Cousin Georgi has shared her genealogical research on our ancestors. Some of the elder cousins can remember our great-grandmother Elizabeth Daly Valentine who lived with her daughter Anna Valentine McNally when we were young.
Her baptismal records indicate she was baptized on July 6th, 1861 at the Church of St. Aidan, in Ferns, County Wexford, Ireland. Because Aunt Kay and I (Barbara) also had a July 6th birthday I was often reminded of the coincidence by my mother Cele. Whether Grandma Valentine was born or christened that day is unknown but that was the birthday we celebrated.
Elizabeth was one of nine children born to William Daly and Anne Daley Daly in County Wexford, Ireland. Like the rest of Ireland, the small medieval town of Ferns had a population explosion in the 1840s. Overpopulation, potato famine and other economic hardships caused ten percent of the townspeople to leave in the 1850s. The Dalys endured until 1872 when her father sailed for America with the older children. Elizabeth was 10 years old. About two and a half years later her mother and the younger children (Mary, Lizzie, Annie & Charles, according to the passenger list) arrived in New York aboard the SS City of Montreal on October 22, 1874. Lizzie was 13.
SS City of Montreal, launched in 1871 and sunk in 1887
William’s occupation was a cooper (barrel maker) according to the 1878 Brooklyn City Directory, which lists the family at 89 Canton Street, Brooklyn. That year his wife Annie died of peritonitis on November 2, 1878, when Lizzie was 17. Two sisters died of scarlet fever, Mary in 1879 at 22 years of age and Annie in 1885 at 21.
Two portraits of a cooper from the Library of Congress website.
At the time of her death Mary was listed as a “general servant,” a typical occupation for a young woman born in Ireland. The older sisters who never married, Bridget (1849-1934) and Margret “Maggie” (1852-1929), followed the same occupation, listed in records as housekeeper or housework. Bridget was also reputed to be a local midwife. Sometime between 1880 census and Annie’s 1885 death, the family moved down the block to 83 Canton Street.
One stereotypical view of an Irish maid in 1908 from the Library of Congress
By then Elizabeth had left home to marry John J. Valentine. Georgi believes they married about 1879 or 1880, a date based on her absence from her father’s household in the 1880 census and the birthdate of their first child Lewis J. Valentine, born on March 19th, 1882. John Valentine, our great-grandfather, was born in Mercer County, New Jersey, on October 21, 1854, so if they married in 1879 he was about 25; she about 18.
The Valentine children attended PS 26, the Gates Avenue School. This photo of the boys in 1899 may include a Valentine or two. Anna was about 14 years old and probably knew many of them.
Elizabeth and John had 5 children between 1882 and 1892. Their eldest, called Uncle Lew in the family, grew up to become Police Commissioner of New York City (see the blog entry dated September 26, 2009.) Their eldest girl was given the poetic name of Anna Marie Colette Valentine, born November 9, 1885 when her parents were 31 and 24 years old. John Valentine seems to have owned a retail fruit store when the young family lived on Troutman Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He then became a "small commission merchant," according to Lew's biography and the Valentines moved to 142 Adelphi Street. John's business failed about 1898. Lew quit high school to work as a delivery boy at Abraham & Straus department store to help support the family. John's obituary also notes he worked at Abraham & Straus for the last decades of his life.
John Valentine died October 9, 1922 in Brooklyn at the age of 68. He and Elizabeth were living at 225 Adelphi Street with their daughter, Elizabeth "Bess" Valentine Curley, her husband, Frank, and their family in the 1920 census. Georgi also found her in the 1930 census, living next door at 223 with the Curleys and sister Bridget. Bess Curley died in 1940 and Frank Curley in 1946, so Georgi guesses that Elizabeth Daly Valentine didn't move in with our McNally grandparents until after the Curleys died in the 1940s.