Friday, March 28, 2014

A Less-Romantic City of Paris

If, upon hearing the name, “Paris,” you begin envisioning romantic trysts at cafés overlooking the Seine, disabuse yourself of that tendency. Today, we’re going to talk about Paris—but not that Paris. While it is also situated on a river, this town of Paris is far removed from that well-known capital of cultural delights.

A town of barely two thousand people at the point at which our family’s Tully ancestors settled there around 1850, this Paris—in Ontario, Canada—derived its name from nearby gypsum deposits used to make plaster of Paris.

Looking at the 1852 census page for Brant County in “Canada West,” I can find several names of interest in the village of Paris.

Of course, there is the household of Denis Tully—complete with “Mrs.” given as entry for his wife’s name—showing children Johana, Patrick, John, Margaret and William. Despite the lack of an actual name for Denis Tully’s wife, I’ve fortunately found other records indicating her name to have been Margaret Flannery.

Scrolling down this census page reveals another family whose surname just happens to be Flannery, possibly providing collaboration to the notion that some immigrant families traveled not alone, but in small communities. While I have yet to conclusively tie this Flannery family to Mrs. Tully’s line back in County Tipperary, I have found a few hints to confirm I’m on the right track. This is an area that needs further attention prior to leaving on our trip to Ireland.

At the very bottom of the census page, the Tully surname appears again. I have yet to discover who this thirty six year old John Tully might be. He is way too old to be my John Tully, but he is a likely candidate to clear up a mystery I’ve struggled with for years—that of a John or “Jack” Tully who lived just outside Chicago in the late 1800s. Once the extended Tully family had moved from Ontario to Chicago, occasional mention had been made of another John Tully, whom I had never been able to identify. Perhaps this is the man.

Frustratingly, this John Tully had the same tendency as the others I’ve researched: naming his children Mary and Margaret. The multiplied usage of such common names makes research so much more difficult—but then, isn’t that the type of challenge we are up to in this genealogical pursuit?

Our Tully family remained in the Paris area for over ten years, at least. Some family members may have stayed on in the area longer, particularly Denis Tully’s daughter Margaret. Not being able to find any married name, I am at a loss as to how to pursue her.

As we move into the later decade, the Tully household shows changes. Johanna, for one, is no longer present—by this time, I suspect, having married Edward Ryan and moved further west to Dakota Territory. It is certainly obvious that Denis’ wife was missing from the list on that later census, most likely having passed away before that point.

That 1861 census hints at some further family connections. Scrolling down the same page upon which Denis Tully was listed, there is an entry for a “Michel” Tully. (I suspect the census enumerator took his spelling cues from a French heritage.) This Tully household included Michael’s wife Margaret, and their young son, also named Denis. A relation to the older Denis? I’ve already tackled that question here, and am still presuming we have a match.

Just below that entry, there is another possible future family connection. In the household of widow Bridget Hogan, there is a sixteen year old Mary A. Hogan who just might be the future wife of elder Denis Tully’s son Patrick. Interestingly, zooming far into the future to inspect Patrick’s wife’s 1914 death certificate, it gives her mother’s name as “Bridges” O’Reily—most likely Bridget’s maiden name. Though probably in error, the certificate also shows Patrick’s wife’s place of birth to be—of all places—Paris, Ontario, Canada. Perhaps we are witnessing the neighborly beginnings of a lifelong match right here in this 1861 census.

With this cluster of surnames gleaned from these two Canadian census records, I’m better equipped to discern which Mary, or Margaret, or John it might be that I’m viewing in parish documents, once I start researching in Ireland. Wherever I’ll focus on Tully in Ireland, it helps to know those other friends’ and family names should not be far away.   


  1. I love "Paris in the springtime", but NOT that Paris! I don't live too far away, and I know the difference!
    I really like your bio in the sidebar.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kat! And thanks for your kind words. I can see, since you have a love of words, that you would gravitate to different ways of saying things. It's not exactly my "bio" but it just seemed appropriate to what is happening here.

      I didn't realize you are near Paris, Ontario. I've never been there, but I certainly hope to learn more of its history!

  2. The last Paris I was in for any length of time was Paris, Illinois - just a short trip from the eye-opening beauty of Terre Haute, Indiana.

    :) Give me the The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile any day!!!

    1. Let's hear it for "eye-opening" beauty! I've never been in any Paris--French, Canadian, or elsewhere...but I've sure seen a lot of vacation photos from there ;)


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