Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dissecting Exhibit A

There in the 1860 census—where I hadn’t been able to find it for oh, so many years—was the missing connection for the three motherless Stevens boys I had been seeking: a household containing what looked like the siblings of the now-deceased Catherine Kelly Stevens.

Of course, the 1860 census didn’t provide the convenient labels to inform us of familial relationships. We can handily deduce that James, John and William weren’t children of the head of the household—thirty eight year old Mathew Kelley—for they carried their own father’s surname, Stevens. As for the rest of the household, though, there was no way to easily sort out each of those Kelleys.

To start with, here is what we were given: a household with Rose Kelley, age thirty three, Thomas Kelley, age twenty three, and Ann Kelley, age twenty one. In addition to farmer Mathew, the residence included one other person bearing a label: “widow” Mary Kelley, age seventy.

It was fairly intuitive to guess that Mary was the mother of the household—but which ones of the rest were her children, and which ones might be in-laws? The age groupings lent themselves well to a scenario of mother Mary with sons Mathew and Thomas, with their respective wives, Rose and Ann.

But was it really that way?

To determine the right family constellation, I’d have to look to the next census—but finding these names clustered in one household in Indiana for 1870 proved to be a challenge I couldn’t surmount. Wherever Mathew and company disappeared for that subsequent enumeration, I don’t know.

Thankfully, the family made a reprise for the 1880 showing—well, at least two of them. As Iggy had mentioned in yesterday’s comments, by the time of the 1880 census, Mathew and “Rosa” had moved to Tippecanoe County. Along with them, also resurfacing after an absence during the 1870 census, was one William H. Stevens—still sporting that 1858 year of birth.

The beauty of finding them for the 1880 census was that this record provided a listing of family relationships. In this document, not only do we have verification that William was indeed the nephew of Mathew Kelley—thus cementing the relationship between William’s mother Catherine and this Kelley family—but we also confirm that Rosa was not Mathew’s wife, but actually his sister.

In every research foray, there is the likelihood that you’ll win some and you’ll lose some. Though we gained a clearer picture of the relationships between Mathew, Rose and William, we now were missing Thomas, Ann and Mary. With Mary at seventy years of age in the 1860 census, it’s likely she was no longer with the family—perhaps resting in that third, dateless, grave in the family plot at Greenbush Cemetery. If Ann were Thomas’ sister and not his wife, that would present another challenge to overcome. Searching for Thomas may well uncover what should be our next research move shortly.

There is one more detail we’ve gained by this 1880 census discovery, however: the possibility of a whole new branch of the Kelley line, with the appearance of the fourth person in Mathew’s household. Whoever A. M. Crahan was, as Mathew’s niece, she opened up the possibility of an explanation of what became of Ann Kelley.

1 comment:

  1. Crahan is an unusual name. Did you find any thing out about them?

    I looked at the 1880 census - the name looks like Graham to me...


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