GUIDE TO A GENEALOGICAL JOURNEY
This introductory chapter is intended to serve as a record and guide to the genealogical research process and the methodologies that were followed in the conduct of this research, its deliberations and investigations over the nine year period over which they were carried out.. As such it is presented in the chronological order of occurrence and deals primarily with the Authors genealogical experience in terms of process, data sources, contacts, publication references, volunteer and contract researchers and field travels, including dead ends and frustrations as well as some of the thrills of discovery. The availability of the internet and historical publications, along with the freedom to travel have provided almost limitless opportunities for search and discovery and this work could never have been undertaken, nor the results achieved without their availability.
This book then is about the ancestors of the author Don Murphy, his twin brother John and sister Dorothy. It also includes their brother Ted with whom they share a father, but who has a different mother, as will be discussed in a subsequent chapter. Within this context our parents were Joseph Edwin Murphy and Mary Herriot Deverell and the research herein relates to the search for their ancestors in Canada. In writing this book and telling the story of my search I have avoided as much as possible the use of the first person I, preferring instead to use the third person when referring to myself as the Author, and occasionally using the possessive ie. my mother etc.
This work was greatly facilitated by the fact that all ancestors were Catholic either when they came to Canada or with the marriage of the first Canadian generation, thus providing a single record source, the Catholic church. Throughout the various chapters there are many items describing churches or parishes which they attended or belonged, as each seemed to play a significant part in there peoples lives. Readers should consult the chapters that follow for the specific results and findings on each ancestor. Some may may find it more interesting to read about specific ancestors first, referring back to this guide only as necessary or appropriate.
The journey starts in December, 1997 with a simple attempt by the author to find the record of grandfather Michael Joseph Murphy's death in Jackson, Michigan. This seemed straight forward enough given that his wife Annie's obituary in Feb. 1925 said that he had died in Jackson , Michigan four years last November which would have been November 1920.
It was a straightforward exercise to download a form from the State of Michigan website and send a request and money order to their Vital Statistics Department for a search of the years 1919 to 1921.What a great way to begin!, but then what a surprise some weeks later when a letter dated Jan. 27,1998 was received from the Michigan Dept of Community Health stating succinctly that the "record could not be found".
This was an extremely disappointing if not a somewhat stunning result in the Authors very first genealogical search and also had the effect of sounding some alarm bells in terms of something being wrong! There was little choice at that point but to pursue an alternate direction or give up. So in early February the Author carried on by writing a letter to St. Peters Cathedral Basilica in London Ontario to see if they had a record of Annie's marriage to Michael of June 6, 1892 as per a record passed from the Authors mother in late1992 upon her death.. Also, one of Annie's obituaries said that she was born in McGillvray Township which was in Middlesex County in Ontario surrounding the City of London. It was relatively simple using the Google search engine to find the website of the Ontario Genealogical Society and their London-Middlesex Branch. They offered a data base search for $12 of the 1861 census of the County.
On February 19th a reply was received from Sister Teresita Assistant Archivist for the Diocese of London and a few weeks later from Sherri Pettit of the London-Middlesex Branch. The records received from these two sources allowed the author to confirm Annie's parents as Patrick Kilgallin and Margaret Long, later confirmed as Loughlin and that Patrick was living on a farm in the Township of West Williams in 1878.
This finding regarding West Williams led to a notice on the London-Middlesex website that a history was being prepared on West Williams Township and that persons should contact a George DeKay regarding getting their ancestors included. Contact was made by letter and several were exchanged with George as he provided more information on the Kilgallins and their children. He also provided the name of Don Read who was coordinating the publishing of a history book on the 150 anniversary of Bornish St. Columba Roman Catholic church in West Williams. This lead to mail, telephone and many months of email contact with Don. As good fortune would have it, he had all the micro films for the Catholic churches in the area ie. St. Columba, Mount Carmel, St. Peter's Mission, Parkhill etc and over a period of months was able to provide the author with 1851 and 1861 census records of the Kilgallin and Loughlin families in McGillivray and West Williams Townships.
