Friday, October 14, 2016

A Daughter's Burial

It may turn out, in my quest to determine just where in Ireland this Danehy family originated, that it will be a married daughter rather than a son who will lead us home.

Focusing, as we have lately, on the burial records for the extended Danehy family, the best we have been able to do for clues has been to learn of the family's origin in County Cork, Ireland. There have been some tempting baptismal records located but, the Irish being the Irish, those traditional naming patterns require such caution, lest they trip up the hapless researcher by tricking us into assuming a couple matching names equals the right family.

That, however, was what we gleaned following the burial records for the sons. Now is the time to make a detour in the process and see what can be learned by checking the burials for one of Phillip Danehy's daughters.

It's Johanna Danehy we're concerned with, at this point. Turning our attention to the next burial plot at the Fort Wayne Catholic Cemetery containing names associated to this family, we're currently considering another lot in the same Section B where the majority of the Danehy family had been buried. This time, we'll review who was buried in Lot 516. The names we'll see won't be Danehys, however, but Sweeneys, for Johanna married an Irish man by the name of Cornelius Sweeney.

We've already discussed Johanna Sweeney when we discovered her relationship to Mary Danehy Kelly, the second wife of the Kelly man whose sharing of yet another Kelly family plot has tempted me to conclude that he was related to my husband's Kelly line. But it turns out there is much more to learn about this wife of Cornelius Sweeney.

Just like the first family plot we encountered in this tour of Danehy family burials at the Catholic Cemetery, Lot 516 included burials of several family members. There were eleven that I could find, in fact.

Of course, there was the final resting place for Johanna, herself, buried just after New Year's Day in 1912. She joined her husband, Cornelius, who died in 1901.

Three other burials in this plot under the surname Sweeney included that of Philip J. Sweeney, son of Johanna and Cornelius, his wife Sophia and one for a ten year old child, June J. Sweeney, who died in 1925. It turned out that June was the great granddaughter of Johanna and Cornelius, and granddaughter of their son Philip.

It took a little work to determine one of the other burials the Genealogy Center had listed for this plotfor Julia "Sweeny" Doyle, who died in 1917was that of a daughter of Johanna and Cornelius. She had married James B. Doyle in 1893. Predictably, his was another one of the burials in this expansive family plot, having died more than ten years after his wife, in 1928.

Although I hadn't expected to see it so, it turns out it was Johanna's family plot in which her parents, Phillip and Ellen, were buried. The only problem was that the Genealogy Center's online listing of Catholic Cemetery burials listed them under the surname "Denary." However, the dates match up with other records, as well as the photograph of their burial showing on their memorial at Find A Grave. Not to mention, the Genealogy Center gives this plot number for their burial, despite the unusual misspelling of their surname.

Joining the family in this plot was one other person listed under that misspelling: someone named Margaret "Denary," who died on May 2, 1906. That date matches up with the death certificate of a two month old infant, the daughter of Cornelius Danehy, yet another immigrant child of the immigrant Phillip's son who remained in Ireland. Oddly, this infant was not buried in the same plot as her parents, whom we noted were buried in Lot 10.

There was one final burial in this family location, that of the woman whose family ties were what got me started on this whole search in the first place: Mary Danehy Kelly. Because she was Timothy Kelly's second wife, hers did not become the coveted place alongside her husband. That was surely an honor Timothy's children insisted should go to their own mother. At Mary's passing in 1913, she ended up joining the burial place of her married sisterwho strangely carried the same surname as Mary's own mystery daughter, Margaret Sweeney.

In a family plot spanning the burials of the Danehy patriarch and his wife, Phillip and Ellen, in 1885 and 1886, to the last of the Sweeney family burials in 1954, it seems odd that Mary's own daughterherself a Sweeney who died well before the last of the family's burialscould not be included in the mix. Whether that speaks volumes about any family discord, I can't tell. It certainly does nothing to reveal the origin of that particular Margaret Sweeney.

One unexpected revelation from the study of these Danehy family burials, however, was the discovery that Mary's sister Johanna may, herself, been married not in Fort Wayne, but back in Ireland. This accidental realization just might lead us to the jumping off place in Cork County where the family once livedand possibly provide some detail on this other Sweeney's own story, as well.  


  1. So are getting closer:)

    1. Yes, it appears so...and it was such a surprise to see the best lead has come from a daughter, rather than a son.

  2. I wonder how they pronounce "Danehy"

    Dane-he? Da-ne-hey? Why all the misspellings?


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