The Irish in America


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Relatives Who Served in the United States Military

Jim takes some time out this Memorial Day weekend to honor his McCormack relatives who served in the United States military…

As I researched my family history I noted that the following served our country in military service and I wanted to remember them on Memorial Day.

WW I

Army, France

  •  John Lambert McCormack
  • Philip Columbus McCormick
  • Benjamin Patrick McCormick
  • Michael Burns
  • Pat Burns
  • William Flannery
  • Bernard Flannery

Navy

  •  John Patrick McCormick
  • Jack Nugent
  • Phil Nugent

WW II

  • William McCormack (Army)
  • James F. McCormack (Army, Aleutian Islands)
  • Philly McCormack (Army, Pacific)
  • Zach Kruger (Army, Pacific)
  • Phillip Eugene McCormick (Navy)
  • Phil McDonald (Navy)
  • Patrick Frances McCormick(Army Air Corps, 35 Missions over Europe)
  • Jimmy Flannery (Army, Europe)

Post WW II

  • Ed Burns (Army, Korea)
  • K.J. McDonald (Air Force, Korea)
  • Patrick Benjamin McCormick (Army)

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A Photo of the Irish Diaspora in Minnesota

Jim, senior researcher for Archival Solution, writes about how his quest to identify all of the individuals in this photograph has resulted in new discoveries about his family research and new family connections.  He shows how photographs can often serve as catalysts in our research, leading us to dig deeper and develop a richer, more comprehensive understanding of our family’s history.

McCormi(a)ck Family Unites

Aine’s stories on her blog The Irish in America always motivate me to keep working on my own family project. For the past twelve years I have been researching the family of John Cormack who was born at Lochmoe in County Tipperary, Ireland in the last decade of the eighteenth century. According to family tradition he drifted up to Ballyedmond in Queen’s County (now Laois) where he married Catherine Purcell and started a family that would give several sons and daughters to the United States. My study has raised and answered many questions.  Among those was: “What is the reason for the multiple spellings of the family name? Why are there some “McCormicks” and some “McCormacks”? That answer is for another day however.

One of the other long-standing questions involves a picture given to me by a cousin about seven years ago. I knew it was a photo of a family function and there were 107 people in it. Of those I knew the identities of five individuals, including my Grandfather Andrew McCormack and his brother Mike McCormack, always known as our Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike’s wife, Katie Hannon and two of their first cousins were the others that I recognized. Being rather new to family history at that point I set a rather lofty goal for myself.  I decided I would identify all 107 people in the photo.

The picture was taken in July 1946 at the celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary of Phillip J.K. McCormick and his wife Ellen, nee Craven. Phillip was my 1st cousin two times removed.  My Cousin Zack Krueger, Phillip and Ellen’s grandson was very helpful in providing names for many of the faces. Every time I meet or correspond with a relative I pull out my photo and try to jar their memories. As of May 25, 2011 my goal is in sight.  I have identified all but eleven of those pictured. Complicating the process is that there are both McCormick and Craven relatives as well as many friends and neighbors of the family. Another problem is that there are people in the photo that are related to some of my relatives but not related to me. For example out of the fifteen Dalys shown in the photo I am related by blood to about half of them.

A recent meeting with some of my Nugent cousins provided the identity of several more of the celebrants. Researching the faces in the photo has been very rewarding for me. By putting faces on the names many of the McCormicks, Dalys, McDonalds, Burns, Nugents, Peteks, and Kruegers, have become real people and not just names found on old census and church records, as well as birth and death certificates


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Belle of the Ball

Guest contributor Jim McCormack shows us how family history research can lead us in unexpected directions.  Jim’s research has extended from his direct lineage to learning about the earlier wave of McCorma(i)cks who came to America – the families of his grandfather’s uncles.

One of the fun aspects of family history research is you often get sidetracked by interesting stories or people. A good example involves my study of the family of Patrick McCormick. Patrick was one of my grandfather’s uncles and an early settler in Camden Township, Carver County, Minnesota. Patrick and his wife Catherine Glendon had a total of fourteen children. My search for Andrew Francis, the couple’s sixth child took me from Carver county Minnesota to the mountains of Tuolumne California where he died in 1911.

Andrew McCormick was born in 1864 and was a graduate of the State University Law Department. The promising young attorney was tall, handsome, and athletic.  On July 10th, 1894 Andy was married to the lovely Belle Hagen, the best known and popular young lady in Camden.  Within three years Andrew had uprooted his young family and taken them to the gold fields of California. By Jan 1st 1911 Andrew was dead and Belle was responsible for raising their five children. My search for Andrew (which I will discuss in a later post)and the California branch of the family introduced me to a cousin in California Rosemary Arca. Besides sharing many stories of the family, she graciously shared treasured family photos. Among those were photos of Belle Hagen McCormick, Belle’s mother Ellen Sweeney Hagen and a photo that I think is of Isabella Sweeney Ellen’s mother. Whether it was the similarity with my own mother who was left a widow with young children to rear or all of the feminists in my family or seeing these photos, I began to dig into the Belle Hagen McCormick story.

Ellen Sweeney Hagan - Belle's mother

Isabelle (Belle) was born in 1870 to Ellen Sweeney and Peter Hagen. She was the second of three children born to the couple. According to Peter’s obituary Ellen died in 1874. In the state Census of 1875 Peter and the three girls were living as a family in Carver. By 1880 the three Hagen girls were living with their Grandmother Isabella Sweeney and their father Peter had been committed to the State Hospital in St. Peter, Minnesota. Luckily for Belle she had a loving grandmother to raise her after the two terrible losses of her youth.  One can only speculate on how she was affected by her mother’s death and father’s mental problems. In 1885 Isabelle Hagan was living with Grandma Sweeney with no sign of the other two girls.

Belle Hagen McCormick

Despite these early setbacks Belle apparently adjusted quite well. Prior to her marriage to Andrew, Belle was known as one of the most popular young ladies in the County.  Newspaper accounts of the time described the wedding as almost fairy tale like.  The Norwood Times described “a very impressive ceremony complete with flowers and wreaths decorating the church in Norwood.  The Times reported that the bridesmaids were Misses Margaret McCormick, sister of the groom and Mary E. Hagen of Ft. Snelling, sister of the bride. The groomsmen were Philip McCormick, brother of the groom and Daniel Sharon, a cousin of the groom (and boyhood friend).  After the ceremony a sumptuous repast was served to the family and relatives at the home of Senator Craven.  After their wedding tour the prominent young Chaska attorney and his beautiful wife took rooms in a trendy new addition in Chaska.”The honeymoon apparently did not last long. Within three years Andrew Belle and Lenore their first child had moved to California. By the time Andrew died Jan 1st 1911 the family had grown to five children. Sometime that same year Belle married Lott Walker Savage in Tuolumne. In Oct 1912 their daughter Francis Ellen was born. At some point after 1920 the blended family moved to Oakland where the family remains today.


Ellen Sweeney Hagen grave marker

Peter Hagen grave marker

Grave markers for Belle’s parents, Ellen Sweeney and Peter Hagen.

Please leave a comment if you would like to ask Jim a question.  He will share a bit more about Andrew McCormick in a future post…make sure you check back!