What happened to Neil McNulty, Nellie Bradley’s husband?

First of all, Happy New Year – wishing you all and your families the very best for 2018! Thank you for following and reading, and for the encouragement and advice along the way!

The first post of the year is about a mystery. Unfortunately I still don’t have the answer, but hope by writing it all out here somebody may spot a clue I’ve missed, or even better – somebody who knows what happened, one of this couple’s descendents maybe, may come across this post.

I used to joke that the family of John Bradley and Mary Ann Keenan must have been in the witness protection program when they moved to Boston – there are so many inconsistencies with the available records, and so many records missing. It’s a real muddle. I’ve written about their daughter Catherine (Bradley) McManus and the sad fate of her children.

Nellie (Ellen) Bradley is Catherine’s sister, born about 1859 in Scotland and moved with her family to Boston as a child. Nellie married Neil McNulty on 25 Dec 1879, same day as her other sister Mary married Francis Sullivan.


1879 marriage of Nellie Bradley and Neil McNulty, source: familysearch.org


Neil’s parents are James and Mary, and he is 22 years old, born in Boston and a shoemaker. 

In 1880 census Neil McNulty, as well as the other sister’s husband – Francis Sullivan, are listed as boarders in the same household as John and Mary Ann Bradley and their children at 5 Foster Street. Neil is 23 years old and a shoemaker.

Nellie and Neil had three boys:

  • Frank McNulty – b. 6 Oct 1880 (5 Foster)
  • James McNulty – b. 14 Aug 1882 (19 1/2 Fliesbon?) and
  • Henry McNulty – b. 2 Dec 1886 (32 Hull)

The last mention of the father Neil, or Nellie and the boys is the birth record for Henry in 1886. I have not been able to find Neil McNulty after that.

I also have a possible birth record for him – Cornelius McNulty b. 10 April 1858, Boston to James and Mary McNulty. Unfortunately there are quite few McNulty families so I haven’t been able to confirm 100% this is him, but it’s quite likely.

Imagine my surprise when I was researching another Keenan line in Boston, one of the brothers of Mary Ann who also moved from Scotland, and I came across Nellie Raymond in 1900 and after with three Raymond children with exact same first names and same dates of birth but living in Lynn, Essex, MA. Their father is listed as Frank Raymond, and parents as married c.1879 accoring to 1900 census.

In 1900 the family lived at 91 Chestnut Street:

  • Frank Raymond is 42, b. Apr 1858 and his occupation is Agent, lasting machines (“lasting” according to Google is the process of attaching the leather top of a shoe to the sole)
  • Nellie is 41, born in Sept 1858 (I’m yet to find a birth certificate for her in Scotland) and immigrated in 1862
  • James b. Aug 1882
  • Harry b. Dec 1886

The eldest son Frank (Francis) has married on 17 Dec 1899 to Nellie T McQuillian, his parents listed as Francis + Ellen J Bradley. In 1900 was living on 33 Parrot Street. They had one son – James (1900-1954) Frank died on 13 Jan 1945 in Lynn, however I don’t have a death certificate for him yet. He is buried in Saint Joseph Cemetery.

The second son, James Raymond, married Claire Mary LeMont on 30th Jan 1907 (parents listed as Frank Raymond and Nellie Bradley) and sadly died by suicide a month later on 5th March. His age is listed as 24y 6m 19d which would make his date of birth around 14th Aug 1882.

The youngest son, Harry Wheeler Raymond was born on 2nd Dec 1886 according to his WW1 draft registration card and married Alice L Keenan on 4th Jan 1914.

WW1 draft registration for Harry Wheeler Raymond, source: familysearch.org

They had two sons – Frank (b. 1915) and Fred (b.1918). Harry seem to have sustained war injuries and in 1930 is listed living at the National home for disabled volunteer soldiers in Chelsea, Main. He died on 14th Mar 1932.

Their mother, Nellie (Bradley) Raymond died on 18th Feb 1912 in Lynn from paralysis with exhaustion as contributing disease.

1912 death Nellie J Raymond, source: familysearch.org

Her date of birth is listed as 29th Sep 1858, however I’ve been unable to find her birth certificate in Glasgow or anywhere in Scotland. I’ve had no luck with the birth certificates of any of her siblings either, apart from Rachel (Bradley) Molloy who was born in Boston.

