Monday, October 11, 2010

And the Gorry family tree grows another (possible) branch...

It's only a possible branch at this point, but I don't believe in coincidences and my gut is telling me that there are striking similarities in this new possible branch and my own family tree because they are one and the same.

Early last week I was notified of a hint on my Ancestry.com family tree, that someone else had built a tree that included my 3rd great-grandfather, James Gorry as a "possible" member of their tree. I was immediately excited, probably moreso than I should've been before I read any further, because my own branch of the Gorry tree is so narrow and, well, branchless, that any Gorry connection I find is valuable because of its rarity. For those who have not read about my Gorry branch before, here's the recap - my third great grandfather, James Gorry, son of Cornelius and Mary, emigrated from Ireland to New York. He and his wife Mary Corr had 4 children - Michael, Mary, Hannah, and James - and only James married and had children. He married Mary Horgan and they had four children - Joseph, Mary, Ellen, and Elmer - but only Elmer lived to adulthood, married (to Mary Tormey), and had children (Eugene Gerard and Elmer Anthony, my grandfather). So when my father was born in 1952, he was the only 4th-generation descendant of James the Senior and as far as I knew, the only 5th-generation descendant of Cornelius.

In recent years I was contacted by a woman in England descended from a Charles Gorry, son of Cornelius of Ireland, who was my first possible Gorry branch discovery - Cornelius and Gorry are both such uncommon names that I'm leaning toward the theory that she is a relation, but I have no proof beyond that. But here was this new tree I discovered last week - according to the author of it, James Gorry was a possible brother of a Mary Gorry, from whom her husband was descended. Mary Gorry is a very, *very* common name in my family and she had emigrated from Ireland to New York. So I wrote the author an e-mail saying I thought it was possible we were connected, and asking what kind of information she had on her Mary Gorry. I finally heard back from her last night. She wrote:

Her husband's "great great grandmother was Mary Gorry born about 1826 in Ireland. Her husband was Philip Tuite Philip Tuite and a James Gorry were both naturalized on Oct 25th 1866 in New York. They were witnesses for each other. James Gorry's address was 190 E 11th Street.I wonder if he is your James and if he and Mary were brother and sister.I remember my father-in-law saying there was an Elmer Gorry in the family but I don't remember how he was related... I'm going to try and get Mary Gorry's death certificate and hope it has her parents names on it."

So three things to note from that note - first, that my James Gorry definitely lived on E. 10th Street, which is around the block from E. 11th Street, but that there are years unaccounted for where he lived and back then people usually stayed in the same area, so it's possible he lived at 190 E. 11th Street in 1866. Second, that if Cornelius Gorry is an uncommon name, Elmer Gorry is an even more uncommon name, so if her father-in-law said they had an Elmer Gorry in their family, it was most definitely one of my Elmer Gorrys. And third, I don't have naturalization information for my James, so if her James and my James are the same, then that's new information for me.

While this new possible branch would only add to the outward growth of the Gorry tree and not to tracing it backward (so far), every piece you can add to the puzzle gives you a bigger, clearer, more complete picture. It connects you to other family members doing their own research. It adds to your new information. And if you can find one new branch, even though they might not add any new information, it leaves you hopeful that it's possible to discover *another* branch, and maybe they're the branch that *will* have that missing information that will finally bring you back another generation closer to your roots.

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