Post – War Hero Finns in USA

Patricia Finn Thornton has conducted excellent research into her family history, amplified with extensive notes. Unfortunately, she is no longer with us having passed away on 17th August 2014. Patricia was buried on 23rd August at Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bala Cynwyd an area of Pennsylvania to the north west of Philadelphia, were immigrants from Wales predominated, mostly of the Quaker faith. My supervisor, George Conyne, for my doctorate at the University of Kent, UK, attended Haverford College in this area. I have visited Lancaster to the west of Philadelphia, passing through this area on my way into the city. Patricia was born in 1945, the year her father died, killed in action in Italy during the Second World War. Her picture below was added to the Find A Grave memorial website by someone with the user name mbm1311.

Patricia Finn Thornton – something in this photo makes me believe there is a connection to my family.

Patricia married a military man, Frank Thornton, in 1967. She was one of seven children, who grew up in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. She was well educated and graduated from St. Pius X High School and East Stroudsgate State University. She took courses at Temple University and Trinity College, Dublin, then obtained a Masters from Drexel University in Philadelphia. She taught English at the American School in D’Hahran, Saudi Arabia for five years and, after a short gap on returning to the USA, for the next twenty-one years at Lower Merion High School, a community near Bala Cynwyd, until retiring in 2007.

Her father was Captain Frederick J. Finn, born in New York in November 1916 and her mother was Herlinda Spade (21st January 1917- 16th March 2013). Her parents were married in October 1941 at Fort McClellan, Alabama. Frederick was killed near Ponte Rocca, Italy on 20th April 1945, whilst leading his men in Company L of the 85th Infantry Company part of the 10th Mountain division. Patricia began volunteering with the 10th Mountain Association in 1986 and in 1992 she co-founded 10th Mountain Descendants Incorporated to give support to veterans and their families. She was President of this organisation from 2001-6. Her mother Herlinda re-married and Patricia had some half-brothers and a half-sister, but as they are not my direct family connections, I have not researched further along this line. One emotional moment occurred when an unnamed veteran approached Patricia at a 10th Mountain reunion and presented her father’s Captain bars that he had found near where her father had been killed.

Frederick’s parents were Patrick Joseph Finn (born 10th November 1875 Kiltycreen, Sligo, Ireland who died 6th January 1921 in New York and Mary Tone (1st February Westmeath, Ireland 1875 – 21st August 1955, Nassau, New York). Patrick Joseph and Mary were married on 20th January 1909 in New York. Patrick had arrived in New York in 1899 on the Lucania and he then entered the New York 69th National Guard, known as “The Fighting Irish”. He became a United States citizen in 1913.

Patrick Finn on his wedding day on 20th January 1909 at Holy Trinity Church, 83rd Street, New York

They had John Finn who died 28th October 1909, very close to his birth, four more sons, Thomas Raymond Finn (1911-1982), James J. Finn (1912-1978), Henry P. Finn (1914 – 19th April 1945), the aforementioned Frederick J Finn and a daughter Ellen Patricia Finn (1918-2011). Ellen Patricia had the married name Shaughnessy. She appeared on this family gravestone, which shows the deaths of Patrick Finn and his wife Mary Tone, plus their children John, Henry P and Captain Frederick J, along with Mary’s brother John Tone.

Finn family gravestone

Patrick’s parents were Thomas Finn and Ellen Gorman, who have been featured in a blog post “More on Finns in the USA” in the penultimate paragraph. Patrick’s siblings are mentioned in this paragraph. Their gravestone also featured one of their younger daughters, Ellen J Finn (Ellie).

I have a DNA link to Patrick Finn (1881-1921) and his son James Joseph Finn (1911-1978) through an Ancestry tree managed by John Palser called D.P. This means all of the Finns in this posting have a distant relationship to me. Frustratingly, this does not lead further back into my Irish Ancestry, but it does cement my American connections. One of these connections is to John Jack Finn in Australia – see the blog post “Finns in Australia” and another is to Henry Finn in New Zealand, who will feature in a later blog page, where I have already completed the research. These were two of Patrick’s brothers.

I would like to conclude this post by adding some information about Henry P Finn, who died the day before his brother Frederick J Finn, and two more of their brothers. This must have been terrible for the family to bear, with both brothers passing away within the last few weeks just before the end of the war in Europe. Henry was in the military engaged on essential war work, but succumbed to tuberculosis in Iowa, whilst insisting he stayed at his post. He left a widow, Margaret Lichensten, who was daughter of the Mayor of Manly, Iowa. They had a son Brian Patrick Finn.

Henry P and Frederick J were survived by two other brothers in the military. Thomas Raymond Finn was a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy in the Pacific and James J Finn was a Technical Sergeant in the Flying Tigers in China. These were Patricia Finn Thornton’s other uncles and they completed a stellar military family, the sort revered in the USA.

There will be more on Patrick Joseph’s siblings in a later post, because there is too much to add to this post, provided I can find further information about their lives. They are Bridget Beatrice, Catherine, Mary Anne, Thomas, Michael, James, Matthew, Emily, Matilda and Frederick Alfred, plus Henry already mentioned in connection with New Zealand.