As for her husband Frank Raymond- he remarried in 1913 Mary Ann Conway (his parents listed as James and Mary – same as Neil McNulty’s parents first names) According to some trees on ancestry he had died on 20th Oct 1939 but I haven’t been able to confirm this. The only record I’ve found that lists Frank Raymond who died on that date is a mason membership card – not that the date of birth is listed the same as the suspected DOB for Neil McNulty – 10th Apr 1858, and his occupation – an Agent. I have no other information about Neil McNulty or Frank Raymond being masons.

Mason membership card for Frank Raymond, source: Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
So, this is all I have found so far. I’m seriously leaning towards the theory of Neil McNulty changing his name to Frank Raymond, even though it sounds really far-fetched. Was it done in 1890s and what sort of paper trail would there be?

It’s also possible that Neil had died or left the family, and Nellie re-married Frank Raymond who adopted the boys very young, they may not have even known he wasn’t their father. However, the same possible date of birth of both men, same occupation and same first name of the parents are a bit too much of a coincidence for me.

While this mystery is for now unsolved, I’m planning on renewing my newspaper subscription to see if there is anything in the papers, and tracking living Raymond descendents – hopefully one day we’ll figure it out.


Richard McManus’ will (1907, New York)

A lovely cousin, Anne, sent me a document few days ago, and little did I know when I opened it that I won’t be getting much sleep that night and will be re-reading and researching the unexpected contents of it till all hours!

She had found the last will of Richard McManus in 1907 – in Brooklyn! This is a great example why one should check all locations and not get stuck in assumptions. Richard had lived in Boston, and the family story was he followed his wife (c.1884) back to USA from Derry and died shortly after – so I searched Boston back and forth, death records, cemeteries – nothing! In hindsight – Richard’s sister Margaret (McManus) McDade lived in New York, so I should have checked there too… but I didn’t until I got the will!

Richard died in January 1907 in Brooklyn, age 63, and was buried in the Holly Cross cemetery in Brooklyn.

His probate documents (29 Apr 1907, full document available on ancestry) tell the unexpected story of the last 25 years of his life…

His probate lists the names and addresses of all people entitled to any portion of his estate – his wife Catherine and a child “Charles”, name being fictitious, as well as his three children John, Richard and Catherine living at 14 Fulton Street, Londonderry.


It also goes on explaining:

“… That your petitioner is unable to ascertain whether or not the said deceased left him surviving widow, although your petitioner has made diligent effort to do so.

That your petitioner is informed by Margaret McDade, a sister of deceased, and by Joseph B. Markey, one of the subscribing witnesses to said Will and Codicil and a close friend of deceased before his death,

that Catherine McManus, the wife of deceased, left him about twenty-five years ago while the said deceased was residing in Ireland, in the Kingdom of Great Britain, taking with her a son of said deceased;

that his said wife came to the United States of America, but the deceased had never learned of her whereabouts or those of said son, and has not seen her nor his said son since their separation from him as aforesaid.”


Richard didn’t know the whereabouts of his wife Catherine for 25 years, and the infant son she took with her must have been Patrick Aloyious McManus, born and baptised in Derry on 7th April 1883

(I’m wondering how would he be baptised and his father not know his name? Was it done in secret, or did Richard think Catherine may have changed his name? And why “Charles” – it is not a name that I’ve seen in the family lines before? And finally – the ship manifest for Catherine and her two children Jane and Patrick from Dec 1884 is probably the wrong one, Patrick indicated on his naturalization papers he arrived on 4th May 1883 – which seems more plausable now, he would have been a month old! I’m yet to find that ship manifest)

I will continue looking into this, and feel I may have to go back and re-write some of the previous stories… I still haven’t fully gotten my head around this new twist.



The Bradleys in Boston

The steamer Grayhound took its last journey on 6th November 1865 crashing into the rocks at Nova Scotia.

The Disaster to the Greyhound

BOSTON, Wednesday, Nov. 15

The steamer Greyhound, Capt. NICKERSON, from Boston for Charlottetown, struck on Bird Rock ledges, Nova Scotia, on Monday night last, and, filling with water, sunk in eleven fathoms.

