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Q: Genealogy - Searching for Ancestors ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Genealogy - Searching for Ancestors
Category: Family and Home > Families
Asked by: jqsw-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 04 May 2003 21:39 PDT
Expires: 03 Jun 2003 21:39 PDT
Question ID: 199473
I would like to find the following information about my
- birthplaces
- how/when they left Ireland (name of ship, city, dates)
- how/when they entered the USA (name of ship, city, dates)
- where they lived just before leaving Ireland
- Bonuses:
  - exact birth dates and locations of their children (excluding my
  - verification of family legend (see below)

Information I have:
- Great-grandfather:  James Joseph Quinlan (name not verified but
believed to be accurate)
  - born:  unknown
- Great-grandmother:  Johanna Ronan
  - born:  15 Dec 1853 in Ireland (city unknown)
  - married:  unknown
- Their children:
  - Nora - born about 1879 in Ireland (?)
  - Charles - born about 1882 in Ireland (?)
  - Margaret - born between 1883-1889 in Ireland (?)
  - a possible other child (female)
  - Josephine - born about 1890 in Ireland or Chicago (?)
  - James Joseph Quinlan - born 19 Mar 1891 in Chicago, Illinois (my

I believe this family came from Ireland (possibly County Clare) based
on verbal conversations with the older family members.  This probably
occurred around 1885-1890.  The family eventually settled in Chicago,
Illinois.  My Great-grandfather appearently left the family after
arriving in Chicago, so not much is known about him (the family
members refused to discuss him).

There is also a family legend that states that a couple British
soldiers "invaded" the family's home, taking all the food.  When the
soldiers finally left, the oldest son (with some help) killed the
soldiers.  This event insired the family to quickly leave the country.
 If this story could be verified, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thank you in advance for all the help that you can provide!!!
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Genealogy - Searching for Ancestors
From: omnivorous-ga on 06 May 2003 06:18 PDT

I want to explain how a researcher is likely to tackle this task, as
it doesn't appear that anyone has published a family history on the
Internet which would quickly answer your questions.  It is probably an
8-hour task to run down this information at National Archives Record
Administration (NARA) using microfilm and their indexes:

1.  look for the family in the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census in Chicago. 
Census information would provide place of birth; year of birth;
complete family listing.  Note that most of the 1890 Census was
destroyed in a fire.

The Census information is also valuable in indicating when and if
people were naturalized as U.S. citizens.  However, be aware that not
all census reports include this information.  You might wish to see
this recent answer:

2.  checking passenger lists for 1885-1890 in Boston; Baltimore; New
York.  There are several other possibilities (Philadelphia, Portland
Maine, and St. Albans Vermont but records don't cover all years). 
Immigration documents will show where they left from and where their
residence was in Ireland.  Name of the ship will be included -- but
only if they arrived via ship.  Arrivals in St. Albans, VT came across
the border on a train from Montreal.

Once this information is gathered, there's a chance of getting birth
certificates from the state of Illinois for those born in Chicago, but
you'll have to do that via mail because of privacy rules (and the
absence of the information online).  Additional valuable information
(birthdates and towns) comes from naturalization papers.  Again you'll
have to make that request of Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Genealogy - Searching for Ancestors
From: jqsw-ga on 07 May 2003 13:44 PDT

As an amature genealogist (very amature), I have searched some of the
census records:
- I was unable to find the family listed in the 1910 Soundex
- I did find the family in the 1920 census:  Roll T625-350, Page 7A
(bottom), ED: 1982, Image 179
  - Nora as the head of household
  - Nora(41) and Charles(38) born in Ireland to Irish parents
  - Josephine(30) and James(28) born in Illinois to Irish parents
  - Elizabeth (neice - 7) living with the family
  - Year of immigration (Nora/Charles) could be 1888 (unsure -
  - Year of Naturalization (Nora/Charles) could be 1898

In addition, I have contacted NARA (Chicago office) and they were
unable to find any immigration/Naturalization records.  (I am located
in Southern California and do not have easy access to the Chicago

I have also contacted the Cook County Clerk in Chicago.  They do not
have birth records of James nor Josephine - they did not keep records
at that time.  However, I was able to track down a baptism certificate
for James from a local Catholic Church.  It does show the parents and
birth/baptism dates (see original "question").  Unfortunately, it was
issued in 1930.

Some possible thoughts:
- search the older census (1900 and 1910) in other areas of the
country (New York?, New England? (James' wife's family (Gill) came
from Prince Edward Island, Canada - could the Quinlan family have come
through there?)
- search New York NARA for immigration/naturalization records

Omnivorous, (cool name, by the way) are you suggesting that the
question should be broken into several differnet parts?  I was
assuming that most of the information would be found together once the
"key" piece of information is found (like the ship's passenger list).

Also note that the original listing price was just to include the
basic information.  I was assuming that a "tip" would be given to the
researcher if the other information is also found.  However, I will
admit that since I have never worked with a professional genealogist
before, I don't really know what the going rates are currently.

Thank you for your advice and suggestions!
Subject: Re: Genealogy - Searching for Ancestors
From: omnivorous-ga on 08 May 2003 09:14 PDT

I wanted to give you an idea of what it would be realistic to find and
where.  You could consider breaking the question down but in this case
it's not certain that a researcher would find what you're seeking. If
they don't, it still could be VALUABLE in telling you where records
are not located.

A personal story here: I'd searched for my Polish grandparents in all
of the usual places (Boston, Ellis Island) and found nothing -- though
I was pretty certain of the dates of entry into the U.S.  It was a
NARA researcher who suggested looking in St. Albans, VT because of its
role as a transit point from Montreal. Within 5 minutes I'd found my
grandmother and two aunts.

Anyway, we want to keep you going here.  (If you leave this question
open, I'll check on data for you the next time I get to NARA/Seattle.)
 Here are some resources.  First you have a NARA facility near you and
it will have the same microfilm collection that the other regional
centers have:
NARA/Laguna Niguel
24000 Avila Road, 
1st Floor, East Entrance
Laguna Niguel, California 92677-3497 

You appear to have a date for naturalization, so you can request a
copy of the "Petition for Naturalization" and "Certificate of
Naturalization" from the
Immigration and Naturalization Service using a 'Freedom of Information
Act' (FOIA) request.  This process takes about 4 months and
will be expedited if you provided a stamped return envelope:
U.S. Department of Justice  
"FOIA Request Form"   
By the way, I would NOT recommend looking for ship or immigration
records before taking the step above.  Because people came to the U.S.
through Canada, making the possibilities for ports-of-entry difficult
to isolate.
The naturalization information will answer many questions: when and
where a person arrived; parents' names; initial destination in the
U.S.; who is vouching for them as a citizen.  

If you decide to recast this question, you can expire this question
and pay only the $0.50 listing fee.  I'd be glad to help where I can.

Best regards,


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