Post – Finns in Australia

I have a DNA match to Raymond Flanagan in the results bracketed as second to third cousins (showing 111 centimorgans). Raymond seems to be based in Australia, from his family connections in the earlier generations detailed below. I have written to him twice without getting a reply and I can tell he is not deeply into family history from his entries on to Ancestry. Frustrating, but that often happens with this type of enquiry, so I am not singling him out for criticism, just in case he reads this. I am sure that he would have a wealth of information to pass on and I will send him the link to this blog post. I am making this point generally that, if you get a message through Ancestry or any of the other websites specialising in geneological research, even a small amount of information can open doors to keen historians, so I am making a plea to please reply when contacted, if you can.

It seems that Raymond’s parents were John Patrick Flanagan and Patricia Johanna Finn who were married on 3rd May 1937. I have not got much information on them, but Raymond shows Patricia as being born in Grafton, New South Wales (NSW) on 2nd March 1915 and passing away in 2001 Sunshine Coast, Queensland (QLD) and I have not been able to verify this information. This raises the possibility that there is another generation and these are Raymond’s grandparents. The only thing I can find about John Patrick Flanagan apart from the marriage, is he appears to have been in the Australian Navy with a service number of 2686 and this shows his date of birth as 6th July 1904. If this is the correct person, he would have an age gap with his wife of 11 years and this may suggest there is another generation or that Patricia’s date of birth is wrong.

Map of the area from Brisbane, QLD showing the border with NSW to the south of Robina on the coast, with Glen Innes marked with the red pin, the town I am about to mention below. Grafton, where Patricia was born is to the east of Glen Innes towards the coast. I have visited the area on the coast from north of Brisbane at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to south of Brisbane into New South Wales at Ballina. It is beautiful area and some photos follow.
My wife Sue walking along Mermaid Beach, QLD towards Surfers Paradise with a strong breeze whipping up the sand. We used a hotel at Mermaid Beach as a base for our four week visit.
We went to the Rugby League 2008 World Cup Final at the Sun Corp stadium, Brisbane, unexpectedly won by New Zealand, on their lap of honour above, who beat the hosts Australia 34-20 in a huge upset on my 56th birthday.

Going back to the Flanagans, John Patrick had a brother James Edward Flanagan, born 7th October 1905, who died in Brisbane on 19th December 1924 at the tender age of 19. Their parents were Patrick Joseph Flanagan born 1871, died Brisbane 18th November 1856 and Mary Josephine Griffith born 1873, died 5th February 1957 in Brisbane. They were married on 19th April 1896. This information would tend to confirm that John Patrick’s date of birth is correct. Mary Josephine had a sister Margaret Elizabeth Griffith, born 21st August 1870 QLD, died 17th September 1958. These family connections and ages are all confirmed on a family gravestone in Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.

Raymond has Patricia’s parents as John Joseph Finn (1872 Sligo, Ireland – 1962, Brisbane QLD) and Johanna (or Hannah) Marden (1867 Glen Innes, NSW – 1913 Glen Innes NSW). I have not been able to verify these dates and I suspect Patricia was born before 1915, given when her mother died and the following birth dates for her siblings. John Joseph and Johanna were married in Glen Innes, NSW in 1900.

Ellen Jane Finn was born in Glen Innes on 23rd December 1900 and she married Ernest Charles Haddock on 15th November 1924 in Queensland. Irwin William Finn was born in Glen Innes on 27th May 1902. There is a record of William I. Finn passing away in Glen Innes in 1903 whose father was Jury and mother Hannah, so this looks like a possible match. Next was Evelyn Dorothy Finn born in Glen Innes on 17th December 1904. The next sibling was Mary Eileen Finn born 16th July 1907. I have been unable to find out anything more about Evelyn Dorothy or Mary Eileen. Ellen Jane and Mary Eileen had another variant of their mother’s first name recorded as Rosannah, along with their father shown as John Joseph Finn. I suspect poor handwriting or poor transcription skills contributed to these variations.

As there were four sisters and one brother who looks like he died young, the Finn name, through these ancestors, seems to have died out. My DNA link is, at the likeliest, at third cousin level. As I have no other known Australian ancestry, it is likely that the DNA link is through the Finn connection. I can rule out the Flanagans who seem to have been in Australia for longer than John Joseph Finn and that would require a connection in the fourth to sixth cousins range back to Ireland. I can also rule out the Griffith connection, which traces back to Denbigh in North Wales, United Kingdom, where I have no ancestral connections.

From my American research into the Finns, where I have DNA connections, I have come across John Jack Finn – see the penultimate paragraph in my blog page – More on Finns in the USA. He was born 24th June 1872 and was noted as passing away in Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia in 1950. Jack is used as a nickname for John, so I suspect it is not a baptised name. Given the proximity of the birth date with John Joseph mentioned in this blog and the DNA connection, it may well be that the death date and location are wrong. There was a death in Victoria in 1950 and I suspect it may have been wrongly attributed. Raymond Flanagan is the source of the 1962 death date, so knowing the answer to this may help.

Just north of Glenn Innes is Tenterfield and I have found further connections of Flanagans to this area, but none that links in to the Brisbane Flanagans featured above. There may well be a family connection between these Flanagan families. Also, more information may arise from the Finn connection back to Ireland, but without some input (other than through Ancestry or Find My Past), I may never know. Still there are the strong DNA links in the USA and Australia that makes me hold out some hope.