The passengers and crew were saved and landed at Beaver Harbor, N.S.

The Greyhound was insured for $100,000 in Boston and New York offices, and was valued at that sum.”

New York Times, November 16, 1865


(Image source and much more information on the Grayhound at this great blog:  https://sailstrait.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/civil-war-blockade-runner-was-the-first-of-the-boston-boats/)

Few weeks before the Grayhound crashed, Mary Ann Bradley and her three children – Patrick (10), Catherine (8), Ellen (6) and Mary (3) had made the trip from Charlottetown to Boston to build a new life for themselves. Mary and her husband John were both Irish-born living in Scotland, all their children born there. He had likely arrived in Boston ahead of them to look for a job.


The family lived in Boston in 1870, the father John was a labourer and his son Patrick, who was 17, was a shoemaker.

1870 census for John and Mary Bradley, and their children, Boston

I had discarded the above family as a wrong one for a long time as they are also listed living together in 1880 census (and one more daughter, Rachel born in 1871) on 5 Foster Street and all children were listed single. I knew Catherine had married Richard McManus in 1873 and was listed living with him in 1880 census together with their two children. She also had a daughter, Catherine, born in Oct 1880. I had put a little note at the daughter’s birth to follow up that there is a child McNulty born the following day at the same address. However, the address of the birth for baby Catherine was different to where her parents lived according to the 1880 census. I had assumed the family had moved between the census date in April and the birth in October.

The address where her daughter was born was 5 Foster Street, and I didn’t spot it’s the same as above until much later!

I did, however, decide to follow up on that other child McNulty that was born in the same house a day later, especially since there were two boarders listed living with the family – Neil McNulty (23, single) and Frank Sullivan (21, single). The little boy was Frank McNulty and his mother was Ellen. A quick search revealed a marriage record between Neil McNulty and Ellen Bradly on 25th Dec 1879 – Ellen’s parents were John and Mary Bradley!

Following on the other boarder revealed a second marriage on the same day between Francis J Sullivan and Mary A Bradley. The two boarders were  the sons-in-law, and the enumerator had obviously made a mistake. Two of the sisters got married together on Christmas day 1879, and then the following year one of them and the other sister Catherine had a baby a day apart!

The 1900 census was equally confusing. John Bradley was enumerated once living with his wife Mary and their grandson Patrick McManus at 280 Marginal Street, and a second time with his daughter and son-in-law Francis and Mary A Sullivan at 633 Bennington Street.

The 1910 census was really unexpected – John Bradley was living at 98 Cowper Street with William P. and Catherine Reid. His youngest daughter Rachel who had married Phillip J Molloy was living next door at 99 Cowper street with their 8 children. So this was the correct family! But who were the Reid family?

I’ve come across (and until now had put ait side before as a coincidental name match) a marriage record for Catherine McManus and William Reid on 25 Jan 1897, Catherine parents were John and Mary Bradley. Catherine had remarried which explains why I couldn’t find a death certificate for her around 1895.


I haven’t found anything more on any of the sisters or Patrick, apart from Rachel but I have found the death notices for both John and Mary Bradley – Mary died 1909, and her husband John – in 1913.

The death certificate for Mary was also a surprise – her parents are listed as Owen Keenan and Ellen Mullen, not names I’ve seen before in the family tree. I haven’t been able to find any death record for John Bradley despite manually going through the record images.

death cert

There are still many gaps, and many people to follow up on. I’m not sure why Mary and John were buried in Malden, and the church mentioned in the newspaper “The Church of The Star of the Sea” is also quite out of the way. I’m not sure why Catherine is listed as having no children in 1900 census, and what happened to her and William after 1900. There is no evidence of her going back to Derry where the rest of her children were, so maybe she had fallen on hard times – I can’t even imagine the pain of having  three of your children grow up in a different country. I haven’t been able to trace her other siblings either after 1910, with the exception of her youngest sister Rachel.

There is a DNA match  between a McManus descentents and  Rachel’s which prompted me to revisit all the documents on the Bradley line last week, and that’s when all this information started unravelling. So that further strenghtens the case that this is indeed Catherine (Bradly) McManus’ family.

