Sunday, November 18, 2012

Writer’s Group

My local genealogical society has a very active writer’s group. In fact they have two writer’s groups. I plan on attending the morning group. The members are very nice and quite accomplished in their writing. Each member has a unique vision that they apply to their story telling.

I wish to write a proof summary of my Dooley research. It is a dry type of writing giving factual information to the reader and I am trying to find a way to tell the Dooley Family story in an interesting and organized fashion. It is not an easy task. Tomorrow morning I will read my summary and request their help. 

The following is my first attempt at a proof summary. Please bare with me as I refine my writing skills. Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


The Dooley Family of Chicago, Illinois

David Francis Dooley requested help in locating the origin of his Dooley ancestors.
Uncle Dave has made numerous visits to his ancestral homeland in search of his Dooley heritage He wishes to meet blood relations on his trip to Ireland in the summer of 2013 but then again, he states, if their name is Dooley we must be related somehow.

As Uncle Dave and I began this journey, our conversations immediately became confusing for the Dooley family name their sons one of three names: David, Stephen or William. To reduce confusion, each male child needs a description as not to confuse one David, Stephen or William from another. For example: Uncle David Francis Dooley is known in the family as “Red.”

The story of Dooley family of Chicago begins with William, the Irish immigrant, whom I label as the Dooley family patriarch.  William Dooley was most likely born between the years of 1829-1835 with a possible birthplace of Cork, Ireland.

The Great Hunger

Based on William’s possible birthdates, this Dooley Family Patriarch was coming of age during The Great Hunger. William may have been 10 to 16 years old during the devastating famine. How did William’s family fare during this terrible period of Irish history? We have yet to know their fate.

The Great Hunger or The Irish Famine had a devastating effect of the poor peasants of Ireland. Blight struck Irish potato crops between 1845-1852 resulting in massive starvation and death. The death counts were so high; victims were buried in mass graves. Yet the poor Irish peasants continued their struggle for survival and many chose to leave Ireland and seek a better life in America.

William Dooley was one of many poor, hungry Irish peasants who sought a better life in America. William embraced his new home by becoming an U.S. citizen filing his naturalization papers in March 1856. William may have made his journey to America alone arriving sometime before 1851. This date is based on a five-year residency requirement for naturalization.

Two possible immigration records have been located for a William Dooley arriving in New York. While both records match name and age range, the ship records lack additional evidence to make a definitive decision.

7 July 1848 SS Margaret Age 19 Laborer
25 October 1851 SS Robert Kelly Age 17 Servant

Regardless of his date and point of entry, William made his arrival in Chicago as early as 1856 when he submitted his naturalization papers in Cook County, Illinois. William was embracing his new country.

How or why William settled in Chicago is unknown. However, Chicago was home to a large Irish-born population. William’s native tongue was English giving him an advantage over other non-English speaking immigrant groups.

The Irish immigrants of Chicago worked as laborers. Many earlier immigrants worked on the Erie Canal and in Chicago the ? canal. Perhaps they sent word home to Ireland about plentiful work.

William Dooley and his fellow Irish Catholics faced discrimination due to their poverty and religious faith. The Irish of Chicago lived near their Catholic parishes as life in Chicago centered around the church. The spirit of community brought the feeling of Ireland to Chicago. The faithful Irish built numerous churches with Old St. Pat’s Church as their mother church.

Each St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish in Chicago gathered at Old St. Pat’s for mass. Following mass, Irish residents enjoyed a St. Patrick’s Day parade ……

At some point William Dooley met and married Ellen Hart who was born November 1842 in Cork, Ireland. Ellen arrived in The United States in 1854 at the age of eleven.  Her point of entry into the U.S. has not been determined as her immigration records have not yet been located. However, she also made her way to Chicago.

Together, William and Ellen raised a family of four sons. These four Dooley sons are the first generation Americans:

Stephen Clement Dooley, b. December 1864
William Dooley, b. October 1866
Michael Dooley, b. 1869 d. before 1870
David Francis Dooley, b. 1872

The Great Chicago Fire

Having survived The Great Hunger of Ireland and the passage to America, William and Ellen Dooley were mostly likely strong, resilient people.  God had prepared them for yet another tragedy.

In 1870 William and Ellen Dooley lived at 29 East Hinsdale in the City of Chicago.
Their home was in the path of the Great Chicago Fire. Chicago residents fled for their lives. William, Ellen, Stephen and little William fled to safety. Perhaps they sought refuge in Lake Michigan. Perhaps they followed the lake north to Lincoln Park. We don’t know how this little family survived but they did. The year 1872 found William and family living on Henry Street.