THE ONTARIO GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
During the Spring and Summer of 1998 the author joined the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) and their London-Middlesex and Elgin Branches, where ancestors were known to have lived. County and Township maps for all of Ontario were ordered and received and would prove invaluable later as the Authors genealogical searches expanded to other ancestor families. Membership in the OGS brought information about and access to many research tools.
For instance shortly after receiving the basic data from the Diocese of London and the London-Middlesex Branch, the Author began extensive data base searches for Murphy, Kilgallin and Loughlin ancestors using the on-line 1871 Ontario census jointly developed by Archives Canada and the OGS. Similarly with the Ontario cemetery transcription on-line data base developed by the OGS and aptly named The Ontario Cemeteries Finding Aid or OCFA.
Upon finding heads of households in the 1871 census data base which were likely ancestors, requests were made by mail to the National Archives in Ottawa for additional data sheets regarding the other family members including ages. Similarly with OCFA finding, the availability of cemetery transcription booklets were provided on the websites or publication lists of the London-Middlesex and Elgin Branches and these were ordered as well in order to get the gravestone particulars.
By late summer of 1998 using this information and with the help of George and Don as above, a pretty complete picture of the Kilgallin and Loughlin families had been developed and the Author submitted family write-ups for these families to be included in the history books. These two books were published as follows "West William Township A Proud Heritage" June 1999 by The Corporation of the Township of West Williams and "Bornish, Ontario 1840-1999 From Age To Age" 1999 by Donald Edwin Read. The Author obtained copies of both books.
During this period a search was also conducted in OCFA for great grandparents Andrew and Catherine Murphy, who were given as Joseph's parents in the marriage certificate referred to above. The 1871 Ontario census yielded several possibilities, although there was a grave in St. Peter's in London that looked likely, having an Andrew and Catherine Murphy. The marriage certificate showed Michael being born in Montreal so it was assumed that they lived in Quebec, later moving to London, but this was only the best speculation at this point. In late August of 1998 further contact with Don Read in Ottawa led him to volunteer to check the Quebec Druin marriage data base at the National Archives. He found a marriage in 1856 between an Andrew and Catherine Murphy at St. Patrick's but could not tell whether it was in Montreal or Quebec City.
THE FIRST GENEALOGICAL FIELD TRIP
With the above progress and finding, it was decided to make a genealogical field trip to Ontario and Quebec to visit and check out first hand the cemeteries and churches that had been found as well as to visit sites in St. Thomas where dad grew up and grandmother Annie was buried. The Author and his wife had bought a Pleasureway travel van earlier in the Spring and so in Sept of 1998 we set out on our cross country trek from St. Albert, our home in Alberta.
In Ontario we were able to find and visit Bornish St. Columba church and cemetery and find and photograph the graves of Patrick and Catherine Kilgallin. Also visited were Mount Carmel church and cemetery, St. Peter's Mission cemetery and the Parkhill municipal cemetery. At St. Peter's Mission we visited and photographed the graves of great great grandparents John and Catherine Loughlin and great great grandfather Charles Kilgallin. A day later we visited St. Peter's cemetery in London and with the assistance of the office staff and a little searching found the graves of great grandparents Andrew and Catherine Murphy. These visits were gratifying if not surreal to the author who mere months earlier was not even aware that these people existed!
A few days later we set out for Quebec City thinking that we might be able to find some record of more Murphy ancestors at St. Patrick's cemetery in St. Foy. This cemetery lay immediately adjacent to the St Laurence River and was spectacularly beautiful with many large Red Oak trees which had begun to turn beautifully crimson. Unfortunately we could find nothing there of relevance from the Superintendent, who suggested we try contacting St. Patrick's church.
Accordingly a phone call was made the next morning, but they advised that the church kept no records themselves, but that we should try the Archives de Quebec located on the campus of Laval University. This visit was made next, the Archives being located on the campus in a spectacular spire building which looked a little like a castle.
The building was not very accessible for the author, so his wife Jackie entered alone. Fortunately she was able with some minor French speaking translation difficulties to obtain micro-film of the birth, marriage, death records of St. Patrick's de Quebec starting in the year 1856 when they were first begun. Astoundingly the marriage of Andrew Murphy and Catherine Feely took place on January 8, 1856 and was found almost immediately at the beginning of the first roll of micro-film by Jackie. Again there was this amazing feeling of discovery as we were able to read in English the priest's handwritten record of the marriage, the parents, witnesses etc.
