Friday, January 5, 2018

52 Ancestors: #53, Dominic Murphy

A note on the post numbering: Back in 2014, just as I began this blog, Amy Johnson Crow issued a New Year's challenge on her No Story Too Small blog to write about "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks," which I successfully completed. Although Amy extended the challenge through 2015, with the addition of weekly prompts, I chose not to continue at that time, and have since posted only sporadically. Now, Amy has brought back the 52 Ancestors challenge for 2018, on her eponymous blog, and I've resolved to revive my blogging by once again accepting the challenge (though I may not always take my theme from the prompt). Since I already have posts numbered 1-52, I'm going to start the 2018 numbering with #53.

This week's prompt is "Start," and I've chosen to focus on the ancestor who, along with his family, was the first I ever researched – if you can call my bumbling around in Prince Edward Island "research" – my maternal grandfather's father, Dominic Murphy.

It all began back in the mid-1980s, when my then-husband and I went over to Prince Edward Island while vacationing in Nova Scotia. I was only vaguely aware (if at all) that a quarter of my heritage was from PEI; we simply had enjoyed vacationing in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and decided we should check out the smallest Maritime province too. When we got there I phoned my mother to tell her where we were staying. She informed me that her father came from PEI, and maybe I could find out something about the family while I was there? She told me her grandparents were named Dominic and Rose, and that her father had ten brothers and sisters, only nine of whose names she could recall. That was all she could tell me: no place names (she was under the impression that the whole island was only about 10 miles long, and so probably figured it couldn't be that hard to find the old homestead). I copied down the names and said I'd see if I could learn anything, but it wasn't much to go on.

In the event, I actually managed, against all odds, to find a surprising amount: some census records; Dominic and Rose's marriage record and Dominic's death certificate; a vertical file of Murphy obituary clippings, some identifiable as "my" Murphys by matching names to that list of my mother's aunts and uncles; and the microfilmed parish register from the church where the children were baptized. Then, since the parish records after 1900 were closed at the Archives, we hunted down the parish priest, who obligingly let us look through the later register to find and copy out the last few baptisms and Dominic's death. Even more important, he told us where we could find an elderly gentleman who was Rose's nephew – my first cousin twice removed, Ray McIntyre. When we looked him up, Ray was happy to regale us with stories about Dominic and his family, and told us exactly where they had lived (the "old homestead" was long gone, replaced by a small bungalow, but my mother was thrilled to have photos of the location and its view of the Northumberland Strait across the road).

Dominic Murphy was born probably 23 Dec 1854 in or near Georgetown, King's County, Prince Edward Island,1 the oldest child of William Murphy and Flora Ann McDonald. Dominic's early life is a mystery. Because the 1861 census of PEI was only partly nominal (head-of-household only), and the 1871 Canada census didn't include PEI, he first appears in a census in 1881, age 26, a labourer on Angus Steele's farm in Township 8, Prince County.2 According to cousin Ray, Dominic and Angus had walked the length of the island from Georgetown to Township 8, settling on a farm near Neil McIntyre,3 who was enumerated just before the Steele household.

1881 Canada census, Township 8, Prince County, PEI, Neil McIntyre and Angus Steele households.

Angus Steele and Neil McIntyre farms, 1880.
The youngest McIntyre daughter, Rose Anne ("Rosina" in the census), became Dominic's bride on 15 Oct 1883 at St. Anthony's Church in Bloomfield, PEI.4 In 1891, they were living next door to Dominic's parents in Township 51, where he was making a living as a sawmill hand and trapper; Rose Ann, like her mother-in-law, was a weaver.5 They couldn't have been there long, however, as the first three children, born 1884-1888, were all baptized at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Brae,6 located in Lot 9 next door to their 1881 residences.
1891 Canada census, Lot 51, Kings County, PEI, William Murphy and "Domnic" Murphy households
Likewise, all the children after Joseph (born 1890), beginning with Neil in 1892, were baptized at St. Mary's,7 so evidently, shortly after the 1891 census he had brought his family back once again to settle permanently in Lot 8, where they were enumerated in 1901.8 While six of his brothers and sisters emigrated to Massachusetts (mostly to Newburyport) over the last two decades of the 19th century, Dominic stayed in PEI.

