I’m quite excited, and not just because it’s the second time in as many weeks that I’ve managed to sneak a reference to the Whig Party into the blog. The Troy Irish Genealogy Society has a new addition to its Troy Newspaper Project:
This is the sixth data set added to the newspaper collection, and includes 821 reports of deaths and the names of 1,749 brides and grooms. All of it is from a period that considerably predates 1880, when civil registration became law in New York State.
Project coordinator Bill McGrath shared these highlights:
• Most of the records are from the Capital District area, i.e., Troy and neighboring cities such as Albany, Watervliet (West Troy) and Schenectady.
• A significant number of records came from nearby states such as Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.
• In the next few months, the society plans to add more of the 28,000 death and marriage records reported in 40 years of the Troy Daily Whig from 1839-78. They’re also working on a database of 4,000 burial records from St. Mary’s Cemetery in Troy.
This great picture turned up as I was going through my files, trying to pull together a stunning pets post for the 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy Pets Prompt, and failing miserably.
Not because I lacked pets photos, but because there were so many cool ones.
Like this one.
Aaaand … I kept trying to come up with ways to tie all the pets pictures together in one remarkable, compelling post.
A Pets Post of PluPerfect Proportions. Deep Themes! Deft Transitions! Daring Analogies!
Result: No Pets Post at all. I always overthink things. Sorry.
But here is this fine pup anyway. I cannot tell you who the gentlemen in the picture are. But my father, Peter Haigney, was almost certainly the man behind the camera. And I can tell you that the tower in the background belongs to the The Cathedrale Notre-Dame du Havre, said to be the oldest of the few buildings in the central part of Le Havre to survive the wartime bombardments. The picture was likely taken in November 1945.
And in my next post I’ll explain how I figured some of this out through research into my dad’s Coast Guard ship and where it traveled. I promise not to overthink things this time.
Here’s my mom, Theresa Rudroff Haigney (1927-2003), at her microscope. That’s some serious petri dish action going on the background there, if you care to look. This photo was taken in a lab at the Pfizer Pharmaceutical facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., where Mom spent the first phase of her working life.
I don’t have an exact date but I believe it was taken at some point in the late 1940s, when Pfizer was developing terramycin and my mother was assisting the team working on what was then a revolutionary new antibiotic.
Mom always remembered it as an exciting time, not only because of the work, but because celebrities and heads of state (I remember her mentioning Haile Selassie of Ethiopia) would be ushered past the glass observation windows to peer at the staff as they toiled away. She also developed a lifelong love of bridge there, honed at cutthroat card games in the Pfizer break room.
Mom came to Pfizer as a bright high school graduate who had excelled in mathematics, chemistry, physics and German (naturally; her parents spoke it at home). College was not in the cards for her, alas. Her father did not believe in it for girls, who would only end up marrying and wasting all that education. But bright high school grads in those days could get lab assistant jobs, and she loved the work. She continued to work in various lab settings after she married my father and they moved to Chicago for him to complete his education.
She hit a snag when she realized she was pregnant with my oldest sister. Quitting was not a financial option, but pregnancy left her subject to immediate dismissal. Thank God for lab smocks, she would say. She hid under them and kept the job. The stress was sky-high. When the next child was on the way, she simply leveled with her boss and begged him not to fire her, as Dad still had a year of school to go. The boss let her keep the job. After Dad graduated, Mom stopped working outside the home.
I think there was always a wistfulness in the background about what she’d left behind. It’d be nice to write a heartwarming screed about how she didn’t mind a bit staying home, due to the awesomeness of me and my siblings (and we are awesome). But she missed working, and I don’t see why she wouldn’t, even as she concentrated her energies on home and kids. A decade or so later and she might have combined family and job, but that just wasn’t something women did a lot, especially with seven children.
I do puzzle sometimes over what to tell my daughters if they ever ask for life advice. (I know, as if.) I guess I would start by telling them about their grandma, and about regrets, and about making the most of the opportunities you get, while doing your best to open up more opportunities for the women who follow you. It’s a start, anyway.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of us — the ones who went before, and the ones coming after. And those of us in the thick of it right now.
From the Whoops! Been Meaning To Tell You About That files:
These notes are on the back of the 1946 coroner’s report filed in the death of one of my distant cousins. They’re in shorthand, I’m guessing. They cover most of the back of the page.
My first reaction was surprise, of course, but my second was surprise at my own surprise. I should have known I’d come up against shorthand sooner or later — in probate documents, for instance.
Is it Pitman or Gregg? Alas, I would not know. As a reporter I relied upon a compact tape recorder and a really, really fast longhand. Still do. I need to find an interpreter, and I might have a couple of candidates among my friends and neighbors. At least I hope so.
Or I might have to become more educated myself.
It’s always entertaining, the things you end up having to learn when you’re doing genealogy.