Katie Degnan Ryan’s Photo Album


Katie’s photo album is shared by her granddaughter Mary Ann Ryan Sgroi.

Mary Ann and her sister Doris Kay are the first in what I hope are many new Donovan family members not directly linked to Maurice Donovan and Mary Ellen Shanahan. Up until this point, all in our group have Maurice and Mary Ellen as grandparents of some degree. They were uncle and aunt to Mary Ann and Doris. With Mary Ann’s input a few questions have answers and a whole new area of inquiry has opened up.

Richard and Honora had six children together. Their first four were boys. Catherine was the fifth child and first daughter born. She was born in 1855. According to the family Donovan headstone, Richard was 40 and Honora was 46 when Catherine was born. (46?)

Sidenote: Birth records for Richard and Honora are fluid. I use the dates from their headstone as they are literally “etched in stone.”  If Honora was born in 1809, she had her youngest child, Hannah, at the age of 49. It’s feasible, yes, but I kinda doubt it. The census records of the time show Richard’s birth about 1810 (not 1815 from headstone), and Honora’s birth about 1819, which would have Honora having her last child at 39 years old.

Back to Catherine – She was born in Bernard on the family farm. In 1880, when she was 25, Catherine lived in Dubuque County, Prairie Twp., with the Driscoll family as a servant, keeping house for John and Ellen Driscoll and their six children.

Catherine married Francis Degnan on June 11, 1888. Nine months later, March 29, 1889, Catherine gave birth to twins, Catherine “Katie” and Francis “Frank” Degnan. Tragically, Catherine died during the birth at the age of 34.

It is thought that this is Frank Degnan Sr. and Catherine Donovan Degnan but confirmation is needed. They married in 1888 and Catherine died during childbirth the following year.

Twin – Frank Jr. lived with his uncle and aunt, Maurice and Mary Ellen Donovan until he was 11 years old; then his father, Frank Sr. took him to live in Chicago where other Degnan family lived. Frank Sr. had moved to the Chicago area shortly after Catherine’s death.

Not much is known about this time in Chicago. Some federal records from 1890 for Illinois were destroyed by fire. In 1900, Frank Sr. was living with his sister, Mary Ann and her husband, John Kane. … So Frank Jr. would have been living as a boarder in the Kane household with his father.

His stay in Chicago was short lived. In 1905, at the age of 16, Frank Jr. was living in Dyersville, Iowa, possibly with his aunt Maria Degnan.

Frank Jr. with his aunt Maria Degnan in photo – Perfect attendance award for Frank, 1905, Dyersville, Iowa

Sometime between 1906 and 1913, Frank Jr. returned to Chicago, where he passed away in 1913 at age 24. Records show he is buried in Bernard but his grave has not been found.

Frank’s twin sister, Katie, was taken in by the Maloney family who were relatives of the Degnan’s. (a Margaret Maloney witnessed Katie’s marriage ceremony).

From the 1900 census, lines 54 through 58 – Katie is on line 58 as a boarder in the Maloney household. The head of the household, Margaret Maloney, is widowed, mother of 12, with three surviving children; Margaret, Lucy, and Michael
Marriage Certificate record for Katie and John Ryan, entry #2815 Sep 30, second entry from the bottom

Katie Degnan married John Ryan October 3, 1916, in Garryowen, Iowa, by P.J. Coffey C.P. (catholic priest) and witnessed by Wm. Ryan and Margaret Maloney. They had one son: James Aloysius. Katie and John were married nearly 57 years. Katie died August 17, 1973; and John followed, three months later at age 91. They resided in Maquoketa, Iowa. and are buried in Key West, Iowa at Mount Olivet Cemetery.

The photo album belonged to Katie Degnan Ryan. The Ryan family is hoping to identify some of the people. There may be some Donovan’s in the album, but from what we know, Katie was raised by Degnan relatives – Maloney. My guess is this is more Degnan, Ryan, and possibly Maloney family – late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

There are fascinating photos here, very intricate and ornate clothing, hair, details. If anyone has thoughts on who is pictured, please leave a comment or pass on the information to others who may know. If you dabble in genealogy, keep in mind family names Degnan, Maloney, and Ryan (about as common as you can get). These families lived in the Bernard area in the 1890’s-1920ish time frame. As you can see from photo locations, the family members traveled on to various areas of the country.

Dubuque, Iowa, Bilbrough inscibed on back
Boston, MA 1
Boston, MA 2
Cheyenne, WY 1
Bellevue, IA 1
Cheyenne, WY 2
Cheyenne, WY 3
Cheyenne, WY 4
Cheyenne, WY 5
Cheyenne, WY 6
Cheyenne, WY 7
Cheyenne, WY 8
Chicago 1
Chicago 2
Chicago 3
Chicago 4
Council Bluffs, IA 1
Denver, CO 1
Denver, CO 2
Dubuque, IA 1
Freeport, IL 1
Freeport, IL 2
Freeport, IL 3
Freeport, IL 4
Twins Frank and Katie Degnan, about 1894
Twins Katie and Frank Degnan as teens, early 1900’s
Possibly Frank Degnan and Catherine Donovan Degnan, wed in 1888
Mary Herety, Liz, and Hugh
Miss Nellie Shostein, Denver, May 17 insc. on back
Neola 1
Neola 2? possibly same boy as Neola 1?
Ogden and Park City, UT – Maria insc. on back
San Francisco, CA, July 22nd, 1890 insc. on back
Tacoma, WA 1
Tacoma, WA 2
Teddy, Leona, and Dorothy Glabb Way down in Panama – insc. on back
Unknown location 1
Unknown location 2
Waterloo, IA

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