Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Housekeeping: Gone to Oz!

You may not see any more posts this year (2006) because I will be on vacation until Jan. 7, 2007. I will be in Australia (aka Oz) with my family, hunting down those elusive ancestors ~ maybe the ones I can't find moved there? Just kidding. I have no known family there, but I will be taking a much-needed break.

Have a great Holiday Season and a Happy New Years! I will continue to post after I get back (give me a few days to recover from jet lag!)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Marriage of Joseph Fields and Mary Jane Larocque

Sorry, the image above is from's files, and doesn't enlarge very well. This is a copy of the Marriage Registry showing the union of Joseph Fields and Mary Jane Larocque in the middle column. My best transcription with comments afterwards:

Source Information: and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada). Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1857-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, Inc., 2006. Original data: Ontario, Canada. Registrations of Marriages, 1869-1922. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario. MS932, 632 reels.

Top of Register:
p. 179
Schedule B -- Marriages
County of Hastings, Division of Trenton(1)

Middle Column from Top:
No. 25
Stamped over: 004630

Groom's Name: Joseph Fields
Groom's Age: 20 years old
Residence when married: Trenton
Place of Birth: Cornwall
Bachelor or Widower (B or W): B
Groom's Occupation: Laborer
Name of Parents: Oliver Fields & Sarah Tovall(2)

Bride's Name: Jennie Larocque
Age of Bride: 19 years
Residence when married: Trenton
Place of Birth: Prescott
Spinster or Widower (S or W): S
Name of Parents: John Larocque & Mary Martell

Names of Witnesses: Adolphus Shorbia & Jane McCormick, Trenton
Date of Wedding: November 23rd, 1885
Place of Wedding: Trenton
Religion of Groom: RC (Roman Catholic)
Religion of Bride: RC
By [unreadable]: E.J. Walsh, B (3)
Lines on bottom are county clerk verifying that above was correct (as told to him) and date.
(1) Even though the register is from Hastings, it does not necessarily reflect that the marriage took place there. It could easily be the county seat, or the nearest governmental place to file the marriage. However, given that the bride, groom and witnesses lived in Trenton at the time of the marriage, it is a good bet that the marriage took place in the vicinity of Trenton.
(2) The last name of Joseph's mother has been transcribed as: Tovall, Lovell, and Lovatt by numerous websites. I have tried searching Canadian censuses with all those names, as well as for Oliver Fields, and have not turned up anything.
(3) From the looks of it, this was the priest or justice of the peace who performed the ceremony.
My commentary:
Finding this marriage registry was huge for me because it was the first non-US documentation that I found for any of my family lines. It also gave me the names of Joseph and Jennie's birthplaces as well as their parents. For Jennie, this linked to other family members who I will talk about later. However, Joseph's ancestry has become a brickwall for me. I can find no Oliver Fields nor Sarah Tovall/Lovell/Lovatt anywhere.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who's Who -- Francis & Elizabeth's Family

Francis O'Keefe married Elizabeth McPartland on 8 Sept 1897 in Wheatville, Genesee Co., NY. (see previous blog). I'll be posting more, including photographs, of these two and their lives later.

They had the following children:

Leo Francis O'Keefe - (5 Sept 1900 - 21 Feb 1976)
-- married Leona Fields (see previous posts)

Joseph William O'Keefe - "Joe" (16 Dec 1898 - 1930)
-- married Rita [last name unknown]

Irene O'Keefe (abt. 1905 - ??)
-- married Cletus Martin

M. Helen O'Keefe (1907-1987)
-- married Thomas Brophy

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Marriage of Francis O'Keefe and Elizabeth McPartland

This is the official copy (for genealogical purposes only) of the Marriage License for Francis O'Keefe and Elizabeth McPartland. The transcription of above certificate:

Left-hand Column:

Date of Marriage: September 8, 1897
Groom's Full Name: Francis O'Keefe
Residence of Groom: Medina, NY
Age: 30 Years
Color: White
Occupation: Hotel Landlord
Single or Widowed: Single
Birthplace of Groom: Shelby Center, Orleans Co, NY
Father's Name: Corneilus O'Keefe
Mother's Name: Mary Morgan
Number of Groom's Marriage: First
Bride's Full Name: Elizabeth McPartland
Residence of Bride: Wheatville [NY]
Age: 24 Years
Color: White
Single or Widowed: Single
Maiden Name if widowed: No
Birthplace of Bride: Wheatville, NY
Father's Name: Patrick McPartland
Mother's Maiden Name: Bridget Dugan
Number of Bride's Marriage: First
Name of Person performing Ceremony: Rev. F. J. Burns
Official Duties: Catholic Priest
Residence: East Pembroke, NY
Right-sided Column:
County of Genesee
Town of Alabama
Villiage of Wheatville
Certificate and Record of Marriage
State of New York -- Bureau of Vital Statistics
Numbers on left side: 16032 (stamped, meaning unclear)
Registered No. 193