Our time was limited in Quebec City and we were only successful in finding the birth of Andrew and Catherine's first two children, John in 1857 and Margaret in 1859 before having to head back home.
DISCOVERING THE MORMON LIBRARY
Upon returning home and in November the Author paid a visit to the Mormon or Latter Day Saints Genealogical Library in Edmonton to determine what would be involved in getting further access to the St. Patrick's de Quebec micro-film records that Jackie had searched in Quebec City. It took a couple of visits to get the hang of how the Library was set up. It was small and compact with many micro fiche and many more micro-film readers. It also had several computers for searching. There was a good sprinkling of volunteers there to help searchers and it wasn't long before we learned and understood the basis of their record system so as to operate pretty well on our own
Their system had every imaginable type of birth, death and marriage records from every country in the world stored in their vaults in Salt Lake City. The challenge was to find the micro-film that might contain the record you were looking for, record its number and order it for $5.00 a roll to be shipped to Edmonton from Salt Lake City. This could take from three to six weeks and even much longer if that roll of film was in demand from others, in effect from people anywhere in the world.The record system was set up on the basis of country/province/county/municipality/township/church, but where the church could be located or assigned to several of the foregoing. Also of interest was that the Library had all available micro-film of Ontario births, deaths and marriages from about 1860 to the last year of release, which for 2007 was 1934.
We spent a lot of time at the Library through late 1998, 1999 and the spring of 2000 ordering and studying micro-film from St. Patrick's de Quebec, Notre Dame de Quebec, St. Peter's Basilica London and Mount Carmel, Ontario the latter containing all the Middlesex County churches of interest.
THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CANADA
We were thus able to build a record of Andrew Murphy's wife's family, the Feelys in Quebec City from 1835 to 1860, the family of Andrew and Catherine Murphy in Quebec City then Montreal and finally to London Ontario during the period 1856 to 1880, and to find out more about the Loughlin and Kilgallin families 1860-1900. During the time of this research the Author had his attention drawn to or became aware of a number of local history reference books. These were ordered from the National Library of Canada through the Canadian Libraries inter-library loan program operating through our St. Albert Library. These publications usually took four to eight weeks to arrive depending on the demand for each. The initial references ordered were "St. Patricks The Building of a Church and a Parish 1827-1833" by Marianna O'Gallagher. "Sure An this is Biddulph" 1964 by Jenny Raycraft Lewis , "A history of the County of Middlesex" by C L & A L Goodspeed 1889 and "A History of McGillivray Township" 1992 by the local historical society.
The St. Patrick's book was discovered through the Mormon records and provided the key information that St. Patrick church records from1833-1856 were included in those of Notre Dame de Quebec. The Biddulph and Middlesex books were brought to the writers attention by Don Read and provided key information on St. Peter's Mission church and Bornish. The McGillivray book was discovered through the London-Middlesex Branch OGS website.
The Authors ongoing research also led to a variety of other valuable period and historical research accounts. These included a book on Irish immigrants to Canada by Bruce Elliot, a book on the Donnelly's by Ray Fazakas that contained a reference to Patrick Kilgallin and a soul wrenching book by Marianna O'Gallagher on the Irish tragedy at Grosse Isle during the period the Feely family were living in Quebec City. Also of considerable value were Merriman's book on Genealogy in Ontario and Aiken's books on Ontario municipalities.
Later, valuable references on Vanished Villages of Middlesex by Grainger, a History of Waterloo Township by Elizabeth Bloomfield and Waterloo Township churches by Ambrose were obtained. These books were purchased from a variety of sources including the OGS, various OGS Branches, direct from publishers, and several through ordering or direct purchase through local bookstores.. All contributed to the piecing together of local histories interrelated to the lives of Murphy ancestors as presented in the chapters that follow.
