Kimmitt Genealogical Research

09 March 2015

Week #9 of 52 Ancestors: Annie Josephine (O'Sullivan) FitzGerald

Anne Josephine (O'Sullivan) FitzGerald
18 December 1869 to 2 August 1949
I never met my paternal grandmother Annie, since she died before I was born, My father was not one to talk much about his family and I was such an oblivious child that it took me a long time to realize that both of his parents had spoken in a thick Irish brogue.

Annie was born 18 December 1869, the daughter of Philip O'Sullivan and his second wife, Julia Clifford, in Callinafercy West, near Milltown, County Kerry, Ireland. (1) She didn't know my grandfather before coming to Boston, but he grew up in the next town over, Castlemaine.

On census records Annie's date of immigration varies--anywhere from 1884-1895. Since immigration records were not very detailed I can't make any progress with pinning that down as her name is too common.

I'm sure she met my grandfather, Patrick John FitzGerald, through mutual friends, and they married on Sunday, 6 September 1896 at St. James Church, in Boston. She was a domestic. (2) My sister remembers family stories of Annie having worked as a cook in the Back Bay section of Boston.

There were many men named Patrick FitzGerald in Boston, so he is ridiculously hard to trace, though he seemed to use that middle initial J. often enough for me to count on it. He was alternately a laborer, longshoreman, and plasterer, and they moved frequently to various tenement apartments in Boston, from East Boston to the South End, barely managing to keep one month ahead of the rent man. By 1918 they were in Arlington. While I might be able to track Annie via her husband, I have no detail for Annie herself other than what my sister can remember, and Annie died when my sister was 9. She tells me that a cousin told her that at one point some of my father's sibling were living with cousins. That part is very vague.

I do know that she had six children, five of whom lived. Annie's oldest daughter, Mary suffered from some sort of mental illness, perhaps schizophrenia, and was practically shut away for most of her life. I never met her. Annie's oldest son, Jack, was a very successful lawyer in Boston. Theresa married twice and lived a rough life. And Frank fought valiantly in WW II but suffered from PTSD. He never married. My father (born 1910) was the youngest living child, but there was one more born after him, William Frederick, born 16 November 1912 in Boston. He died a few months later, on 6 January 1913. I have written another blog post about him here.

The house they lived in from about 1923-1937,
at 66 Hancock St., Lexington, as it appears today. My father used to
lead the cows down a cowpath to the right of the house before and after school.

Annie and Patrick had a tough life, but the two managed to earn enough money to allow them to purchase a little dairy farm in Lexington where they moved before my father hit high school, probably about 1920. They went bankrupt during the depression then eked out a living doing odd jobs. My sister says Annie liked to tip the bottle back of a Friday evening, and I'm not surprised! My sister also remembers Annie reading the paper out loud to my grandfather.

James E., Frank P., Theresa J., Annie J., Patrick J., and John J. FitzGerald
on the occasion of Patrick and Annie's 50th wedding anniversary, so 1946.
Missing is Mary M. FitzGerald.

The family story says that Annie fell and broke her hip, then died. Upon her death my grandfather took to his bed, turned his face to the wall and refused to eat, and died soon thereafter. The death certificates indicate that Annie actually died of a coronary occlusion due to arteriosclerosis on 2 August 1949. (3) And Patrick died 19 days later, on 21 August, of hypertensive heart disease and diabetes. (4) Having been married for more than 50 years it would not be surprising if he did actually die of broken heart syndrome, poor fellow.

Annie's obituary mentions a sister, Mrs. Patrick J. Crimmin, of Salem [unmarked newspaper clipping]. I believe this was her sister Margaret, born about 1881.

Annie is buried near Patrick and two of her children at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Arlington.


1. Birth certificate (photocopy of register), Anne Sullivan, 18 December 1869, Callinafercy, District of Milltown, Superintendant Registrar’s District of Killarney, Co. Kerry, file n. RGB 059/0643, certified copies of births, n. 7384, Oifig an Ard-Chl araitheora, Dublin, Ireland (also FHL mf 101199).

2. Boston, Massachusetts, Marriages, Patrick Fitchgerald and Annie O’Sullivan, 6 Sep 1896, 462:226; mf, Massachusetts Archives, Columbia Point, Dorchester, Massachusetts.

3. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, death certificate, Annie J. FitzGerald (Sullivan), 2 August 1949, Billerica, reg. n. 71, transcribed 9 September 1998; Registry of Vital Statistics, Dorchester, Mass.

4. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, death certificate, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, 21 August 1949, Billerica, transcribed 9 September 1998, Reg. no. 73; Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Dorchester, Mass.

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