Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Little Sleuthing With My Friends

Mrs. Thomas (Johanna) Sullivan
Yesterday, I may have spoken too soon. But it will turn out all right in the end.

Where we left off, in yesterday’s post, an unsolved connection to the Edna Tully McCaughey family was featured as the “Chief Ranger” for an organization called “C. O. Foresters.”

Well…that isn’t entirely correct. On face value, it wasn’t unsolved. The connection was actually listed as “grandmother’s sister and husband.”

In reality, however, it appears that it is not Edna’s grandmother’s sister who is called in question, but Edna’s mother’s sister.

What had troubled me was that I knew the grandmother’s maiden name was Sullivan—and here we had her sister (obviously also a Sullivan) married to a Sullivan. Too confusing for my poor thunderstorm-and-heat-riddled mind to contain.

So I took my troubled little brain back to my favorite internet search engine and continued looking, despite the fact that I hadn’t found out much to this point.

Diligent reader “Intense Guy” to the rescue. And am I ever so grateful for the help.

First off, he found a couple different websites listing a number of possible Sullivan relatives. Though I'm not sure of the accuracy of the lines listed there, it at least provided me with some additional search terms. That led me to an old Rootsweb archive post by a Sullivan researcher who, incidentally, turns out to have been the one who connected me with the generous provider of all these Tully family photos in the first place, and provided me with a digital copy of the original William and Sarah Tully family picture posted with the article initiating this series. Small world—especially when you keep at this research thing for any length of time.

That Rootsweb archive post not only gives the big picture as far as this Sullivan line is concerned, but neatly ties up the McCabe connection in one fell swoop—and gives me the link to my Little Lost Angel’s family line as well…but I’ll save those stories for other days.

So “Uncle Sullivan and Aunt Jo” are exactly that: Edna Tully McCaughey’s own uncle and aunt. Looking at Edna’s maternal line, her mother Mary Ann Sullivan had married a second time, having several children including a “Johanna” (or Joanna, depending on which documentation is viewed) who did, indeed, marry a Sullivan—Thomas J. Sullivan.

There is another part to the story. I don’t call “Intense Guy” diligent for nothing. Taking up the second strand of this photograph’s inscription, “Intense Guy” pursues the “Forester” question. He offers a number of possible organizational leads, then comments about “Aunt Jo” and her role with the Foresters: “I am thinking the organization was the WCOF, Women's Catholic Order of Foresters which was chartered in 1894, since she was Chief Ranger.”

“Great,” I think, “I’ll check that out.”

And sure enough, what has now become The National Catholic Society of Foresters shows on their website a page about their origins at a parish in Chicago in 1891.

At this point, I’m fervently hoping the fact that the Foresters include a page about their history is a good sign that someone there serves as an organizational historian or at least an archivist. I’ve emailed them in hopes they can access their old meeting records and see if there was, indeed, a Johanna Sullivan serving as their Chief Ranger at some time.

And then I’m hoping they’ll provide me with one more tidbit of information: the date. After all, what is history without the dates?!

1 comment:

  1. Ah.. nothing like the excitement of finding the right place for a "piece of the puzzle."


    I hope you hear from Catholic Order of Foresters. They seemed to have done some very nice and needed work.


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