Helen Catherine Barnes was born in Kings County, Ireland (now County Offaly). Helen used August 8, 1887 as her birthday after coming to the United States. She was quoted as saying that her original birth record could be found at the Registrar of Births in Tullamore, County Offaly, but she had lost the certificate.
My first step was sending for her Social Security record under the Freedom of Information Act. “Personal information about living people will not be supplied,” but since Helen had died on November 11, 1973, I could send for the record. Here is a link that gives more information about sending for records, including current fees: http://www.ssa.gov/foia/request.html#a0=1
On April 27, 2000, Social Security sent me a copy of the original application (above) for a Social Security number for Helen Barnes. “She never had a Social Security number before she filed a claim for benefits under her husband’s Social Security number.” What this meant was that Helen had not applied until after her husband, Ernest Barnes, had died. This record was very valuable in our family research because it confirmed her parents as John Barnes and Mary Ryan Barnes.
Our next step was commissioning a family report from the Irish Midlands Ancestry, Tullamore, Offaly, Ireland in 2005. During July of 2000, Helen Barnes Golden had given us information about her mother, Helen, plus a list of her eleven aunts and uncles, and also some background on their spouses and children. The six girls were: Maria, Margaret, Hannah, Johanna, Anna, and Helen. The six boys were: John, Pat, James, Daniel, Thomas, and Gerald (Jeremiah). John was the only one of the twelve to stay in Ireland, and the rest all emigrated to the United States.
We received back from the Irish Midlands Ancestry a wonderful compilation of the Barnes family of Kilcolman, County Offaly, Ireland, with birth records for most of the twelve siblings. One of the researchers did a search of the computer records for Helen/Ellen Barnes 1880 – 1895, and she stated there was only one birth entry, and that was for Ellen Barnes, of the Townland of Aghdoughlass. That record showed Ellen Barnes’ date of birth as August 9, 1881. They also sent a copy of the Birth Research Screen, and that showed Ellen Barnes’ birth date was August 5, 1881 and her Christening/Registration date was the same date. Her sponsors were Pat Barnes and N. R. Barnes.
During a trip to Ireland, my daughter and I searched at the National Archives of Ireland, in Dublin, for a Helen/Ellen Barnes born in 1887. Our search was unsuccessful, and we only found the same record that was originally sent to us. Searching under the http://www.rootsireland.ie/ page at the Irish Family History Foundation, gave this record below. Now I understood that N. R. Barnes simply meant the first name wasn’t recorded. I had been trying to figure out what the first and middle name of the second sponsor was!
Helen Catherine Barnes’ birth date on our family tree is now recorded as August 5, 1881. We also now know that Helen lived to be 92, instead of 86 as we had all thought. May she rest in peace.
May God grant you many years to live,
For sure He must be knowing
The earth has angels all too few
And heaven is overflowing.
~ Irish Blessing