I hereby certified that Francis O'Keefe and
Elizabeth McPartland were joined in Marriage
by me in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, at Wheatville, NY
this eighth day of September 1897
Signature of Witnesses in Marriage: Joseph Kearney, [unreadable]
Signature of Person performing ceremony: Rev. F.J. Burns
The marriage certificate contains all sorts of wonderful genealogical information. It lists the bride's maiden name as well as her parent's names (including mother's maiden name!) . Also listed are occupation for the groom and his parental information as well. These all help to link generations together, as well as point in new directions for research.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who's Who -- The Fields Family


This is a picture of the Joseph and Mary Jane Fields and their family in front of their Niagara Falls home at 1929 Whitney Ave. This was the family home for years, but unfortunately there was just a vacant lot at the site when I was in Niagara a couple years ago. I would put this photo as taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Seated: Joseph Fields, Mary Jane LaRocque Fields
Standing, middle row (l to r): Carl, William, Leona, Eva, Louise, Lillian, Henry
Far back: Arthur Fields

Joseph Fields married Mary Jane La Rocque on 23 Nov 1885 in Trenton, Ontario. They had the following children:

Edward Joseph* - (b. 7 Jan 1887)

Mary Louise - "Louise" (11 Mar 1889 - 22 Oct. 1948)

Mary Eva -- "Eva" (24 Jan 1891 - 30 May 1973)

Arthur Joseph -- "Art" (4 July 1893 - 25 Apr 1969)

Henry Joseph - (23 Jun 1895 - 8 Nov 1970)

William Franklin - "Bill" (10 May 1897 - 19 Mar 1984)

Leona Esther** - (30 Mar 1902 - 15 Apr 1996)

Lillian Ina -- "Lil" (25 Jan 1908 - Jan 1994)

Carl Cletus -- (10 Feb 1910 - 17 Nov 2001)

*While I have the birth record for Edward Joseph, I do not have any other information, and he doesn't show up on subsequent censuses or family histories. I therefore am assuming that this child died young, before the immigration to the U.S. until proven otherwise.

**For those of you wondering how the Fields fit into the O'Keefe line, Leona Fields married Leo O'Keefe. See prior blog entries or Who's Who -- the family of Leo and Leona O'Keefe.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Who's who -- Leo and Leona's Family

Happy Thanksgiving! The above photo was taken on Nov. 26th, 1949 and features Leo and Leona O'Keefe and all their children. I thought the both the photo and the date that it was taken was particulary appropriate to a blog post about who's who in Leo and Leona's immediate family. First some names and then more details:

Front row (l to r): Patrick, Leona, Leo, and Robert
Back row (l to r): Edward, Elizabeth, Leo Jr., Raymond, Mary Louise, and James

From their much documented marriage (see below), Leo and Leona had the following children:
Leo Francis Jr. (b. 1923)
Elizabeth Jane -- "Betty" (b. May 23, 1924, d. Nov. 3rd, 1978)
James Joseph -- "Jim" (b. 1925)
Raymond Carl -- "Ray" (b. 1928)
Edward Michael -- "Ed" (b. 1930)
Mary Louise* -- "Mary Lou" (b. 1937)
Patrick Arthur -- "Pat" (b. 1940)
Robert John -- "Bob" (b. 1945)

*for those of you who want to know how I fit into the picture, Mary Lou is the mother of my wonderful hubby, Ed Scheel.

I'll be posting a single family in each Who's Who, plus including them in a separate label on the side for easy referral. This should help you (and me!) keep everyone straight...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Getting Some Attention!

Woo Hoo! This blog, along with my other family blogs (see side bar), merited a mention in George G. Morgan's "Along Those Lines... " (11/16 post)! Check it out at or use the link in the side bar under Favorite Websites.

George Morgan is an well-known genealogy speaker, writer and teacher. His column, "Along Those Lines..." was featured on for many years, until he recently moved it to this new blog. George and Drew Smith host "The Genealogy Guys" weekly podcast, which I listen to religiously, and which also was an inspiration for starting my blogs.

It's truly an honor to be mentioned in George's blog and I was so excited when he personally emailed me back to let me know he was posting a link to my blogs. I've been walking on air all week!

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Marriage... 50 years later

This is Leona & Leo's 50th Anniversary portrait. It appeared in the paper with the following article:

O'Keefe Anniversary

Mr. and Mrs. Leo F. O'Keefe, Sr. will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on May 28, 1972. A Nuptial Mass will be said at 12:30 PM at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. A reception and dinner, hosted by the [couple's] eight children, will follow at Biagio's Restaurant.

Mr. and Mrs. O'Keefe, married in 1922 at Sacred Heart Church in this city, have spent most of their lives in Niagara Falls and reside at 6016 John Avenue.

