My Children’s Maternal Genealogy: Part 4 – Cavanaugh

So far in looking into my children’s Jarek genealogy, I had good results on the Jarek side, and then I got stuck on the Morrow French Canadian side. In this Blog, I’ll see if I can discover more about the Cavanaugh side.

The Mystery of John Cavanaugh

Agnes Cavanaugh Jarek’s father was John:

Here is apparently a different John Cavanaugh with a wife and daughter Agnes in 1930 Providence:

John was listed as a mechanical engineer. His father is listed as being born in the Irish Free State. This is to distinguish it from Northern Ireland. Here is the area of 40 Dover Street today:

Actually, it looks like there were two John Cavanaugh families. Here is John with “Laoner” in 1920 Providence, RI:

The family lived at 3 Hospital Road:

So where was the other John Cavanaugh family in 1920?

Here is John F Cavanaugh again at 40 Dover Street:

Checking Ancestry Trees

There is one tree with a John Edward Cavanaugh. However, that tree has a reference to John being 3 months old in 1870. The other John Cavanaugh’s were born around 1881.

Mystery Solved

I solved the mystery by searching for WWI Draft Registrations:

Here is the real John Cavanaugh with real signature. Now we have a birth date and a middle name. From the 1920 Census, John and his father were born in Massachusetts. His mother was born in England. Here is the rest of the Draft Registration:

So now it looks like all my previous research based on the wrong John Cavanaugh was also wrong.

I took out the top paternal part of the Cavanaugh Line. Now the bottom maternal part has to go also.

Here is my clean start:

Now I am left with three records. The first record says that John is John E. Warren. This is Leona’s marriage record. It also says that John E was born in Lowell to John and Louisa Gately. The big three records in genealogy are birth, marriage and death. So far, I have no birth or death record for John Cavanaugh. In addition, the marriage record where I would have expected him to be, had someone with the last name Warren.

A Short Sketch of John Edward Cavanaugh

John was born 1880 in possibly Lowell to possibly a John Cavanaugh and Louisa Gately. However, his marriage record has him as John E. Warren.

He was a wool sorter and had four daughters. The last we hear of John is in the 1920 Census.

This is possibly John in 1900 Lowell:

John was listed as a day laborer. If this is him, he has a brother Thomas and sister Mary. This looks to be the same family living on River Street, Lowell in 1880:

This John was born in October 1879.

Below, this is more clearly John, as he was listed as a wool sorter in 1910:

John was living on 16 State Street. If I can connect the 1910 John to the 1900 John, I will know his parents.

Looking at the Details

Here is a Lowell Directory for 1906:


John E may be John Edward. I don’t know who John J is. The other John could be the John E’s father. Maggie, Mary and Thomas were also mentioned in the 1900 Census, but we can’t be sure if they are the same. John J and Thomas F are boarding in the same place.

Cavanagh/Cavanaugh in Lowell in 1900

Here I see no John’s, but I do see a Louisa. Remember Louisa Gately came up in John Edward’s mother on Leona’s wedding record. I also see Louisa in the 1906 Directory. Here is Louisa in 1900 with her daughter Ellen at 24 Crowley Street:

Note that in the 1906 Lowell City Directory, John E was also living at 24 Crowley. This suggests that Louisa and not Maggie could be his mother.

1911 Directory

Here is Louisa Cavanaugh. This Directory gives the name of her deceased husband, Michael. Her home is at 24 Crowley still and a Nellie A Cavanaugh lives with her. There seems to be a connection with Cavanaugh, US Bunting Co. and 24 Crowley Street.

More On Louisa Gately Cavanaugh

Louisa is mentioned in the Veteran’s Schedule of 1890:

This shows that Michael served in the Civil War and that Louisa was a widow in 1890.

Here is Louisa’s marriage to Michael Cavanaugh:

This was in 1864, so before the Civil War was over.

In 1880, Louisa lived at 38 Bleachery Street, Lowell:

Here she is with her daughter Ellen. The Census was taken June 8, 1880. If John Edward was born August 24, 1880 he wouldn’t be in this Census. However, Louisa was already a widow at the time. For MIchael to be the father of John, he would have had to have died while Louisa was pregnant. Possible, but not likely.

Louisa in 1870

There are trees at Ancestry which use this Census to show that John Edward’s parents are Michael and Louisa. This Census was taken in July of 1870. This John Cavanaugh was born about April, 1870. This raises some questions as John Edward gave his birthday as August 24, 1880. Perhaps he was off 10 years. But then I don’t see this John in the 1880 Census with Louisa, so where did he go? Perhaps this John passed away.

Here is a record from May 13, 1871:

Lizzie is close enough to Louisa for me. Based on his age at death, this John would have been born about April 3, 1870 which is the same month the John in the 1870 Census was born.

Here is this short-lived John’s birth record on April 3, 1870:

This means that the clue that Ancestry is giving me for John Edward Cavanaugh’s father is not looking good:

Before I put Michael to bed, I wonder when he died. Michael died July 13, 1872 of consumption:

This means that MIchael is ruled out as a father for John Edward Cavanaugh. Assuming that John Edward was born in 1880 or close to it, that was 8 years after Michael Cavanaugh died.

Who Are John Edward Cavanaugh’s Parents?

Right now, I have two top contenders:

  • Louisa Gately Cavanaugh and an unknown father. Louisa was 38 in 1880, so she was of child-bearing age. This theory is supported by the confusing marriage record listing her as the mother of John E. Warren, the husband of Leona Morrow.
  • John and Margaret Cavanaugh. They had a son named John born around the time that John Edward was supposed to have been born. This is supported by the dates. The marriage record for “Leoner” Morrow gave her husband’s father’s name as John.

