Online Tree Live

Just a note to say that I have uploaded a family tree that I will be adding to as I continue to blog. The idea is that once a week, I’ll blog about a family or a person and spend the rest of the week adding to the database, using sources and notes. Right now, I’m starting with the Game family post from a few days ago, because it connects to the Eliza Winstanley post I did last week. I’ll be adding skeleton individuals to link together the Mary Cannon articles, but I think I’m going to work with my English ancestors this month to make best use of the Find My Past special subscription package.

You can access the database in the Family Tree link above or this direct link:

Cannon · Lyden · Mahoney

Mary and Kate: An Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Mary and Kate

Mary Mahoney and Kate Lyden constitute two of the most difficult ancestors I have traced and they happen to be mother and daughter.

Mary Mahoney is my maternal great-great-great grandmother. She married three times, and her daughter Kate, was my great-great-grandmother. My own own grandmother, told me many stories of Kate growing up, of the bar she owned with her second husband and the fire that claimed it at some point in my grandmother’s childhood–I would imagine in the late 1940s.



The Games of Troston & Stowlangtoft, Suffolk

Over the weekend, I was offered a $1 subscription for the month of July for Find My Past, which has a ton of English parish registers as part of their database.  The usual price for this membership is about $19.95, which is not something I’ll be able to add to my budget at the moment. Based on the site thus far, it is definitely one I’m keeping bookmarked for future financial splurges.

One of the most useful pieces of research I did in my early genealogical research was a surname census search of the Smicks in South Jersey. I was able to trace hundreds of descendants of the original ancestor, Johann Philippe Schmick from his arrival in 1748 to about 1920-1930.

I decided to attempt a similar project with the Games of Suffolk.


Game · Winstanley

The Scandalous Life of Eliza Ann Game Winstanley (1844-1905)

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Struggles of Widowhood

Ten years ago this summer, I had a long weekend from work and saw an ad for I had always been mildly interested in my own family history–an outgrowth of my overall adoration of history. I signed up for the 2 week free trial and have continued since.

In 1999, my mother had had a genealogy project for her graduate class and had traced her mother’s family once they arrived in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1892. My mother’s research depended on an elder’s cousin’s materials and built upon that. Both had done the majority of their research before the explosion of online genealogy in the last decade and a half. By the time I embarked on my own journey, I nearly drowned in all the digital records.

Eliza Ann Game was my maternal great-great-great grandmother. Her daughter (my great-great grandmother) Alice left Leeds in the 1890s with her husband Daniel Trainer. They came first to Worcester, Massachusetts before coming to Philadelphia, where my great-grandfather, Harold Trainer, was born. By 1920, they had moved to Collingswood, New Jersey. Harold married Beatrice Crompton, and in 1939, my grandmother Beatrice Trainer was born.

That was the extent to which my mother was knew the family line. It pretty much ended with Eliza and her husband William, and even that information hadn’t been really sketched out in detail. The UK censuses and FreeBMD Index were not really around so we had a death certificate for Eliza in 1905, a shadowy knowledge that William had died at some point before then and what had happened to William and Elizabeth’s eldest son, John William (his death in 1922).

My mother’s cousin had corresponded with some British relatives connected to the youngest daughter of Eliza Winstanley, Ann Eliza, who married Robert Dain. From there, the cousin constructed her vision of William and Eliza’s children: one son (John William) and four daughters (Elizabeth, Alice, Clara, and Ann Eliza). And that was it. The cousin and my mother spent more time looking at the American children of Daniel and Alice, which was definitely more feasible at the time.

A few months after I began my own look into the family and became more familiar with genealogical records in the UK and how to read them, I realized that so much of what we thought we knew about William and Eliza, Daniel and Alice was completely wrong. More on Daniel and Alice later. This is Eliza’s story.


Cannon · Mahoney

Mary Mahoney: Her Death

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Mary and Kate

After 1920, Mary Mahoney Hartman Lyden Cannon disappears from the records. She is recorded in the 1920 census as living at 227 Mercer Street in Gloucester City, New Jersey with her two granddaughters, Florence and Beatrice. Their mother and her second husband (Kate Agnes and Ernest Barnes) are not listed anywhere else in the 1920 census, which has led me to believe they’ve simply just been missed in the collection of the data. By 1930, Mary is no longer living at the address but Kate Agnes and Ernest remain there. Florence and Beatrice are both married by that point and Mary is not living with either of them.

Some years ago when I was doing my active research, I searched death records at the State Archives in Trenton from 1920-1930 for Mary Cannon, Mary Lyden, Mary Mahoney, and Mary Hartman. She is nowhere. Despite her living with my grandmother’s mother, no stories have been passed down about her death.

I plan to return to the archives to go through them again and also consider obituaries from my own local newspapers: Courier Post and Gloucester City News, but neither have been digitized so it’s been low on my list.


Cannon · Lyden · Mahoney · Trainer

Mary Mahoney: Her Marriages and Children

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Mary and Kate

Mary was married at least three times. I have several reason to know that.

  1. She was married to George Cannon in 1889. My grandmother kept a picture of him, in which she called him Mary’s third husband.
  2.  There is evidence of a son, Frank Hartman, born before Mary’s daughter Kate, who is my direct ancestor.
  3.  Mary’s maiden name is Mahoney, but her marriage to Kate’s father, Michael Lydon (Lidon/Leydon) lists her name as Mary Hartman.


Cannon · Lyden · Mahoney

Mary Mahoney: Her Birth and Family

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Mary and Kate

Let me begin this series by explaining why I have selected a mother and daughter to examine in more detail rather than one person or a couple and their children, as I intend to do going forward.

Mary Mahoney is my maternal great-great-great grandmother. She married three times, and her daughter Kate, was my great-great-grandmother. My own own grandmother, told me many stories of Kate growing up, of the bar she owned with her second husband and the fire that claimed it at some point in my grandmother’s childhood–I would imagine in the late 1940s.

Despite the heavy family connection, I know less about Mary and Kate than I do about some of the other ancestors. Their records are messy and a mix of family tales and mistakes on various documents. Kate used several forms of her name throughout her life and Mary’s three marriages make it difficult to track her before 1890, particularly since the first two were short-lived.

So I’m going to take them apart, piece by piece: Their birth records and family, their marriages, children, deaths, and information about how they lived.



Statement of Intent

I’ve been researching genealogy off and on since 2007. It began as a hobby to fill my time when I was between jobs, and I did a lot of extensive research that first six months. I began to hit brick walls in the online databases and have never been very good at figuring out what’s next or how to better organize my research.

I made a resolution for 2017 to organize my research — not necessarily to focus on making great strides forward but to understand what I already have and build from that. I need to better source my materials and consider all the materials I already have.

So that’s what I’m going to do with this blog. It is also a way to get me writing and thinking more critically as a historian, which is always super useful in professional field.

So the first thing I’m going to do is a series of posts of one of my most challenging set of ancestors: Mary Mahoney (1862 – ?) and her daughter, Kate Lidon (1886-1957).  They both married multiple times and had contradicting information listed in official documents, and their stories are very incomplete.  I’d like to explore the documents I have and also come up with a list to get more answers and investigate further.