More news about Arthur!

Hello, once again! I have more news about the bad boy of the Clan McCormack, Arthur McCormack. I hope you remember my post, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!” where I talk about my great-grand uncle Arthur McCormack getting convicted for bribery. Just a little updater for some people, Arthur McCormack was an alderman in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had been a resident of the beer capital since the late 1880s and in fact, got married there.

As most everyone should know, before someone is convicted, they must be indicted. Today, I would like to talk a little about uncle Arthur’s indictment for bribery.

Arthur's Indictment

Arthur’s indictment announcement*[1]

Arthur was just one of seven people that were indicted that day and his legal problems were just beginning. As someone whose involvement with that side of the law has, fortunately, been limited to a few traffic tickets, I am not sure what motivated Arthur to do what he did. Perhaps he was just doing what might have been thought of as “business as usual” in some places. I also wonder if he thought the three tons of coal was worth the trouble that he was in and what was coming his way. One thing that I noticed and I hope you did too, is that this newspaper article isn’t from Milwaukee. The article that I found about Arthur’s conviction was also not from Milwaukee. One has to wonder why.

I will have more upcoming about Arthur’s legal misadventures in a future Otter Lake Express post.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you learned something new and exciting today!


* Note: I modified the article to just show Arthur’s involvement.


  1. Arthur A. McCormack, “Indict Seven for Grafting,” The Chicago (Chicago, Illinois) Daily Tribune, 12 Jan 1904, Pg. 4, col. 4, digital image,,, accessed 6 Apr 2017.


Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!

In my last post here on the Otter Lake Express, “A Glimpse into the Past”, I stated how much I liked that newspapers gave you a more in-depth look at the lives of our ancestors.

In today’s post, I am not talking about the AC/DC song of the same name, but an incident that took place in the life of my great-granduncle, Arthur A. McCormack. Arthur was the son of Michael and Catherine McCormack.

Arthur McCormack at the family reunion in Otter Lake, Michigan.

Arthur McCormack at the family reunion in Otter Lake, Michigan.

A few nights ago, I was on Facebook and I saw an ad for GenealogyBank. Afterwards I went to GenealogyBank where I haven’t been for quite a while. Once on GenealogyBank, I did my standard search for anything McCormack. After looking at several dead ends, I came to this;

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap?

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap? [1]

To summarize the article, Arthur was convicted for taking (very small) “gifts” while an alderman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In my take of the article, it seems that Arthur was known for taking small “gratuities” during his time as an alderman in Milwaukee. Currently, my research has Arthur living in Milwaukee from about 1887 to sometime in 1908 or possibly 1909. So sometime during this almost twenty year period, Arthur was an alderman. The article seems to suggest that he stopped being an alderman around 1902 or 1903. In 1910, I have him and his wife living in Detroit, Michigan.

In researching your family history, it is often said that sooner or later you will find something that you may not be proud of. I am not saying that Arthur was totally corrupt but that he was a partially flawed man.

I also think that this article opens up several research possibilities. I could research his political career or his legal problems.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you learned something! I did!


1. Arthur A. McCormack,  “To Petty Graft, ” The Grand Rapids (Michigan) Press, 23 Nov 1905, pg. 3, cols. 4-5; digital images, ( accessed 3 Oct 2015), Newspaper Archives.

McCormack Family DNA Update!

I have great news! One of my research goals that I have since I started my research in the early 90’s has been to find out if the Michael McCormacks are truly Irish as most of my research has shown and as my gut tells me is true. Well, as I have found out other than my great-grandfather, William E. McCormack, neither one of his parents, Michael and Catherine, left a really great paper trail. My other option was a DNA test. Specifically, a Y-DNA test. For that, I needed a direct male descendant of Michael to take the test for me.  As I have said before in another blog post, I can’t take the test because my grandmother, God bless her, got in the way. Well, delaying the good news no longer, I have found a direct male descendant of Michael to take the test for me. Right now, I am not going to share his name. I want to thank this cousin for his cooperation! I have ordered a Y-DNA67 test for us. In about 2-3 months we should know some results.

Thanks for stopping by!

Where Oh Where did my McCormacks come from?

I must apologize for not posting anything for almost the past month. It has been not because I didn’t want to but that my schedule was pretty taken up with work.

About a month and half ago, I wrote the majority of the below post for an Irish online forum, Your Irish Heritage. I thought I would add to it here.

