of information. I'm not sure why I have not looked at this file since then but I could kick myself for not having done it sooner.
Daniel had only been a soldier for a few weeks. He had been assigned to the 7th Regiment of the Missouri Calvary who were based near Sedalia at the time. Daniel was sent with a detail to pick up supplies from town. A team of mules were spooked by cannon fire and trampled poor Daniel. He was hospitalized for 6 months with a broken clavicle and his right leg had been broken in 3 places - it was the thigh bone. His was discharged from the hospital and relieved of any further duty. Daniel applied for a pension in 1885. It was denied because they said that he had deserted. Infuriated, Daniel hired an attorney to appeal that decision.
Eighteen (18) years later, in 1903, Daniel was awarded his pension. He only enjoyed his victory for a short time - he passed away in 1904.
In that large pension file was a form that Daniel himself completed in his own hand. It was one that every pensioner was required to complete in 1898. The form asked for the birth dates and places of himself, spouse and all living children. It even asked for the place and date of marriage for himself and all spouses. Here is what Daniel wrote about himself and Ellen:
Daniel Derondo Delaney was born in COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND on 20 November 1825
Ellen Collins was born in COUNTY CORK, IRELAND ON 1 November 1830
They were married in BUTTEVANT, COUNTY CORK, IRELAND by a Catholic priest on 3 December 1849
I located the only Catholic church in Buttevant - St. Mary's and wrote to them asking for confirmation of this marriage. I received an email a week later from Father Michael Harrington who not only confirmed the date, but told me that the notation in the register said that Ellen was from St. Mary's parish but Daniel was not. He went on to tell me there were but 2 possibilities of which Collins family Ellen came from and gave me that information.
I still have not been able to find family for Daniel but now have a starting point for Ellen.