Post – More on Finns in the USA

At the end of my previous post called ‘Finns in the USA”, I mentioned John Finn (1796 Cloontia – 5th October 1877 Clooneen, Kilshavey, Sligo), who married Catherine Kane (1813? Clooneen – 7th January 1894 Clooneen) in 1823 in Cloontia. Catherine was probably born before 1813, otherwise she would have been 10 when she married. I stated that I had DNA connections to two of their descendants, Matthew Finn and Matilda (Tilly) Finn, whose parents were Thomas Finn and Ellen Gorman. Her parents were confirmed in Matilda’s death certificate.

Map showing where the three Irish county borders meet and key villages in each county ringed – distances between them less than five miles. My grandparents farm was very close to the ‘A’ above at the end of the word Cloontia, in Mayo but very close to the Sligo border. Kilshalvey is part way between Cloontia and Kiltycreen. Sometimes in records the name of a townland is quoted, sometimes the village which can consist of several townlands (Cloontia has four) and sometimes the Roman Catholic church or parish. It is difficult to pin down exactly where someone was born, married or died. It is further complicated by the origin of these place names in Gaelic being translated into English, usually but not always phonetically, leading to several spelling variations. I put this in, because these variations appear in the records and thence into my blogs.

I have now had some contact from Patricia Burnett who was born in Anaconda, Deer Lodge County, Montana and who currently lives in Denver, Colorado, because she picked up that we have a DNA connection. Anaconda is a city 5335 feet above sea level in the south west of the state, having a population of 9000 or so. It was the centre of a large copper mining area, now closed.

The Washoe Theatre on Main Street – the last to be constructed in the USA in the Nuevo Deco style – picture from Wikipedia, included because I like well designed buildings to illustrate places.

Patricia’s parents are Raymond G Zimmer (1904 – 22nd November 1947 Portland, Oregon) and Elizabeth Catherine Finn (10th November 1913 Anaconda – 1990 Portland). Patricia’s grand parents were John Henry Finn (22nd August 1879, Clooneen – October 1944 Montana) and Bridget Coleman (1879 – 1957) who were married in Montana on 19th November 1906.

John Henry’s parents and Patricia’s great grandparents were Dominick Finn (1834 – 13th March 1918 Clooneen) and Anne McDermottroe (1859-1934). Dominick is Thomas Finn’s brother and another son of the aforementioned John and Catherine. It is nice to have another DNA connection into the tree that emanated from John and Catherine.

Dominick and Thomas had six other brothers. Michael Finn (1820 Cloontia – 1895 Ragwood, Sligo), John Finn (1824 Cloontia – 1889 Cullard?), Luke Finn, Hugh Finn (1827 Cloontia – 1892 Cullens?, Sligo), James Finn 1836 Cloontia – 1911 Kilshavey) and Patrick Finn (1831 Clooneen – 1881 Manchester, England). Patrick married Mary Hannon (1836-1876) at Drumrat, Sligo in March 1851 and they had a son, Bernard Finn (7th March 1868, Gurteen, Sligo – 14th October 1955 Sarcoxie, Jasper, Missouri). Bernard’s birth record confirms his father as Patrick Finn and his mother as Mary Hannon, but his death record had Mary Keen, which is I suspect a reference to his grandmother’s maiden name. Bernard married Henrietta Klineline (14th February 1880 – 19th September 1962) on 28th January 1898 in Missouri. They had two sons and a daughter Bernard Lee Finn (1902-1976), Margaret Finn (1908-1984) and John Franklin Finn (28th December 1917 Sarcoxie – 3rd April 2000 Corpus Christi, Kleberg, Texas). John Franklin married Lois Irene Wooten (1918 – 1986) on 24th September 1935 in Joplin, Missouri. In the 1940 USA census, Bernard, aged 70 was living in Sarcoxie along with Henrietta. Bernard was the publisher of a weekly newspaper, when twenty years previously he was a painter with his children all living at home in Center Street, Sarcoxie. It was amazing to think that he could make a living out of a weekly newspaper in a town with a population of just over 1000.

Application form heading for proposing to add the main square in Sarcoxie to the National Register.
Extract from above application detailing how Bernard Finn was the founder of the Sarcoxie Record newspaper.
Bernard Finn and wife Henrietta with their two oldest children from David Kunkle’s tree on Ancestry.

John Henry Finn had eight siblings: Lizzie Kate Finn (born 1882), Patrick James Finn (1883 – 25th September 1948), Mary Teresa Finn (21st June 1884 – 22nd August 1965, who married James Doohan, Thomas Joseph Finn (born 1886), George Edward Finn (born 1890), Belinda Agnes Finn (1891 – 2nd September 1969), Robert Augustus Finn (born 1893) and Benedict Simon Finn (1896-1898). I have not researched any of these Finns further.

John Henry and Bridget had five other children besides Elizabeth Catherine Finn: Margaret Finn (born 1908), Patrick J Finn (1909-1916), John Finn (borne 1912), Mary A Finn (1917 – 1966) and George Finn (1920 – 1957). Again, I have not carried out any further research.

