Old photographs have a haunting quality. You can't help wondering about the faces, the places, the lives and the times as you gaze into the past. The photos become even more interesting and precious as you begin to learn about the subject.
The photo on the right is my great-grandmother Maggie Keville. This serious young woman has been the focus of a recent flurry of emails between my mother and her new acquaintance (and distant cousin) Rose Park. They met via the internet genealogy boards, both curious about the Keville family of Ireland.
All I ever knew about her was that she died very young and left seven children, all of whom had tragic fates -- except for my grandmother Kitty.
It turns out Rose has a knack for turning up documents and other juicy bits of information, so now we are able to piece together a little more about Maggie and her family.
I'm going to try to put it all together here. My mother and Rose can correct me or add information as we go along.
Margaret Keville was baptized in Shrule, Ireland, on March 12, 1865. Her parents are listed as Patrick Keville and Mary Spellman.
Like so many Irish, Maggie decided to take the big step of leaving home for America. She traveled on the S.S. Alaska in 1884 and landed at the Port of New York. The above photo of Maggie was taken in Chicago, probably not long after she arrived.
What did the 19-year-old do in Chicago? Maybe, like a lot of Irish girls of the era, she went into domestic service. But she also managed to find herself a husband. On January 6, 1888, at Holy Angels Church in Chicago, she married Moses McCarty Flanagan, a fellow immigrant. Before long she had her first child, Nellie.
1.14.05 (last revised 12.09.05)
Baptized Mar 12, 1865, in Shrule, County Mayo, Ireland
Married Moses McCarty Flanagan Jan 6, 1888, at Holy Angels Church in Chicago IL
Died of uterine cancer 23 Jun 1903, leaving behind 7 children.