Sunday, March 11, 2012

John Joseph Daley 1869 - 1949

John Joseph Daley (left) Richard Daley (right)
John J. Daley, my grandfather’s grandfather, is one of the biggest mysteries of my family tree. This is strange, because he is also the ancestor I probably have the most historic records for. I have census records going back to 1900 for his family. I have his marriage and death records and I have the birth records for all of his children. Yes, I know quite a bit about John J. However, who he was, where he was from, and who his parents were are all still pretty unclear. The major reason for this confusion is that John is really inconsistent with what he reports in his personal documents.

John Joseph Daley was the man who raised my grandfather, though my grandfather seemed to have known that John J. was not his biological father. There are a few things I know for certain about John J. Daley and here they are:

John Joseph Daley was born between 1869 - 1870 in either Ireland or New York
John J. married Ellen Tully (b. 1870) in Boston, January 1896
Together, they had six children:
- Frank Joseph b. 1898
- George Anthony b. 1900
- Mary Elizabeth b. 1902
- In addition, the couple raised my grandfather Peter Francis (Statuto) Daley, b. 1920.

John lived the majority of his adult life in Boston, Massachusetts. He worked as a steam fitter for the city, which has been helpful information. I have quite a few records that give information on John’s origins. However, they are not all consistent. On the 1900 and 1920 census John reported that he was born in Ireland. However, on the 1910 and 1930 census he reported that he was born in New York. In addition, on his marriage record, he reported that he was born in New York as well. On several other records, for which he did not directly give the information for, it was reported that he was born in Massachusetts.

I have attempted to find John’s birth record between 1869 and 1871 in New York. However, every search has returned no results. Although frustrating, this might not be unusual. Many births were never recorded in late 19th century New York. In addition, family legend says that John J. was born on the ship from Ireland to the US. However, I have never been able to find immigration records to support this.

Perhaps John J. was born in Ireland. Even then, the mysteries build. From those who remain who knew John J, I have been told that he did not have an Irish accent. However, on those records which state that he was born in Ireland, he also reports that he immigrated to the US in 1887 or 1888, when he would have been around 18. Plenty of time to develop his accent.

I have also searched for John’s birth and baptismal records in Ireland. However, once more, I have a lack of information. John Daley and Ellen Tully were married in 1896. On their marital record for both the county and the Catholic Church, John J. reports that his parents were named Michael and Mary. These are unfortunately pretty common Irish Catholic names. In addition, I do not know his mother’s maiden name, nor do I have more records on which it might have been recorded.
Marital record for John Daley and Ellen Tully

I have the names of who could potentially be John’s siblings, but have never been able to find records for the family. The man sitting next to John Joseph in the picture at the beginning of this post is perhaps his brother Richard Daley.  I know nothing of Richard other than that he might have moved to Philadelphia, Pa. John may have also had a sister named Delia and one named Winnie, though records of them are non-existent at this point.

I’ve attempted to connect any Daley’s with Catholic Church records relating to John and Ellen’s family. I was looking for witnesses to their marriage and God parents to their children. I’ve found the majority of those records, but so far no Daley seems to have taken part in any of these sacraments. For the most part, they were all Tully’s. Where was John’s family?

So, if you’ve stayed with me up to this point, you now know what a mysterious guy John J. Daley really was. Where was he born? Who were his parents? Where were they from? Who are his siblings? Where did his family go during his lifetime? I would love to answer these questions. As I find more information about John, I will hopefully be able to post a more accurate portrait of this ancestor’s life. Until then, the search and the mystery continues.

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