The mystery of Agnes Blanche Hannigan {1887-1977}

Where Agnes Blanche Hannigan might come into our Hannigan family tree is hard to determine. Agnes first appears in the 1900 US Census for William Henry and Mary Ellen (Hannigan) Haring while they are living at 346 Brook Avenue (Mott Haven), New York and she is listed as a 13-year old niece. This is in the area between 141st and 142nd Street about three blocks east of Third Avenue, where Mary’s mother lived at 2618 Third Avenue. This is the area where the Hannigan clan lived from about 1870 until 1925. St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, the recognized family parish, is located at Alexander Avenue and 138th Street, while St. Rita’s Catholic Church is located north of this area.

Because Agnes first appeared in the 1900 Census for her aunt’s family, this would probably make her a direct descendant of a sibling with the surname Hannigan. In that same Census, Agnes is identified as being born in October 1887 (later verified from the SSDI) that would mean that her mother would need to be at least 12 or 13 years old at her birth. This would most likely rule out Rosanna who would only have been 10 years old when Agnes was born. That would leave Elizabeth (born about 1874 and Mary’s other sister) as the only possibly option to be her mother. Also, I think it would be unlikely that if one of the Katherine’s boys had fathered a child (either Cornelius or James based on their age) the child would have remained with their mother and not their father. Elizabeth passed away in 1891 (only 7 years after her father) and her death certificate lists her as single woman.

Marriage_LicenseIn my research to better know who Agnes was, I found a New York City marriage license/certificate for Bernard Falkowski (Schultz) and Agnes Blanche Hannigan who were married on June 21, 1912 in the Bronx. While it was good to get a copy of the marriage license, the disappointing part is that the parents of Agnes Blanche Hannigan was listed as ‘Not Known’ on the form. This means we don’t have documented proof of who Agnes’ mother was from this vital record. Also, a birth certificate has not been found listed in the Municipal Archives for Agnes B Hannigan in any index. But, it is not all lost, because there are a couple of interesting thing from the marriage license. First, the address Agnes used for 1912 (when she got married) was 2618 Third Avenue, New York.  This is the address for her grandmother, Katherine Hannigan and her uncle, Cornelius, as listed in various New York City directories and Census Reports. And second, one of the witnesses of the wedding was John J HanniGan, my great-grandfather. So now we have yet another line of off-spring to research.

The good part is that Agnes Blanche Hannigan married Bernard Falkowski before he changes his name to Bernard Schultz.  Bernard was born in Trenton, New Jersey and lived there for much of his life. He is buried in Trenton under the name of Bernard Schultz. The question remains of why they were married in New York City and not in Trenton.  But the address that Agnes Blanche used was the address of her grandmother in the Bronx.  Bernard and (Agnes) Blanche Schultz had two daughters who settled in Pennsylvania.  They were both living in Edgely, Pennsylvania when their parents died in the 1970’s.

Agnes does not appear in any other US Census report that has been located because she was born in 1887 and portions the 1890 (particularly for New York City) were badly damaged by a fire in the US Department of Commerce building in 1921. She has not been located in the 1890 NYC Police Census and the 1892 NY State Census does not contain a large portion of New York City, particularly the Mott Haven and Morrisania area of New York County.  That leaves the 1900 as the only available Census data enumerated after 1880 for this area of New York.  Neither has she been located in the 1910 census that was done before she married Bernard.

To add additional intrigue to this story, in the 1905 NY Census William Acker (the son of Mary’s youngest sister Rosanna) appears to be living in the Haring’s house at 346 Brook Avenue, New York. But there is not a listing for Agnes residing with them.  William also appears in the 1910 US Census for the Haring family in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. This would show the compassionate heart of Mary Ellen for her younger sister’s off-spring.  William Acker was the son of Rosanna after she married Henry Acker in 1896 and Henry left her and shows up a few years later in a household with a new wife and step-daughters.  Rosanna apparently flees to San Francisco on the west coast and gets married and later dies from a tragic fall.

So the bottom line is I don’t really know right now where to bring Agnes Hannigan into our family tree, but I know that she belongs there.  I continue to have problems finding birth records for the Haring children, much like I have had problems finding birth records for the children of Patrick and Catherine Hannigan.


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