Sunday, January 13, 2013

Looking for Brennans in Chicago

I was recently given this picture and was told that these women are my husband’s great-grandmother and grand-aunt.  Possible names are Annie and Mary Brennan.  Do you know who they are?

Possibly Stephen Brennan's mother and sister

According to family legend, my husband’s grandfather Brennan married out of the faith and was disowned by his birth family.  He then was divorced from his wife (at a time that it was considered “scandalous”) and had minimal contact with his children afterwards.

Stephen Brennan c. 1918

We were told that Stephen Francis Brennan was born in Chicago December 26, 1873; however, there is no documentation to be found to verify this.  Several inquiries to the Cook County Clerk have resulted in messages that no birth record is found and that it possibly was “burned in a fire”.  His marriage certificate shows his age as 32 which would make is birth year 1878.  His first appearance in the records is in Chicago in the 1910 US Census, as a boarder in the home of Berjetta Marcusen, his future mother-in-law.

Stephen’s World War I Draft Card shows his birth information as December 26, 1873 in the USA. That document shows he is a motorman for the Chicago Surface Lines, is married to Anna Elizabeth Brennan and living at 4242 Wilcox St in Chicago.   He had three children with Anna:  Clarence born in 1912 who died shortly after birth, Charles Joseph born in 1914 and Marion Elizabeth born in 1917.  Stephen is still with the family in the 1930 US Census.  He is not found in the 1940 US Census in Moosehaven where he was living at the time.  He is listed in the Florida State Census of 1945 as age 73, retired with a 7th grade education.  Stephen Brennan died August 17, 1951 at the Moosehaven Home in Orange Park, Clay County, Florida where he had been living for 19 years.

Stephen Brennan in 1930s

Stephen’s daughter Marion tells me that Stephen’s parents were immigrants from Ireland, possibly Michael and Annie Brennan.  He had at least one sister, Mary, who never married.  She worked in a convent on the "north side" of Chicago but was not a nun.  There were also supposed to be some relations in West Chicago but I have no detail on that.  With such a large immigrant Irish population in Chicago at the turn of the century, I am sure you can appreciate how difficult it might be to find the "right" Michael Brennan with wife Annie and daughter Mary in Chicago! 

If you recognize anyone in this blog post, please contact me!

Your Cousin Caron

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