Friday, June 6, 2014

But Wait! Don’t Stop Now!

Having had my hopes dashed about finding what had become of the missing Ann Kelly—since she was not one and the same as the Mrs. Anna Creahan—the sensible approach would have been to lay the thing to rest and move on to more productive endeavors.

Not me. Blame it on the stubborn gene.

Incredulous that Anna Creahan could be Anna Cunningham Creahan and not Anna Kelly Creahan, I still couldn’t let go of that mystery niece in the 1880 Kelly household in Lafayette, Indiana. Who was that “A. M. Crahan” girl? And what gave her the right to be called niece? If that didn’t finger a relationship with this Ann and Michael Creahan, who was the source of that surname?

My first inclination was to suppose that Ann Kelly had been married twice, and to search for any marriage records for an Ann Kelly marrying a Mr. Cunningham. Of course, you know how hopeless a search like that would have been.

I then reversed tracks, and went searching for Michael Creahan’s marriage information.

For whatever reason, the search engine gremlins were not restless that night, for offered up a tantalizing possibility that it hadn’t brought up before: that of a Michael Craghan marrying an Annie Cunningham. So it was true: this was not our Ann after all. There was no use wallowing in these details. That would change nothing. It did, however, open my eyes to other spelling possibilities for that elusive surname.

But wait, I told myself. Could one of those step-children listed in Anna Creahan’s obituary actually have the initials “A. M.”?

I grabbed the obituary and started reading through the list of survivors. Who was Mrs. John P. Quinlisk? I headed straight for to see what could be found.

A marriage record for a John Quinlish came up, showing his wife’s name to be Anna. Well, there was the “A.” That was a good start.

There was more. Fortunately, at the time the Quinlish couple had married, the State of Indiana was becoming a bit more thorough in their recordkeeping tasks. In addition to the name of bride and groom, each set of parents’ names was included, too.

The groom, John, was son of Michael and Mary Ryan Quinlish, adding nothing to my hopes for this September 21, 1898, occasion. The bride’s information didn’t seem much more helpful. Anna’s father was, indeed, Michael “Crehan,” but the mother was listed as Bridget Kelley.

Who was Bridget Kelley?

I did remember the Find A Grave entry for Michael revealing that he had lost a wife prior to his marriage to Annie Cunningham (even now, I grudgingly admit that maiden name). And I remembered that this first wife was named Bridget.

Knowing that earlier marriage records were not likely, in Indiana, to contain much information beyond bride’s and groom’s names, I tried finding records for the marriage of Michael and Bridget. Perhaps that would explain who that Bridget was.

The closest entry came up for a Michael “Cuhan”—demonstrating once again how difficult tracing this surname had become. The link was for a report gleaned from an index, unfortunately, but it did confirm that the bride’s name was Bridget Kelly. Their wedding was performed February 8, 1853, in Tippecanoe County—likely in the county seat, Lafayette.

Only slowly did the realization dawn on me that I might actually have found the connection between Matthew Kelly’s niece, A. M. Crahan, and this Michael Creahan couple. Could it possibly be that the four survivors listed as stepchildren in Annie Cunningham Creahan’s obituary all, just like A. M. Crahan, actually were blood relations of Matthew Kelly?

Could Bridget Kelly be one of our Kellys?


  1. Excellent sleuthing. That $3.50 investment seems to be paying off at last.

    1. Oh, Wendy, can you believe it was only $3.50? Such a bargain, at this turn of events!

  2. I'm glad you're still on the search!

    1. And now that I've figured that one out, Lisa, you know I'll be tracing that line down the generations, looking, first, for confirmation of those parents' names--and then for cousin possibilities!

  3. I bet you found searching a name like Quinlish instead of Kelly/Kelley to be a breath of fresh air!!


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