by: Tom Ankner
Martin and Mary McGarry were my mother's paternal grandparents. They were born in Ireland in the 1870s, and immigrated to the United States sometime around 1890.
They were married in Orange, NJ on February 2, 1893. They seem to have lived their entire married life in Orange.
Martin was described as a "hatter" on vital records. Because Orange was a center of hat production around the turn of the 20th century, this probably means he worked in one or more of the hat factories there.
I was curious about Martin and Mary because of two stories I had heard about them. One story: Mary gave birth to 14 children, only eight of whom lived to adulthood. The other story: Martin and Mary died less than a week apart during the influenza epidemic at the end of World War I.
I have already confirmed the death story. Martin died just four days before Mary in November 1918, leaving my nine-year-old grandfather an orphan.
I am now trying to confirm the story about the 14 children through searches of vital records at the New Jersey State Archives.
On the following pages will show birth certificates for each of the children in this family.
Martin and Mary's first child was born in November 1893. This was a male child whose first name does not appear on his death certificate--not unusual in the 19th century.
This child is probably either John or Bernard.
The next child was a boy named Martin born in December 1894.
Then came another son, named Martin William, born in July 1896.
I know there was a brother in the family named Martin. I think the first Martin's name was probably changed later. According to my mother, the two oldest children in this family were named John and Bernard. The first Martin's name was either changed, or the name was incorrect on his birth certificate.
In August 1897, Martin and Mary had their first daughter, Mary Angela.
I know my grandfather had a sister named Mary, but I don't think this is her. This Mary is probably one of the six children who died young. The Mary I met as a child was born several years later.
Note that the year was omitted from this record.
In October 1898, a son named Mark was born.
I know my grandfather had a brother named Marcus. I am not sure if his name was incorrect on his birth certificate, or whether this child died later.
Note that this is the first certificate in which the total number of children in the marriage, 5, is not the same as the number of living children, 4. I think the daughter Mary, born the previous year, had probably died by the time Mark was born.