Thursday, October 27, 2016

Reviewing What We Found

Research journeys can be fun. The family historian heads into the adventure, anticipating great finds—and then sinks into a momentary despair when realizing that time is closing in and the visit is coming to an end sooner than the hoped-for discoveries are occurring. That resultant last minute of flurried activity, thanks to the research after-burners kicking in, yields the hapless researcher a pile of papers with little memory of how—or why—they were put in the folder which got taken home.

But triumphant that return trip always manages to be. Trophies in hand—or, more correctly, in folders secreted in the carry-on luggage, too precious to risk loss at the hands of baggage handlers—we arrive home, deposit the prized records on top of our desks, and drop exhausted into bed.

Or something along that order.

Now, home and back to my senses, I look at that pile and wonder, "What is all this supposed to mean?" I try to remember what I looked for—and what I didn't think to look for. I look at all my scribbled notes and wonder what, in the rush, I was desperately trying to find before the archives' lights were turned out and the last recalcitrant researcher was kicked out the door upon closing.

Unfortunately, in all the whirlwind of desperate searching, the identity of that mystery John Kelly was dangling in the midst of the angst. I try to remember: did I seek any record of him in the immigration records from the local courthouse? If so, did I find any—but not get them copied? Or was he just impossible to find?

Questions that don't arrive home until much later than the researchers did need to be answered—and soon, before those faint memories vanish entirely. Though I haven't been home much more than a day, after unpacking and doing all the laundry, I had to pull out that research file and review my notes and discoveries. Especially regarding John Kelly, the man who popped up in Lafayette, Indiana, just before Ann Kelly's wedding.

So what do we know about this man who gave his "solemn oath" that Barnard Doyle and Ann Kelly were "of lawful age to marry without the consent of their parent or guardian"? I had never seen any mention of a John Kelly in Ann's family records. Why would he show up at this point—two days before the Doyle-Kelly marriage in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, on January 7, 1872?

Unfortunately, my scribbled notes on what was there at the genealogy center in Lafayette didn't provide much of a lead. There was the note about a John Kelly who married Johanna Kinney, listed as Marriage Record #7, page 83—but it came with no helpful additional information other than the date: November 2, 1856. Besides, in trying to uncover more on this couple after the fact, the Johanna Kelly I found in the Find A Grave listings linked to a husband named Michael. Not exactly what I had in mind.

I found another marriage record for a John Kelly—this time for a man who married someone named Mary Green. It was another 1856 marriage, but earlier than John and Johanna, on September 29, according to page 55 in that same volume of documents.

After exhausting the marriage records for everyone named John Kelly—or Kelley—I moved on to other resources. I found a John Kelly in Tippecanoe County who died in February of 1879. But then I found other records indicating he (or yet another man with the same name) had a brother named William—and that he might have been a son of Thomas Kelly, not James. Another note indicated he had moved to Quincy, Illinois.

There was another John Kelly, this time a railroad brakeman, who died in a work incident on May 22, 1876. And another one—this time sporting a middle initial plus an extra "e" in his surname—died on October 21, 1865. Fortunately, a side note in his otherwise uninformative obituary indicated he was a printer in Lafayette—an identity I was nevertheless unable to conjure up in the 1860 census.

An unusual report of a murder—of railroad employee John Kelly by a local man named Samuel Stevens (no relation of ours, as he turned out to be son of Isaac "Stephens")—unfortunately contained no date on the scanned news clipping, but the fact that he, like the other John Kelly, was a railroad worker makes me wonder.

But who am I kidding? There were likely dozens of railroad employees in Lafayette—or simply those passing through—with the name of John Kelly. There clearly needed to be a different approach to answering my research question. With less than an hour to go before closing at the genealogy center in Lafayette, I switched to searching the immigration records for any mention of Ann Kelly's brothers Mathew or Thomas.

 Above: "The North Side of Hook Mountain" by American landscape painter Sanford Robinson Gifford; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Not Another John Kelly!

It can sometimes be a delight to stumble unexpectedly upon another name that belongs in the family history. Sometimes. When it comes to uncovering yet another John Kelly, though, I'm not so sure.

There are plenty of Kellys to be had—not only in their native habitat in Ireland, but in far-flung destinations around the world. Even in Lafayette, Indiana, the name has its doubles, apparently.

