Downtown Taghmon

Downtown Taghmon
Main Street, Taghmon, County Wexford, 2011

About James Connor and Anastasia Colfour (Colfer)

About James Connor and Anastasia Colfer

James Connor (c1818-1897) and Anastasia Colfour (Colfer) (c1821-1884) married in the Parish of Taghmon in 1842 and emigrated from County Wexford, possibly the town of Taghmon, between c1852-1854. History states that James preceded Anna by two years. Shortly after arriving in America, they settled in Evanston, Illinois. They lived and farmed in an area of Evanston now known as Stockham Park until about 1862 when they moved to the corner of Ridge Avenue and Lake Street in Evanston. Several siblings of James' also came to the U.S. around the same time and resided in Evanston. They include his twin siblings Katherine and Thomas, both of whom never married; and, his brother Patrick who married Margaret Welsch. James and Anna had six children, the first five of whom were born in Ireland. They include Ellen (Sullivan) (1843-1919), James C. (1846-1890), Bridget Lucy (Headen/Hayden) (1849-1876); John A. (1852-1932); Mary E. (Haughey) (1854-1934); and, Thomas E. (1857-1929). Anna died of typhoid pneumonia on April 15, 1884. James, lived to be 79, spending the last thirteen years living with his son Thomas. James died on October 2, 1897.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Research on the Connor Children Birthdates

Nancy Connor Post (1946-2004), a third cousin, and avid researcher, provided this document to me in 2002. She had been researching her Connor ancestors and decided to ask for assistance in Wexford, Ireland. She wrote to the Taghmon Historical Society and they referred her inquiry to Mr. Hilary Murphy. Mr. Murphy provided "birth dates" for the five Connor children that were born in Ireland per the following letter.

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However, Mr. Murphy did not provide sources for the birth dates so it is not clear where he found them. But he did get this information in Ireland. Now that the National Library of Ireland has church records on line, I thought I would check out the information provided by Mr. Murphy, some 14 years ago, and compare the birth dates with other records that are available in the states.

I have compared four sources to see if a good "guess" at a birth date could be established for each of the Connor children. These include the above letter, the Taghmon Church records online at the Irish National Library, pages from the Connor Family Bible held by Chuck and Lori Reiss, and any death certificates I could locate.


Ellen Connor
Murphy Document: born August 15, 1843
Taghmon Church Baptism Registry: baptism August 25, 1843
Connor Family Bible: born August 24, 1843
Death Certificate: born August 15, 1848

Assumed birth date: August 15, 1843
Comments: August 15 is the date that Mr. Murphy found in some unknown Irish record. It is also the month and day that is recorded on Ellen's death certificate, so it must have been the month and day she had told others was her birthday. However, Ellen must have also said she was born in 1848, 5 years after her actual birth year. When her sister Mary recorded information in the Connor Family Bible in 1877, she knew Ellen's correct birth year of 1843. The birth year of 1848 was used for her death certificate as this seems to be the year Ellen told others she was born.


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James Connor
Murphy Document: born April 6, 1846
Taghmon Church Baptism Registry: baptism April 7, 1846
Connor Family Bible: born April 6, 1846
Death Certificate: No certificate can be located

Assumed birth date: April 6, 1846
Unlike the Connor women, James' birth date seems fairly straight forward.

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Bridget Connor
Murphy Document: born Mary 26, 1849
Taghmon Church Registry: baptism May 28, 1849
Family Bible: born May 27, 1849
Death Certificate: None can be located

Assumed birth date: Either May 26 or 27, 1849
Comments: I wish I knew the source of Mr. Murphy's date. He seems to be right on the first two Connor children.

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John Connor
Murphy Document: born October 16, 1852
Taghmon Church Registry: baptism October 16, 1852
Family Bible: born January 22, 1854
Death Certificate: None can be located

Assumed birth date: October 16, 1852
My theory is, Mary needed John to be born a little later to make the birth year she chose for herself to use in the family bible, work for her. I have searched the Taghmon baptism registry and there was no John Connor baptized in 1854 or later.

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Mary Connor
Murphy Document: born May 21, 1854, Ireland
Taghmon Church Registry: baptism May 21, 1854, Ireland
Family Bible: born September 27, 1859, Illinois
Death Certificate: September 27, 1858, Illinois

Assumed birth date: May 21, 1854, Ireland
Comments: Initially, I thought perhaps the Mary Connor born in Ireland died, and a second Mary Connor was born in Evanston. This is still possible but I have my doubts. Since Mary was the recorder of the early births and deaths in the Connor Bible, I think if there had been a child that had died, she would have recorded the death of the earlier Mary in the Bible. Since the Connor family is believed to be in the US by 1859, she could not record herself as being born in Ireland, so this is why I think she noted she was born in Illinois.  I am not sure why there is such a discrepancy of birth month and day.


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Thomas Connor
Murphy Document: no information as he was born in Illinois
Taghmon Church Registry: no information as he was born in Illinois
Family Bible: born April 16, 1857
Death Certificate: born April 27, 1857

Assumed birth date: April 16, 1857, Illinois
Comment: It is likely Thomas was baptized, but the church records for St. Mary's in Evanston don't start until 1872 and there are no birth certificates before the Chicago fire of 1871 for Cook County. I need to see if I can find a baptismal record, perhaps in a nearby church.


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