William and Susan (Killian) BERGIN

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What we know so far about this branch of the family

William was born: May 1842, in Ireland, son of Nicholas and Catherine (sources, 1900 12th US Federal Census, RI State Archives marriage registration)

immigrated to US in 1870,  claimed naturalization by 1900 (12th census) though no record has been found in the New England Naturalization Index.

married Susan KILLIAN (spelled KILLION in index), daughter of  Michael and Katherine KILLIAN (of Ireland),  10 June 1872, Providence,  RI State Marriage Register, Vol 1872, p.998

occupation Pearl Setter (12th census) or Pearl Turner (Providence city directory, 1908)
Could read, write and speak English (12th census)
Home owner - 57 Black Street, Providence, RI  no mortgage (12th Census-1900)
Householder - 308 Orm Street,Providence, RI (Prov. city directory, 1908)


born: February 1848, daughter of  Michael and Katherine KILLIAN, in Rhode Island. Both her parents were born in Ireland. (Katherine ________ Killian , born Oct 1823, immigrated to the US in 1840. Still not naturalized, Gaelic speaker only (no English) in 1900, widowed mother of 5 children, 4 still living in 1900) (12th census)

Married: William BERGIN (son of Nicholas and Catherine) of Ireland, 10 June 1872, in Providence, Rhode Island (VR INDEX-marriage record ordered from RI State Archives on Sept 12, 1997)

Children of William and Susan

Nicholas BERGIN, b. 13 May 1873, Providence, RI, d. 20 July 1873, 2 months old. (PRD13:98 from Geri Clarke)

Ellen BERGIN, b. 27 June, 1874, Providence, RI (PRB10:95)(birthdate shown as July 1874 in 12th census) Listed as single woman, age 25, Press worker-Jewelry in 1900(12th census)

Catherine BERGEN (sic) b. 24 September 1876, Providence, RI (PRB11:2) (listed as Katherine. single woman,age 23, Chain maker-jewelry in 1900 (12th census)

Elizabeth BERGIN, b. 5 August 1879, Providence, RI (PRB11:210), listed as single woman, age 20, Chain maker-jewelry in 1900 (12th census)

Susan A. BERGIN, b. 30 December, 1881, Providence, RI (PRB12:77), listed as single woman, age 18, Gold leaf maker, jewelry in 1900 (12th census)

William BERGIN, b. 17 October, 1883, Providence, RI (PRB12:228) (born 1884 according to 1900 12th census), listed as single man, age 15, printing boy, in 1900 (12th Census)

Martin J. BERGIN, b. 18 November, 1888, Providence, RI (PRB14:70), listed as single man, age 11, at school in 1900 (12th Census) [1998- Died July 12, 1944] [This is my grandfather - m. Isabelle Morrison c. 1912 or 13, children Virginia, William J. and Edward]

Robert BERGIN, b. July 1891, Rhode Island, listed as single man, age 8, at school in 1900 (12th Census)

all living children of William and Susan Killian BERGIN listed as single and living with their parents at 57 Black Street, Providence Rhode Island at the time of the 1900 Federal 12th Census, of which I have photocopies.

Extra bits:

in the Providence city directory for 1908 (thank you Geri Clarke)

Alfred J. Crowell, patrol driver police station 2 is head of household (though renting) at 57 Black Street where the BERGINs lived in 1900. In the 1910 Federal 13th Census, he is shown as married to Ellen (presumably BERGIN), date of marriage approx 1904.  they have two daughters, Dorothea, age 5, and Gertrude, age 2. The  reason we make this connection is that Martin BERGIN is  living with them, listed as a brother-in-law, age 21, usher in a theatre. It also shows that he (Martin) was out of work for 12 weeks in 1909. (I have subsequently gotten a copy of Martin's death certificate and Ellen Crowell, sister, signed it.)

Also in the Providence city directory for 1908

William BERGIN, pearl turner, householder at 308 Orms Street, and
William E. BERGIN, jeweler, boarder at 308 Orms Street.

From this we can infer that William and Susan gave over their house at 57 Black Street to their daughter Ellen sometime after her marriage in approx 1904, and moved to 308 Orms St. We don't yet know how many of their children moved there with them, other than son William E.

We do know that Martin met Isabelle Morrison (allegedly at a public park in the vicinity) sometime around 1912 or 1913, and that they married shortly afterward, due to the impending birth of their first child (name allegedly Virginia), though the child is said to have been fostered immediately by one of Isabelle's sisters.  Our father William Joseph BERGIN was born April 22, 1915, in Providence, and sometime afterwards, around 1917, most likely, Martin enlisted in some branch of the US military and was shipped overseas to fight in WWI, where he had his jaw shot off and was captured for some period of time by Germans.  After his return he spent some time  undergoing medical treatment at Water Reed Hospital in Bethesda, MD (according to our mother), then returned to Isabelle to resume married life. Uncle Edward BERGIN was born in 1919, but on the 14th Census (1920) he and William are listed as inmates (sic) at St. Vincent de Paul Infant Asylum, Providence, Rhode Island. The professional researcher I employed could find no record of Martin, Isabelle, or Virginia anywhere in Rhode Island in January 1920. According to our mother, again, this means that Isabelle was at that time in New Hampshire, employed by the Firestone family, and that Martin may have been back in the hospital.  She says that Isabelle and Martin divorced when Dad was 7, which means approx 1922, and at that time Dad told the court he preferred to live with his father, as he feared "he would be lonely".  There was apparently a lot of back and forth in his living arrangements between Isabelle's family and Martin's family, and he told our mother that at some time he lived with both Virginia and his grandmother Susan Killian BERGIN, who was a noted singer of Gaelic songs with some sort of Boston connection.

Questions:  When did great-grandfather William BERGIN die? According to Isabelle, Susan was a blind widow during the WWI period, and lived with her and our dad William.

What happened to Virginia BERGIN? Our mother has a vague memory of her having married a policeman, and Isabelle told Molly in 1979 that she lived in Virginia, as Isabelle was taking frequent bus trips there to attempt reconciliation with her and her children. These may have been step children, as there was some talk of this in the early 70s, though Molly cannot make any sense of it yet.

What happened to Martin Joseph BERGIN (our grandfather) after 1922?  When Molly was small she had been told that he died in a house fire around 1925, cause" smoking in bed while drunk.
However, Isabelle told Molly several inconclusive and confusing stories in the mid-70s which would seem to indicate Martin was alive and bothering her much later than that, possibly even after her move to Hartford, Connecticut (when was that?)  There is the possibility that he went to Ireland to involve himself somehow in the Irish Civil War, though he was permanently badly injured. Our mother is being infuriatingly inconclusive and inconsistent on this point.
[1998- received copy of Martin Bergin's death certificate.  He died July 12, 1944 at the Veteran's Administration, Bedford, MA, aged 54 years, of cerebral hemmorage. At the time he had been in the hospital for 5 months, so this is a good example of a family legend not borne out by records...)

Various lines of inquiry are out, and more information will no doubt be forthcoming all up and down the family tree.  Morrison information to follow (the basics are that her parents were Harmon and Augusta Morrison, he was a Roumanian immigrant, she was an Austrian immigrant, and in 1910, the entire family was listed as Yiddish speaking).

Anyone who might be connected with our family, please write to me!

Molly NiDana
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Updated August 29, 1998
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