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My Irish Immigrant

My Irish Immigrant

Happy St. Paddy’s day, everyone! I have spent the last month spending every waking moment either 1.) moving all my earthly possessions from Ohio to Pennsylvania, or 2.) researching my Irish family, which I previously knew next to nothing about. And not actually in that order (halfway through our first month here and I am still surrounded by boxes!)

I have learned an incredible amount these past few weeks, with PLENTY of research left to do, but I’m excited to share what I have so far!

What I knew going in.

Before this month, I had only one census for Michael Warde, who was born in Ireland, and two for his wife (also born in Ireland.) Both in San Francisco, and the first showing that the eldest daughter was born in Canada, and the next in California 2 years later. I knew they had 5 kids and that Michael had a liquor wholesale company, and i had rather recently found out that he had made pretty good money, as when he died in 1889, there was a newspaper article that said his estate, left to his wife, was estimated at $20,000 ($503,267.93 in modern dollars!)

But, that was about it.

Photo courtesy of distant cousin Eleanor McIntyre, who sent this to me a
few days ago. First picture I have ever seen of Michael Warde!
Michael John Warde was born about 1842 in County Galway, Ireland, to Peter Ward and Mary [—?—] (born about 1809 in Oranmore Parish, County Galway, Ireland.)  It is unknown when they left Ireland, but his eldest daughter was born in Montreal, Quebec, and in his mother’s San Francisco obituary there is a request for both Montreal & Galway newspapers to copy it into their own obituary sections. Thus, Michael may have moved to Montreal with his parents, possibly at a rather young age. Besides his daughter’s baptism record in the records of the  Notre-Dame Basilica of MontrĂ©al in 1868, we have no record of him before his 1870 census in San Francisco, so when –or why– he left Ireland is still not known.
I only found his parents – via an obituary of his mother, Mary Ward, that I stumbled across – two days ago, and I’m having a hard time finding anything about them yet, but hopefully I will unravel them, too. And the siblings! There are quite a few Ward/Warde’s in San Francisco at the same time as my family, and I’d love to know which are related!
While I will need more documentation to back this up, the sibling names & connection to both Galway & Montreal have me pretty much convinced that this is my family. My great-grandfather – Michael Warde’s eldest son- is named Daniel Maurice. I’ve always wondered where the Maurice came from! Looks like he was named after two uncles. His younger brother is John, so he seems named after an uncle as well. There was also a Dan Warde living with the family in the 1880 census. 


On the 1870 census, Michael is listed as “liquor dealer,” but on the 1872-1875 city directories he is listed as a clerk for the Chenery, Souther & Co. liquor company. 1875 is likely the year he began his own liquor wholesaling business, M. Warde & Co.
This ad can be seen frequently in San Francisco Newspapers at the time,
this one is from the Daily Alto California, 30 Mar 1884.
The business did very well, and in 1889 (the year he died) he had made it into “The Industries of San Francisco, California : a review of the manufacturing, mercantile and business interests of the Bay City : together with a historical sketch of her rise and progress.” (Cosmopolitan Publising Co., San Francisco, 1889:)

Michael also owned quite a bit of real estate in San Francisco & San Rafael. I’ve found his addresses and clippings here and there of some of the real estate transfers & mortgage-letting involving him or his widow once he passed, but I have yet to plot all the areas and figure out how to find -ALL- of what he had owned. 
I have also found several clipping about his involvement with The Farmers Steamship Company, which he was a director and the secretary of. The company was made to create and operate steamships on the Pacific coast to help reduce the cost of transportation of goods between San Louis Obispo to South Santa Monica. The company began with 50,000 shares of stock, valued at $20 each. $75,000 worth of stock was subscribed in the first few weeks. Each boat was expected to cost $75,000-$80,000 each. This company started in the spring of 1881, and I have not been able to find any record of it outside of the business listings & articles pertaining to it’s inception for that year, so I cannot yet say how the business did.