There are still so many gaps to fill in, and probably so many stories to be told.

Richard and Catherine McManus (part 4) – more updates

Work has been quite busy lately but I’ve managed to find a bit of free time to keep researching, and have come across some very interesting information. This will be  a long post!

I’ve contacted the Boston City Archives and the North End Boston Historical Society, and both have been incredibly helpful pointing me in the right direction.

The lovely archivist from Boston City Archives also send me this amazing photo of 280 Causeway Street  from 1896. It’s about 15-20 years after Richard had a liquor shop next door (282 Causeway) but you can still see how the place looked at the time.

Looking northeast on Causeway Street from corner of Charlestown Street

(Image source: Public Works Department photograph collection, Collection 5000.009, City of Boston Archives, Boston. Available at:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofbostonarchives/16309843886)

Another great find last couple of weeks was the meaning behind “Revere Hall”, the occupation for Richard in 1880 census, and why in 1880 city directory was he listed as “Butler & McManus”


The answer came from a news article in Boston Sunday Globe in 1881, which not only answered those questions, but provided lots of other useful information to follow up on!


It’s clear from the newspaper clipping that Butler in 1880 city directory reference is to T.C.Butler, and him and Dick McManus were associated with Revere Billiard Hall, which seems to be an entertainment establishment. Boston has a huge databases of historical documents and photos online, so I will be searching through those to find out more about Revere Hall, when did they take over and when did they stop working there.

There is a photo on flickr of Revere House, circa 1880-1915, which may be the same place where Richard worked.

Revere House

(Image source: Public Works Department photograph collection, Collection 5000.009, City of Boston Archives, Boston. Available online:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofbostonarchives/22964071586/)

The above clipping provided two more very useful pieces of information. First, that Richard was abroad on 27 Feb 1881 (possibly Derry?), expected to return within days – which gives me  a time frame to search for passenger listings for this trip (and with a bit of luck he may have travelled with his wife and children, so may get more information about them too). And from another newspaper clipping we see he had returned by 11th March, and he seem to have been a very popular guy among his friends!


The second, more interesting piece of information is that he was associated with George H. Homster – he was his “backer and trainer”. Hosmer was a “champion oarsman” as one paper refers to him, and Richard seemed to have had a keen interest in rowing.

I’ll write more about Hosmer and Richard’s relationship in a separate post, but this may be another reason Richard travelled so much, he most likely attended the competitions which were all over USA and Europe. I’m not sure for how long was Richard associated with him, but Hosmer died 23rd Aug 1900 in Boston.

For now, here is one amazing document related to his hobby – in 1880 Richard McManus got a patent for an improved design of an oar with a perforated blade (patent number 230314, Jul 20, 1880) and Hosmer was one of the witnesses. Richard obviously had a very keen interest in rowing! (And wonder if there are any outstanding royalties his descedents can claim:) )


Source: Google patents, Publication number US230314 A, Publication type Grant, Publication date Jul 20, 1880, Filing date May 31, 1880, Inventors Richard Mcmanus, Available online: https://www.google.com/patents/US230314

More on this story to come!

I also found a bit of information on the whereabouts of Kate McManus after her return to Boston – she was alive and living at 65 Charter street, Boston, in April 1892. Her daughter Jennie died age 13 from meningitis on 12th April 1892 at “City hospital, 65 Charter st”, I already had the death civil record, and had assumed this is the hospital address.


However, I was wrong – apparently the day before Jeannie died,  a man was arrested for attempted break-in at Kate McManus’ residence at 65 Charter street. Such a sad run of events.


Richard is not mentioned in either newspaper notices, so he had most likely passed away by then, which corroborates the story remembered by the family. One interesting thing in the death notice for Jeannie is the last line “Haverhill papers please copy.” Notices like that were aimed to papers in towns where family or friends lived, so most likely Richard and Kate had family members or close friends living in Haverhill in 1892. I haven’t been able to find who are they yet, but will keep searching.