So when I discovered that the family member standing in to vouch for Ann Kelly and her intended, Barnard Doyle, upon the eve of their wedding was named John Kelly, let's just say I wasn't exactly delighted. I had already encountered more than my fair share of John Kellys to deal with on the Fort Wayne side of the Kelly family.

I had already discovered that this Lafayette Kelly family had had plenty of doubles for each of the siblings' names. Catherine Kelly, though dying young, had had a double in Lafayette. Seeking for any court or immigration records for her brothers, I also discovered that one of them—Thomas—had a double who had evidently had his day in court with a paper trail to prove it. Even one of the sisters ended up having a double in her own family when her brother married a woman with the exact same name, resulting—at least temporarily—with two Bridget Kellys.

And now I had to isolate just one John Kelly in this mix of doubles?

It was clear from census records for 1870—the last enumeration before Ann and Barnard were married—that there were two John Kellys in town. One, presumably married to a woman named Elia with two teenagers in his household, was aged forty nine, putting his year of birth around 1821. If this man were part of the same Kelly household as our Catherine, Bridget, Thomas and Ann, a date of birth this early would make him just a year older than Mathew, the oldest son listed in our Kelly family.

If, however, the other John Kelly in Lafayette turned out to be a brother in our Kelly family, he would have had to take his place on the other end of the age spectrum; born about 1834, he would have been only five years older than Ann—and about the same age as her sister Bridget.

From that time period, it's clear some other hints would have to be garnered before we could determine which one of these two John Kellys might be ours. Even more than that, we would have to conclusively determine whether either of these two men were related to our Kellys. Though his willingness to vouch for Ann Kelly in her application for a marriage record seems to infer a relationship, he could have found himself in this position by virtue of his connection with Barnard, rather than Ann. Furthermore, a connection between John Kelly and Ann Kelly might be beckoning us to review our assumption that Ann even belongs in our Kelly family at all. Perhaps this Kelly-Doyle marriage is not the connection we assume it to be.

Seeing this whole pursuit began with a DNA test match in which the two parties—my husband and someone related at the estimated level of second to fourth cousin—both claimed Kelly as a surname in their respective family histories, we have to remember that names as common as Kelly may not mean much when it comes to placement in our respective trees.

Two tasks yet to tackle: delve into the Kelly siblings' history further, and verify the other guy's family tree. Fortunately, while we were in Lafayette, I did check into a few other records on the Kelly family. Now that we are back home from our research journey, it may afford us the breathing spell to regroup and review the rest of those recently acquired records.

Above: "Autumn Landscape, South Main Street, Road to Kramers," oil on cardboard circa 1877 by American artist Edward Edmondson, Jr.; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Confirming Those Wedding Bells

There are some times in the search for ancestors when nothing else will do but to travel to retrieve documents on site. That was certainly the case for the wedding of Barnard Doyle and Ann Kelly in Lafayette, Indiana.

The date was the fifth of January, 1872, when Daniel Royse, clerk of the Tippecanoe County Civil Circuit Court issued the marriage license for Barnard and Ann. At that date, of course there would be no additional information added to the record for this couple—the very thing I knew better than to hope for. However, I couldn't help wishing the outcome would be a bit different.

Volunteers at the Frank Arganbright Genealogy Center helped me retrieve the actual record of the Doyle-Kelly marriage from their archives when my husband and I visited there last Thursday. We all knew better than to expect much more than that, but the one woman who has been such a help to me in my Lafayette research over the last decade still urged us to see what else could be found. Sometimes, there are other documents filed along with the marriage license. One could never tell when something might be stuck in with the one being sought.

Just checking, we confirmed that the return was completed and filed back at the courthouse—which happened on January 15 of that same year. The addendum was completed by a John R. Dinnen, which the Genealogy Center's records confirmed was a priest at the local Catholic Church of that time period. The Reverend Dinnen provided the actual date of the ceremony: January 7, 1872.

But along with the usual form for that purpose, there was indeed an additional page. On that same original date—January 5—in which the couple had applied for their marriage license, they had brought along another person to complete an additional form. This I was thankful for, as I hoped it would provide some way for me to identify that the Ann Kelly of this marriage record was indeed the youngest sibling of my husband's second great grandmother, the daughter of James and Mary Kelly.