Community Involvement

Image from
Michael has definitely made me work on this one. I have spent WEEKS looking through newspaper clippings. I have so many I’ve had to organize them in tables, by topic, in separate OneNote pages… 13 of them! From what I know so far he was involved in the following organizations:
  • The Ancient Order of Hibernians – He was elected state delegate 4 times only a couple years after he moved to the US. He helped start new chapters around the state, including Los Angeles. There were around 7,000 members at one point of his officership.
  • The Knights of St. Patrick
  • The Young Ireland Parliamentary Club
  • The Irish National League
  • The Irish National Land League
  • The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
  • The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • He was the President of the San Francisco Saint Patrick’s Day Convention for a while
  • He was the secretary of the Convention of Irish Societies (San Francisco) for a while
Not only was he a member in all these organizations, but he was extremely active. He often held positions and gave speeches and attended important community events. He was a passionate Irish-Catholic who was involved in the fight for Irish independence from Britain at every opportunity. 
This photo also courtesy of distant cousin Eleanor McIntyre!
And also my first view of Margaret Toohey!


Michael’s issue is as follows:
  1. Margaret TOOHEY (b. Abt 1809, Oranmore Parish, Co. Galway, Ireland; d. 16 Apr 1907, San Francisco, San Francisco, California)
    1. Mary G. (b. 26 Mar 1867, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; d. Between 1920 – 1927)
      1. Married Frederick W. Noble (1871- 1918)
        1. Margaret Worden Noble (1901 – ?) – No issue
        2. Elvian Marie Noble (1909 – 1977) – No issue
    2.  Margaret Helen (b. 27 Mar 1869, California; d. 16 Apr 1959, Shelby, Cleveland, NC)
      1. Married John Henry McDowell (1866-1924)
        1. Henry McDowell (Abt 1897, lived a few days or less) – No issue
        2. John Lewis McDowell (1897-1984) m. Docia Bowen
          1. Harriet McDowell 
        3. Dorothy McDowell (1901-1988) m. Robert Leslie Alexander
          1. Robert McDowell Alexander (1926-2004)
        4. Geraldine McDowell (1903 – ?) m. Manuel Cruz
          1. Alberto Cruz (1928-1997)
          2. James Cruz  
        5. Robert Garren McDowell (1912-1961) m. Evelyn Potter
          1. Robert G. McDowell Jr. 
    3. Daniel Maurice (b. 19 Aug 1872, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; d. 12 Jul 1949, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, CA) — My great-grandfather
      1. Married Laura Frances Landers
        1. Robert Fletcher Warde (1921-1998) – My grandfather – m. Helen Mjoseth
          1. Denise Warde  
          2. Dana Michael Warde (1952 – 2000) – My father
          3. Brian Warde  
          4. Eileen Warde (1961 – 1994)
    4. John Davis (b. 6 Jan 1876, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; d. 13 Oct 1941, San Francisco)
      1. Married Stella Ward
        1. John Davis Warde Jr (1906-1992) – no known issue
        2. Katherine Warde (1908 – ?) – issue unknown
    5. Henry W. (b.Apr 1879, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; d. 5 Jun 1915, Lodi, San Joaquin, CA) – no issue
I’m not sure how many Warde-descendants are in my generation and beyond yet, but at the least we know that Michael and Margaret had 5 children, 10 grandchildren, and at least 9 great-grandchildren. 


Michael Warde died 28 Aug 1889 in San Francisco. He left his entire estate, initially valued at $20,000, to wife Margaret. After probate was filed (I still need to try to get my hands on it, as these are currently just numbers from the papers) and his estate was appraised and submitted to the courts – it’s value was actually $43,161.10! That is is $1,086,079.87 in today’s money!  Not bad for an Irish-Catholic immigrant during a time when most of his fellow countrymen were working as highly underpaid laborers who had to deal with so much discrimination and anti-Catholicism. 
Daily Alta California, 30 Aug 1889
This is only really a part of what I’ve found so far, and much more needs to be done to fill in the gaps & validate many of these facts, but after spending so much time fully immersed in Michael Warde’s life, it seemed absolutely ridiculous that I wouldn’t post about it on St. Patrick’s Day! So, here is a rather rough sketch of Michael John Warde’s life. As time goes on I will continue to post about the stories I’ve found and more about his descendants. 
Until then, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Genealogy Snapshot

Name: Warde, Michael (1842-1889)
Parents: Peter Ward and Mary Carich
Spouse: Margaret Twohey
Surnames: Ward, Warde
Relationship to Me: 2nd Great-Grandfather

  1. Michael Warde
  2. Daniel Maurice Warde
  3. Robert Fletcher Warde
  4. Dana Michael Warde
  5. Ameya

And you thought that over-sharing was a product of the digital age!

And you thought that over-sharing was a product of the digital age!

Facebook. The place where people go to inform everyone they’ve ever met (and some they haven’t!) of their every move. And it’s also where snarky e-cards like the one above are concieved.

