One of the most common of Irish names turns out to be the one giving me the gift of a clue in my quest to find the Flannery family in Paris, Ontario. I had thought to outwit the traditional Irish naming patterns which had doomed me to research endless iterations of the same Mary, John or William. However, my attempt to find a research shortcut by latching onto the solitary unusual—I thought—name of Cornelius had ended without any clue.
Thankfully, a comment along the way from reader Intense Guy included a link that turned out to yield a promising possibility. I have no idea how he found it (use your “find” function to locate the Flannery entry on that link), but Iggy had turned up one of those many text files embedded in the labyrinthine bowels of the ages-old website, Rootsweb. The link led to a page transcribed by a tenacious volunteer—Ronald J. Reid by name—from the Essex Free Press from Ontario, Canada.
The transcriptions—and there were many of them, as you can see by scrolling down the page of entries—all were extracted from death notices appearing in that newspaper during one solitary year: 1895.
It just so happens that 1895 is a good year for Flannery research in Paris, Ontario—although, admittedly, it was not a good year for Mr. Flannery, himself. Because of what happened, though, the unfortunate episode that took the life of one Patrick Flannery became recorded in as permanent a way as would be needed to provide us with a springboard for our research.
You may remember that the Flannery family I’m now researching—the sons of “Ed-blot,” as I’ve taken to calling him, owing to the ink spot partially concealing his misspelled name in Canada's 1852 census—included a son named Patrick.
Of course it did. They were Irish, weren’t they?!
The question now becomes:
Is the Patrick Flannery of this 1895 newspaper article one and the same with the Patrick Flannery of the 1852 Paris household?
Drowned in a Mill Race. – Paris, Ont., April 1. – Patrick Flannery, an old and respected resident of Paris, who has been missing since Friday night, was found yesterday afternoon in the mill race in the eastern part of the town. There were no signs of violence, but his face was badly bloated. The volunteer rescuing crew had hard work in finding the body, as the only clue was an old hat supposed to belong to the deceased. The race was almost full of ice and it had to be drained, and then the ice had to be cut and then drained again before they found the body. Coroner Sinclair has ordered an inquest to be held today.
The article itself left little for us to go on—except for one vital date. From that date, we’ll see what we can reconstruct of this Patrick Flannery’s family.