Saturday, April 19, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: Q is for Query


My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 


is for Query.  Leo Francis Query.

The Query family was a good Catholic family that attended St. Paul’s Catholic Church with my great-grandmother Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh and her children.  My father always said the Querys and Killeens and Walshes were related somehow, but I think he was wrong unless he just had a very broad definition of “family.”

I’ll say right up front that my research to prove or disprove a connection is not strong, but I was drawn to this name for two reasons:  (1) it’s a Q, and if the Q fits . . . .  and (2) “Leo Francis” is my uncle’s name, and there is a family secret surrounding the identity of his real mother and father; you can guess where I’m going with this, but maybe “Leo Francis” is just a good Catholic name and I should read nothing more into it.

I asked my aunt about Leo Francis Query, but she hadn’t heard of him.  Then she said, “Well, you know, Mary Kat was a Query.  I think the Querys were cousins of Uncle Herbert.”   I remember as a teenager seeing Mary Kat Whitehurst at my grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker’s house but not really knowing who she was or why she was there.   As an adult, I knew Mary Kat in a different way – she was a neighbor, she was the mother of kids my sister went to school with, she was related to my best friend’s in-laws, and she played Bridge with my mother. 

Then my aunt told me this most interesting and surprising thing:  Uncle Herbert and Aunt Helen were going to adopt Mary Kat at one time but then something happened to change all that.  My aunt didn’t know the rest of the story.   

But I think I do.

Leo Francis Query was born about 1900 to James and Annie Query.  They had six children plus three more from Annie’s first marriage.  In 1918 Leo worked as a stenographer at the Pig Point Ordnance Depot, which incidentally was where Uncle Herbert worked too.  This was a government facility that processed tons of ammunition daily during World War I.  (NOW this is making sense – I see how they at least knew each other even if not related.)

Pig Point Ordnance Depot 1918-1920
from the scrapbook of Herbert Parker
Pig Point Ordnance Depot about 1918-1920

Leo married Mary Annette Hall in 1924.  They had at least 5 children:  Leo Jr., Mary Kathleen, James, Donald, and Norman.  Mary died in 1944.  Mary Kat would have been about 12.  So perhaps Leo was unable to care for all those kids on his own.  MAYBE that’s when Herbert and Helen stepped in with an offer to adopt. 

But then Leo married again.  Mamie Belle High, a woman slightly older than his oldest son, became a wife and stepmother sometime after June 1944.  MAYBE that’s why the adoption of Mary Kat fell through.

The answer to the question of whether the Querys and Parkers were related or simply good friends will have to be answered another time because right now, I just don’t know.

All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Portsmouth, Virginia
photo from Findagrave.com courtesy Johnny

All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Portsmouth, Virginia
photo from Findagrave.com courtesy Johnny

All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Portsmouth, Virginia
photo from Findagrave.com courtesy Johnny












Don’t quit now.  Are you in a quandary?  If you’re quick, you’ll enjoy some quirky and quotable quips at the A to Z April Challenge.

19 comments:

  1. Dun, dun, dun... Sounds like an interesting story that you're going to have to get to the bottom of...

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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  2. What an intriguing story! When I saw your title, I never expected to find that Query was a surname - one I had not heard of before. Plus congratulations at not only managing to post daily on A-Z Challenge but also keep up with Sepia Saturday and 52 Ancestors. .I don't know how you do it!

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    1. I managed to write a lot ahead, but it's catching up with me now.

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  3. Replies
    1. ... she said with a quizzical smile.

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  4. What a lovely theme for the A to Z challenge - and you even had one for the dreaded Q. My dad is also really into genealogy and spends hours online researching extended family, and he often shares similar family mysteries like this. Hope you solve this one one day.

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
    Jocelyn

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    1. I signed up at the last minute thinking I wouldn't have fun, but it's turning out to be quite good for me. Thanks for visiting.

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  5. What a great Q name. I haven't found Q to be such a difficult word. X is the worst. I'll be interested to see the Xavier you come up with :)

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    1. I actually have an X -- it's the Y and Z I'm still struggling with.

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  6. I guess it's good to have a quandary question concerning the Query's to quiz about later. Until then, you have given Leo Francis and Clan an interesting story telling. Query is an unusual name....maybe it will pop up again. Well, we are more than half way through the AtoZ Challenge....and a challenge it has been.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. Yes, we're on the downswing now. Ya-hoo!

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  7. Oh, you got me with that one, Wendy! I was expecting you to write about those old fashioned query letters people used to send in to genealogical magazines. Really? His name was Query?

    If nothing else, you have the beginnings of a fascinating story to sniff out.

    Groans on "if the Q fits..." ;)

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    1. Yes, that's his name. It's one of those unfortunate names that invites the joke, right?

      (You know I love a groaner!)

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  8. We'll have to get with Mary Kat's kids, Susan and Debbie to figure the relationship of Uncle Herbert to them.

    Great post girl, I know you worked extra hard on this one!

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    1. I kept looking for the intersection of families but didn't find it. I'm sure it's there -- just ran out of time.

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  9. If you are like me, those queries wander around the fringes of the brain, not quite demanding an answer but always looking for a clue. Interesting story when you know there is more to it that you just don't have yet.
    http://yeakleyjones.blogspot.com/

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    1. Right -- still a story in progress!

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  10. I've been waiting for Q to see what you had lined up - love that you have a Query in the mix!

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