MATERNAL SIDE ANCESTORS
The Spring of 2000 also brought an attempt to locate death and burial information of ancestors on the Authors maternal side, the Deverells, using the National Archives 1871 census and OCFA. In this regard valuable research work had been done in 1983 by the authors great uncle Bob Herriot, but there was literally nothing available on the origins in Canada of the Deverells. Strangely the Mormon Library had no Catholic church records around Dundalk where grandfather Deverell was born according to his obituary. Similarly frustrating was the inability to find any birth record for around 1880 in the Ontario vital records at the Mormon Library. However some cemetery transcription booklets were ordered from possible ancestor graves found in OCFA from the Waterloo-Wellington and Dufferin County Branches
THE SECOND RESEARCH TRIP EAST
Armed with this limited information on the maternal side and the wealth of data now assembled on the Murphy side, a second research expedition east was under taken in May of 2000 combined with an extensive tour of the Maritimes. In Ontario visits were made to Cambridge where the grave of great great grandfather Herriot was found, and to the Town of Dundalk and the Townships of Mulmer and Melancthon in Dufferin County. These proved largely fruitless except for St. Patrick's church in the Township of Melancthon, a beautiful old stone structure alone on a hill with a graveyard beside it. Here was found a thought to be sister of the authors grandfather Ambrose Deverell. Her name was Annie and she had died at age 16 and was buried alongside her possibly Aunt Mary. On the way to the Maritimes stop was made In Quebec City and a search made of other cemeteries for Murphy ancestors but without any positive findings.
During the remainder of the year 2000 but particularly in the early part of 2001 a number of specific matters were pursued in an attempt to firm up aspects of information found to date. For instance the Huron Museum at Goderich and the University of Western Ontario in London were contacted to see if the Huron County court records referenced in The Donnelly Album referring to Patrick Kilgallin could be examined to see what else might be in them. Also further pursued at the Mormon Library in Edmonton, the National Archives and OCFA were data bases to try and find more information on the Deverell's.
Little if any new information came from any of these efforts and by the Spring of 2001 the Author had to take stock particularly in terms of his search for grandfather Michael Murphy. While much information had been garnered the only major new fact was the revelation in the 1901 census of St. Thomas that Ted Murphy had obtained, that Annie had moved by herself without her husband Michael to St. Thomas, Ontario in 1899 with her two small children, Margaret and the Authors father Joseph ,where she was living with Rosanna Loughlin her thought to be Aunt.
FINDING THE DEVERELLS AND A COUSIN
In April of 2001 a decision was made to contact Don Read for advice on the problem of micro-film records for churches in the areas where the Deverells had lived in Dufferin County. This was done by email and Don came through immediately with the advise that unlike most Archdioceses in Canada the Bishop of the Hamilton Archdiocese did not give permission to the release of church records of the diocese to the Mormons . The only access to the records was though the church that held them. With the shifting boundary's of church dioceses and responsibility for missions over the decades it would be necessary to write to each major church in the geographic area involved.
Accordingly in late June 2001 letters were dispatched to the Catholic parish's in Markdale, Forest Lawn and Owen Sound, Ontario. Within a couple of weeks a reply was received by email from a Bob McIntee of Forest Lawn, a volunteer who had an arrangement with the local priest to follow up on such requests. As coincidence would have it he was doing some work for a Guilford Deverell a local lawyer who was a Deverell descendent like the Author. Bob was also in touch with another descendent from Toronto, Denise McGarvey.
Bob McIntee's arrangement with the local priest was that he would do genealogical research as requested in exchange for a charitable contribution to the parish by the requestor, for which Bob would receive a receipt for income tax purposes. Over a period of a month or two Bob was able to put provide the author with a fairly comprehensive package on the Deverell ancestry and contact was also made with Denise who provided more information. This was the authors first experience with a volunteer researcher where a form of payment was involved and formed a solid basis for the way forward on several fronts.
THE MURPHY SEARCH INTENSIFIES
After this success and with the body of information now collected on the Murphys, it was decided in the Fall of 2001 that if further progress was to be made it would be necessary to take a more proactive approach.. Firstly a letter was written to the Knights of Columbus at their North American he headquarters in New Haven Connecticut to see if they could help in tracing the supposed membership of Michael Murphy in the Knights organization in the late 1990's or early 20th century in St. Thomas, London or Detroit. This was based on the surprise discovery in mothers documents in 2001 of a picture of a man in an old style military type uniform taken by the well known C. M. Hayes studio of Detroit. Written on the back in mothers handwriting are the words Joe's father Knights of Columbus uniform.