Leo O'Keefe retired from the Union Carbide Corporation in 1965. Mrs. O'Keefe, the former Leona E. Fields, has been active in many civic organizations.

The couple have six sons and two daughters: Leo Jr. of Kenmore, Mrs. Anthony (Elizabeth) Erickson of Altus, Oklahoma, James and Edward of Niagara Falls, Raymond of Lewiston, Mrs. Kenneth (Mary Lou) Scheel of Grand Island, Patrick of Youngstown and Robert, serving with the Peace Corps in Bangkok, Thailand.

The couple have 34 grandchildren and 5 great grandkids.

There is no date nor the name of the paper on the clipping I have. From the wording of the article, I assume that it is a Niagara Paper and ran in 1972 sometime before the actual date of May 27th. One of the gifts given was a beautiful photo album put together by some of the grandkids, which I have and will be scanning before giving it to my mother-in-law (the aforementioned Mary Lou O'Keefe Scheel). There are a lot of photos in it that you will be seeing up here soon!

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Marriage, Part IV


The final piece to the marriage license of Leo and Leona O'Keefe. Transcription (handwritten items in italic):

State of New York
Affidavit for License to Marry
#15598 (upper right hand corner)
No. 8102

(Stamp #1) New York State Dept. Vital Statistics Rec'd Oct 6 1922
(Stamp #2) Filed Niagara County July 17 1:35pm 1922, Clerk's Office, Lockport, New York

State of New York
County of Niagara (stamped twice)
City of Niagara Falls

Leo Francis O'Keefe (groom)
Leona Esther Fields (bride)

applicants for a license for marriage, being severally sworn, depose and say, that to the best of their knowledge and belief the following statement respectively signed by them is true and that no legal impediment exists as to the right of the applicants to enter into the marriage state.

(Column information identical to that on Marriage License.
See previous post: A Marriage, Part II.)

Signatures at bottom:

Leo Francis O'Keefe

Leona Esther Fields

Subscribed and sworn to before me this
31st day of May 1922
George J. Richards, Clerk

Future address
833 Elmwood Ave, Niagara Falls, NY

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Marriage, Part III

Official title of this document is Marriage Certificate to Clergymen and Magistrates. It is an addition to the Marriage License for the presiding clergy or judge to complete. Since these came out so small on the blog, here is what it says (handwritten items in italics):

to Clergymen and Magistrates
The license and certificate duly signed by the person who shall have solemnized the marriage therein authorized shall be returned by him to the office of the town or city clerk who issued the same on or before the tenth day of the month next succeeding the date of the solemnizing of the marriage therein authorized and any person or persons who shall willfully neglect to make such return within the time above required shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars or more than fifty dollars for each and every offense.

I, Rev. James J. Roche, a clergyman residing at 1917 Eleventh St. in the town of Niagara Falls, in the county of Niagara and the State of New York, do hereby certify that I did on this 1st day of June in the year A.D. 1922 at Niagara Falls, in the county of Niagara and State of New York, solemnize the rites of matrimony between Leo Francis O'Keefe of Niagara Falls in the county of Niagara and the State of New York, and Leona Esther Fields of Niagara Falls in the county of Niagara and the State of New York in the presence of Joseph O'Keefe and Loretta Brown as witness, and the license therefor is hereto annexed.

Witness my hand at Niagara Falls, in the county of Niagara this 1st day of June A.D. 1922
In presence of
Joseph O'Keefe
Loretta Brown
(signatures of witness)

Rev. James J. Roche
(signature of Person Performing Ceremony)

Niagara Falls, NY
(Address of Person Performing Ceremony)

According to the 1920 Census, Rev. James Roche was a Catholic Priest and Head Pastor. The address given is for the Sacred Heart Church. He would have been approximately 73 at the time of the marriage (if his age in the census is correct) and had immigrated to the U.S. in 1860 from Ireland.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Marriage, Part II