Who do you vote for? There is always a third alternative, but let’s focus on these two first. If the first option is true, there should be a birth record.

Going Down the Rabbit Hole – John and Margaret

This appears to be the birth of John and Margaret’s son:

Sometimes you need to be creative on the spelling. This corresponds to the 1880 Census:

I would like to browse the Lowell Birth Records for Aughust 24, 1880 as that is when John Edward Cavanaugh stated that he was born. I looked and I couldn’t find anything that looked like a John Cavanaugh’s birth.

Next Steps

One way to do this is to wait until Heather and JJ’s DNA tests come in and see if this sorts anything out. I think that those DNA results will be helpful. Another strategy would be to build two trees. One would be with Louisa Gately Cavanaugh as the mother of John Edward. The other would be to build a competing tree with John and Maggie Cavanaugh as competing parents. Another possibility is that John Edward Cavanaugh could have been adopted.

Back to the City Directory

It occurs to me that if I could find a death record for John Edward Cavanaugh, that might clear some things up. Here is the 1927 Directory:

Laoner is at 263 Thorndike and I don’t see John Edward Cavanaugh. The latest John Edward sighting I had was for the 1920 Providence Census.

Here is the 1931 Directory:

Here Leona is not called a widow, but also there is no sign of John Edward. There are other Cavanaugh widows listed. Agnes is now working where her mom used to work. Louise and Helen are also listed but not the other Leona.

1936 Lowell

This is similar to the 1931 Directory except that the daughter, Leoner, is listed separately. I don’t see Louise this year. I didn’t see a Leoner or Leona in the 1946 Lowell Directory.

Here is a different look at the 1940 Census:

From this, I might infer that John Edward died between 1936 and 1940.

Here is a John Cavanaugh in 1930 in Providence County, Rhode Island:

This John is working and living at the race track. He is married and married at an older age (33). He is also the right age.

Here is Burrilville, Rhode Island where this John was living:


William and Maggie Cavanaugh

Perhaps a further look at William and Maggie will reveal something. It appears that William and Maggie Cavanaugh had a son John Kavaney but he died in 1908:

Michael Cavanaugh and Louisa Gately

So far I have shown that Michael and Louisa Cavanaugh had a son John but that he died young. They also had a daughter Ellen. According to the 1900 Census, she was born in 1865.

Ellen Cavanaugh Born 1865

So far, I have not found a birth record for Ellen. Here she is in 1865:


Ellen is assumed to be the daughter of Michael and Louisa above. Ellen McNabb is perhaps a relative of Louisa as they were both born in England. Fast forward to 1920. Ellen is with her mom and her mom’s niece (Ellen Ryden):

Ellen lived at 24 Crowley Street with her mother:

The two Ellens were book keepers at a Bunting Mill.

Here is Ellen in 1940:

Now her mother Louisa is dead. Ellen lives at 22 Crowley Street. She is now a payroll clerk at the bunting company. This is likely US Bunting which made bunting for the US Flag.

Bleachery Street, Lowell in 1880

Here is Ellen when she was in school in 1880:

Ellen and her mother lived on Bleachery Street in Lowell. Louisa is listed as being born in England. However Louisa’s father is listed as born in Jamaica and her mother is born in Ireland. Here is Bleachery Street in 1881:

Finally, this is from the Find A Grave Website:

A Brief Summary of John Edward Cavanaugh

  • I haven’t found a birth record for John
  • John’s marriage record gives his own name as John E Warren. It gives his father’s name as John [Warren] and his mother as Louisa Gately
  • I don’t have a death record for John
  • John was listed as boarding at the same house as his Louisa Gately Cavanaugh in 1906

I am beginning to think that perhaps John Cavanaugh was really John Warren but was raised as a Cavanaugh.

John Warren Father of John Edward Cavanaugh?

Next I will look at the possibility that John Warren was John Cavanaugh’s father. Here is a John J Warren on Bleachery Street in 1880:

He is widowed and has four children. In 1880 Louisa Gately was living at 38 Bleachery Street and John J Warren lived at 7 Bleachery Street. Seem like John J. is at least a possible father. At least he seems like a better candidate than Michael Cavanaugh who died 8 years before John Edward Cavanaugh was born.

Here is John J’s marriage in Lowell in 1866:

This is probably John’s birth record:

This means that I have come full circle. I originally thought that Leona Morrow’s marriage record was mistaken in saying that she married John E Warren. Now I see that it was probably the truth in who John Edward really was.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Initially, I was having trouble figuring out who the correct John Cavanaugh was. A WWI Draft Registion card straightened that out.
  • I was able to eliminate two potential Cavanaugh father’s for John Edward Cavanaugh.
  • It appears that the marriage record for Leona Morrow that had her husband as John E Warren was actually right.
  • I chose John J Warren as a father for John Edward Cavanaugh. John J Warren lived on the same street as John Edward’s mother who was Louisa Gately Cavanaugh
  • If I am right, John Edward and Nellie Cavanaugh were half siblings. John would have had Warren family half siblings also.
  • I would assume that John Edward was raised by Louisa Cavanaugh and her daughter Nellie. Nellie would have been about 15 when John Edward was born.
  • The records have Louisa Gately born in England and that her father was born in Jamaica and mother in Ireland.
  • Of course, I have been wrong before and would accept any corrections.




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