I imagine a few people remember the old nursery rhyme “Oh Where, oh Where Did My Little Dog Go?” I face a similar problem with “my” McCormacks. I have NO idea on where my McCormacks came from. Were they locals of County Kilkenny? Or were they from somewhere else?

Let me start with what I do know. My great-grandfather, William E. McCormack was born in Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny on 9 Jul 1853[1]. His parents were Michael (M.) McCormack and Catherine Paine/Payne. They were also married in Kilkenny[2]. I don’t know if they were locals or stopped in Kilkenny. I have *NO* birth location or any other location for either Michael or Catherine.

I do have some family stories to go on about Catherine. My dad always told me that he thought the McCormacks came from County Cork. Another story that I heard from another cousin is that Michael and Catherine stopped in Kentucky, where their first daughter Delilia was born, to visit Catherine’s brother. Looking around, I did find a William Payne in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Oddly enough, his wife’s name was also Delilia. To be exact, I found him for three consecutive censuses, the 1850 [3], the 1860 [4] and finally, the 1870 [5]. This William Payne “disappeared” from the Harrodsburg area after that. I did find another William (H.) Payne in the Chicago, IL area in the 1880 [6] and the 1900 [7] censuses. I believe that this William (H.) Payne died in 1904 [8].

After some more searching on, I did find a naturalization record for a William Payne [9]. The birth year (1813) fits and so does the place of birth, Bandon, County Cork, Ireland. This is all great, but somehow I have to tie both (?) of the William Paynes I have to my great-great-grandmother, Catherine (Payne) McCormack. As I have already shown, there are several facts that support my theory that William and Catherine are brother and sister.

Since I have some documentation stating that Catherine is from Ireland, I looked on Roots Ireland for some supporting records. I did find one, a church baptism record for a Catherine Payne with a baptism date of 5 Aug 1823. That is almost a full year BEFORE the date of birth that I have for her. But that information was given on Catherine’s death certificate by her daughter, “Minnie”. So, I could have some wiggle room there. There is one more dissenting fact on that record from what I have in my records. On the baptism record, the father’s name is given as James Payne. That does not match with what I have of Robert Paine/Payne.

I have looked at Griffith’s Valuation and have found several Michael McCormacks, but I really haven’t pursued it because I don’t have a documented (or otherwise) location for Michael or Catherine prior to the summer of 1853. Also, while I can find the name, Michael McCormack, in the Griffiths Valuation I can NOT tie any of those people to my Michael. FYI, the Griffith’s Valuations for County Kilkenny, where I presumed Michael lived prior to his marriage, were published in 1849-50.

Speaking of Griffith’s Valuation, I noted on the marriage document for Michael and Catherine that one of the two witnesses was a Margaret Payne. I looked at various Irish websites that offer Griffith’s Valuation searches for a Margaret Payne in County Kilkenny. I found one.

What I will try to do in the future is to pursue the William Payne/Chicago lead. I will also try to find any more information on Margaret Payne, the witness to Michael and Catherine’s marriage. I could also try the ‘Valuation Revision Books’ located in Dublin.

Thanks for stopping by and I hoped you learned something!


1.) Lapeer County, Michigan, Michigan Department of Health, Death Certificate, State File No. 3309 (Local File No. 2), 30 Apr 1943, William E. McCormack, Bureau of Records and Statistics, Lapeer.
2.) “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898,” Michael McCormick, digital image,
3.) 1850 United States Federal Census, Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, District #1, Pg. 47 (written) p. 245 (stamped), dwelling #506, family #506, William Payne, digital image,,, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
4.) 1860 United States Federal Census, Harrodsburg,Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, Pg. 27 (written) p. 711 (stamped), dwelling #191, family #191, William Payne, digital image,,, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M653, 1438 rolls); Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
5.) 1870 United States Federal Census, Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, Pg. 28 (written), dwelling #192, family #217, William Payne, digital image,,, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1860; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M593, 1,761 rolls); Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
6.) 1880 United States Federal Census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, E.D. #90, Pg. 34 (written), p. 711 (stamped), house #138, dwelling #223, family #460, William Payne, digital image,,, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
7.) 1900 United States Federal Census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, Ward #8, E.D. #206, Sheet/Pg. 8 (written), B (stamped), house #302, dwelling #99, family #195, William Payne, digital image,,, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
8.) “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1939, 1955-1994,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 July 2015), William H. Payne, 27 Sep 1904; citing , Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference cn 13653, record number 77, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,239,710.
9.) “United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 July 2015), William Payne, 1841; citing Maine, NARA microfilm publication M1299 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 101; FHL microfilm 1,429,771.

