Andover, Connecticut

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bridget (Delia) Fitzgerald Bowman

Third Great-Grandmother & Immigrant from Ireland

1. Bridget (Delia) Fitzgerald
+ Edward Bowman
2. Michael Joseph Bowman
+ Mary Louise Connelly
3. Arthur Joseph Bowman
+ Frances Harriet Crogent
4. Florence Mary Bowman
+ John Emil Dahlquist, Jr
5. Debra Florence Dahlquist
+ Edward Deck Munson
6. Scott Edward Munson

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I thought I would explore one of our Irish ancestors, Bridget (Delia) Fitzgerald Bowman.  She was my Nana's Great-grandmother but I don't know a lot about her other than what I have been able to find in documents, some of which have been provided by my Uncle, James Buggie. 

We know that she was born December 24, 1847 in the county of Wexford in Ireland and that her parent's names were John Fitzgerald and Alice Murphy.  I know nothing of her parents other than their name and her birthplace, but if you remember them, I will explain why they are significant later on.  Her name was Bridget, but she probably went by Delia which was recorded in several census records.

Main Street in the town of Wexford, County of Wexford, Ireland.
(picture from Wikipedia)

She married my 3rd Great-Grandfather, Edward Bowman - a shoemaker from Waterford County, Ireland.  Their first child, James, was born in 1860 in Waterford County.  Their second child, Michael Joseph (my 2nd Great-Grandfather) was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1865.  Why the family were on the move, I do not know, but by 1870, when their 3rd child, Amelia, was born, they were living in Liverpool, England.

In 1875 the family sailed for America.  I have been unsuccessful in finding their arrival records, but in the 1880 US Census, they were living at 2 Ninth Avenue in New York City. Today, this is the very trendy area know as the Meat Packing District but back in the late 1800s, it was probably a very poor neighborhood.  Both Edward, age 42, and James, age 20, were listed as Boot & Shoe Makers. Michael, age 15, was working in a soda water factory! Remember, this was before child labor laws went into effect.

This square is where their apartment on Ninth Ave would have been. Notice the
smaller buildings in the background which probably date to the 1880s.
(picture taken in Jun 2010 by SEM)

These buildings are accross the street but were probably there when Edward
& Delia lived on Ninth Avenue.
(picture taken in Jun 2010 by SEM)
In the 1900 Census, Delia was living with James and Amelia at 423 West 18th Street. Today, this is where the Chelsea Projects are.  She was listed as a Widow, but we know that Edward did not die until 1904.  Whether they were divorced or he was institutionalized, we do not know.  The census tells us she was the mother of 10 children and only 3 were still living.  The other children probably died in infancy since James, Michael and Amelia were all still living and were the only children ever recorded with Bridget in any of the census records.

Delia was living in the same apartment on West 18th Street in both the 1910 and 1920 Census.  She was listed working as a Janitress, probably in the building she lived in.  In 1910, Amelia Morris was a widow living there with her two daughters, Edith and Mildred.  By 1920, James was back living with his mother and helping out as a Janitor to her Janitress.  Amelia was also living there with her second husband, Patrick McDonald.

Bridget died on December 3, 1922, less than a month before her 75th birthday and only eight months after the birth of her Great-Grandaughter, Florence Mary Bowman.  The picture below is possibly a picture of Bridget holding my Nana.  The caption on it reads, Florence Bowman with unknown Grandmother.  The picture doesn't look like either of her own grandmothers.  Both of her mother's Grandmothers were already dead before she was born, so this must be one of her Father's Grandmothers, Bridget Bowman or Anastasia Connelly. 

"Grandma unknown holding Florence Bowman"
I love the buildings in the background.
(picture provided by Jim Buggie)
Bridget is buried in Calvary Cemetery here in Queens with her husband Edward, her son James and several grandchildren.  There is no stone to mark the spot.
There is no stone, but this is the spot where Edward & Delia are buried.
(picture taken Aug 2010 by SEM)

Now, you'll remember I told you not to forget the names of Delia's parents and the location of her birth.  It just so happens that we may be connected to America's greatest son of Irish descent, President John FITZGERALD Kennedy.  It turns out that his family was also from Wexford County Ireland.  His Grandfather on his Mother's side was named John Fitzgerald and his Great-Grandmother on his Father's side was named Bridget Murphy - and they were all from Wexford County. I haven't made a direct connection yet, but it is very probable that we are related. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!