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Sunday, March 15, 2015

52 Ancestors: Week 11 "Luck of the Irish": Ann (Unknown) Walker

None of my Irish ancestors seem to have been particularly lucky; they experienced many difficulties throughout their lives. But I got lucky when I finally learned more about my 3rd-great-grandmother Anna "Ann" Walker and discovered her mother Ann.

When the 1855 New York State Census became available online, I was able to locate the Walker family. They moved from Seneca, Ontario County, New York to Buffalo, Erie County, New York that year, and were enumerated twice. That was definitely a lucky find! The Buffalo enumeration states that the family had lived in Buffalo for 1/12 of a year.

1855 New York State Census, Seneca, Ontario County, population schedule, enumeration district 1, page 20. Available from FamilySearch.

1855 New York State Census, Buffalo, Erie County, population schedule, enumeration district 8, page 50. Available from FamilySearch.

According to the census records, Ann was born about 1811 or 1812 in Ireland. There were four children in her household: her son James, born about 1837 in Ireland; her daughter Ann (my 3rd-great-grandmother), born about 1842 or 1843 in Ireland (according to the Winters family Bible, she was born on 28 February 1842); and twins William and Dora (born about 1851 and 1852).

Since there was a ten-year age gap between my 3rd-great-grandmother and the twins, I wonder if there were children that died. Another possibility is that Ann's husband, who had apparently died by 1855, may have left for North America before the rest of his family.

There is one big discrepancy between the two census records. According to the Seneca enumeration, William and Dora were born in Ontario County, New York, and the family had resided in Seneca for 9 years. According to the Buffalo enumeration, William and Dora were born in Canada.

In 1860, Ann was still living in Buffalo with her children James, William, and Dora. My 3rd-great-grandmother Ann had married in 1859 and was living nearby in Tonawanda with her husband, John Bennet Winters.

1860 United States census, 9th Ward, Buffalo, Erie County, New York, population schedule, page 635. Available from 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. 

Ann's son James is the only member of the household who is listed with an occupation, so he was probably supporting the family. The twins are listed as being born in Canada. I suspect that they were born in Canada, since I cannot locate the family in the 1850 United States census. Perhaps the enumerator in Seneca was told that the twins were born in Ontario and he misunderstood, since Seneca is in Ontario County. 9 years may have been the length of time that the family lived in North America. I have not located the family in the 1851 Census of Canada either, but that census was actually taken in 1852, and perhaps the family left for New York shortly before the census was taken.

Ann probably left Ireland with her family during or shortly after the Great Famine. She may have lost several children. She was likely widowed (unless she and her husband separated, or she was never married). Her husband may have died after the family arrived in North America, or he could have died while she was pregnant, either in Ireland or on the way over on the ship.

I have not been able to locate Ann or her children James, William, and Dora after 1860. Her daughter Ann was in Chicago by 1866, and died in 1872.

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