And finally – seems that the ship manifest for Kate Dec 1884 for her return from Derry to Boston with Patrick and Jane is likely the correct one. A search on the internet showed that in those days the travel times were fairly quick, a ship could cross the Atlantic in 7-10 days. So it’s possible for Kate and the children to have arrived on 22 Dec 1884 (travel time on this ship Cephalonia was about 10 days, so she would have left around 12th Dec), and if she had fallen ill, possibly on the trip, to send a cable back to Ireland, and for her husband to board the next available ship.

There is a record of Richard McManus arriving on ship Oregon in New York on 13 Jan 1885 – the average time with Oregon was around 7 days, so he would have boarded around 6th January. The short timing would also explain why he had no time to organise and bring the rest of the children with him, he may have had to board on standby, possibly even from a different port than Derry.

Cephalonia,  Cunard Line steamship built 1882 at Birkenhead by Laird Bros. Source of the image: norwayheritage.com
Oregon, Guion Line steamship built 1883 at Glasgow by John Elder and Co. Later sailed for Cunard Line. Source: norwayheritage.com

That’s the main updates on the McManus from the last couple of weeks.

Next post will be about Richard’s possible siblings in Derry, and how I’m using DNA to hope fill the paper trail gaps and prove his mother’s maiden name.

Richard and Catherine McManus – their trips across the ocean (part 3)

The family members remember the trip of Richard and Catherine to Derry, during which their children ended up separated across the Atlantic after both parents dying unexpectedly.

It seems, however, that they, or at least Catherine must have travelled more than once as it can be seen from the birthplaces of their children.

Timeline for Catherine and Richard McManus

Richard and Catherine, or at least Catherine, must have travelled

  • from Boston to Derry some time between 1879 and 1880,
  • back from Derry to Boston between 1879 and 1880,
  • agan from Boston to Derry between 1880 and 1883,
  • and according to the naturalisation for their son Patrick – he came to Boston on 4th May 1883.

I’ve found a possible ship manifest from the ship Cephalonia, which arrived in Boston on 22nd Dec 1884 shows the mother Kate (age 26), daughter Jane (age 5) and son Patrick (11 months). There are small inconsistencies with the ages of Kate and the children – she should have been 29, and children 6 and 9 months. Kate is also listed as born in USA instead of Scotland. However, those ship manifests often contain errors so it’s quite likely this is Catherine travelling with some of the children, after leaving Richard with Richard Jr and Catherine in Derry.


1884, extract of the ship manifest for ship “Cephalonia” arriving in Boston 22nd Dec 1884

I haven’t found any ship manifests for any of the earlier trips, nor for the return trip for Richard (Sr) from Derry to Boston. It’s also possible that they may have travelled to/from Scotland since Catherine was from there, or to/from USA port other than Boston.


Richard and Catherine McManus – their children (part 2)

I’m not sure how many children did Dicky and Catherine have, I have found 5 so far:

  • John – b. 1874, Boston
  • Richard – about 1877, Boston (no birth record found so far)
  • Jane – b. 1878, Derry
  • Catherine – b.1880, Boston
  • Patrick Aloyious b.1883, Derry

It’s unusual that the birthplaces of the children alternate between Boston and Derry, indicating that the family (or at least their mother Catherine) travelled between the States and Ireland few times.

  • John McManus (1874 – ?)

Richard and Catherine were married in Boston in Dec 1873, and their eldest son John was born a year later on 6th Dec 1874. The father’s occupation is “saloon” (saloon keeper?) and address is 282 Causey which fits the other records I’ve found for the family. I have not found John in any subsequent records, and he doesn’t appear in the 1880 census, so it’s possible he died as a child. I haven’t found a death record either (neither Boston, nor Derry)

Birth record for John McManus (6 Dec 1874, Boston, MA), source: familysearch.com (Click on the image for higher resolution)
  • Richard (abt.1877 – ?)

Their second son, Richard, was born around 1877 according to the 1880 census in Boston. The family lived in 81 North Margin street (the home address consistent with the other records) and father’s occupation was Revere Hall (not sure what it is). The 1880 Boston city directory lists the father as “McManus, Richard (Butler & McManus)” with address 7 Green, as well as bds.81 North Margin (which was his residence), so it’s possible he changed jobs between 1878 and 1880.

1880 census, Boston, 81 North Margin street

There are two children listed in 1880 census – Richard who was 3 and born in Boston, and Jane, 1, born in Ireland.