I mentioned DNA links to two of the children of Thomas and Ellen, namely Matthew and Matilda. There were thirteen other children, where again, I have not carried out any further research: Bridget Beatrice Finn (born 1867 Kiltycreen, Sligo – 1943 Stockport, England), Bernard Finn (1868-1868 Kiltycreen), Catherine Finn (born 29th January 1870 Kiltycreen – died in Philadelphia), Mary Anne Finn (14th April 1871 Gurteen – 26th September 1916 Philadelphia), John Jack Finn (24th June 1872 Kiltycreen – 1950 Victoria, Australia), Thomas Finn (1873 Kiltycreen – 13th April 1922 Belfast, Northern Ireland), Patrick Finn 17th March 1875 Kiltycreen – 6th January 1921 New York), Michael Finn (1875 Kiltycreen – November 1967 Kiltycreen), James Finn (4th June 1877 – June 1922 Dublin, Ireland), Henry Finn (6th January 1883 Kiltycreen – 1971 Auckland, New Zealand), Ellie Finn (1884 Kiltycreen – 6th March 1909 Kiltycreen), Emily Finn (18th August 1888 Kiltycreen – died New York), Frederick Alfred Finn (20th March 1894 Kiltycreen – 1967 Bradford, England).

So where does that leave my research? Great to know I have yet further DNA connections to distant relatives in the USA, over a more extensive area. These records also extend the Finn name into Australia and New Zealand, where I have not completed any research, but I have some other DNA links to explore. Back in Ireland, the results link to other distant relatives from the same geographical area as my grandparents, as shown in the above map. I am unable to link them into my own family, but I am getting closer! More research needed.

Post – Descendants of James Backler (junior), Master Bricklayer of Haverhill

James Backler and his wife Dorothy Lorking were both shown as 50 in the 1841 census living at The Weavers Arms in Haverhill. There was a five year rounding on adult ages in that census, so they were both born about 1791 and there are suggestions in other family trees that James was born in 1785. In my blog page “1911 Census – Backler Families”, James was number 8 on the list.

This picture is of The Weavers’ Arms in about 1860 and it seems to have closed between 1922 and 1926. It was supplied by Graham Nunn to the CAMRA West Suffolk & Borders branch and copied here under the exceptions to copyright granted for non-commercial research, provided the source is acknowledged.

I had some contact recently from Marie Russell, who is descended from this branch of the Backler families. She sent me a photo of Annie Elizabeth Backler (seated born 12th March 1857-1944), her great great grandmother, along with another unidentified younger female who is standing next to her, who is facially clearly a relative. This is the first time that anyone connected with the Backlers in Haverhill has contacted me and I would be delighted if other descendants did so. It would be a bonus if they were able to provide more information on any Backler Connections, not just my family.

James Backler senior and Dorothy had a son James Backler junior (1820-1885), a master bricklayer, who married Mary Ann Basham (1822-1887) in 1850 and it is the descendants of the younger James that feature in this blog page. Mary Ann had been married previously and living with the family in the 1851 census were step children with the surname Brooks: Mary Ann, aged 11 born 1840, Eliza, aged 9 born 1842, Thomas, aged 7 born 1844 and John, aged 6 born 1846. Also living with the family in 1851 was Mary Ann’s mother another Mary Ann Basham born 1800 and a son Bury St Edmunds Backler aged 9 (1842-4th August 1908, Haverhill). It seems Bury St Edmund’s mother may have been Jane Banks (1829-28th August 1849), so he was half brother to the children mentioned in the next paragraph. By the time of the 1861 census only Mary Ann Brooks, aged 21 and John Brooks, aged 16 were still at home. I have not explored the Brooks connection any further because they are not Backler Connections.

James and Mary Ann had five further children living at home in the 1861 census: Susannah Backler, aged 10 born 1851 – 1927, Harry Frank Backler, aged 5 born 1856, the aforementioned Annie E Backler, aged 4 born 1857, Catherine Jane Backler, aged 2 born 1859 and Albert Jabez Backler, aged 7 months born 1860. These five were still living at home in the 1871 census, although Harry Frank was just Frank and Catherine was now spelt with a K. There were also three additions to the family, Frank Harry Backler, aged 12 born 1859 Haverhill – 28th Dec 1933 Haverhill (not to be confused with Harry Frank – now Frank), Walter Christopher Backler, aged 8 (28th January 1863 Haverhill-24th June 1926 Chelsea, London), who appeared just as Christopher, and Emily Backler, aged 5 born 1866 – 1917.

I have mostly researched their daughters, because Marie told me that someone in the family was a servant of the Romanoffs, the Russian royal family, and she returned to Russia between 1910 and 1917 after a visit home, where family anecdotes suggest she died during the revolution. We are not certain who it was, but Marie has in her possession some jewellery give to this lady and handed down through the family. Marie’s family suggest it may be one of Annie’s sisters or the younger unidentified woman in the photo above. Here is the photo of the jewellery.

The Romanoff jewellery. A gold locket with a turquoise cross and a gold horseshoe ring with a sapphire. The photos inside the locket show an ageing Annie, but I am not sure of the identity of the dashing looking younger man.