Housekeeping side note: All the dots you see in the blank lines are because Blogger is stripping out the blank lines I put in. So to keep the blog from being one huge block of crammed type, I have to put something in the line and I chose to put a period.
Now, onto the genealogy stuff. This is the official marriage license for Leo & Leona O'Keefe. Since it posts so small on the blog, here's what it says (handwritten items in italic):
Division of Vital Statistics
County of Niagara
City of Niagara Falls
Registered No. 8102
(also #15598 in upper right corner without explanation)
Know all Men by this Certificate, that any person authorized by law to perform marriage ceremonies within the State of New York to whom this may come, he, not knowing any lawful impediment thereto, is hereby authorized and empowered to solemnize the rites of matrimony between
Leo Francis O'Keefe
of Niagara Falls in the County of Niagara and the State of New York,
Leona Esther Fields
of Niagara Falls in the County of Niagara and the State of New York
and to certify the same to be said parties of either of them under his hand and seal in his ministerial or official capacity and thereupon he is required to return his certificate in the form hereto annexed. The statements endorsed hereon or annexed hereto, by me subscribed contain a full and true abstract of all the facts concerning such parties disclosed by their affidavits or verified statements presented to me upon the application for this license.
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said City at Niagara Falls this Thirty First day of May nineteen hundred and Twenty Two.
George J. Richards, Clerk
The following is a full and true abstract of all the facts disclosed by the above-named applicants in their verified statements presented to me upon their applications for the above license:
From the Groom (left side column, bottom of page):
Full Name: Leo Francis O'Keefe
Color: White
Place of Residence: 613 9th St., Niagara Falls, NY
Age: 21 . Sept 5, 1921
Occupation: Grocery Clerk
Place of Birth: Medina, NY
Name of Father: Francis O'Keefe
Country of birth: Genessee Co, NY
Maiden Name of Mother: Elizabeth McPartland
Country of birth: Genessee Co, NY
Number of Marriages: first
I have not to my knowledge been infected with any venereal disease,or if I have been so infected within five years, I have had a laboratory test within that period which shows that I am now free from infection from any such disease.
Former wife or wives living or dead: (blank)
Is applicant a divorced person: (blank)
If so, when and where divorce or divorces were granted: (blank)
From the Bride (right side column bottom of page):
Full Name: Leona Esther Fields
Color: White
Place of Residence: 1929 Whitney Ave, Niagara Falls, NY
Age: 20
Occupation: none
Place of Birth: No. Tonawanda, NY
Name of Father: Joseph Fields
Country of birth: Moose Creek, Ontario (Canada)
Maiden Name of Mother: Mary Jane La Rock
Country of birth: Martintown, Ontario (Canada)
Number of Marriages: first
I have not to my knowledge been infected with any venereal disease,or if I have been so infected within five years, I have had a laboratory test within that period which shows that I am now free from infection from any such disease.
Former husband or husbands living or dead: (blank)
Is applicant a divorced person: (blank)
If so, when and where divorce or divorces were granted: (blank)
Future Address
(Enter here EXACT FUTURE ADDRESS after marriage if known)
833 Elmswood Ave, Niagara Falls, NY
Additional paragraph on next page (see scan from A Marriage, Part III):
The written consents of the Parents, Guardians or Persons under whose care and government the Minor or Minors may be has been filed in the Town or City Clerk's office in (blank) as provided by Section 15, of Article 3 under the Domestic Relations Law.
This license has all the things that a genealogist loves: full names, places of birth and relationships, and addresses. It links one generation (Leo & Leona) to another (their parents), verifying the connections. With the birthplaces, I know where to look for birth records or other ancestors. With addresses, I can find mortgage records, property deeds, tax rolls, etc. .The certificate itself tells you a lot about the time, what "they" (the government, society) considered important and how they view things. The questions asked, what gets added to the license over time, even the phrasing of questions leave little clues to social and political attitudes of the time, and hence, what it was like for your ancestors. I'll be posting later the marriage certificate for Leo's parents for a comparison sometime later in this blog.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Marriage (in several blogs)

This is the wedding photograph of Leo O'Keefe ad Leona Fields; they are seated in front. Behind them are the Maid of Honor, Loretta Brown, and Best Man, Joseph O'Keefe. Loretta is Leona's best friend (and would continue to be for years to come) and Joseph is Leo's older brother. The date is June 1st, 1922 and they are in Niagara Falls, NY. No, not just for their honeymoon - they lived there!

I love wedding photos. Not only do they document the actual event (what they wore, what they looked like, etc) but they hint at so much unseen. What were their hopes, dreams and plans? How'd they meet, what was their courtship like? What were they like?

This much I do know from family interviews: Leo and Leona met on a blind date. At the time, Leo was working a Delivery Person for Hackett's Grocery Store, located on Main near 3rd in Niagara. No Webvan deliveries here! Leo drove a horse and wagon, and his duties included taking care of the horse! He lived above the barn where the horse was kept.

Over the next several blogs, I will be posting their marriage certificate & attachments -- all three pages. The city of Niagara Falls didn't fool around when it came to documentation! Most of the marriage licenses I find are only one page or just an entry in a church record book. I'll be doing a page a blog to keep from having an Energizer blog (one that just keeps going and going....).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Blog Introduction

This blog tracks my discoveries while researching my husband's O'KEEFE family line. I will be posting photos, documents, stories and anything else I can find! It is a way of sharing this information with other family members as well as allowing others to contribute, correct and discover us!

While there are a lot of O'Keefes, this blog mainly focuses on the ancestors and descendants of Leo and Leona O'Keefe of Niagara Falls, NY. Most postings will be on ancestors due to privacy and security issues.

Comments, corrections, inquiries and contributions are all gratefully accepted.