DNA update news

On Thursday (5/7/15), my YDNA-37 test was “officially” received by FTDNA. So sometime around the end of June or the beginning of July, I should find out something interesting. I had meant for someone else to use the test, but was unable to convince them to take the test. Maybe next time? I also wonder if (probably should) and when I should upgrade to a Y-67 test.

Here is the timeline for my results;

My FTDNA results timeline

My FTDNA results timeline

Thanks for stopping by!

A possible marriage lead?

For a long time, I have known that my great-grand aunt, Maria “Minnie” Bedina McCormack, was married in 1894 to Charles Eli Barnes. What I didn’t know was where and exactly when “Minnie” and Charles got married. I figured somewhere in Michigan because of Minnie’s and Charles’ background. Both were born and raised in Michigan [1][2]. Charles was a captain on the Great Lakes. I use Minnie instead of Maria is because that is what I found her to be called.

My possible marriage lead came to me when I was working on Minnie on I had been working on adding some records to Minnie. Two of the last records that I found were indexes from the State of Michigan. One record had the data and another had the data and a picture of the actual index. Here below is a transcribed copy of the index [3] I obtain from FamilySearch;

Name: Charles E. Brown
Birth Date: 1868
Birthplace: Michigan
Age: 26
Spouse’s Name: Minnie B. Mccormack
Spouse’s Birth Date: 1869
Spouse’s Birthplace: Michigan
Spouse’s Age: 25
Event Date: 18 Jun 1894
Event Place: Au Sable, Iosco Co, Michigan
Father’s Name: Charles Barnes
Mother’s Name: Emeline Wood
Spouse’s Father’s Name: Martin Mccormack
Spouse’s Mother’s Name: Kate Steele
Race: White
Marital Status:
Previous Wife’s Name:
Spouse’s Race: White
Spouse’s Marital Status:
Spouse’s Previous Husband’s Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M73797-8
System Origin: Michigan-EASy
GS Film number: 963406
Reference ID: 37 p61

There’s a lot of data there. Let me start by telling you what does NOT match versus what does match because the second list is much longer than the first. The first thing that doesn’t match is the last name of the person at the beginning of the record. It is given as BROWN. Even in the recorded index below, the name appears to be BROWN. The second thing that doesn’t match is Minnie’s age. It appears to be 25. The date on file that I have for her is 16 Apr 1867 [1]. The date from the index, if correct, would have her born about 1869. There is an apparent discrepancy of about two years. The third piece of data that doesn’t match what I have is the first name of Minnie’s father. The index has it as Martin. About 99% of the records that I have found on him state his first name as Michael. There are a few instances however where Michael uses a middle initial of M. This index would be the first instance of the appearance of Michael’s middle name.

Minnie and Charles are the fourth couple down. I also have a jpg of the index [4];

Index including the marriage of Minnie McCormack and Charles E. Barnes.

Index including the marriage of Minnie McCormack and Charles E. Barnes.

What these two records give me is a firm date that Minnie and Charles got married and the first possible instance of the use of Michael’s elusive middle name. I don’t know if sending off a marriage request form to the State of Michigan would help me any but it is worth a try. One thing that the jpg file shows me that the transcribed file doesn’t give me is the names of the witnesses to the marriage. The first name is Minnie’s older brother, Henry McCormack. The second is Mrs. M. McCormack. I am guessing that this could be Minnie’s mother, Catherine (or Kate). Then again, it could be Henry’s first wife, Minnie Van Wormer. The marriage certificate or record that I get from the State of Michigan might tell me just who Mrs. M. McCormack actually was. Or it might not.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you learned something!


1. Michigan, Department of Health, death certificate (State) no. 69477 & (local) no. 238, (11 Dec 1963), Maria “Minnie” Bedina McCormack, Vital Records Section, Lansing.
2. Ashtabula, Ashtabula County, Ohio, State of Ohio Department of Health, death Certificate no. 71329, 20 Dec 1941, Charles Barnes.
3. “Michigan, Marriages, 1822-1995,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 February 2015), Charles E. Brown and Minnie B. Mccormack, 18 Jun 1894; citing reference 37 p61; FHL microfilm 963,406.
4. “Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 February 2015), Charles E Brown and Minnie B. Mccormack, 18 Jun 1894; citing Au Sable, Iosco, Michigan, v 2 p 286 rn 37, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2,342,499.