Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Doors in Recoleta

Photo by Patrick Jones. Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 3 Feb 2014.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Recoleta, 3 Feb 2014.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Married on a Tuesday

While I was in Egypt, the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office sent me a copy of the marriage record for my great-grandfather, Harry Edward O'Brien, with his first wife Marguerite Theresa Barba. The document shows they were married by Rev. A. G. Bakewell. In the 1906 City Directory, Rev. A. Gordon Bakewell was the minister at the Trinity Episcopal Chapel located on S. Rampart Street.

The license was issued on 7 July 1906 in the presence of E. J. Barber and Leo P. Newman, two neighbors who were living on Carondelet Street near Harry and Marguerite in 1906. Leo Newman was the Chief Accountant of the New Orleans Sewage and Water Department. I wonder if Harry worked for Newman during his time at Soule Business College or shortly afterward.

Rev. Bakewell showed up in the Times Picayune archives from 9 January 1891, delivering the benediction to dedicate the Louisiana Historical Association's new building.
Source:, Times Picayune. has a gap in their available editions for the Times Picayune, so I am not able to see articles from 1906-1911. Fortunately, these issues are available through the Tulane University Library. The records room is open Monday through Friday, so my next step is to check with the Library to see if they are able to find Harry and Marguerite in the newspaper during those years.

Along the Nile

This week I was briefly in Cairo, Egypt for meetings. For a change, during this visit I stayed in the Maadi neighborhood, down the street from the Supreme Court and along the Nile Corniche. I now have a better appreciation of the city after this third trip.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Nile River, 18 Mar 2015.
Cairo has some of the world's worst traffic. Calm nerves are required at the wheel, along with amazing patience to navigate the jams on overcrowded highways. This was the first time I had a chance to watch life along the Nile. I can see why people converged on this spot some 5000 years ago. The photo above captures the river just after sunrise, before fishing and tour boats ventured out onto the water.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Illinois and Michigan Canal

At some point after my 3rd-great-grandfather John O'Brien retired from the sea, he made his way to Illinois. It looks like John may have become involved with the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which opened in 1848. The canal path runs through La Salle County, Illinois, where John O'Brien obtained some land deeds in 1851 and 1853.
Source: Wikipedia, Illinois & Michigan Canal
The canal connects commerce from the East Coast via the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. Preserved sections of the canal are still located in La Salle County.

On 24 October 1851, John O'Brien and John Nolan received lots numbered 4 and 5 in block 93, town of La Salle (John O'Brien was deeded lot 5) from the trustees of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. They paid $150.

Two years later, on 26 October 1853, John O'Brien bought 40 acres in Section 27, Township 36 North range 2 East from land speculator Elias B. Stiles and Sybil C. Stiles. John paid $50 for the tract.

I do not currently have much more on John O'Brien's time in La Salle County. I was hoping there would be other land records from before he moved the family to Shelby County.