James’s and Mary Ann’s oldest daughter, Susannah, married Charles William Spicer in 1880. In the 1891 census the family were living in Broad Street, Haverhill and they had six children at home, all born in Haverhill, step daughter Lillie born 1873, Alice Mary born 1881, William born 1884, Arthur 1887, Sissy (or Cissy) born 1887 and Frank born 1891. By 1901 they were recorded at 28 Broad Street, except for Lillie. By 1911, Cissy, a 23 year old school teacher was the only one still living with Charles and Susannah. Lillie had married Thomas Marsh in 1895 and was living in Weston Colville, not too far away, with two children of her own. Because of this information it is unlikely that Susannah was the Romanoff servant. Of their daughters, Alice Mary and Cissy could be candidates.

The next daughter was Annie Elizabeth from the photo above. She married Charles John Pavey, a fitter and turner, (1857-6th February 1938) from Ilminster in Somerset on 25th October 1879 and the witnesses were Frank Backler and Kate Backler, presumably her siblings. In the 1881 census Charles was in hospital, aged 24. By the time of the 1891 census the family had expanded by the addition of Charles Frederick born 10th March 1880, Ellen Mary born 1882, Stanley born 1889, Dorothy born 12th January 1892 and Bertram born 1894, all in Haverhill. Henry (Harry) Pavey born 1884, but unfortunately buried on 11th May 1985 was not on the census, but I can’t be sure he was the son of Charles and Annie. The 1911 census shows that the family consisted of seven siblings, of which five were still alive, so if one was Henry, I have not been able to identify the second child who was no longer living, although there was an unnamed Pavey who died in 1886 (but see UPDATE Below). This is what happened to the Paveys I have been able to trace and it is unlikely any served the Romanoffs between 1910 and 1917:

  • Charles Frederick married Kate Buttle in the second quarter of 1903 and they had three daughters. Freda Ellen born 7th August 1907 in Watford married Sidney Barsted in 1932. Constance K born 26th January 1909 in Watford married Peter Beavis in 1937. Doris J born 14th January 1915 married Bertram G Sturman in 1940.
  • Ellen Mary married Isaac William Poole and they had daughters Kathleen Phyllis born 1909 and Madge Gertrude born 1910.
  • Stanley married Emily B Brown in 1915.
  • Dorothy married William Martin Tucker in 1918 and in 1911 they were living with Dorothy’s parents in Watford. William was a cycle mechanic and his father, Reuben, was a cycle and motor engineer. William and Dorothy had a daughter, Dorothy M born 20th July 1920, a commercial clerk, who married someone with the surname Green. In the 1939 Register Annie Pavey (Backler), widow, was living with them at 71 Judge Street, Watford. This seems to be how the Romanoff jewellery passed from Annie, to Dorothy, then to Dorthy M and thence to Marie who confirmed that she received it from Dorothy M.
  • Bertram married Ellen Farthing in 1919.

The next daughter was Catherine Jane Backler who married John Henry Bareham in 1880. In the 1891 census they were living at The Green, Weston Colville, near Haverhill. By 1901, they had moved to Oakham in Rutland and John was an agent for Prudential Insurance. Ten years later they were in Melton Mowbray and John was a cattle feed traveller (salesman). They had nine children. Edith J born 6th January 1883 and Rose E born 22nd October 1884, by the time of the 1939 register, these sisters were living with their widowed and retired mother. Both daughters were unmarried and carrying out domestic duties. Philip J was born in 1886 in Haverhill and probably married Elizabeth Awain in 1915 in Tamworth and they had a son Alan J Bareham born 29th May 1922. Constance Irene was born in 1889 in Linton, Cambridgeshire and married in 1912, husband not yet identified. Marjorie Cecilia was born in 1891 in Weston Colville, Cambridgeshire, where the next three siblings were also born. They were Vernon C born 1893, Percy V born 1894 and Frank N born 1895. The last sibling was Lillie M who was born in 1897 in Bottisham, Cambridgeshire. It is possible that either Marjorie or Lillie served the Romanoffs.

The youngest daughter was Emily who married Frederick George Pavey, a carpenter, from Ilminster in 1887, probably a brother of Charles, Annie’s husband. They had six children born in Haverhill who were, John born 1888, Beatrice also born 1888, Horace born 1889, Edith Maud (1890-1893), Bernard born 1892 and Evelyn (Eveline) Dora born 2nd March 1893. In the 1891 census, the family was living at Hamlet Road, Haverhill, but by 1901 they had moved to 138 St James Road, Watford. They had Charles Pavey their 21 year old nephew, a coach painter, living with them. By the time of the 1911 census, Frederick and Emily had been married 24 years and had had six children, with five still living, apart from the unfortunate Edith Maud. In the 1920 and 1930 electoral registers, Beatrice was living not too far away from Watford in Rickmansworth. Evelyn married William Pine in Watford in 1929. None of these descendants were likely to have ventured to Russia.

In the 1901 Census, Christopher Backler, carpenter, born 1862 and his family (all born in Haverhill apart from his wife who was born in Diss, Norfolk) were mis-transcribed as Bachler. They were living at 135 St James Road, Watford, wife Elizabeth Mary Anne born 1864, and children Annie Marie Backler born 1888, Elizabeth Alice Backler born 1889, Fannie Brett Backler born 1890, Royal Backler born 1894, Emily Daisy Backler born 1896, Sylvia Dorothy Backler born 1898 and Phyllis P Backler born 1900. In the 1891 census the family were living in Haverhill and there was an older sibling James Christopher Backler born 1885. Further siblings have been identified from other trees, Sarah Backler born 1902, Sidney Backler born 1905 and Lily Backler born 1907. I have not carried out any further research on this part of the tree.

