Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Just in Time

With the wedding of Patrick and Emma Kelly occurring in June, 1900, the chances of capturing their information as married couple in the Fort Wayne 1900 census was rather slim. But it would be so helpful if it were there—and yet, even more helpful if Patrick’s wife could be identified separately as Emma Brown, as she was shown on the marriage license in Allen County.

Fortunately, in my quest to match any link between the Brown surname and the Kelly name, I did locate the couple in the 1900 census. Thankfully, the date in which the survey team arrived in Patrick’s neighborhood was a bit after the couple’s wedding date. Enumerator George B. Irwin canvassed West Williams Street in Fort Wayne on June 29—ample time for the newlyweds to set up housekeeping there.

There on the page, preserved now for all to see, was the Kelly household. Patrick, as head of household, was listed as born in July, 1869. Just as his sister Mary’s listing appeared subsequent to her 1900 marriage, Patrick was listed as being married for zero years, as was his wife.

Emma’s listing showed her birth occurring in September, 1874—like her husband, also in Indiana. Since the 1900 census inquired into how many children each woman had borne, Emma’s report showed her the mother of one child, still living.

And, to confirm the speculations on the Brown surname Emma was married under, just below her census entry appeared that of two-year-old Frederick Brown, born January, 1898, to parents who were both listed as Indiana natives.

Telling the rest of the tale was the entry delineating the relationship between Patrick as head of household and the child, Frederick: that of step-son.

That helps explain why Emma was married under the surname Brown while the newspaper reports showed her sister, as maid of honor, named “Miss Kaher.” But don’t think it will be as simple a matter as seeking a Kaher family in the Logansport area. Best I can tell, there wasn’t one. And if there were a Kaher family there, related to our Emma, how would we be able to confirm that? The report in The Fort Wayne News didn’t include Miss Kaher’s first name.

On the other hand, what if the correct maid of honor’s name was May Reseberger, as The Fort Wayne Sentinel had it? Do we assume that name was the one to which we should apply the relationship of sisterhood? Or was the sister label entirely misinformed?

My guess was that the best approach might be to give up on all this mis-reporting and head to Cass County, Indiana, to see if there were any marriage records for an Emma who married a Mister Brown in Logansport—or, at the very least, any birth record for their child, Frederick.


  1. Replies
    1. Actually, it's such a relief when that stuff surfaces. I really have this deep need to have things explained...

  2. Replies
    1. And, of course, leads to still more questions :)


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