Ireland,  Welch

Capelonga’s and Welch’s

Story from Elizabeth Capelonga, who’s great-great grandfather, Thomas was the brother of my great-great grandfather.  Our common ancestor would therefore be the father of Thomas and Luke Welch.

The original Welch settler from Ireland, Thomas Welch, had a brother named Luke. Thomas Welch and his wife Jane had a son also named Luke. He was born in 1869 in Oneida County New York. He was married to a woman named Nora Hannan and they had several children, among them a daughter named Dorothy. Dorothy was an unmarried teenager when she became pregnant with my father. When Dorothy was three months pregnant, her father Luke Welch committed suicide by hanging in Jordanville New York. Apparently he was a blacksmith and an alcoholic who had lost his business and was estranged from his family. I have a newspaper clipping that details that he went for a walk and two weeks later on March 24, 1922, he was found hanging, “frozen stiff” in a barn (Oneonta Daily Star, March 24, 1922).

Dorothy gave birth to my father who was named at birth Max Francis Welch, on September 18, 1922 (father not currently known) and at six weeks of age Dorpthy’s mother Nora surrendered my father to the Sisters at the St. Joseph’s Infant Home in Utica. He was there until he was 18 months of age when he was a adopted and taken to Brooklyn New York where he was raised.

Before I did Ancestry I had all the information regarding my father‘s birth name place of birth and detailed information about Luke and Nora and their family from an extensive adoption record I received from the agency through which he was adopted, which is still in existence. Because my father was born and adopted before the adoption records were sealed in the state of New York, they were able to give me the full record. When I joined ancestry and had my DNA done, I was able to find out more from other people’s family trees etc. and that’s how I became hooked up with Joe Pryor.

Interestingly I also found that my father‘s mother Dorothy, eventually married and in 1932 gave birth to a daughter Elizabeth. I found that out through a census records search. Last year I was contacted by someone who matched me as a first cousin on ancestry. I knew that she was on the Welch side because of our mutual matches.She had absolutely no information about herself except for her birth name which was Nora Salisbury. The last name Salisbury,  I knew was the last name of the man that my grandmother had married and had a daughter with. The first name, Nora, was my great grandmother’s name, the woman who gave my father up for adoption. Apparently, my grandmother’s daughter Elizabeth had also given birth to a baby out of wedlock, and this woman who contacted me was that baby. This is all been a very interesting journey and while some of the story regarding my father‘s family of origin is very dark (there are some details I did not include here for the sake of brevity) it is truly a fascinating story and has captivated me from the moment I found out about it.

– Elizabeth Capelonga


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