I am a bit of a scatterbrain. I will conceive an idea, fall in love with it, research it to death, and then forget about it all in the same afternoon. Today’s project has been yet another attempt at tracing some of my family history back to Ireland and into some of our early American experience, as well. Today, thanks to the 1940 US Census, I learned that my great-uncle Martin lived as a lodger in a boarding house near the Brooklyn Bridge, while working as a laborer at a sugar factory, presumably the old Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg.
I have been doing this for years and years now, probably since I first gained access to the internet. I’ve found ship manifests from my grandparents’ voyages through Ellis Island, addresses where they lived thanks to various US Census information, and then similar information on relatives back in Ireland back to the middle of the 19th century. My father had always told me of how his aunt, who he’d never met, had been killed in 1941 during the London Blitz when the hotel she was working at was hit by a German bomb. Thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission‘s excellent record keeping and their thoughtful inclusion of civilian casualties, I was able to trace her name and the hotel at which she worked, and perished.