Later in the Fall an email was sent to the Elgin Branch of the OGS to which the author was a member asking if they could recommend a paid researcher to undertake a search of London newspapers for an obituary on Catherine Murphy on her death in 1919 and of St. Thomas city directories from 1899 to 1925 in search of information on Michael and Annie's life in St. Thomas. Contact was also made by letter with St. Peter and Paul church in Detroit regarding a record of Michael's death in 1920 supposedly in Jackson, Michigan.
Replies by email were received from all of the contacts and arrangements made for research for reimbursement or charitable equivalent . A great deal of eye opening information was obtained and although Michael was not yet found the groundwork was laid for the next step, both with the Murphy's in Michigan and the Deverell's in Dufferin County.
THE THIRD RESEARCH TRIP DUFFERIN AND DETROIT
A further decision was made in the summer of 2002 to visit a number of church sites and cemeteries in Dufferin County as well as the Dufferin County Museum and Archives. The intention was to do further Deverell research and to meet Denise McGarvey at the Museum and examine the family Bible which she had in her possession. It was also decided to go to Detroit and visit and contact appropriate cemetery officials as a further, almost last desperate attempt to find Michael's final resting place. It had been learned through the Elgin and Middlesex researchers that Catherine Murphy had in fact died in Detroit in April 1919 and taken to London for burial there with her husband Andrew. Also, from an obituary it was learned of interest was that her daughter Mary and son James were in Detroit in 1919, her sons John and Andrew were no longer living and that son Peter and daughter Margaret were in Chicago.
In the months prior to our actual departure in September of 2002, contact was made with the Archdiocese of Detroit to find out which Irish Catholic cemeteries existed in terms of where Michael was most likely buried. the Archdiocese of Lansing was also contacted in terms of Catholic cemeteries in Jackson in order to see if he was buried there . Further, as recommended by the pastor of Peter and Paul in Detroit, Holy Trinity church in the Corktown area of Detroit was contacted with respect to a Michael burial record.
Considering all of the information gleaned as a result of the above described initiatives regarding Michael, the Author was fairly certain that Michael was likely buried in Detroit in one of the two Irish Catholic cemeteries in the central part of Detroit, Mount Elliot and Mount Olivet. It was thought that if we could find the grave or graves of his brother James or sister Mary that Joseph's would be nearby. Expectations were high then in mid September 2002 as the Author and his wife Jackie and son Bryce , recruited to help in the search, stood exhilarated in the Detroit River park in Windsor on a beautiful sunny afternoon gazing at the impressive skyline of Detroit.
The next morning it took only a few minutes through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel and we were on Jefferson avenue literally in front of St. Peter and Paul Jesuit church where father had been baptized in 1897. Both cemeteries were found without incident and time was spent with the people in the offices. A number of possibilities were checked in various sections, but the cemeteries were large, the Murphy name common and in the end nothing of value was found and nothing really accomplished, except perhaps that another possibility had been checked out. We left Detroit feeling frustrated but still grateful for having had an opportunity to visit and explore Detroit, the oft talked about city of fathers birth.
A few days later a trip was made to Dufferin County where visits were made to Mono Centre near which the Devlin's lived, the site of St. Cyprian church and cemetery at Granger and the Anglican church and cemetery at Whitfield. We met with our newly found cousin Denise McGarvey at the Dufferin County Museum and Archives as well as with the museums Curator. Some additional information on the Deverell's and Devlins was researched and copied as were some pages from the Deverell family bible containing birth marriage and death records. All in all a very successful day!
Upon returning to Edmonton that fall and through the spring of 2003, the only research done was to follow up on some possibilities; trying to find where Bridget Feely, Catherine's mother died and was buried using the contract research services of Doris Bourrie of Toronto; contacting the Ontario vital records Branch to find a record of Aunt Margaret Helen (dads sister) death; chasing down of the old Huron court records respecting Patrick Kilgallin and pursuing the C M Hayes picture of Michael in the pseudo military uniform. A great deal of time was spent on Google doing internet searches for contacts that could be useful on any of these, particularly Michigan possibilities in terms of Michael. Finding Michaels burial location seemed a bit of a lost cause at this point and considerable thought was given as to how best to further pursue this goal.
