All posts by Katrina Fahy

About Katrina Fahy

Katrina, a native of Dedham, Massachusetts, earned a B.A. in History and Art History from St. Anselm College. Previously, she interned at the New Hampshire Historical Society, constructing biographies of New Hampshire quilt makers as well as transcribing a mid-nineteenth century New Hampshire diary and creating an educational program based on its contents. Katrina's research interests include New England and South East regions, as well as the American Revolution.

Portrait from life

My great-grandparents, John and Catherine (Cassidy) Hampe.

In a previous post – To catch a thief – I discussed the use of local clubs and societies in discovering information about ancestors. However, a recent acquisition led me to expand my search into religious records beyond the standard baptism, marriage, and burial records.

A few months ago, my mother received several photographs and documents that had been in my grandparents’ possession before they died. One afternoon, while going through everything, I came across a certificate for a John A. Hampe written in German. As I have several ancestors named John Hampe, and do not read German, I had no idea what this document could be. Continue reading Portrait from life

Middlesex County court records

Roger Touthaker
Some of Roger Touthaker’s testimony.

When researching a family, one can quickly become focused on names, birthdates, and death dates. It is easy to get caught up on going as far back as possible until reaching the metaphorical brick wall, and being left with a “well, what do I do now?” mentality. Seventeenth-century immigrants can be incredibly difficult to trace and track, but learning about them in public records can help add meaning and information about their lives. Continue reading Middlesex County court records

Coming home

Durling 3
The area around Tufts College in Medford, 1889.

Recently, I moved from my hometown of Dedham to Medford, Massachusetts. I never really thought about it, but I had always assumed my family had no connections to places north of Boston. My mother and her siblings grew up in Needham (in Norfolk County), and my maternal grandfather and grandmother were raised in Dorchester and Roslindale, respectively. Continue reading Coming home

Strategies for Scottish and Irish research

[Editor’s note: Katrina Fahy has written a number of posts on researching her Scottish, Irish, and German ancestors. Some of her techniques – and successes – are excerpted below.]

William Muir in 1900From Finding William Muir: When I began working as a genealogist, my mother expressed great interest in learning more about her father’s family: the Muirs. While she had much information on her mother’s side of the family, which was quite large, she knew little about her father’s side of the family beyond her grandparents, so I began there… Continue reading Strategies for Scottish and Irish research

Keeping it in the family

Susannah Brown will1
Susannah (Dexter) Brown’s will

Recently, I had a client who wanted to know more about a silver teapot designed by the Hurd silversmiths of Boston that had been passed down through his family. The teapot had the name “Sally Brown” engraved on it, but to his knowledge, he did not have any Brown relatives, which made the teapot a bit of a mystery.

With some research, we found a connection to the Brown family through ancestor Amey Martin (1784–1852), the wife of Samuel Nightingale Richmond; her parents were Silvanus Martin (1748–1819) and Amey Brown (1749–1833) of Providence, Rhode Island. Though I located a connection to a Brown family, my client’s direct ancestry did not contain anyone named Sarah or Sally Brown. Continue reading Keeping it in the family

Consider the siblings

Annie Hughes deathFor the last several months, I have been trying to determine the origins of each of my mother’s Irish ancestors. In a previous post, I mentioned my success in locating the origins of my Kenefick ancestors; however, I have been having trouble with some ancestors with much more common surnames.

The earliest record I have for my maternal great-great-grandparents Patrick Cassidy and Mary Hughes is their marriage record, dated in Boston 28 November 1888. Continue reading Consider the siblings

Why did they go back?

Fahy 1
The Keneficks in the 1870 Federal Census.

My great-great-grandmother, Margaret Kenefick, was born in Boston on 11 February 1857, the daughter of Irish immigrants Thomas and Mary Kenefick. When I began searching for the family in Boston, I turned to the 1860 Census, but was surprised when I could not locate the Keneficks in Massachusetts. Continue reading Why did they go back?

Surname maps for genealogical research

Hampe surname distribution
German surname images courtesy of Click on the images to expand them.

My nineteenth century immigrant ancestors have caused me a lot of headaches. With the exception of my Muir ancestor, Robert, who listed his specific birthplace, my immigrant ancestors were very vague in listing their birthplaces on records in the U.S.

Though most of my ancestry is Irish, I have a German line that has always interested me. My great-great-grandfather, John Henry Hampe, came to the New York in 1872, and eventually moved to Boston. Though he claimed to have been naturalized in later census records, I was never able to locate a naturalization record for him, which I hoped would list his birthplace. Continue reading Surname maps for genealogical research

Finding the Fahys in Ireland

Grandmother's house
Grandmother Fahy’s house, County Galway.

I recently went to Ireland to visit my dad’s family. Having investigated my grandmother’s ancestry on a previous trip, I wanted to focus this time on learning more about the Fahys.

Thomas Fahy, my paternal grandfather, died in 1983, when my dad was 23. Beyond that, I was able to glean a bit more from my dad, grandmother, and uncles: Continue reading Finding the Fahys in Ireland

Church records in early New England research

Baptismal record of Caleb Church, First Congregational Church, Hanover, Mass. From Congregational Library and Archives.
Baptismal record of Caleb Church, First Congregational Church, Hanover, Mass. From Congregational Library and Archives.

Church records can be a valuable resource when vital records fall short. NEHGS has a large collection of published church records for New England and throughout the United States. For learning more about the Church family of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Congregational Church records, held by the Congregational Library and Archives on Beacon Street in Boston, have also proved especially helpful.

A Caleb Church of Hanover purchased land in Rochester, Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1770, went on to marry a woman named Hannah Pool in 1772, and died in 1827. However, the ancestry of Caleb Church was a mystery. Though he was listed in the 1770 land record as being originally “of Hanover,” there was no birth record for Caleb Church in the Hanover Vital Records.[1] Continue reading Church records in early New England research