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Messages - famjam53

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US Lookup Requests / Re: James Edward Higgins / John DeRose
« on: Thursday 29 November 12 17:48 GMT (UK)  »
Interesting stuff!

Here's my explanation for the marriage/birth records.  John DeRose's daughters were born in the late 1920s.  There's a 95 year confidentiality period for birth records.  Therefore, births after 1917 are not yet publicly available in the NB archives.  If John and Evelyn were married outside of NB, there would be no record of their marriage in the NB archives.  Also - if they were married in a small private ceremony (Minister's house, for example), it's possible that the paperwork for their marriage never found its way into an official register.  It wasn't unusual, back in the day, for marriage records not to end up in the archives.  So - probably no conspiracy!

It's reasonable to assume that unless James and Evelyn divorced (and there's no evidence of this) that James died at least a couple of years before Evelyn married John DeRose and started having children with him.  John and Evelyn's daughters were born between 1926 and late 1928 (since John had 3 children under the age of 3 at the time of his death in January 1929 - assuming the rootsweb posting to be accurate).  Therefore, it's likely that James died in the early 1920s and that he died before his mother's death in June 1926.  If James died violently (the card game cheating) and under scandalous circumstances, perhaps the Higgins family didn't want anyone to know about this (or even that James was dead) and therefore included him in his mother's obit as living in the US.         

US Lookup Requests / Re: James Edward Higgins / John DeRose
« on: Thursday 29 November 12 03:22 GMT (UK)  »
Yes - I saw that too - Carmelita's marriage certificate.  However, if you zoom the certificate and look at the detail I think you'll notice that someone wrote her age at the time of her marriage as 20 and then changed it to 21.  The 21 written over the 20 looks like a 26.  If Carmelita was 21 in 1950, then she was born in 1929 and would have been born after her father died on January 2  of that year.  I have no confidence in any of the ages given on the marriage certificates of John DeRose's daughters. 

There's a posting on (dated February 2012) from one of John DeRose's grand daughters looking for information on her grand father.  The posting says that John DeRose was killed in an accident (not murdered) in Saint John in January 1929 and that he left a wife and 3 daughters under the age of 3.  Therefore, John and Evelyn (Carmela) must have had children beginning in 1926!  According to James Higgins' mother's obituary,  in June 1926 James was alive and living in the US. 

None of this explains what happened to James, and when and where he died.  Perhaps Evelyn went to the US with James in the early 1920s.  Maybe James and Evelyn divorced and Evelyn met John DeRose, married him and then returned to Saint John. This might explain why there is no record of John and Evelyn's (Carmela's) marriage in the NB archives.  I like your theory about the love triangle, a murder and a cover-up by the Catholic Church (when does the book come out?).  But no - I don't think this is what happened. 

We're still missing what happened between 1920 (when James and Evelyn's son died in a premature birth) and 1926 when James was allegedly living in the US and Evelyn (then Carmela) was having children with John DeRose.

I'll keep looking - but check the posting - I think this sorts out some of the confusion!


US Lookup Requests / Re: James Edward Higgins / John DeRose
« on: Wednesday 28 November 12 17:09 GMT (UK)  »
I'll continue digging too.   Both my mother and her sister heard nothing growing up from their mother Ena about their grandfather (Edward Higgins) or their uncle James.  Ena never discussed her family.  Ena died in 1966 and was the last member of her immediate family to die.

I find it unusual that James and Evelyn married at such a young age.  At first I thought that maybe this was because Evelyn was pregnant but I've found no evidence to support this.  I don't know anything about a family feud but I can see a basis for this in James' marriage to Evelyn.  The Higgins' were Catholics and very religious.  Evelyn was a non-Catholic.  I can imagine that James' marrying "outside of the church" would have been very hard for his family to take.  Looking at the marriage registration certificate for James and Evelyn, James was living with Evelyn's family at the time of the marriage (his address was the same as that of Evelyn and her family), the marriage ceremony was performed by a Protestant minister and both witnesses were from Evelyn's side of the family.  It doesn't seem like the Higgins' were overly involved in James' marriage.  Perhaps the marriage was the event that put James at odds with his family.   Just speculation on my part.     

US Lookup Requests / Re: James Edward Higgins / John DeRose
« on: Wednesday 28 November 12 14:50 GMT (UK)  »
Re James Edward Higgins / John DeRose

My grandmother was Ena (Higgins) McBriarty.  James Edward Higgins was her brother.  Here’s what I know about my grandmother’s family.