That leaves Harry Frank, Alfred Jabez and Frank Harry where further research is needed and I will update further when I complete more work. It is interesting to note that two Paveys moved to Haverhill from Ilminster and that there was probably a further work related connection to Watford that involved a number of other members of the family. This was unusual in those days, where people tended to stay firmly rooted in one area.

It would be fabulous if a DNA connection could be established to one of the lines of Backlers that emanate form Haverhill, but none has emerged so far, although I have come across trees where there are people with DNA connections to Haverhill and to me. One of these included a Farrant, where I know that there were extensive families in the Haverhill area, but I have been unable to make a connection. Since I know that my own family is descended from Samuel Backler, probably born about 1750 and his son Henry Backler born 3rd April 1785 in Haverhill, I can only assume my line has died out in the area through direct Backler Connections, because I could not locate any family connections, when working backwards from the 1911 Census. However, there could be a connection through the marriages of Henry’s sisters Elizabeth, Martha, Mary and Sarah. More research is needed, which is usual with anything to do with genealogy and that is also the case with the Romanoff story.

UPDATE 10th May 2021:

From the Ancestry tree of Russell Suter. This is clearly the younger woman in the above photo.

In the original post, it states that Ellen Mary Pavey married Isaac William Poole, but I can now add further information. Ellen was born in Haverhill on 13th May 1882 and died in Faversham, Kent on 9th February 1970 at 76 London Road. This is only a few miles from where Princess Olga Romanoff lives at Provender House. I spoke to Princess Olga and her daughter Alex, but neither can recall whether Ellen Mary worked for the family in Kent. In any case this would have to be from the 1940s onwards because of when Provender House became the Romanoff home. Isaac was also born in 1882 and he too died in Faversham in 1958 and his probate shows his address as Suffolk House, London Road, which happens to be the main A2 running east-west past the north of the town. Ellen Mary and Isaac were married in 1908 in Haverhill. In the 1911 census and in the 1939 register, Ellen and Issac were living in Haverhill, having moved from 46 High Street to 27 High Street, so these records suggest that the family moved to Faversham in the 1940s. Ellen and Issac had a further child, this time a son, Donald Laurie Poole and he was born in Haverhill on 29th April 1913. He died in March 1983 at Broadlands, Ashford Road, Faversham. In the 1939 Register he was living in Tendring, Essex and he was recorded as living in Ashford Road in 1964, so he may have relocated after his father died. Donald married Eleanor Ludlow in 1937 in Tendring. It is surprising that there is a connection from Haverhill to Faversham, but I can only speculate that it was because of the nearby Romanoffs.

UPDATE 11th May 2021:

Judith Ashton provided a link to her tree on Ancestry that gave further details on Alfred Jabez Backler (October 1860 Haverhill – 2nd September 1935 Saffron Walden, Essex, UK), mentioned in her comment. Alfred married Eliza Ann Jay (1857 Saffron Walden-1933) on 28th July 1884 in Saffron Walden. They had seven children: Thomas Jay Backler (1887 Linton-1955), Alfred Jabez Backler junior (1889 Linton-12th August 1927 Linton), Ruby Jessie Backler (1891 Linton-17th May 1948 Saffron Walden), Edward George Backler (1893-1893), Pearl Annie Backler (26th August 1894 Linton-12th July 1969, Chichester, West Sussex), Emerald Eva Backler (27th December 1896 Linton-1980 Chichester) and Beryl Barbara Winifred Backler (1900-11th May 1947 Colchester, Essex). The family ran a draper’s shop in Linton, Cambridgeshire, UK.

Pearl Annie was Judith’s grandmother. She married Charles William Ashton in December 1918 in Linton (1892-1986) and one son has been identified from this marriage, Michael Alfred Ashton (1920-2016), who was probably Judith’s father. Beryl Barbara Winifred married Frederick Hector Stuart-David (1900-1970) in Linton in 1922. They had a daughter Ivy Stuart-David who was short lived (1923-1923). Emerald Eva moved to London for most of her life, before arriving in Chichester via Plymouth. She did not marry. Ruby Jessie married Colin Campbell MacKinnon in 1914. Thomas Jay married Fanny Maude Smith in 1923 in Linton.

Frank Harry Backler married Elizabeth Willis and they had five children. Florance Backler born 1878, Frank Backler born 1880, Alfred Backler born 1882, Mary Backler born 1885 and Phillip Backler born 1888.

James Backler junior and Mary Ann, may have had another child, a third generation James Backler, identified from a Haverhill gravestone, as having been 86 when he died in 1950, so born in 1864.

Bury St Edmunds Backler married Charlotte Humphrey and they had a son St Edmund Bury Backler in Haverhill in 1876-24th February 1948, who married Ada Annie Cooke in 1898. They had three children Edward J Backler born 1900, Gladys Ada Backler (1908-1988) and May Backler (1909-1972). St Edmund Bury also had two siblings James Backler born 1881 and Ella Backler born 1884, plus these three had a half sister Mary Ann Backler born 1867, the son of Bury St Edmunds and his first wife Ellen Scott (1843-1872).

