Posted by: downtothesea | December 4, 2008

I was once lost, but now am found…

Today I sat down and went through the 1860 US Census for Niagara Falls, New York, page by page, looking for my ancestors, the Gavins.  I knew they were there at that time, as their children Margaret, Ellen, Ann, and John had their baptisms registered in the records of St. Mary of the Cataract Church in the 1850s.  I had previously searched the census by their surname and had come up empty-handed.  Where were they?

Well, I found them.  They were listed under “Gavver.”  There’s a good chance the census taker didn’t quite understand their Irish accent, which wasn’t uncommon, I’ve discovered;  in fact, a Niagara Falls census taker in 1870 lists my other set of Irish relatives, the McCabe family, as “McKibb.” 

Here’s the census page, reproduced in its entirety.  The Gavins are family number 511, about halfway down the page:


The other amazing piece of information this census gives me is the names of two Gavin children, Bridget (age 15, born in Ireland), and Mary (age 10, born “at sea,” obviously during the family’s emigration from Ireland in 1850).  I didn’t know these two children even existed.  I am so, so excited to have found them, and maybe, wherever they are, they are excited to have been found.

Now if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to go hang out with the Gavins.


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