GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2006-02 > 1139194169
From: "Joan Boetger" <>
Subject: Fw: Poorhouse
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 21:49:29 -0500
While searching US Censuses I have found poorhouses noted as Alms House
or at least had the word "Alms" written on the left side of the census page.
My gr-gr-grandmother was Ellen Haggarty, born bet. 1834 - 1839 in Ireland.
I have not found her on any passenger list as yet. Her father's name was
William. He may have not come to the US. Ellen married my Sicilian ancestor,
David/Carmelo Rinado/Rinaldo/Rinardo, had three children, and died on Deer
Island, off the Boston coast.
I have done some checking and was told on the phone by an historian that
many Irish people were shipped to and confined on Deer Island and many
were buried in mass graves, as they had a contagious disease and were poor.
Ellen died on January 16, 1863, was noted as an indigent on the Boston
Her middle child, Joanna, had been shipped to a hospital in Middleborough
and died there at 10 months old, cause of death unknown. More than likely
she had TB and was shipped away to keep her away from Ellen who was
"with child" and Joanna died two months before the baby was born.
Her older sister Laura survived and married in 1881 and I had found her
working in Boston as a "Straw Sewer" and living in a boarding house. She
told the census taker that her father was born in Italy but apparently she
wasn't old enough to remember when her mother died and her father either
hadn't told her or had abandoned her and no one told her that her mother
was born in Ireland, as there was no reference to her mother's home land.
The youngest of the three children was my gr-grandfather, Paul Victor
Manuel Rinaldo. I finally found him as Paul Rinalde, 19 years old,
Occupation: Hostler, living with another young man, also a Hostler, and
a family. Both references to his parents were blank.
David (he used this Americanized given name as often as he used Carmelo)
remarried for the 3rd time, still in Boston, to another Irish lady, in 1870. I
found him on two passengers lists coming back to the US from Sicily to
The Port of New York in 1891 and 1892. No wife, no other relatives with
His occupation, both on the censuses and vital records, was noted as
"Bowling Saloon," so I imagine he barely scraped by in his early days and
probably couldn't raise his two remaining children without their mother, so
farmed them out to different families.
My father told me that his grandfather had apprenticed as a stable keeper, so
I at least had that information in my pocket when I started on my family tree.
I think that is all my father knew about his grandfather and possibly never
met him. My father's father died when my father was about 8 and I don't
think that his mother fraternized with the father's side of the family after that.
I am 65 years old and my father passed away when I was 20, so I have no
family left to help me with my quest, but I at least had that information.
Actually, the first place I found Paul was on the 1910 census in Plymouth,
married with twin boys, (one of which was my grandpa) and was a stable
keeper. Ah-hah! I had found old Paul! It was difficult after that due to the
misspelling of the name Rinaldo.
I feel great sorrow for my Ellen. She married a poor immigrant, (who had
previously married a girl of 16 in New Bedford, but I can't find anything
about her after her marriage), had 3 children within 26 months and died
a pauper at 25 years old.
This is just one story of orphaned children.
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 10:01 AM
My family arrived from Ireland in 1849 with 4 children under
the age of ten. Both parents died by 1852. What would have happened to the
children? would they be put in a poorhouse? Would there be any poorhouse records
from that time? and how would I go about getting them? Any information would be
appreciated. Sorry for asking so many questions.