Although this is my “direct line” it has been the hardest to research, given that my grandmother didn’t like her in-laws, and I didn’t know the name of my great-grandfather’s father for a long time.

My great-great-grandparents Thomas William Doyle and Mary Agnes Murphy traveled from Ireland to Boston. Both were born in Bagenalstown, County Carlow, Ireland, according to family lore.  It’s unclear to me what sort of time lag there was between birth and baptism in those years, as one source has Thomas born in 1818, but when I visited the County Carlow library in 2014 and reviewed the parish registers, it indicates his birthdate is 7 Aug 1821.  It is possible that this is really his baptismal date.  His parents are Patrick Doyle and Catherine Hayes, and his godparents were James Hayes and Margaret Sheehan.  He also has a younger sister, Catherine Doyle, born 10 Feb 1822.  The same source that lists his birth as in 1818 indicates that Mary was born on July 30, 1828.  I had no luck determining which of the pages of Mary Murphy she was in the baptismal records.  There are no reliable records earlier than the 1810s, so there is little hope of finding earlier ancestors.  And Doyle is a particularly common name in the area.

I don’t know exactly when, but “circumstantial” evidence indicates that they were married in 1849 in Cambridge, MA, [1] and were living in Boston in 1850, with his mother Catherine. [2] Their eldest child, Michael Joseph Doyle, was born in Boston in 1850. Mary Agnes Doyle was born there in 1852. Thomas left for San Francisco in 1852 or early 1853. Mary followed (unbenownst to him) shortly thereafter, such that their third child, William Thomas Doyle was born in San Francisco in 1854, followed by Katherine Theresa Doyle in 1857.

Thomas died sometime between 1857 and 1860, in a boating accident according to family lore. There is a Thomas Doyle who works as a drayman in the 1853 City Directory. [3] Notes from Dorothy Doyle and George Dimmler (granddaughter and great-grandson) indicate that Thomas died August 1, 1858, when the SS Oregon ran aground at Point Lobos and he tried to swim to shore and drowned.

Mary is listed as head of household in the 1860 census, as she is in 1870 as well. 1880 shows Mary and her daughter Kate living around the corner from Mary Doyle and her husband Thomas Carew. 1900 shows Kate as head of household, with her mother living with her. Kate is the proprietor of a bakery, and lives at 1793 Haight St, SF. Kate later moved in with the Carews, and died in 1931. Son Tom Doyle went to New York and apparently worked as an actor until his death in 1902. Mary Doyle Carew died June 16, 1910, at her “home at 1575 Waller Street, beloved wife of Thomas R. Carew, a native of Boston, Mass. Friends are invited to attend a requiem mass for the repose of her soul, Monday, June 20 at 10:00 o’clock at St. Agnes Church. Interment private, Holy Cross Cemetery, by funeral car from Thirteenth and Mission Streets. Kindly omit flowers.” [4]

Michael Joseph Doyle was born in Boston August 7, 1850. By the time he was 19 he was listed as an apprentice cabinet maker in the 1870 census. He married Emma Lundahl Bergson on August 30, 1885, in San Francisco. The marriage is listed in the SF Call on September 1. They moved to Berkeley shortly thereafter (he registered to vote there in September 1890), and are listed in the 1900 census as living at 1623 Scenic Ave. He had an artistic temperment, and studied sculpting and painting [5] as well as music and writing. He self-published three books of prose and poetry, which is most notable for his epic saga Mary about the trip from Boston to San Francisco. He also wrote a marvelous piece to his grandchildren about growing up in San Francisco in the 1860s. From a practical standpoint, he was a teacher.

Michael and Emma had six children. The eldest, Dorothy Doyle, married Charles Dimmler. Florence Doyle married Harry Gabbert. Lincoln died at age 9 of ruptured appendicitis. Franklin Doyle married Rosalyn Callender. Marjorie Doyle never married.

Michael and Emma separated about 1920. He went to live with his eldest daughter’s family, and she went to live with her youngest daughter. He died February 8, 1938, and is buried at Mountain View Cemetary, in Oakland, CA. He is in the family plot, but with no stone. Emma died November 12, 1941, and is buried next to him.

The eldest son, Victor Hugo Doyle, met Delphine Margaret Ferrier while they were undergraduates at Cal (that’s UC Berkeley for you non-natives), and they married in 1917, after he completed his masters degree in engineering at MIT. They had two sons, Doble McFarland Doyle, and David Bergson Doyle. David is my dad.

A. B.
A. Victor Hugo Doyle, 1917
B. Lincoln Doyle’s gravestone, sculpted by his father Michael

[1] from the IGI via
US Census info
found at
[4] San Francisco Chronicle, Vol. XCVI, No. 154, Friday, June 17, 1910, Pg. 19, col. 6; Saturday, June 18, 1910, No. 154, Pg. 17
[5] California Information File, Bio File (self-submitted by Michael)


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