Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Annie & the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Part Deux

St. Alphonsus Church, New Orleans. Detail.
St. Alphonsus Church, New Orleans. Detail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, that is.

In my last blog post, I explained how the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans Archives seemed pretty serious about their instructions for genealogists. If I want a copy of my 2nd grandparent's marriage record, I either need to give them the church they were married in or the address of the residence(s) of participants in the marriage {In my case, Daniel and Annie's }, and preferably the bride's address.

And all I had was the info on their returned marriage license that indicates that the marriage was performed in NOLA and the returned marriage license was signed by a Rev. Gleason. And I knew from family lore that Annie was a devout Catholic.

So, as suggested by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans Archives' page for genealogists, I attempted to consult the city directories for New Orleans for the time period around Daniel and Annie's New Orleans marriage in 1874. I did this by first surveying where all the directories are available to me {where I am located, a northern suburb of Houston}. And? If I could get it for free, that'd be nice. {Can I get an Amen?}

According to FamilySearch.org and the New Orleans' public library, there are 2 different city of directories for this time period - Sourds and Edwards. Sourds is available on Ancestry.com to which I have a subscription, but? No listings for "my" Daniel Vaughan or no listing for "my" Annie O'Brien. {There are others, but I ruled them out by following them in the later city directories and censuses for NOLA when I know and can prove that my Daniel and Annie were living in Galveston, Texas with city directories, censuses, and their children's baptismal records.}

I thought about ordering the films from the FHL, but I already have 4 films on order with them so I don't have to go meet {or bother} Brother Ed at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio Archives.

So I checked out what my local genealogical library, Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, in Houston had on microfilm the last time I was there. In the online microprint database it indicated it had the NOLA city directories on microfilm, but didn't indicate from which publishers. So I went to Clayton.

And? They had both Sourds and Edwards.

And? Not one Daniel Vaughan or Annie O'Brien in either one of them.

So? I looked up the witnesses listed on their returned marriage license in the city directories. I only found a "Katie S. Lennon" listed several years after Daniel's and Annie's marriage {when they were already living in Galveston, Texas according to the Galveston city directories and their children's baptismal records}.

St. Alphonsus Church, New Orleans
St. Alphonsus Church, New Orleans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Then? I looked under the Gleason surname in the 1874 and 1875 city directories looking for the {or a} Rev. Gleason that married them {or might have married them} and signed their marriage license before returning it. Bingo! A Rev. James Gleason {spelled 'Gleeson in 1874 and 'Gleason' in 1875} was listed as an "Assistant Pastor" at St. Alphonsus Church while living at the "Convent of Redemptorists".

This information matched the info that Finn so graciously found in that GenealogyBank.com newspaper article that he said indicated a Rev. Gleason {a deacon} had presided over a Father Duffy's funeral at St. Alphonsus Church in NOLA.

But? Is this the church where Daniel and Annie were married in 1874? So, I decided to find out quickly what I could about St. Alphonsus and the Catholic Church in NOLA for this time period. So, of course, I Googled it.

And these are the websites I found:

And this is my summary of what I found for what I need {But there's more & I highly recommend reading those links especially if you have Irish Catholic NOLA heritage}:
St. Alphonsus Church parish in NOLA served the Roman Catholic Irish community in the Lower Garden District of NOLA, and that it was located right across the street from St. Mary's Assumption Church, which served the German immigrant community in this time period. If you have the time and inclination, please read all about this community in the above links. {Wow. I learned a lot.}

I also found in these links that while St. Alphonsus is no longer an operating church it is open for visits to the public 3 days a week and that the Irish Channel, which is where the Irish immigrants lived in the Lower Garden District in this time period, throws "the best" St. Patrick's Day Parades every year. You know what all this means right? I NEED to go back to NOLA for St. Patrick's Day. You know, for research purposes. ;)

St Alphonsus Catholic Church
St Alphonsus Catholic Church (Photo credit: Traveling Mermaid)
So. While I couldn't find an address for Daniel or Annie, I think I found the church they were married in. And there's only one way to find out for sure.

Mail or email the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans Archives with the exact information they have so carefully and explicitly asked for when a genealogist is making an inquiry naming St. Alphonsus Church as the church Daniel in Annie were married in.


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  1. Thanks for the updates. I am enjoying your journey to find Daniel and Annie.

  2. Wow. It sounds very, very, very likely that St. Alphonsus is the church where Annie and Daniel were married. The first big clue? Finding Rev. Gleason/Gleeson in those city directories you so resourcefully found at Clayton. And finding him AS an Assistant Pastor at St. Alphonsus Church.

    The second big clue? The Google results that show, many times over, that St. Alphonsus served the Roman Catholic Irish Community in NOLA, in the Irish Channel, in the Lower Garden District. (Hubs and I had such a pleasant bus ride through that district, a few years ago.)

    The Roman Catholic Diocese of New Orleans Archives will absolutely have to be completely satisfied with the legitimacy of your request. I hope the record is clear and easy to find.

    It's so instructive to follow how you zero in on a genealogical problem like this. I love watching the process! Thanks!

  3. Excellent work, Caroline! Fingers crossed that St Alphonsus was where Daniel and Annie married. Look forward to the next instalment! Jo :-)

  4. Great detective work! Hope you get a favorable response!

  5. Happy 4th Blogiversary, Caroline!
    No wonder you were up so early this morning :)
    Peter (@patmcast)

  6. Happy blogiversary!

    Regards, Grant



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