Monday, April 7, 2014

Adding Another Margaret
to the Family Tree

If you have been following A Family Tapestry for a while, you may recall my consternation, in researching my husband’s Tully line, in discovering just how many Margarets there were in the family. Now, going back to the Margaret who started it all—Margaret Flannery, who married Denis Tully somewhere in Ireland before 1834—we find that her own family, the Flannerys, also may have favored that same given name.

Of course, I’m not yet entirely certain that those Flannery neighbors who lived so close to Denis and Margaret in their newly adopted home in Paris, Ontario, were actually relatives. But I’m working on it—mostly by taking a close look at that neighbor’s family tree, too.

Yesterday, we uncovered a burial location for one of the older sons in that other Flannery family. The unfortunate Patrick Flannery had somehow drowned and his untimely death had been reported in a local newspaper, giving us a date with which to start searching for more data.

When we found his burial record via, we actually stumbled upon not only Patrick’s information, but a note regarding his wife’s name as well:
Flannery, Patrick, d. 29 Mar 1895, h/o Margaret Flannery (Gorman)

Thanks to the kind volunteer who transcribed the Sacred Heart Cemetery records for, Patrick’s wife’s name was provided. Of course, it made for a gleeful discovery, but I restrained myself from jumping up and down or shrieking at that point—until I could locate some corroborating evidence. After all, it wouldn’t do to neglect proper research protocol. Ahem.

So, what was there to find? My first impulse was to check it all out on There, I found a transcription of various Canadian sources, gleaned from records at the Archives of Canada. The particular entry itself simply revealed that Patrick’s wife’s name was Margaret Gorman, and that the date of their marriage was May 10, 1877, in Paris, Ontario.

Though it wasn’t a document itself, the transcription provided the registration number: 36776. At least the entry confirmed Patrick’s wife’s name as Margaret Gorman, just as the volunteer had noted.

At that point, I could send for the marriage certificate, to make sure the handwriting wasn’t incorrectly transcribed. Not inclined to relive the pre-Internet “glory days” of genealogy, I declined such an opportunity, and proceeded to search for other corroboration.

At, a number of records turned up, once I entered the names Patrick Flannery and Margaret Gorman for the village of Paris in Ontario. This was looking promising. In one index—here again, I was stuck relying solely on someone else’s transcription of an original document—I located another verification of the date for Patrick and Margaret’s wedding: May 10, 1877.

This entry added some additional details I was happy to find. Remember “Ed-Blot,” the Flannery head of household whose given name was obliterated by a census enumerator’s errant ink blot? According to Patrick’s wedding information, his father’s name was actually “Edmond.”

Well, that’s according to the transcriber for this document. As it turned out, I didn’t have to rely on a transcriber, though, for had the original document digitized (and those of you who are subscribers may view the document by clicking here). I could now read for myself what Patrick’s father’s name was—to these unreliable eyes of mine, it appeared to read Edmund, so two points to those of you going with that guess before.

Along with that, I now know that Patrick’s mother’s name was Mary Keogh, and that Margaret’s parents were James and Maria Huttson Gorman. I can see that Patrick’s year of birth was estimated to be 1840—a little shy of the date extrapolated from the 1852 census—and his bride’s year of birth was 1852.

Just as happens in most genealogical treasure hunts, one clue leads to another, which leads to another, until a flurry of details comes rushing out.

And before you know it, you’re talking about a whole lot of Margarets.


  1. I wonder why Margaret was such a popular name. My family - especially the Irish branch) has dozens of them.

    1. Hopefully, as I delve into the Irish roots of this family, some of the history of the place may reveal an answer to this, Iggy. Perhaps it is a preference held in this particular region of Ireland.

  2. I have only one Margaret in my Irish family.

    1. If the Irish naming patterns hold true--and I'm not sure how prevalent they were--perhaps it just depends on who got the ball rolling a long, long time ago. Stands to reason if a family hadn't started with any Margarets, there wouldn't be any namesakes repeating the name in subsequent generations. My lines seem to have had Margarets on both sides of the family, doubling that effect.

  3. My husbands family did Marthas! The Finns on my side of the family gave everyone a different name..but there are a few Elmers.
    You are making lots of progress! :)

    1. Interesting how different families settle on their favorite choices for names. I tend to side with your Finnish ancestors: I prefer seeing a name reflect that specific individual, not serve as ditto marks for others in previous generations.


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