Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 |

Only eighty-six of the ninety-nine cards in the Project Lizzie Gallery are addressed to Lizzie. So who are the other 13 addressed to?

Four are addressed to known family members: her son, Eddie Milligan; her sister, Nellie Cardinal; her niece, Gertrude Cardinal; and the last one to her sister, Margaret Nestor. The remaining nine–which are all postmarked between August 1905 and September 1906–contain names that we’ve yet to come across in any of our Nestor/Milligan research. Curiously, they share the same surname.

Four of these non-Nestor/Milligan postcards are addressed to Helen Drowney, three to Annie Drowney, one to Ella Drowney, and the last to Elizabeth Drowney. So, who are the Drowneys and why are their cards mixed in with Lizzie’s?

The 1900 United States Federal Census lists a “Droney” family that looks promising:

  • Lawrence Droney (60) head of household
  • Anne Droney (49) wife
  • Catherine Droney (27) Daughter; Milliner (hat maker)
  • John Droney (24) Son; Teamster
  • Annie Droney (22) Daughter;
  • Lizzie Droney (20) Daughter; Saleswoman dry-goods
  • Nellie Droney (17) Daughter; Candy maker

The question is whether this “Droney” family is our “Drowney” family. One specific piece of information confirms that it is, as the census lists the residence as 10 Chelsea Street in East Boston Massachusetts, the same address that adorns five out of the nine Drowney postcards. Perhaps the misspelling of the surname came from the way the family pronounced it to the census taker. Since both Mom and Dad Drowney are listed as Irish Immigrants, perhaps they pronounced their name as “DRONE-ee?”

Interestingly enough, the address on the remaining four cards, 146 Tremont Street in Boston, connects with another piece of information from the 1900 census. All four of these postcards were sent to the same woman (Helen/Nellie Drowney) and two of those addresses called out “c/o Huyler’s.” A little more digging revealed that 146 Tremont Street was the location of a Huyler’s Bonbons and Chocolates, which lines-up well with the fact that seventeen-year-old Nellie’s occupation is listed as “Candy Maker.”

The family shows up again in the 1910 United States Federal Census:

  • Annie Drowney (65)
  • Katherine M Drowney (33); Milliner at Home
  • Elizabeth M Drowney (29); Bookkeeper at Factory Office
  • Annie Drowney (31); Saleslady at dry-goods store
  • Helen Drowney (27); Cashier at dry-goods store

And finally in the 1920 United Stated Federal Census:

  • Catharine Drowney (47);
  • Anna Drowney (43); Sales lady at a department store
  • Helen Drowney (37); Book-keeper at a Candy Store
  • John J Drowney (45); Shipper

Catharine, Anna (probably Annie) and Helen/Nellie are listed as single, while sadly, John is listed as a 45-year-old widower.

That’s all we know at the moment. I was hoping to find some connection to Lizzie, like we did with Ella V. Kinally, but it looks like we still have a mystery. Why were the Drowney sister’s postcards mixed in with Lizzie’s?

Sources used in this post:


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