I have also found a reference to Freda Hilda Pavey (1896- October 1897) whose parents are identified as Charles Pavey and Annie Elizabeth Backler, so she is probably the missing child noted above in the main text.

These updates will need to be related to the relevant paragraphs from the original posting above.

Post – Rapleys in Ontario, Canada and Michigan, USA

The picture below is of the Yale Hotel, in Yale, Michigan, a small town north of Detroit, not to be confused with the famous New England University town. The hotel was opened in 1901 and is the oldest building in Yale. It was built by Thomas Rapley, who was also a lumberjack, hence the large saws on the wall in the interior. Thomas originally emigrated to Strathroy, Ontario, Canada. Strathroy is located to the west of the city of London, Ontario sandwiched on a peninsula of land between the great lakes of Huron and Erie. To their west lies the USA border, which unusually between the USA and Canada, runs north to south following the St Clair River. The St Clair River connects Lake Huron to the much smaller Lake St Clair. Detroit is located on the west bank of Lake St Clair and the Detroit River connects Lake St Clair to Lake Erie. At the northern mouth of the St Clair River, Sarnia is located on the Ontario east bank and Port Huron on the Michigan west bank. It is in this geographical area, where the emigrating Rapleys were located.

Thomas was born in Wisborough Green, a small village in West Sussex, UK on 15th March 1826 and he died in Yale, Michigan on 20th February 1906. His grand parents were William Rapley and Ruth Court. William was born in Rudgwick, West Sussex on 1st December 1738 and Ruth was born in the nearby village of Kirdford on 25th January 1756. They were married in Kirdford on 24th April 1774. This is St John the Baptist church in Kirdford. William died on 5th December 1825 in Fittleworth, West Sussex and Ruth died on 13th December 1838 in Kirdford.

William and Ruth had a large family, but I am only going to follow the two lines that link my family to Thomas in this blog. The two sons in question were James Rapley, born Fittleworth, West Sussex on 4th March 1781 (my 4 x Great Grand Uncle) who emigrated to Strathroy, Ontario and Thomas Rapley, also born in Fittleworth on 20th October 1782 (my 4 x Great Grandfather). James married Mary Collins (1783-1831) on 3rd June 1805 in Pulborough, West Sussex and it was their son Thomas mentioned at the start of this blog, who emigrated to Canada. Thomas married Ann Hurst (1781-1894) on 28th December 1802 in Kirdford.

If we follow my line first, Thomas and Ann, had another large family, but I am going to concentrate on two of the children.  Rhoda Rapley (1813- 1864 both Kirdford) married David Holden (1809-1880) on 4th January 1831 in Kirdford. They were my 3 x Great Grandparents. My lineage from Rhoda after marrying David Holden is detailed in the blog page “The Elliotts of West Sussex”. Rhoda had eight other siblings, but Hannah Rapley (1st May1808 Wisborough Green – June 1884 Petworth) married George Sopp on 18th May 1829 in Kirdford. In the 1871 census George Sopp aged 68 was living with his wife Hannah, daughter Fanny aged 39 and brother-in-law Steven Rapley aged 55 (who was described as a lunatic). Also, living with them was widower and father-in-law Thomas Rapley aged 88 and, as noted above, my 4 x Great Grandfather. I have a DNA connection to Peter Sopp, my fourth cousin once removed, who is descended through the Sopp line back to Thomas Rapley. This helps to cement all of this paper research in place.

Turning now to James’ line, Thomas was one of six children. William, Charlotte, James W., David and Lucy were his siblings. Thomas married Emma Cooper (born 21 January 1826, Graffham, West Sussex – 7th September 1913 Yale, Michigan) on 19th June 1846 in Adelaide Township, Ontario. Pictures of Thomas and Emma follow:

Thomas and Emma crossed the border into Michigan in 1868 and bought a plot of land to commence their logging business between Yale and Brockway to the south. This was evidently successful and provided the funds to eventually build the Yale Hotel, which at one time was named the Rapley House Hotel. There were eleven children from this marriage and one of the daughters, Mary Rapley, who was born in 1853 on a farm in Old Brockway (presumably the lumber business) was featured in a newspaper on her 84th birthday on 10th February 1937 and again on her 87th birthday in 1940, the year she passed away on 23rd November. In 1937 the newspaper confirmed that three of her siblings were still living, Mrs Frank Hill, Avoca, Mrs George Hull, Fargo and William J. Rapley, Port Huron. Mary married Arthur Patrick Hennessy on 29th April 1874 and they had four children, Maude (married Alex Pollock), Lilian May (married Charles Palmer), J. A. Hennessy and Herbert T. Hennessy. Her husband passed away and she married Miles Simmons on 4th August 1908. I have a DNA connection to Theodore Sommer, a 6th Cousin, who is descended through Lilian May Hennessy back to William Rapley, which confirms the accuracy of this line of my research and also confirms the link to my branch of the Rapley family.

I have a significant amount of research on the Rapleys, in the UK, Canada and USA, but as the families were large, I have had to concentrate on how they linked into my family for this blog page. I am finishing with a Thru Lines extract that shows the DNA Connections and this is an excellent feature from Ancestry.