BUT! Good (?) news, technological-culture-defenders and fellow genealogists! This is not an just an internet phenomenon! It is human nature, not just netizen nature.

You see, back in the pre-internet days (the horror!) there were these big, messy things called “newspapers,” and in them, people got to sit and read everyone else’s business over their morning cup of coffee. Just like we do today with Facebook, except without the ink-stained fingers*, paper-cuts, or actually spending any money for our knowledge and entertainment!

I got oh-so familiar with this aspect of human noseyness (and shareyness) yesterday while searching through the Marion County, TN’s rootsweb page for obituaries (as mentioned in yesterday’s post.) And, wow. Could you imagine city papers these days saying things like:

Ed Hicks and McKinley Newsom said they did not aim to comb their beards or shave any-more for 7 months. What’s the matter, boys.


We were sorry that Kelly Hartman and family moved to St. Elmo for we liked them, as they were good neighbors.

Or simply,

Mrs. Addie Richey called on her mother, Mrs. I. Newsom, Sunday.

No way. But they are sure read like facebook statuses!

Now, for genealogists, this archive of a family’s every status update is a gold mine (the last quote above was how I found Addie’s married name!), but all I can think of is all the curmudgeons who make ecards like the one above, and how they’d bust a blood vessel reading over these things. But hey, some of us DO want to know who moseyed on over to the other side of the river that week! Or went to church! Or has a cold!

…. just kidding.

Or maybe some of us do. But it’s not me.

Well it kinda is, if it was already compiled for me to read in 7 seconds, but 221 pages is a lot of 97+ year old status updates to comb through. And take notes on. And analyze for usefulness or interestingness. Of course I’m hoping that when I look over all the bits and pieces it will all be useful in a narrative write-up, but for now, I’m just picking over a thousand million trillion gabillion (I counted) clippings and giggling over what some people felt was newspaper-worthy updates back in the day!


If you want to see Miss Mae Newsom smile, ask her about that bracelet.

 (Distant ancestor had bracelet, it made her happy. Check. I’m not sure if I should I feel silly that I am filling overnote pages with little clips like this, or proud of myself for being THE MOST THOROUGH RESEARCHER EVER.** Tell me it’s the latter so I feel good about myself, okay?)

* That’s why rich folk’s butlers used to iron the newspapers for them, so the heat would set the ink and no fingers would get stained. Isn’t that interesting? (Yes.)
** Okay, well. Someday!

#tbt: Newsoms in Whiteside, TN edition.

#tbt: Newsoms in Whiteside, TN edition.

According to the kids these days, #tbt stands for #throwbackthursday, an opportunity to force old baby pictures et. al. on all your all your friends, and genealogists are all about this sort of thing. “Come look at my ancestors! LOOK AT THEM!”

So, In light of all the work I’ve been doing on my maternal great-great-grandfather’s family, here is a picture I just found at my grandmother’s house last week. This is Harry Edward NEWSOM (1884-1973), and two of his sisters. We aren’t sure which, but grandma thinks one is Phemia NEWSOM (b. 1887,) who attended  the Tennessee School for the Deaf. It is taken in Whiteside, Marion County, Tennessee. It looks beautiful there! Rolling green hills are my favorite.

holy thumb print, batman!

Genealogy Snapshot

Name: Newsome, Harry Edward (1884-1973)
Parents: Isaiah Newsom and Julia Ann Carlton
Spouse: Odessa Bailey
Surnames: Newsome, Newsom, Carlton
Relationship to me: 2nd Great-Grandfather

  1. Harry Edward Newsome
  2. Gladys Geneva Newsome
  3. Norma Jean Williams
  4. Sandra Elaine Hixson
  5. Ameya

The Successful Hunt for Harry Edward NEWSOME’s Parents (1884-1973)

The Successful Hunt for Harry Edward NEWSOME’s Parents (1884-1973)

This is Ed. Or, “Edd.” Or, “Harry Edward Newsome” if you’re me and naively called him by his proper name for about 18 years, preventing any research progress to be made….

Edd is my maternal grandmother’s grandfather. He lived from 1884-1973 and spent most of those years in Whiteside, Marion County, Tennesee, though, as his daughter met her future husband (and my future great-grandpa) in Letcher County, Kentucky, I knew that he had lived there, too.

Beyond that, I had nothing. Well, nothing but pictures of his headstone, the old house he shared with his wife Odessa (Bailey) Newsome, and a lovely shots of the coupe themselves. Really that is an exciting amount of photographs, but none were giving me any clues, and I needed clues!

