Genealogy Report 1999

By John Geiger.

In May 1999 Barbara and I helped Barbara’s daughter Claudette and her family move from Manhattan to the suburbs of northern New Jersey.  I took advantage of the trip and the fact that Westfield, NJ is relatively close to Jersey City as I have been wanting to checkout the cemetery where some our ancestors have been laid to rest.  The cemetery was once called “Hudson County Catholic Cemetery” but it was changed and it is presently “Holy Name Catholic Cemetery”.  As well as I can remember I don’t believe I ever visited Jersey City so I did not know what to expect.  Barbara and I went there on a Sunday afternoon after the move and found ourselves in a very low income multi-racial City.  I don’t know where my head was but I realized when we exited the Turnpike that I had no idea where the cemetery might be.  Intuition told me to turn left and we traveled through an area I was not too comfortable with especially when I realized I did not have much gas in the tank (or brains in my head).  We passed by a cemetery and the names on the head stones told me this was not an Irish cemetery.  We spoke to a black couple, who were in their driveway and they provided very helpful directions.  We had a ways to travel but we finally found it.  Unfortunately the office was closed and although I had the deeds to the FAY plots I had no idea as to how to find them.  We did strike up a conversation with two very Irish ladies who were on the same type of mission.  Now we all know from past experience that Irish ladies love to talk, and they told us more then we needed to know.  One thing they said explains why Gene, Charlie, Bob or I don’t know as much about our Irish heritage as we’d like to.  They said, and I believe it’s true, that Irish Mothers never told their sons about “family stuff” they only told their daughters or perhaps some other female in the family.  Now we know why Debbie knows more than her father or uncles.  Well, since the office was not open on Sunday I returned the following Tuesday and spoke to the lady in the office, who was very helpful.  Here’s the information I received.  Some of this was included in a previous Gazette Newsletter.

“Mrs. Julia Fay” paid for the deeds I have and they are dated February 21, 1885.  She is a “Mrs.” therefore she is not Julia Fay Plate, Mom’s (Nana’s) aunt, nor is she Julia Fay, Mom’s sister.  My guess is that she is my/our great-grandmother.  Unfortunately there is no head stone listing their names and there is no indication that there ever was one.  To outline the burial plots there are four short posts, one at each corner and metal pipes connecting the posts.  Each of the four deeds read as follows:

This is to Certify, that Mrs. Julia Fay has paid Twenty Dollars for one grave, two feet by eight, in the Hudson County Catholic Cemetery, Block, S Letter, F Number, 16171819 to be used for burial purposes only, subject to the regulations of the Cemetery, and the rules of the Catholic Church in this Diocese.

·Here are the names that the cemetery clerk gave to me; she did not have the date of death.

Fay Family Plots > S-F-16, 17,18,19


Date of


Cemetery Records


Age at Death


Year of Birth

indicate place of birth

Julia Fay

76 yr.

June 24, 1903


Ireland, County Cork

Owen Fay

44 yr.

March 5, 1895


Ireland, County Cork

Margaret Fay

61 yr.

February 13, 1919


Ireland, County Cork

James J. Fay

49 yr.

March 12, 1914


Ireland, County Cork

Michael Fay

31 yr.

April 4, 1898


Ireland, County Cork

(*)John Fay

62 yr.

April 21, 1931


Ireland, County Cork

Julia Fay Plate

60 yr.

January 10, 1934


no indication of where

Charles Fay

1 yr., 2 months

July 23, 1895


Assume Jersey City

Josephine Fay

2 months

November 21, 1895


Assume Jersey City

John J. Fay

18 yr.

May 24, 1921


Assume Jersey City

Charles Curryn

6 months

October 3, 1887

April, 1887


Michael & Mary

Curryn, Parents      

I have no clue as to who the Curryn family is.  John J. Fay, son of (*) John actually died in France (WWI) on October 14, 1918 at age 18, his burial date in the USA is indicated above.  It would appear that Owen, Margaret, James, Michael, John and Julia are all children of Julia and to her (?) husband.  Now let me add a little confusion to this.  I did not see it until I got home but on the back of one of the cemetery deeds is hand written – “Five dollars paid for also for burial of Charles Fay – 71 years.”  It is signed by (it’s hard to read) “J.W. Donelaw, Secy.”  It appears official since the Secretary signed it and not Julia.  Now it does not say when he died so I can’t figure when he may have been born.  It makes me wonder if he may be Julia Fay’s husband, our great-grandfather.  My reasoning is that the Charles Fay (above) that died July 1895 may have been (maybe, maybe) named after the father.  I may write to the cemetery and see if they have any record of this Charles.  But where is our grandmother, Josephine Johanna Murphy Fay?

Since our grandmother is not among those above I guessed that she was buried with her Clan, the Murphy’s.  I asked the clerk at the cemetery to look up Josephine Fay or Josephine Murphy.  She found a Josephine Murphy buried in 1903 (year of her death) in a family plot by the name of Kuttler.  That threw me.  Then I asked her if she had a record of Johanna Fay or Murphy and she found our grandmother buried in the MURPHY plot.  Here’s what she reported to me.

Murphy Family Plot > E-51-C


Date of


Cemetery Records


Age at Death


Date of Birth

indicate place of birth

Ellen Lyons Murphy

37 yr.

January 14, 1881



Thomas Murphy

50 yr.

September 25, 1914



Mary Murphy

80 yr.

July 6, 1933



Johanna Murphy Fay

33 Yr.

October 31, 1903


no indication of where

John T. Murphy

16 mths, 3 days

June 30, 1886


Jersey City, NJ


According to the information I received, “John T. Murphy” was the son of Thomas and Mary Murphy therefore Thomas must have remarried after the death of Ellen.  Unfortunately I don’t have Mary’s maiden name.  Maggie, the other daughter of Thomas and Ellen died two months prior to her sister Johanna in August 1903.  Now if she were not married you’d think she’d be buried with her family.  If she was married then she may be buried in a plot with her husband.  Daniel, Thomas and Ellen’s only son was married to Ellen Lehane and had two children.  I may write to the cemetery and see if they have any record of Daniel and his family.  I sure wish that I had had the time to check into the Jersey City Public Library because those two women we met at the cemetery indicated that there is a lot of information there such as the occupation of an individual.  So many questions, such as what happened in 1903 to cause the death of three ancestors?  Julia in June, Maggie in August, and Johanna in October.  I had assumed that Johanna might have died due to childbirth but her daughter Julia was born in July 1903.

And the beat goes on……

John Geiger