As you know I started tracing Chris's family back in May. His grandparents never spoke of their families back in New York. They never would even tell anybody their names. All my father-in-law knew was that they were Irish, his father had a brother named Bernard and that they grew up in an orphanage. Not a lot to go on and when I first started on Ancestry I was really having no luck and thought I would never find out anything. I got some books on online genealogy and read them. They helped a lot but it wasn't until I was on Ancestry one day that I came across an article on social security applications or a S.S. 5 form. I ordered the form for Chris's grandpa James Joseph Reilly and waited about a month and it finally came in and there were his parents names, Joseph A. Reilly and Bertha Batkay! I can't tell you how excited I was to finally have a break through. Take note though the social security application if only good if it has been 100 years since the birth of the person. If not then they will black out the parents names so for Chris's grandma this form was no good for me.
So I finally had his parents names. Now back to Ancestry and www.familysearch.org. On Ancestry I discovered other members trees who had his parents listed. I got very excited and wrote to ALL of them and hoped somebody would get back with me. Nobody did though. As I was looking at their trees it was then I discovered that Chris's gpa had his mothers maiden name wrong. Her maiden name was Almasi and not Batkay. I discovered that she was Hungarian. Growing up my father-in-law was always told they were Irish which the Reilly's are but his father never said anything about his mother being Hungarian. I started finding census records on them and that is when I realized Batkay was her first husband's name and that Chris's gpa had a half sister named Bertha also.
www.italiangen.org This site has given me almost all the vital record dates I needed, the certificate numbers, and where to order the records. Above are some of the records I have ordered. Rootsonomy is another that has turned out to be a godsend also. If you use familysearch like I do then you know that to get those records you have to have the microfilm sent to a family history center. Rootsonomy goes and gets the microfilm and sends the record to your email. I love them!! www.rootsonomyblog.blogspot.com
At the end of September I was online and went to a genealogy site called MyHeritage. I found Joseph and Bertha on a tree on there. I wrote to the owner of the tree and really didn't expect to hear anything back but I did! I heard back from a lady who used to be married to Bernard's (Chris's gpa's brother) son. How exciting this was! She then put me in contact with Bernard's daughter who lives in Pennsylvania. I called her up and she told me she remembered her Uncle Jim (Chris's gpa) taking her to the zoo and that her dad Bernard had searched for Jim for years. That was so sad to hear. Jim died in 1984 so I obviously didn't know him but when you've spent months doing all of this research you start to feel like you know them. It was sad to think about his brother searching for him. She told me he went back to the orphanage to try to find any records and what was so crazy is that they both ended up in Florida. They were so close to each other and didn't even know it! It was a great phone call and I sent her copies of all of my research. Then last month I got a card in the mail full of pictures of these family members that my fil and husband have never seen. My husband who is not into genealogy looked at them and that was that. Lol. Me I cried. I love old pictures and to finally have faces for these family members means the world to me. Finding them has been my passion and these pictures were the icing on the cake.
Mary Almasi and Bertha Almasi Batkay Reilly (Chris's great gma)
Bertha Almasi Batkay Reilly
Joseph A. Reilly 1887-1934 (Chris's great gpa)
1923 New York
James Joseph (Jim) Reilly (Chris's gpa)
Bernard Reilly and Bertha Batkay Havern (Chris's gpa's brother and half sister)
I also was able to connect with another cousin of my fil through Ancestry and she sent me a picture of Bertha with her first husband Balazs Batkay. She was also able to tell me that Balazs was always a mystery to the family. He traveled back and forth to Hungary and that one day he just left and didn't return. I had been wondering what happened to him. I didn't know if they divorced or if he had died.
Bertha Almasi and Balazs Batkay
If you cover up her lips my husband looks just like her. They both have those droopy eyelids. :)
I have blog posts on most all of these ancestors. I'll have to update them.
I feel like now I can take a break on the Reilly's and get to work on Chris's grandma's family. Hers I'm sure is going to be a lot harder than the Reilly's were but I'm up for it. :)