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FE Coyne                Biographies

Biography of Frederick Eugene Coyne
a summary of my search of my great grandfather for more than a decade

My Search
I am the 3rd daughter of 5 of Frederick Eugene Coyne, III. He was born in 1923 and died of cancer - Lymphoma, non-Hodkins type in 1987. I wish I would have asked him more questions of his heritage, although I did quite a bit through the years, especially in his last years. But I think he told me mostly what he knew. He knew more of his mother's side, the ROWE line and going back to the WINSLOW line dating back to the Pilgrims and much more before that.

I was very intrigued as a child when I saw a copy of the family tree his mother had worked on, but I was just a child and I quickly forgot about it, more or less. Through the years, I thought about it often and did ask more about the Coynes. Very little was known. A few years after my father's death, I set out to redo what my grandmother had done. I remember alot of the names on her tree, but I am vague as to which ones are COYNES and which ones are ROWES. I called my father's aunt to see what she knew, the only info she could really give me was on her mother's side, as well. She did give me her cousin's name in Florida, son of Richard Coyne, my grandfather, FE Coyne, Jr's brother. Unfortunately, Richard, Jr was struggling looking after his parents (who both had Alzheimer's) and talking to me at the same time. I could hear alot of commotion in the background. All he could give me were a few of his father's siblings names. I knew he had his hands full with his parents so we closed the phone conversation.

My main question was, where do I go from here? Who were my grandfather's parents? I knew since grandpa was FE Coyne, the 2nd - his father had to be FE Coyne - it wasn't rocket science. So, who was FE Coyne? Then it dawned on me - the book!! I had been sitting on this book for years, had only skimmed through it, many times. It seemed he talked so little of his family and more of the history and recent times of Chicago. But when I went through it with a fine toothed comb, some names did pop up. Even now when I go through the book, more names take my notice. But in this book, I finally found out my great grandmother's name - Pauline Niehaus. And through the years, I found some siblings names - Ann, George, Theodore. He never mentions my grandfather by name, but does mention him, but his other children he refers to are Jeanette, Richard and Mason.

What did I know about FE Coyne, he may or may not have been born in Ireland, but I always knew his parents, at least one or both were from Ireland. I knew he came to Chicago with very little money, started a bakery business, and under President William McKinley was appointed to US Post Master of Chicago and collector of Internal Revenue. I do remember many years before I started my search being in the library and finding his name in the Who's Who of 1934. And all this stated, I could not figure out why I could not find anything out about this man.

I first started using the internet in 1996. Unfortunately, there weren't enough people online to help me, at that point. So I waited and waited and waited. In between, I repeatedly scoured his book and became a pain at local Family History Centers in various towns. Then I discovered Rootsweb, joined the COOK county mailing list and found many people who helped me. People did birth, death and marriage lookups, most to no avail. But some kind soul named Colleen found them in the marriage index, went and copied their license and sent it to me. I treasured this document more than almost anything I could think of. Then another person found Pauline in the death index, I was so excited because even though I know so little of FE, I know even far less about Pauline. When I recieved the death certificate, I realized this was not the wife, but their daughter - of whose existence I knew nothing of. But it let me know exactly what county in New Jersey he was born. And someone sent me her obituary, which listed all her siblings - so at least I finally had that. And I was also able to obtain a death certificate of her sister, Jeanette, and that gave me a little more info. I promptly did a search for FE's birth certificate in New Jersey, but they could find no records. No birth records aanyway, although he was on more than 1 census.

Then one magical day in 1999, an Irish woman by the name of Fiona emailed me and told me she received some papers from the National Archives, but she knew they weren't for her line. When she saw I was searching for FE Coyne of Chicago, and she saw the subject of her papers, a James Coyne, father of FE Coyne of Chicago, she knew this was who I was searching for. She didn't tell me everything that was on it. I was just expecting some Civil War documents. But these papers were a gold mine. I finally found out FE's parent's names, some of his uncles, and the fact he disappeared as a senior citizen. These papers can be found on this page.

Whatever happened to James has been eating at me for years and was making me nuts, so I put the papers away for years and figured I will just have to wait. My sister's kept bugging me, when are you going to put your search online. I kept putting it off and finally decided I need to put what I have online so not only they can see, but others who might be searching some of the other branches of our tree. Maybe I will help them in some way, and maybe someone will be able to help me. And it happens every now and then.

Then a few weeks ago, my cousin David from another line emailed me with info about someone searching the ROWE line. So I talked to him a couple of times, reviewed his gedcom file on World Connect on Rootsweb, and decided what the hay, let me do some COYNE searches again, when I found someone who had James Coyne and Martha SNOW on their page. Excitement is not the right word, even though he did have some incorrect data. I emailed him and unfortunately he had no info on James, but was able to give me some of Martha's siblings. I did some more ROWE & COYNE searches and found a lot of incorrect info on my ancestors and decided ok, I need to get what I have online now.

And then a COYNE granddaughter emailed me saying she was the granddaughter of Ernest, brother of FE Coyne.....then my interest was renewed!

FE Coyne's Biography

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