Below the appropriate court headings, the text of this record read:
On this 5 day of Jany A. D. 1872 before me, Daniel Royse, Clerk of the Tippecanoe Civil Circuit Court, in the State of Indiana, personally came John Kelly who being by me duly sworn, upon his solemn oath, saith that he is well acquainted with Barnard Doyle [and] Ann Kelly and that they are of lawful age to marry without the consent of their parent...or guardian...and that he knows of no lawful objection to their being joined together in matrimony, and that she has been a resident of Tippecanoe County for more than one month last past; all of which he verily believes. And further saith not.

All well and good. By 1872, Ann's father, James, would have been long gone—as would, possibly, Ann's mother, Mary. Though Ann may have been thirty three years of age by that point, herself—and likewise Barnard—I'm glad that someone thought that completed document necessary. Otherwise, I would have had no other name to go along with Ann's. And we all know how common a name Ann Kelly can be.

But that signature added to the bottom of the page—the one for John Kelly—brings up another question: who was John Kelly? I know Ann's brothers Mathew and Thomas. But who was John? And was he part of this same Kelly family? Or are we getting sidetracked onto another Kelly family's history?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Adding Another Kelly to the Collection

Genealogical researchers have become used to the routine of adding female names to the family group sheet—and eventually seeing such entries disappear on the timeline of the family's history. Whatever becomes of such siblings to our direct line, we sometimes never know. Do they marry and become untraceable, thanks to an unknown married name? Do they end up with the fate of an early—but undocumented—death?

Such was the situation with my husband's Kelly family, which had settled in Lafayette, Indiana. At first, all I had been able to discover was the name of the parents of our direct line—James and Mary Kelly, parents of Catherine Kelly Stevens, the unfortunate young woman who met her fate after the birth of her third son.

It wasn't until years later, when Internet resources gifted us with digitized versions of each decennial census record, that I uncovered more information. That was when I discovered the widow Mary with all the rest of her children. I now knew the identities of the deceased Catherine's siblings.

There was oldest brother Mathew, the Irish-born bachelor who died in Lafayette in 1895 and his spinster sister Rose who died seven years before him. There were the two Kelly siblings whom I knew were married in Lafayette: Bridget to Michael Creahan, and Thomas to Bridget Dolan.

And then there was Ann.

Ann Kelly was the baby of the family—at least as far as I could tell. Born in Ireland about 1839, I could find her with the rest of the family in the 1860 census, when they lived in nearby Warren County, Indiana. At the time, Ann was listed as a woman of twenty one years of age.

The problem with Ann begins with the next census—the one for 1870. Not a trace can I find for anyone in this Kelly family, with the exception of Thomas, who was by then married and in a household of his own in Tippecanoe County. Where did the rest of those Kellys go? More importantly, what happened to Ann?

What I didn't know—at least, if the rest of the story, according to the administrator for two DNA matches, turns out to be true—is that Ann married a man by the name of Bernard Doyle. Now that I learned this by virtue of corresponding with that administrator, one of those transcribed collections at Ancestry indicated that such a marriage did indeed occur on January 7, 1872, in Tippecanoe County.

Unfortunately, that 1872 date was likely to be too soon to glean any more information from the actual marriage records than the names of bride and groom—and maybe the mention of the officiant's name and church affiliation.

Still, since we had the chance to take a look at the actual records in Tippecanoe County, thanks to the archives at the Frank Arganbright Genealogy Center there, we couldn't visit the Chicago area without driving down to Lafayette to take a look for ourselves.

As it turned out, my guess was right on. There wasn't much to discover on the actual document containing the marriage record for Ann Kelly and Frank Doyle. But at least there was a crumb. And no matter how small the hint, you know I'll follow those leads anywhere...

Sunday, October 23, 2016

What You Can Find in Lafayette

There are some places with average collections—or sometimes, next to nothing—to offer the itinerant genealogical researcher, while other cities provide collections which manage to delightfully exceed expectations. In this latter category, locations like Salt Lake City and Fort Wayne come to mind. But not necessarily Lafayette, Indiana—unless you already knew about the Alameda McCollough Research Library housed at the Frank Arganbright Genealogy Center.