DIANE'S GENEALOGY AND MICHAEL
Unlike Ontario which had a highly structured genealogical organization in place through the OGS with several online databases and cemetery transcription programs, Michigan was almost the opposite with not even a central state genealogical organization. Everything was in local records, censuses or news paper records which were essentially inaccessible from Canada. As a result of this rethinking and analysis it was decided to make one final, penultimate and perhaps costly step to find Michael by retaining a Detroit based genealogy researcher. There were not many choices available using an internet search but of those that were, Dianes Genealogy of Ferndale a suburb of Detroit stood out as best, with the advantage that she did work in Canada as well. She would also except cheques by mail and of course using email, contact could be maintained on a frequent basis, as possibilities, information and ideas were developed , reviewed and exchanged.
By late August 2003 an arrangement had been struck, terms of reference agreed to and a down payment mailed. Diane began work in September and concentrated primarily on the Detroit annual city directories and the U. S censuses. She was a well experienced and thorough researcher with extensive Michigan knowledge and experience and excellent access to data at the Detroit Public Library and the State capital Archives in Lansing. Frequent contact was maintained as reports were received, copies of information mailed and further interim payments made
Many findings were made of the Murphy family in Detroit, sometimes living at the same place, other times separate. A surprise immediate finding was that Catherine Murphy and her son Andrew had been in Detroit since 1995 as had several other of her children quite apart from Michael and Annie.
Work continued on through November without locating the hard information on Michael that we were looking for, Then, as places to search dwindled down, a check of Detroit newspapers for a November obituary notice for Michael, Diane noticed one for late October which she had previously passed over for a Joseph Murphy. This death was elsewhere in Michigan, not in Detroit or Jackson, but when the cemetery was contacted and the death certificate obtained from the County, the age birthday and parents were almost a perfect match for Michael whose middle name was in fact Joseph.
Diane made a visit to the cemetery, checking for a gravestone marker including probing, however she could find none. Nevertheless we were all confident that this was the grave of grandfather Michael Joseph Murphy going by the name Joseph. Full details of this remarkable and surprising discovery including its location can be found in the appropriate chapter of this history.
THE FOURTH TRIP EAST TO MICHAELS GRAVE
Plans were made for a fourth research trip to Michigan in the Spring of 2004 and in May the journey from St. Albert through Ontario was made again in order to visit the gravesite in Gracelawn cemetery, do further probing and checking for a marker. It was also intended to do further local research related to funeral home and employment records etc to see what additional information and proof could be found that this was truly Michael When no marker could be found arrangements were made with the cemetery to place a flat marker there, engraved to contain his name, place and date of birth and death. In acknowledgement of the engraving on Annie's headstone in St. Thomas his name was shown as M Joseph Murphy.
An internet search of historical records for this city indicated that old funeral home records were held at the Buick Gallery which was an archival location for cars of this manufacturer and for associated records of the early 20th century.A visit was made there after leaving the cemetery and astoundingly in only a few minutes we were able to view a 1920 funeral record card from Lowes funeral home for this Joseph, the written contents of which provided absolute and final proof that this was in fact Michael. The details surrounding this are contained in the chapter on Michael.
With Michael found and the Deverell and Devlin histories resolved, it was now time for the Author to turn his attention to the final two ancestors on his paternal side the Herriot and Mihms from Waterloo Township in Ontario. It was also time to further pursue the death and burial location of Margaret Helen, father's long lost sister whose life after 1931 was a complete mystery. Finally, it was also time to start writing the history story of ancestors researched to date and while there were still odds and sods of loose ends to be pursued the main histories were completed. In early 2004 writing was started, one family at a time with pictures and documents posted on the authors website at donjmurphy.ca as each was completed.
