Friday, April 24, 2009

Michael Faunt, Blacksmith

A genealogy buddy who is from the very small town where my Faunt family emigrated to in 1869 found me a funeral record on Michael Faunt.Michael was the baby of the family and the only surviving son born in America. A son William ( there were two) died in Belfast prior to their coming and another son Edward died within months of his birth in 1885.

Michael, unlike his infant brothers lived to adulthood and died of consumption at the age of 31. Nine children were born to the couple and four died in early infancy.I have speculated that they immigrated after the death of their second son the first William in Belfast. Ellen and baby Willliam Joseph emigrated first before William and my Patrick.Was it a reaction to the infant death or just because? I wish I knew.

Michael's funeral expenses paint a picture of the man and the family enclosed on a ledger sheet.His older brother William received the bill as both parents were deceased by 1911.
He was single and a Blacksmith like his father, grandfather and his Uncle Patrick who remained in Ireland.They needed three carriages and Michael wore new patent leather shoes to his eternal rest.

My own Grandfather Edward Faunt had a fixation about new shoes and death.To this day I cannot set shoes on a bed or a table as it is bad luck and a death will follow. After seeing "Far and Away" I can only assume it is due to having the deceased "Waked" on the bed or table in the old country. Grandpop would have attended this funeral in one of the three coaches and at 13 he was already in the workforce.

Who then is the Michael Faunt who has a child, Walter decease in June 1901 of cholera? Walter is a family name in this line and there are still Walter Faunts( William Walter) living in New Jersey.Cousins perhaps?

I have long wondered who Ellen Faunt and baby William lived with when the came, 6 months before William Sr. with his military pension which they surely used to live on. Six months is not a time span long enough to track them as the 1870 census is taken within a year and they are in Beverly.

A George Faunt lives in Philadelphia and according to the Census I find him in he is born in America and surely not related to my family? That is what I have thought for several years.Patrick my great grandfather names his son from his second marriage George Patrick; he is killed in Italy in WWII.

I have indicated to other Faunts that it is one very small family descending from William born in Fethard Tipperary.Some have not been so sure. Maybe they are right.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

1940 and 2010 Census Musings

I feel like I have been waiting for the 1940 census for a long, long time.In actuality, I've been waiting only since I have been "doing" my family history in mid 2002 when I early retired.

I have done remarkably well finding relatives on many continents and learning the rudiments of DNA research since then.

Possibly in an effort to "hurry" the 1940 census public release, I begin tomorrow training for a medium term job with the 2010 census.Employing magical thinking, perhaps, I am willing the new set of data to arrive faster by collecting something for posterity.Likely I am just occupying myself gainfully while marking time.

In actuality I have probably used Census data through my career as a Social Worker/Sociology instructor since 1985.In New Jersey census and other social and criminal data collections has historically been employed in grant writing where a large part of agency funding is derived from. I personally wrote and administered two long term Children's Trust Fund and at least two Violence Against Women ( VAWA) programs.

Extracting information from past data collections has worked well for me in my genealogy hobby also. I am able to derive meaning from how my relatives conducted their lives during the Great Depression and how families split into "Haves" and "Have Not" factions. How some of them were able to erase any memory of their very recent Irish roots and be very American and the brother's family kept to old habits and patterns.Social data sheds light on such behavior.

In Ireland the years prior to the British Civil Wars and just after the Great Famine were years of social change. My Faunt family used military careers and guild memberships to keep afloat in the anti-Catholic discriminatory centuries.They did not live within city walls like the Protestant English but close by due to their hereditary occupations.They were largely literate and lived in the same Valley for 600 years since they came with the Normans.

In 1867 and 1868 my William Faunt and family lived in Belfast prior to immigration and after his discharge from the British Army.How much of the decision to go to America had to do with rising tension in that area? I know that two sons were born to them there, both named William and surely one died young. Ellen Faunt and baby Will came first in the Spring of 1869 and William the elder and my Patrick came in the Fall. Contrary to what I once thought they were not "Famine immigrants" and came for another reason. Social data in the old country and the new country paints a picture of the time in which they came.

Beverly New Jersey, a tiny Victorian town nestled on the banks of the Delaware seems like an unlikely destination for them.In actuality it was a melting pot and very friendly as a newly established town to immigrants. A Catholic ministry flourished and a new church sprang up.My William Faunt either came with a job promise due to his military service or was hired immediately at Wall Rope where he was caretaker and his family lived in "rooms above the factory".

I have followed the family with my eye on the past through the lens of past census.I left them in 1930 in the Depression years and early glimpses of 1940 census fragments at show them flourishing near Penns Grove NJ as DuPont employees. Two of my great grandfathers, Patrick Faunt and Grover Carrow as well as many of their brothers and siblings are there also early in the century from both Burlington County NJ and rural Delaware.

Other lines in my family had immigrated to South Jersey from Ireland as farmers in a Garden State.Patrick Kirwan and his father-in-law James Sweeney both farmed and drove teams of horses to markets.

Mary Dugan who married Pat Faunt as well as my Ellen Lynch Faunt were greengrocers both in Beverly NJ and into Philadelphia where the family lived also, traveling to the city on the same type of ferries I knew as a child.The Dugans were builders as well as entreprenours there as John Dugan, Mary's uncle may had had both a livery stable and a saloon.

All of this I have learned through government collections efforts now available to family researchers. With the tantalizing new 1940 "census fragments" I have already learned of other marriages, divorces and children born.

Tomorrow I will be training for a new look at populations but will not and cannot leave my family genealogy passion behind.I have new Carrow and Faunt cousins who I am busily fitting into my tree.Look for me at odd times but I will be around.