Post – Finns in the USA

I had a comment recently from Scott Brown on my “Finns of County Mayo” blog page. We have exchanged some information and he is descended from Bridget Finn who emigrated from Ireland to the USA in 1901, making her home in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was born in 1881 in the Cloontia, Mayo area along with the rest of her siblings. Three of her sisters also emigrated to Cincinnati, Mary Agnes Finn born 1883, Katherine Finn born 1885 and Ann Finn born 1886. Bridget married Bernard John Gorman in 1908 and Mary Agnes married Patrick Joyce in 1909. Katherine married William P. Lantry and Ann married Charles Ziegler. This picture shows the four Finn sisters in 1955. The Finn name disappeared from Cincinnati because of these marriages.

Back in Ireland their parents were James (Seamus) Finn (1860? – 1932 Cloontia) and Ann (Nancy) Finn (1845 Croyhill -1938 Cloontia), who were married on 13th February 1879. There were four sons besides the four daughters mentioned above. They were Thomas Finn (born 1889 Cloontia), James Finn (1887 – 1969), Patrick Finn (1893 Cloontia to 29th July 1917 Lake Erie) and Matthew Finn (1895 Cloontia to 1901 Cloontia). Patrick arrived at Ellis Island on 25th March 1911 and gained work as a chauffeur. Whilst vacationing, he visited relatives in the Cleveland area and, unfortunately drowned in Lake Erie. James married Marie McGeever (1891-1973) and they had seven children.

One of these children was Thomas Finn (28th April 1919 – 24th July 2019, aged 100) who wrote the paper about the residents of Cloontia featured in my blog page “More on Grandad Finn’s Family”. He married Kathleen Farrell in 1948 and there are four sons and five daughters listed on his obituary notice along with the mention of thirty grandchildren and twenty-seven great grandchildren.

I have a DNA connection to Jess Bazeley of Cincicinnati. Her grandmother, Mary Louise Ziegler (born 1916, Harrison, Ohio), married Fred Bazeley. Mary Louise was the daughter of Charles Ziegler and Ann Finn. Maribeth Samoya, sister of Scott Brown, sent her brother the same information, which he passed on to me. This means I have a connection as a distant cousin with, at least, James Finn (1860?-1932), and all of his offspring in the USA, plus, in all probability, further connections to his family back in Ireland that are yet to be established. James’ father was Patrick Finn, known as ‘Patch’, who was born and raised in Cloontia, County Mayo and who married Dorothy Doherty.

My great grandfather Luke Finn married my great grandmother Bridget Phillips in the Sacred Heart of Mary (picture above), in the village of Bunninaddan, church on 2nd February 1887. They were the parents of my maternal grandmother Kate Finn (1896-1995). One of the witnesses was Patt Finn, but I know nothing about him. He could be either a brother or other relative of Luke Finn – further research is needed. Their marriage certificate extracted record is below.

I have been in contact, because of another DNA connection, to Michael C. Pecora. He has traced his line back to Ireland, via Thomas Finn (1845 – 16th August 1903, both Kiltycreen), who married Ellen Gorman on 16th December 1865 in the above church. They had a large number of children and I have DNA links to two of them – Matthew Finn (22nd March 1881 Kiltycreen – 18th March 1945 Cook County, Illinois) who married Ann Lynch (born Bury, Lancashire, UK) on 21st May 1936 from the Pasquini tree on Ancestry and Matilda (Tilly) Finn (13th July 1891 Kiltycreen – 14th December 1951 Philadelphia) from Michael C. Pecora’s tree. Tilly married Patrick Scott and is recorded in the 1940 USA census, with six children. Other siblings of Matthew and Tilly, who emigrated to the USA, were Catherine (Kate) Finn (29th January 1870 Kiltycreen – Philadelphia), Mary Anne Finn (14th April 1871 Gurteen, Sligo – 26th September 1916 Philadelphia), Patrick Finn (17th March 1875 Kiltycreen – 6th January 1921 New York), and Emily Finn (18th August 1888 Kiltycreen – New York). All of these need further exploration. The dates and locations in this paragraph are from Michael C. Pecora’s research and the data cannot be verified because it has not been uploaded to Ancestry.

Going back a generation, John Finn (1796 Cloontia – 5th October 1877) married Catherine Kane (1813 – 7th January 1894) in 1823, probably in the Cloontia area). Apart from their sons Thomas (1845-1903) and Patrick (1831? – 1881) mentioned above, a number of other siblings have been suggested where further research is needed. There must be a link to my Finn family, a generation or two back, because of the DNA results I have been able to trace.

I have concentrated this blog page on the Finns who reached Cincinnati, because of the information provided by Scott Brown. I have not provided any further details of the Gormans, Joyces, Lantrys or Zieglers, because this blog is primarily about tracing my family connections, being Finns in this case. Some of my distant cousins related to those in this blog who emigrated to the USA, emigrated to Australia and New Zealand and that is also a further topic for research.

Another amusing fact about Cincinnati. I had a long stopover there on my way back to the UK after the initial flight from Tampa, Florida. At least, I thought, I have briefly visited Ohio, a state I have never set foot in. However, Cincinnati airport is south of the Ohio River in northern Kentucky, so I still have never set foot in Ohio, but as this is my only claim to have ever visited Kentucky, I will just have to settle for that!