Tuesday, March 26, 2013

6. Dennis Buggy: Hunting for a Marriage Record

Why find a marriage record?

Occasionally, not always, a marriage record will specify a place of birth.  It’s important to look for that record, in case it’s the glorious exception that solves the problem.

Starting Point

The Phelan family book claims that Dennis Buggy and Catherine Phelan were married in Naugatuck, Connecticut, 17 January 1856. [1]  The first U. S. Census for Naugatuck after that date, 1860, seems to confirm this.  Although relationships among household members are not indicated in this census, Dennis is living with Catherine and two boys, Richard (three) and John (one).[2]  Richard’s age and a year for pregnancy backtrack well to a marriage in 1856.  The 1900 U. S. Census asked how many years a person had been married.  Dennis and Catherine responded “45,” which, given the census date of 1 June, calculates back to May 1855 at the latest.[3]  They seem to have rounded up six months.

Places to Look for an Official Record

FamilySearch Because FamilySearch is digitizing and putting records online every day, that’s a first place to look for Dennis Buggy’s marriage record.  It’s not there—yet.[4]

NEHGS The New England Historic Genealogical Society has excellent databases of records from New England states and towns.  I expected to find the Naugatuck marriage record with no trouble, but the search was fruitless.[5]  A look at the list of databases represented explains why: Naugatuck is not there—yet.

Family History Library The Family History Library does have a microfilm of births, marriages, and deaths as recorded by the Naugatuck Town Clerk from 1844-1862, so I’ve ordered it to come to my local Family History Center.  More on that after it arrives.

The Family History Library also has church records from Naugatuck, but all are of Protestant denominations, and the Buggys were Catholic.  An online search for Naugatuck Catholic churches found St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Naugatuck.  Its Church History page explains, “The original tiny church of St. Francis began celebrating Mass in 1860 for a small community of faithful Catholics.”[6]  That would be four years after Dennis Buggy’s marriage, so he probably married in another nearby church.

Archdiocese of Hartford  The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, should have information about what church that would be.  Their Archives page has a list of churches by city, and Naugatuck’s St. Francis is listed, so this is the correct parent organization. The Archives holds sacramental registers on microfilm for the Archdiocese’s 215 parishes, and “Genealogical requests should be in writing.” [7]

I wrote 25 March 2013 to Archivist Maria Medina (Archdiocese of Hartford, 134 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105) to inquire about the marriage record for Dennis Buggy and Catherine Phelan.  Now I wait for a response.

Next time: A look at death records while waiting for a marriage record

            Microfilm of Freshford parish registers (ordered 21 March 2013)
            Microfilm of Naugatuck town records (ordered 26 March 2013)
            Response from Archdiocese of Hartford Archives (letter sent 25 March 2013)

[1] “The Phelan Descendants: The Buggy Family, The Delaney Family, The Dollard Family,” privately held, 2013, 8.
[2] 1860 U. S. Census, New Haven County, Connecticut, population schedule, Naugatuck, p. 18 (penned), dwelling 119, family 160, Denis Buggy household; digital image, Ancestry.com  (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2013); from National Archives (NA) microfilm publication M653, roll 84; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 803,084.
[3] 1900 U. S. Census, Faribault Co., Minnesota, pop. sch., Pilot Grove, ED 90, sheet 8 (penned), dwell. 140, fam. 141, Dennis Buggy hshld.; digital image, Ancestry.com; NA microfilm T623, roll 763; FHL microfilm 1,240,763.
[4] “Historical Records,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 26 March 2013), search for Dennis Buggy, United States, Marriage in Connecticut, 1850-1870.
[5] “Search,” New England Historical Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (www.americanancestors.org : accessed 22 March 2013), search for Dennis Buggy, U.S., Connecticut, marriage, 1850-1857.  No exact matches.  “Dennis Buggy” search gave a Dennis Buggy who d. 1861 Brookline, Mass. and an 1852 Irish Immigrant Advertisement for Dennis Buggy who left Ireland in July 1848 by his mother Margaret Buggy.  Dennis Buggy’s mother was Mary Butler; he appears to have immigrated in 1850.
[6] “History,” St. Francis of Assisi Parish (http://www.stfrancisnaugatuck.org/History.html : accessed 26 March 2013).
[7] “Archives,” Archdiocese of Hartford (http://www.archdioceseofhartford.org/archives_churchesbycity.htm), “List of Churches and Dates of Establishment Listed By City.”

© 2013 Judy Kellar Fox, CG, foxkellarj@comcast.net

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