For a city of only seventy thousand, Lafayette is a place where you might not expect much, as far as research collections go. But for those pursuing documentation for Tippecanoe County, Indiana, we are fortunate to be recipients of the largess of an unassuming newspaperman who, upon his passing in 2008, left a gift sufficient to house the county's archival collection of books, vertical files, court records, and other genealogical treasures.

After serving his country during World War II, Frank Arganbright became a journalism alumnus of Indiana University at Bloomington. He first worked as a newspaper reporter at the Lafayette Journal and Courier, then attained the role of assistant city editor and, eventually, city editor. He remained at the Journal and Courier until 1972, when he assumed the role of senior editor for the Office of Public Information at Purdue University.

Somewhere along the way, this unassuming man—compared to "The Millionaire Next Door"—amassed enough of a fortune to bestow one million dollars toward a scholarship in his name at his alma mater, Indiana University at Bloomington, in addition to his legacy which established the genealogy center in his adopted home town, Lafayette.

For those of us blissfully unaware of who Frank Arganbright was—but who are keen to research our Lafayette roots—there is a lot to appreciate in this largess. While the center houses the Tippecanoe County Historical Association, a solid partnership with Tippecanoe County Area Genealogical Society members provides the volunteer staff hours to guide visitors through the collections of court documents archived at the Arganbright center.

Perhaps now that you know the research resources I knew I'd find at Lafayette, you can understand why I was so keen on making a stop here, the next time I got the chance to fly to the Chicago area. On a good day without (much) traffic, within a matter of less than a two hour drive, a researcher could be happily entrenched in the indices and card catalogs which are the key to Tippecanoe County family history answers. Better yet, managing to score a visit during the longest day in that very limited schedule in which the collection is open to the public—yes, I made it for the long Thursday schedule—is a bonus.

It wasn't lost on me how much the volunteers contributed to the collection's existence. While I searched for answers, behind me were volunteers, preserving and preparing additional local historic documents to be added to the collection. It is an arduous process, but one which the Society has been steadily working on for years. Some of those volunteers have devoted themselves to this process, shepherding Society members through such projects, while also using their knowledge and expertise to assist visiting researchers capably and effectively.

Thankfully, I once again was able to benefit from this assistance during last Thursday's visit, in my quest to determine whether Ann Kelly Doyle was indeed part of my husband's Kelly roots—and whether that DNA match was pointing me to the Kellys or someone else.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Other Catherine Kelly

It seems odd to have to reorient myself, every time I search the Kellys in Indiana. I have to stop and think which Catherine Kelly's family I'm currently seeking. The Catherine in Fort Wayne is the one whose burial in the Kelly/Kelly family plot introduced me to the possibility of Timothy Kelly's relationship to our Kelly family—which in turn started me off on that whole wild chase to find the source for the Danehy family's Irish roots.

This time, though, I'm seeking more information on a sibling in the other Catherine Kelly's family. This Catherine Kelly—if you've been around here at A Family Tapestry long enough to recall—would have been the mother in law of the Fort Wayne Catherine Kelly, except that she, as had the younger one, died young, likely after childbirth.

When I discovered the siblings of this elder Catherine Kelly, I had pursued the lines of descent of each one of them. Oh, there were a few who never married—like the resolute bachelor Mathew Kelly and his sister Rose—simplifying that research task. But there was also a curve thrown in for good measure in this Kelly line.

That unexpected pitch came from the youngest sister, Ann, whom I had assumed had followed in her older unmarried siblings' footsteps. Ann had simply disappeared from sight. There could only be one of two fates: premature death—or marriage.

It was an unexpected DNA match that hinted at the latter. Quite a while back, I received notice that my husband—since this is, actually, his family line we are talking about—gained two matches which aligned with that Kelly surname. The two matches were, in fact, half siblings to each other, so the parent in question was handily highlighted for the researcher administering their test results.

As seems to be the case with most matches I've experienced, I and the other admin took a long, hard look at both trees, examined each one of the multitudes of surnames listed, and decided we didn't see anything in common.

Well, at least it felt that way. As it turned out, there was one surname: Kelly.

(You knew it would turn out that way.)

The surprising thing was that this specific Kelly turned out to be the one I assumed had died young: Ann. It took a DNA match with the other side of the line to learn the rest of the story. Apparently, Ann had married, after all—to a local man who lived in Lafayette, Indiana.