1901 Canada census, Lot 8, Prince County, PEI, "Domine"[?] Murphy household
Around 1904, Dominic's parents followed their migrating children to Newburyport, and a 1910 border crossing manifest reveals that Dominic made at least a couple of trips to the States: in 1910, he was visiting his mother in Newburyport (his father had died the previous year), and previously had been in Bath (Maine, presumably) from October 1907 to January 1908.9

Canada to U.S. border crossings, manifest, Vanceboro, Maine, Sep 1910, sheet 6, line 11, Dominick Murphy
Dominic appeared in the census a final time in 1911, with Rose Anne and their full complement of eleven children.10
1911 Canada census, Township 8, Prince, PEI, "Dominick" Murphy household, listing all 11 children of Dominic and Rose
A few months later, Dominic's older children began following their aunts and uncles to the U.S. After William and John J. established themselves in Berlin, N.H., Dominic visited them in October 1912 and again in September 1913, the second time accompanied by son Joseph (who probably remained with his older brothers), and David Murphy (William's cousin and possibly Dominic's nephew).11

Canada to U.S. border crossings, manifest, Vanceboro, Maine, Sep 1913, sheet 4, lines 3-5,
Joseph, David, and Dominick Murphy
This was probably Dominic's last visit. He died at home on 29 August 191412 and was buried in the St. Mary's churchyard. (His marker no longer exists.) A little more than two months later, his widow and the seven younger children joined the three older boys in Berlin.13

My descent from Dominic Murphy:
  • Dominic Murphy + Rose Ann McIntyre
  • William George Murphy and Glenna Marie Rabideau (my maternal grandparents)

(This post was inspired by Amy Johnson Crow's 2018 "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge. My numbering for this year begins at 53 – I wrote #1-52 in 2014 while participating in her original 52 Ancestors challenge.)

  1. Census ages of 26 (1881) and 36 (1891) are consistent with the Dec 1854 birth and age 56 reported in 1911. The 1901 census gives the complete date of 23 Dec, though the year appears to be 1855 and the age 45. See footnotes xxx for the censuses. For the birthplace, see the 1913 border crossing manifest, footnote xx.
  2. 1881 Canada Census, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Township No. 8, pp. 29-30, dwellings 113-114, families 113-114, Neil McIntyre and Angus Steele households; digital images, ( : accessed 19 Feb 2012). 
  3. "Plan of Lot Eight, Prince Co., P.E.I.," Illustrated Historical Atlas Of The Province Of Prince Edward Island (Philadelphia: J.H. Meacham & Co., 1880), p. 42; digital image, David Rumsey Map Collection ( : accessed 10 Dec 2012), item 4475024. The map shown above was cropped from the full lot map.
  4. Division of Vital Statistics, Public Archives of Prince Edward Island, Prince Edward Island marriage registers, Marriages 1878-1888, p. 309, "Dominique" Murphy and Rose A. McIntyre (1883); digital images, “Prince Edward Island Marriage Registers, 1832-1888,” FamilySearch, ( : accessed 12 Feb 2014).
  5. 1891 Canada Census, Kings County, Prince Edward Island, Township 51, p. 10, families 34-35, William Murphy and "Domnic" Murphy households ; digital images, ( : accessed 19 Feb 2012). 
  6. "PARO Collections," database, Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island ( : accessed 13 Apr 2016), entries for Mary Ann (1884), William (1886), and John J (1888) Murphy baptisms.
  7. Ibid., entries for Cornelius [Neil] (1892), Florence Agnes (1895), Elizabeth (1898), Marion (1900), Daniel (1902), and Catherine Belle (1904) Murphy baptisms. There is no entry for Bernard (1907). The entry for Joseph (1890) lists him as baptized at St. Teresa; it also gives his mother as Ellen McQuaide, so I don't know what to make of it. The birth date and father Dominic definitely identify this as the correct Joseph, however.
  8. 1901 Canada Census, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Township 8, p. 16, dwelling 146, family 146, "Domine"[?] Murphy household; digital images, ( : accessed 7 Mar 2012). 
  9. “Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 26 Apr 2012), manifest, Vanceboro, Maine, Sep 1910, sheet 6, line 11, Dominick Murphy; citing NARA, Manifests of Passengers Arriving at St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954, Publication M1464, Roll 274, RG 85. The Patrick Murphy listed above Dominic is, as far as I can tell, not related. As yet I don't know who he might have been visiting in Bath. An avenue for further research! 
  10. 1911 Canada Census, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Township 8, p. 14, dwelling 126, family 126, Dominick Murphy household; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Feb 2012).
  11. “Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956,” manifest, Vanceboro, Maine, Sep 1913 sheet 4, lines 3-5, Joseph, David, and Dominick Murphy. The notation for Dominic under Marks of Identification reads "four fingers of left hand cut off" – a testament to his early occupation as a sawyer and a confirmation of one of the stories told to me by Ray McIntyre.
  12. "PARO Collections," database, entry 8519 for Dominic Murphy death, 29 Aug 1914; citing "RG19/s2/ss6: Death registration books, 1913-1919, p. 200."
  13. “Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956,” manifest, Vanceboro, Maine, Nov 1914, sheet 7, lines 23-30, Rose Murphy and seven children.

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