Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Learning More About Anna

The almost-invisible Mrs. R. C. Flannigan has been causing me some grief—research grief. I can’t seem to be able to let her past alone. Why was she called “Haessly” in some records, yet “Hurley” in the marriage index?

I asked that question out loud yesterday, and thankfully a reader related to this Flannigan line came to my rescue. Connie Martel, a descendant of Richard and Patrick’s brother John—whom we’ve yet to research here—sent me, among other items, an excerpt from a private family publication she had received from a Hurley family researcher.

According to this person’s research, Anna was born in Wisconsin around 1858—1859 according to the 1860 census—in a household in Outagamie County which turns out to be right next door to her mother's own parents. Sometime after her father’s death (possibly by 1865) her mother moved the young family to Marquette, Michigan. Although I am not able to find any online record of the marriage, Anna’s mother, the former Margaret McGillan, married Timothy Hurley, Senior, a widower living in Marquette.

While in Marquette, according to this researcher, Anna served as school teacher for several years up until the time of her marriage to Richard Flannigan—which marriage, incidentally, was officiated by Richard’s brother, the recently ordained Catholic Priest, Patrick M. Flannigan. The fact that the marriage index showed Anna’s maiden name as Hurley may have been a nod to her step-father, either as a gesture to honor him, or as an indication that he may actually have adopted her. However, in later-life records, Mrs. Flannigan sometimes was listed as the former "Miss Anna Haessly."

The name Haessly, admittedly not a common surname here in the United States, has appeared in some census records as attributed to Prussia or Germany—most likely reflecting the political status of the country at the time of each census. One researcher whose material is available at Rootsweb shows the point of origin of this family line to be Baden-Württemberg in Germany. Another online discussion of the surname’s origin links it to the German spelling Häßle, which understandably suffered a number of spelling permutations once it hit American shores.

Another facet of the name-change story is what had become of Anna’s mother, Margaret. While Anna’s father was listed as Nathan Haessly—admittedly for which there is no substantiating documentation available that I can find—and her (possibly) adoptive father was noted as Timothy Hurley, Senior, what of Anna's mother, Margaret? I can find no records confirming family traditions regarding her difficult, twice-widowed course. Thinking to find the evidence with Margaret’s own death certificate, I uncover yet a third husband: a Mr. Cooney, who has left Margaret thrice-widowed by departing before Margaret’s own demise in 1902.

Seeing that 1902 death certificate reminded me that I had already seen the Cooney surname before: in Richard and Anna’s residence for the 1900 U. S. Census, proving once again that this family has got me running in circles.


  1. After Anna's father Nathan died, Margaret, (Anna's mom) must have married Timothy Hurley right away. Margaret's other daughter Emma was born only a year after Nathan died...so much for the mourning period!

    Anna's Father Nathan Haessley http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/15462220/person/370351372

  2. I'm lost in the hunt for another woman that (might have) married 3 times... I feel your pain!

    Haessley is German? Ahh.. looks at Connie's linked in tree... Swiss-German... I'll buy that!

    And oh! The father lived in my neck of the woods... Well, 50 miles from me...beautiful farm county in Berks county there. Lots of fruit orchards and corn fields.


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