Her husband's name was Barnard Doyle. Not long after they were married—sometime between 1875, when second son James arrived, and 1879, when third son Frank was born—the family ended up in Parsons, Kansas. At least, that's where I found them for the 1880 census.

It's a good thing I found the Doyle family then, for Barnard died two years later, in Kansas. Following soon after was Barnard's father, Joseph, an Irish immigrant from King's County (County Offaly) in the heart of Ireland, who had been living with Barnard's family. By 1885, Ann and her three sons were on their own.

This scenario is one of those times when a researcher feels deeply how painfully long twenty years can be, for the silence in the census records in that gap between 1880 and 1900 can hold mysteries still waiting to be resolved. The Doyle family may be one of those puzzles.

By the time of the 1900 census, oldest Doyle son, Joseph, was in another Kansas town—married, with children of his own. Second son James was nowhere to be found. "Anna" was apparently still in Parsons, living with her youngest son, Frank. By 1910, Ann may be the mother in law listed in the home of another Anna Doyle—if this younger woman was the wife of the missing James. It's hard to tell; the elder Ann's age was omitted from the record, and none of the others in the household were familiar names from previous records.

After that, Ann slips from view. No death record. No inclusion in the family burials with husband Barnard or his father Joseph—at least, as far as Find A Grave shows. As far as I know, this might—or might not—be the right Ann.

And that's where I was stuck, from the point at which I learned about these Doyle-Kelly DNA matches. Of course, I can just pretend genetic genealogy is based in science—that never-failing sure thing of modernity—and presume that, of course, that is our Kelly connection.

But this is genealogy—you know, that mushy realm of suppositions and family lore upon which academics delight in casting aspersions—and I would feel more comfortable if I had a paper trail to bolster those suppositions.

While online genealogy has boosted research progress exponentially in the past decade, there are some pockets where digitized material is not yet available at the click of a mouse. Lafayette, Indiana, is one of those places.

What Lafayette does have, however, more than makes up for that lack. If, that is, one can get to Indiana to see for ourselves.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Meanwhile, Back in Indiana . . .

It was heartening to locate the marriage record for Johanna, Mary Danehy's older sister, and her husband Cornelius Sweeney. Double cause for rejoicing to realize that marriage was registered at the same location as that for the birth of their son Philip only three years later.

I begin now to wonder whether that three year gap might indeed have been taken by the arrival of an older son, someone named after his father's father. There certainly was enough time for such an event to have occurred. Discovery of such a detail might possibly provide us a hint as to who Cornelius Sweeney's father was, and whether the family was still living at Millstreet in the prior generation.

When one genealogical detail leads seamlessly into the next discovery, it's hard to call it quits and recall just how far afield we are wandering from our original research goal. That's when I have to rein in this galloping runaway research juggernaut and refocus on original goals. Remember Mary Danehy? The second wife of widower Timothy Kelly? Who somehow was related to my husband's Kelly ancestors in Fort Wayne?

Yeah, those Kellys. I was trying to figure out if, by connecting the people, I could simultaneously connect them to their homeland. While Millstreet is a solid answer for place of origin, it still brings us to County Cork, not the expected County Kerry of our family's own Kellys, whose patriarch, incidentally, married a woman named Falvey, who was decidedly from County Kerry, not Cork.

Oh, dear, we've gone quite far afield.

Admittedly, while the exercise did nothing to lead me closer to the Kellys' home, it did lay out a wonderful path back to the homeland for the Danehy family. And if you are a Danehy descendant, you are welcome.

In the meantime, it feels like it is time to regroup and reassess our research direction. You win some, you lose some. You can't move forward without exploring all avenues, even if some of them turn out to be false leads.

I'm not too discouraged about this lack of progress. There still is that double DNA match which points to this type of connection, one between the Kellys, Falveys and Danehys. The whole lot of them could turn out to be cousins, just one generation prior to my stopping point. And it may, after all, pay to take the journey back just one more step.

Meanwhile, another DNA match has beckoned, and I'm off on that chase, as well. As they used to say in the news media: news flash! Because...I'm not writing you from California any more. Now, I'm in Indiana. And I'm looking for another set of Kellys. On the opposite side of the state from Fort Wayne, in a place called Lafayette.
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