Edward Higgins (b. 1865/66; d. ??) married Mary Ellen (Ella) St. Clair Kerr (b. May 1, 1863; d. June 13, 1926) on February 12, 1890 at St. Peter’s Church in Saint John, New Brunswick. 

Edward and Ella’s children were:

1) Mary Catherine Higgins (b. January 10, 1891; d. March 11, 1953).  Mary Catherine was a nun with the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception order where she was known as Sr. Mary Aquinas.  Sr. Aquinas was a school teacher who lived in Moncton, New Brunswick.
2) John Kerr Higgins (b. August 28, 1892; d. June 11, 1950).  Kerr was a dentist who lived in Saint John, New Brunswick.  He was married to Mabel Ryan.
3) Edna Higgins (b. August 16, 1896; d. October 23, 1896).  Edna was only 2 months old when she died.
4) James Edward Higgins (b. August 28, 1898; d. ??).  (see below)
5) Ena Higgins (b. January 25, 1900; d. November 12, 1966).  Ena was married to Joseph McBriarty, was a school teacher and lived in Saint John.
6) Mary Carol Higgins (b. December 19, 1902; d. June 1, 1955).  Mary Carol never married.  She lived in Saint John.

Edward and Ella travelled extensively while they were raising their family.  Their first child, Catherine, was born in Saint John.  However, by 1892 when Kerr was born, the Higgins’ were living in Missoula, Montana.  The family was back in Saint John in 1896 when Edna was born.  Both James (b. 1898) and Ena (b. 1900) were born in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Carol was born in Saint John in 1902.     

The Higgins family is listed in both the 1901 and the 1911 Canada Census records as living in Saint John, New Brunswick.  However, Edward is not listed with his family and therefore was not in Saint John at the time the census was taken.  Where was Edward in 1901 and in 1911 when the census was being taken?  He was still alive in 1901 since he and Ella had another child in 1902.  Was he still alive in 1911?  There are no records related to Edward after Carol’s birth in December 1902.  When Ella passed away in 1926, her obituary stated that she was predeceased by her husband Edward – so Edward died sometime before 1926 - but when, where and under what circumstances?

James Higgins was born in New Hampshire.  He was living in Saint John by at least March 1901 when the census was taken, and he grew up there.  On March 14, 1916 (when he was 17 years old) James married Evelyn Mary Merrick (18 years old at the time).  James and Evelyn had a daughter, Evelyn Rita, who was born on August 26, 1917.  Evelyn Rita died less than a month later on September 20, 1917.  James and Evelyn were still together and living in Saint John in 1920.  On June 23 of that year, Evelyn gave birth to a son who was born prematurely and died at birth.

The only other reference to James after 1920 is in his mother’s obituary.  When Ella died in 1926, her obituary listed the names and location of her surviving children (all of the children except for Edna).  James is listed as living in the United States.  There is no record of when James left Saint John, or why.  He went to the US sometime after 1920 and was living there in 1926.   

I have not found any records related to where James lived in the US or to where and when he died.  I was not aware that he may have died in Boston as a result of cheating in a card game.  I’d like to know more about this!  My grandmother never told her children (born between 1928 and 1943) any stories about her brother James.  It was as if he never existed.  There was never any mention of him, no visits from him, nor any cards or letters.         

James’ wife Evelyn married John DeRosa (anglicized to “DeRose”) sometime before 1929.  Evelyn and James were either divorced by this time or James had died.  John was an Italian, was born in 1901 and immigrated to Canada in 1914.  He was murdered in Saint John on January 2, 1929 after he was struck on the head and had his skull fractured.  I don’t know how Evelyn met John or when they were married.  At this time, Evelyn was going by the name of “Carmela”.  Carmela and John had a daughter who seems to have been born 1929 (based on her age given on her marriage certificate some years later).  If this information is correct, Evelyn would have been pregnant when John was killed and Evelyn’s daughter would never have known her father.  Evelyn (still going by the name “Carmela”) married again in July 1931 and had 3 more children.   

I’m interested in finding out more about my Great grandfather, Edward Higgins.  Where and when did he die, what happened to him after 1902?  I’d also like to know more about my great uncle, James Higgins.  What happened to him after 1920?  When did he leave Saint John for the US, did Evelyn go with him, when and where did he die, when did Evelyn return to Saint John (assuming that she accompanied James to the US), when and where did Evelyn meet John DeRosa, when were John and Evelyn married?

Any information (including family lore) that anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.           

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