I could not, for the life of me, find the names of his parents. My grandmother was convinced that we would never know because, “people from the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee didn’t keep records, they were poor and illiterate. You’re not going to find anything!”

O grandma of little faith!

While poking around The Marion County Tennessee History & Genealogy site on Rootsweb, and thanks to contributor Euline Harris, I found IT! IT, the most beautiful of things and that which smashed through through my long-standing brick wall, just like this:

And, while I knew that Harry Edward had been to Kentucky, my grandma has never known anything more specific than “Letcher County,” even though she was born there! So, until a few hours before that glorious find, when I saw Harry Edward’s daughter (Myrtle (NEWSOME) Sergeant)’s death certificate for the first time, I did not know that he went by “Ed(d)” or that he was associated with Thornton, KY.

God BLESS fully scanned & uploaded vital records!

So, I FINALLY found the (MAIDEN!) name of Edd’s mother (Julia Ann Carlton), a few brothers and brother-in-laws (and that is a whole other blog post…,) as well as the first initial of his father and that they were from Kelly Ferry, Marion County, Tennessee.

Sorry for two gifs in one post, but I really did this while running through my house:


With all of this knowledge I have been able to find Edd’s parents and siblings, though that has taken quite a bit of effort on my part as well. Edd is of his father’s second marriage, and apparently all but one of the children ended up going by their middle names, so this list was actually much larger until I realized how many were actually the same people!

Children of Isaiah Newsom (1836-1916) and Margaret Starlin(g) as found in the 1860 [1], and some in the 1870 census [2]:

  1. John NEWSOM
  2. Alexander NEWSOM
  3. Anas (?!) NEWSOM
  4. Susan NEWSOM
  5. William NEWSOM (b. abt 1863)
  6. Elizabeth NEWSOM
  7. Nancy “Nannie” J. NEWSOM (b. abt 1867)

But in 1880 [3] and 1900 [4], Isaiah is now married to the former Miss Julia Ann Carlton (1855-1945,) and these children have been added to their brood:

  1. Ellen Edna NEWSOM (abt 1875 – 1947)
  2. Adlizer “Addie” J NEWSOM (1878 – 1955)
  3. Mattie NEWSOM (1879-1958)
  4. James Lloyd NEWSOM (1882-1965)
  5. Harry Edward (1884-1973)
  6. Phemia (b.1887)
  7. Emma E. (b. 1889)
  8. Hattie E. (b. 1892)
  9. Eddie O. (b. 1899)
  10. Lavenda McKinley (b. 1897)
  11. Ruby (b. 1899)
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out all these children. Harry Edward NEWSOM doesn’t actually appear in a census with his parents, and I know there was also a girl named Mae NEWSOM who isn’t on there either. Mae is almost certainly a middle name, but whose?

Add to the confusion that I can’t find many of those children outside the censuses (not even in the family (or surrounding) cemetery/ies!) — and the fact that Isaiah’s obituary lists William and Elizabeth as his siblings, instead of children! What! They’re just messing with me now. But I’ll save that for my post on Isaiah NEWSOM himself. 

So, while it is SO AWESOME to break through that brick wall (see .gif above,) the work sure doesn’t stop there. But, really, what genealogist would want it to? đŸ™‚
From my grandmother’s photo album.
  1. Year: 1860; Census Place: District 6, Marion, Tennessee; Roll: M653_1263; Page: 252; Image: 507; Family History Library Film: 805263.
  2. Year: 1870; Census Place: District 6, Marion, Tennessee; Roll: M593_1546; Page: 436B; Image: 68; Family History Library Film: 553045.
  3. Year: 1880; Census Place: District 6, Marion, Tennessee; Roll: 1269; Family History Film: 1255269; Page: 259C; Enumeration District: 078.
  4. Year: 1900; Census Place: Civil District 6, Marion, Tennessee; Roll: 1587; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0091; FHL microfilm: 1241587.

Genealogy Snapshot

Name: Newsome, Harry Edward (1884-1973)
Parents: Isaiah Newsom and Julia Ann Carlton
Spouse: Odessa Bailey
Surnames: Newsome, Newsom, Carlton
Relationship to me: 2nd Great-Grandfather

  1. Harry Edward Newsome
  2. Gladys Geneva Newsome
  3. Norma Jean Williams
  4. Sandra Elaine Hixson
  5. Ameya