I’ll write more about Richard Jr and his children in another blog post.

  • Jane (1878 – 1892)

Jane was born on 10th Nov 1878 in Derry, 104 Fountain street, and the occupation for her father Richard is listed as “store keeper” from Boston. She was baptised in St Eugene’s, Derry, and the sponsors were John McManus and Margaret Kane. John is likely either her grandfather or uncle, and I’m not sure how Margaret is related.

Birth record for Jane McManus, 1878, Londonderry (source: civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie)

Sadly, Jane died when she was 13 from meningitis. I’ll need to search a bit more and see if I can find any hospital records or where she is buried.

Death record  for Jane McManus, 1892, Boston (source: familysearch.org)


  • Catherine (1880 – ?)

Catherine was born on 31st Oct 1880 in Boston. I have no further information on Catherine, or if she was brought up in Derry or Boston.

Birth of Catherine McManus, 1880, Boston (source: familysearch.org)
  • Patrick Aloyious (1883, Derry – ?)

Patrick was born on 4th April 1883 in Derry (his year of birth is listed as 1882 in few documents). He was baptised 7 Apr 1883 at St Eugene’s, Derry. His godparents were Edward Doherty and Rose McManus, however I’m not sure yet how are they related to him.

Patrick was brought up in Boston. I have very little information on his childhood but there are number of documents from when he was older. I’ve gotten in touch with a descendant of his, and hopefully will  share a more detailed story of his life in a separate post.


Richard McManus and Catherine Bradley

Richard and Catherine McManus (nee Bradley) are my husband’s great-great-grandparents and have lived most of their live in Boston, Massachusetts.

According to the family lore (thanks to cousin Warren for sharing the story!) Richard (or Dicky as he was known) and Catherine came to visit Derry with their children. They planned the trip back to Boston in two stages – Catherine went first with some of the children, and Dicky was to follow after with the rest of the children. Upon her return to the States Catherine fell very ill and Dicky had to go back very quickly and couldn’t afford to bring the remaining children with him. He was to come back for them later but sadly died soon after, and the children were split by the Atlantic. My husband’s great-grandfather, Richard (Jr) was left behind in Derry. We are not sure of the fate of the remaining children.

Dicky was born around 1845 most likely in Derry. I haven’t found any birth record for him yet, but there is a naturalisation petition that fits to be him, which says he was born on 17 Mar 1845 in Londonderry, Ireland. He immigrated when he was 15 (5 Apr 1860, haven’t found the ship manifest yet) and was naturalized in 1867 when he was 21.

Massachusetts State and Federal Naturalization Re.jpg

Richard married Catherine Bradley on Christmas Eve in 1873 in Boston, he was 28 and she was 18.

Marriage of Richard McManus and Catherine Bradley, 24th Dec 1873, Boston. Source: http://www.familysearch.com

His occupation is listed as “plasterer”, which was a bit surprising as he apparently had been a pub owner. I’m still not sure if this is a mistake, or was there a second couple with exact same names and ages living in Boston at the same time. For now I’d assume this is the correct couple and will have to search through the newly released catholic records by the Archdiocese of Boston and see if the marriage witnesses or the godparents of the children provide any further clues.

Richard is listed in a number of city directories between 1872 and 1880 as “liquor dealer”  and living at 282 Causeway and/or 81 N. Margin. I’d assume one of those is his business, and the other is his home address.

I’d love to see what 282 Causeway looked like in 1870s but at that address currently in Boston is a restaurant, and it’s quite a central location, so it’s quite possible this is the place where the pub once was! Would love to get a picture from those days!

282 Causeway, Boston. Source: Google maps (31st Jan 2016)

I haven’t found much information on the pub so far, but came across the annual report from the City of Boston Fire Commissioner for the year ending 30 Apr 1878 that lists a minor fire on the premises.



Richard seem to have been a well-respected gentleman in the area, as it’s obvious from the article in Boston Globe from 1875. It must have been very hard to become established at such a young age, especially being an immigrant and with no family around.

1875, Boston Globe

The next post will be about trying to  find out who were the children of Richard and Catherine, and about their trip across the ocean.