Thursday, April 17, 2014

When It Doesn’t All Add Up Right

If you found the comparisons of the various census records available for the Ed Flannery family to be frustrating—no two census records seeming to contain reasonable projections of household ages—you’ll just love diving into these records for son Patrick’s own family.

Fortunately—well, at least that’s how I felt about it when I first began this comparison—we have cemetery records for Patrick’s family. By the time we compare them to all the census records and other documents, we’ll find a phantom other person—an unexplained additional Flannery.

But let’s not bite off more than we can chew in this one sitting. Today, we’ll take a look at what’s available from the file for Sacred Heart Cemetery in Paris, Ontario, for the Patrick Flannery family.

As we’ve already discovered, Patrick himself met with a sudden end in March of 1895. Sure enough, his headstone reflects that fact with a date of death as March 29, 1895. The helpful volunteer who took the time to list the burials at Sacred Heart also entered the detail that he was “h/o Margaret Flannery (Gorman).”

Patrick’s wife—indeed another Margaret for the family, following in the footsteps of Patrick’s mother and, possibly also his aunt—apparently lived out her widowhood on Dumfries Street in Paris, Ontario, until May 11, 1929. Giving a date of birth as May 22, 1854, the death certificate indicated her age at passing as seventy five years, eleven months and twenty days. Maddeningly, that precise certificate also managed to give, for the informant, Margaret’s daughter’s name as “Miss Flannery.”


At least her headstone agreed with the county records. As a consolation prize, the death certificate updated the maiden name of Margaret’s mother to read as Hudson instead of the Huttson given on her marriage license back in 1877.

But what of the children? Our helpful volunteer indicated two of the Flannery burials as children of Patrick and Margaret: Agnes, who died January 26, 1899, and James Edward, who died September 1928. Looking online, we can find confirmation of these dates.

Though only fifteen years of age when she passed, Agnes was already working as a mill hand at the date of her death, and had suffered from diabetes mellitus for the past three years. The year of her death predated the period in which governments collected such details as names of parents, but included—in two places on the record—the name of the physician following her and pronouncing her death. At this point, we can only presume that the volunteer who indicated Agnes’ filial relationship to Patrick and Margaret gleaned that information from her headstone or other documentation.

James Edward, having lived well past the date in which details that gladden the rabid researching genealogist might have appeared, managed to at least confuse, with an index of his death record reversing his two given names: Edward James. Transcription problem? Indexer’s error? At least the date of death agrees in both records: September 6, 1928. With a date of birth as April 14, 1886, that put him at age forty two at passing—significantly better than Agnes, but still relatively young.

What of the other Flannery burials at Sacred Heart? Are they children of Patrick and Margaret? A census record for 1881, just a few years after Patrick and Margaret were married, show children Mary at age three, and Margaret at age one. There is a Mary Flannery buried at Sacred Heart, having died October 11, 1962. There is also an additional Margaret with a date of death as July 8, 1965. Perhaps these two match the daughters showing in that 1881 census—further documentation will be needed to verify that.

There are two other Flannery burials at Sacred Heart: that of Catherine (died March 3, 1979) and Zita (died January 18, 1988).

Conveniently, we can now fast forward to the 1901 census, in which widow Margaret Flannery is listed with six children. If you think the list of these six children will nicely align with those we’ve already discussed, you are sadly mistaken. Witness the six for yourself, if you have access to, or peruse the list here:
Mary, born 1878
Margaret, born 1882
Ellen, born 1883
“Eward” (surely taking after his grandfather, Ed-blot), born 1887
Catherine, born 1890
Florence, born 1893


Where’s Zita?

Shall we collectively lift our voices in a cry of agony? Or tear our hair out (for those of you having enough to spare)?

Perhaps we shall set this aside for a saner moment, and retreat to our online resources in search of further documentation.


  1. Wellllll, maybe Zita was Florence. My family was famous for alternating between first and middle names.

  2. I suspect Wendy is right. Does the census show what Florence did? I found this:

    Corporate Members. — Robert Edwin Haire, manufacturer; Samuel Henry James Reid and Daniel Rankin Elwood, accountants; Sheldon LaPierre Smoke, solicitor; Herbert John Haire, manager; Frances Arthur Vonzuben, assistant sales manager; James Randall Inksater, merchant; Oliver Roland Whitby, gentleman; and Zita Flannery, stenographer; all of the town of Paris, in the province of Ontario.

    1. I had found that, too, Iggy--while hoping a name as unusual as ZIta Flannery would flush out more info on a Google search. I'll have to go back and cross check that with the census record...but I suspect it will be too early to tell at that point in her life.


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