GERMAN AND SCOTTISH ANCESTORS TOO
The remaining time in 2004 and into 2005 was spent as noted above. The Herriot history was straight forward having been largely done by Bob Herriot in 1983. There were also two newspaper articles which described much of the life of James Herriot and his brother William both raised in Waterloo Township and moving to Souris in 1881 as pioneers. These ancestors are all buried with their wives in the Souris-Glenlawn cemetery where the gravestones provide more information.
The Mihm family was also included in Bob's work however there was no information in OCFA regarding their burial location although the death dates were known. Several attempts were made by letter and email to place an Inquiry on the Waterloo OGS Branch website starting in early 2004 but without success until late 2005. An almost immediate reply was received in January 2006 from a Paul Young of Thornhill who was a great great grandson of Adam and Mary Mihm, as was the Author. Paul was able to provide valuable information on the Mihm trip from Germany to New York in 1845, then to Buffalo and later to Waterloo Township.
FINDING AUNT MARGARET HELEN
One of the final missing relatives was the Authors Aunt Margaret Helen. Several attempts between 2003 and 2005 to find her death record through the Ontario Vital records Branch in Thunder Bay ran afoul of the privacy laws and like the chicken and egg situation, without knowing her death location and date, these rules acted as an obstacle. There was also the problem that from her birth record, to her names in the St. Thomas city directory, to her mother's Will she used varying names or combinations of Margaret, Helen and Marguerite.
Finally in late 2004 the author decided to retain a local researcher as he had done so successfully in Detroit. for Michael. This decision was made simpler by the fact that the Toronto Star newspaper could now be searched on line for obituaries from the papers publishing start up date. Accordingly an internet search led the author to Michael Russell of Backtracks Genealogy in Toronto. The Authors father Joseph had made a cross country and U. S. trip in 1931 and kept a daily journal in which he records a meeting with his sister in Toronto in Aug 1931 so this was the starting point in terms of the last known contact.
Michael, like Diane before him was a very diligent and thorough researcher and several months of back and forth emails, reports, findings and possibilities were pursued. By May of 2005 just about all alternatives had been exhausted when a discovery was made of a Margaret Helen buried at Mount Hope Catholic Cemetery. This woman, who had died in 1954 closely met the age and name basics.. The full story of how this possibility was pursued and verified to the maximum extent possible, to the point where by February 2006 it was a virtual certainty, although not completely absolute, is contained on the chapter on Margaret.
ONE FINAL ROAD TRIP
In May of 2006 one final road trip was made to Detroit and Michigan to view firsthand Michael's grave marker at Gracelawn and say a prayer as a Catholic Christian gesture that may not have ever been done at the time of his burial in 1920. The Author and his wife Jackie were accompanied by their son Bryce from Toronto who acted as videographer for the trip. It was the intention to make a documentary on the search for Michael. In Toronto a visit was made to Margaret Helens gravesite area and video taken. In Toronto and Detroit interviews were taped with Diane Oslund and Michael Russell the researchers who enabled the finding of Michael and his sister Margaret Helen
On the return trip some time was spent in Kitchener visiting the community, church and cemetery where the Mihm's are presumed to be buried, taking photographs and video as appropriate. For the second time the author and his wife returned to Canada via Michigan on I-75 including crossing of the Mackinac strait on their beautiful suspension bridge.
This completes the basic nine year chronology of this family research project. Some loose ends were pursued in the fall of 2007 and through the fall, winter and spring of 2007 the finishing touches were put on the book manuscript and a chapter researched and written on the Authors parents Joseph and Mary Murphy. This book was published in September of 2007. That fall work was started on a DVD documentary movie on the Search for Michael Murphy using the video shot on the final 2006 trip, and plans made for a similar documentary on the life and teaching career of the Authors father Joseph.
The final aspect of this guide is a Murphy family tree which appears immediately following. Starting with the Author and his siblings, this shows the five generations in Canada with the eight sets of great great grandparents who arrived in the early to mid eighteen hundreds. Of these eight, six were Irish, one Scottish and one German. This chart also appears at the end of this book as Appendix II. Further information on the country and city or county of origin of family tree members is contained in each of the family chapters with more information in Appendix I Maps. A record of the known siblings of each family tree member is contained in Appendix III.