Third in a March 2017 series about my Irish (Dempsey) and Welsh (Owen) ancestors in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Maryland.
To prepare for a 1993 Baltimore road trip in search of my Dempsey and Owen ancestors, I compiled a list of family landmarks and addresses from my research. Then I called ahead for hours and directions to the ones I wanted to visit.
On my first call to the caretaker of Baltimore’s huge New Cathedral Cemetery, I was surprised to learn that a number of collateral relatives were interred with my direct ancestors. Soon a cemetery map arrived by mail with a route traced in red to my Dempsey-Owen ancestors’ final resting place.
St. Martin Church
So I was hopeful about my second call to St. Martin Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore, located at 31 N. Fulton Ave. at West Fayette Street — a parish of 7,300 families in 1920 when my Irish ancestors worshiped there.
A High Mass of Requiem was celebrated at the church on 5 January 1923 for my Irish immigrant great-great grandmother Katherine (Gormley) Dempsey. Her wake took place down the block at 1954 West Fayette Street, her last home.
A year earlier, my great grandmother Elizabeth C. (Dempsey) Owen, one of Katherine’s daughters, was buried from the church on 28 July 1922 after a wake at her 1519 West Franklin St. residence.
St. Martin was still open and holding services when I called in 1992. The chancery staff confirmed they had some birth, marriage and death records that I could look at — so I added the church to my road trip itinerary.
Nearby family homes
Next, I made a list of family houses where I wanted to stop — in addition to the last homes of Katherine and Elizabeth.
- 2 Webster Alley – The 1880 home of Katherine and William P. Dempsey and family.
- 1602 E. Chase St. — Where Katherine lived in 1900 with daughter Mary and son-in-law Clinton Webb.
- 3018 Roseland Place (Walbrook) — Where Katherine lived in 1923 with daughter Margaret and son-in-law William Waidner.
- 428 Govane Ave. – The 1900 home of Elizabeth and Frank H. Owen.
- 424 Striker St. – Elizabeth and Frank’s home in 1920.
Research materials for the trip
Finally, I packed the research materials I wanted to bring with me.
- Updated family group sheets for the Dempseys and Owens.
- Copies of obituaries to refer to on the trip.
- A map of Baltimore with family landmarks and addresses marked, along with a penciled-in route for the day.
- A camera to photograph the landmarks and family homes.
A travel partner
By early 1993, I was ready to head to Baltimore and by chance a travel partner volunteered to go with me — a classmate from a course I was taking to prepare for graduate school.
He’d had been wanting to go to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and was familiar with the city. I liked the idea of a driver who knew his way around, and dinner at the harbor would be a great ending to the research day. So I showed him the map and itinerary, and we set a January date for the trip.
To be continued. Please stop back.
© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.