The Family Tree Grows in Brooklyn

We have been trying to find Mary Mahoney’s birth or baptism record for over 15 years. At one time, a step-cousin told us he had Mary’s birth certificate but then said he didn’t after all. And we’ve searched every database, book, file that we could find for Brooklyn. And we’ve sent in enough paid requests to the New York City Archives at Chambers Street (using different dates, date ranges, spellings, etc) for Mahoney vital records over the years that I’m surprised they didn’t make one up just to get rid of us. So when the latest self-addressed self-stamped return envelope arrived in the mail I didn’t have much hope but I still had some faith we’d eventually bark up the right tree.

Luckily my husband knows how much it means to me to find Mary’s baptism record. And also luckily I had mentioned to him that I sent a request to St. Brigid’s Church in Brooklyn. When he picked up the mail at the post office last week, a yellow postage due notice was in the box. Ever the thrifty Mainer, our post mistress asked if he wouldn’t rather she just throw it out since it was from a church that was probably just soliciting donations. I guess the stamp I put on the return envelope must have fallen off. Jikes! To think. For the cost of a stamp I might have missed this one opportunity to know when and where Mary was born and baptized.

St. Brigid's Church, 409 Linden Street, Brooklyn, NY

I wasn’t even sure it was the right church, but it was only a few blocks from 1484 Gates Avenue, where we thought the family was living in 1895.  But even if it was the right church, would the pastor of Saint Brigid’s have the time or inclination to look for sacramental records from 100+ years ago?

As I opened the envelope I held my breath. Inside were two sheets of paper. Omygosh. I still can’t believe it. At long last, here in my hands was the Mary Mahoney Baptism Certificate – 1895 and the Timothy Mahoney Baptism Certificate 1897. I immediately called my sister and read the records to her and then made scans and emailed them.  How wonderful it felt to finally get these records and to know this was the church our Mahoney family was baptized in. Maybe married in too, but that’s still a maybe. And okay, so there’s a serious typo on Timothy’s birth year. We can figure out what it should be.  He was born exactly one year to the day before his brother James, who did not survived infancy. One of the sponsors for Mary was another Timothy Mahoney. Most likely John’s brother. Who are the other sponsors? Did other Mahoney family members emigrate from County Cork to Brooklyn with John?  Are any of these sponsors from the Carter family? This can only mean one thing, more research needs to be done on the family tree in Brooklyn.

But first I want to say a special thank you to Msgr. James J. Kelly, the pastor of Saint Brigid’s Church, for taking the time to find these two baptism records, which mean so much to these two genealogy sisters. Thank you.

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