Friday, January 15

FGT Challenge: Round I

Whew!  You folks don't fool around with your brick walls, do you.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the FGT Challenge of a few days ago.  There are some terrific (frustrating, I know...but terrific just the same) family history roadblocks presented there.  Feel free to continue adding comments there.  I hope to be able to get to a few more of the challenges myself, but even if I don't, the commenters themselves have been offering some valuable insights and leads to help others out.

The proverbial brick wall!

One challenging situation provided in a comment from GenealSue Renzo was:

Joseph Henery Hyland was born in Nov 1863 somewhere in Ireland. According to the 1900 census he emigrated to Manhattan NY in 1885. Also according to this census he married Anna Keegan in 1892. He and Anna had four children, one daughter (my grandmother) and three sons. He appears again on the 1910 Manhattan census, but that's it. By 1920 his wife had re-married. I cannot locate bmd records,other family, immigration records or naturalization records.

Here's what I came up with from some of my favorite FGT resources: shows a Joseph Hyland, age 21, arriving in NYC on December 16, 1885 on the ship, Lake Superior, from Liverpool.  He is listed as a 'Laborer', but his nationality is not clearly stated. has a passenger list with a Hyland arriving in NY on May 16, 1885 from Queenstown, Ireland and Liverpool, England.  First name is not totally clear, but seems to be an abbreviation: Jno, who is a 21 year old male from Ireland (ie, born 1863-64).  He arrived on the ship, City of Richmond.

The NYC Death Index includes dozens of Joseph Hyland's.  There doesn't seem to be quite the right combination of death year and age, except for one entry, where the date of death is February 19, 1919, and the age is unknown (actually, it's shown as 999 years!).

There are also NYC birth records online, with numerous Hyland births in the right date range.  However, the online records provide the child's -- but not the parents' -- names, so it can't be pinned down with any certainty. might want to have a look:

FYI, you can request a search of NYC vital records (births, deaths, marriages) from the NYC Municipal Archives for a very reasonable fee:

That's it for now, but stay tuned for more FGT Challenge results

Don't forget to also check for your family history at and  NewspaperArchive. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots..

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