Sunday, February 16, 2014


In January 2014, Amy Johnson Crow of the “No Story Too Small” blog issued a challenge.

The premise: write once a week about a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, a research problem — any that focuses on that one ancestor. The next week, write about a different ancestor. In 52 weeks, you’ll have taken a closer look at 52 people in your family tree… and maybe learned a little bit more about them in the process.

John J. Tierney was born 1859 in Brooklyn, New York as were his two brothers, Patrick in 1856 and Dennis in 1860.  John was my maternal great grandfather.  His father was Dennis Tierney and his mother Mary, but I haven’t found her maiden name yet. Several records indicate that Dennis Tierney was for some years a policeman with New York City.  I have not found any document on John's birth but all the census records I have found indicate a birth year of 1859.
In the 1880 census it states that John Tierney is 21 years old and his occupation is telegraph operator.  I believe he went into this job because his older brother Patrick was also a telegraph operator.  The 1870 census stated that Patrick’s occupation was telegraph operator.  John kept this occupation all his life. 
Sometime around 1883 John Tierney married Margaret Delaney also of Brooklyn, New York.  I have not found their marriage certificate yet but their first child May was born in 1884.  They eventually had 6 other children, Francis born 23 March 1888, John born about 1890, and Isabelle (my Grandmother) born 1 January 1892, Rose born 10 June 1894, Alice born August 1898 and Margaret born 27 Feb 1900.  Their son John died when he was 4 years old and Margaret died at 2 months old.  The other daughters all lived into their 80’s and 90’s.
John Tierney lived with his in-laws, Michael Delaney and Mary Malloy Delaney, all his married life. According to my grandmother, Isabelle, it was a very happy multi generational home.  She had an Aunt Kitty who spoiled her and an Uncle Michael who helped her with her school work in addition to her siblings, parents and grandparents.  They moved several times as was the custom in those days.  All their moves were, to larger apartments or houses, in the same neighborhoods in Brooklyn. 
Tragedy struck in February 1900 when Margaret died giving birth to baby Margaret.  The baby lived only 2 months.  Those deaths and the death earlier of their only son, John, put the father into a deep depression that finally ended his life.  Ultimately, I think John J. Tierney died on 29 October 1901 of a broken heart.

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