Tuesday, July 8, 2014

One More Line

In tracing the descendants from a recently-discovered additional branch of our Kelly line in Lafayette, Indiana, I still have one more child of Bridget Kelly Creahan to follow up on.

That is no small task.

First comes determining the name of this Creahan daughter’s husband, so that in their era of invisible women, I can still assure myself I’m tracing the right person.

We uncovered our first clue as to this daughter’s married name and whereabouts when I located her step-mother’s 1917 obituary. If you remember when I received the Monroe County Public Library’s email with the newspaper clipping regarding Anna Creahan, I discovered this missing daughter was referred to as “Mrs. Julia Sullivan” and that her residence was far removed from her native Lafayette, Indiana.
She is survived by the following step children: John Creahan, of this city; Mrs. Ella Fulk, of Bloomington; Mrs. Julia Sullivan, of Denver, and Mrs. John P. Quinlisk, of this city.

Trying to find a Julia Sullivan in Denver, Colorado, was not working for me—perhaps now you realize why I didn’t write about these Creahan children in birth order, eh? I did locate a Julia Sullivan, but she lived in Colorado Springs, not Denver. While the trip between the two cities today is an easy drive on the interstate—we’ve done that for years, flying in to visit Stevens relatives in the Springs—it would have been an arduous journey back in the time when Anna’s obituary was written. I doubted that was our Julia Sullivan.

Thankfully, while searching through all the material I could find on the other Creahan children, a simple line in Anna’s husband’s obituary made all the difference. Written at Michael Creahan’s passing nearly two years prior, it bridged just the right span of time to present Julia’s “proper” married name. Still listed as a resident of Denver, Julia was this time noted to be “Mrs. Thomas Sullivan.”

While a surname like Sullivan does not present an easy task when it comes to family history research, at least the ability to match the husband’s given name with that of his wife allows us a bit of an edge. But—I warn you—it still isn’t much.

From the front page of The Bloomington Evening World on Monday, May 17, 1915:
The death of Michael Creahan occurred at Lafayette Saturday caused by paralysis and a complication of diseases. The deceased was 88 years old and came to this country 68 years ago from Limerick, Ireland at the age of 20. He engaged in the contracting business most of his active life. All of his life in this country was spent in Lafayette with the exception of ten years during which he resided at New Orleans. His fatal illness was about of a month’s duration although he had been failing for some time. The children are Mrs. Ella Fulk of this city who was at his bedside at the time of his last moments, Mrs. Thomas Sullivan of Denver, Col., and Mrs. John Quinlish, of Lafayette. Lyman Fulk of this city, a grandson of the deceased is in Lafayette to attend the funeral which will be held at the St. Ann’s church tomorrow morning at nine o’clock, of which Mr. Creahan was a devoted member.


  1. The Julia Sullivan, married to Thomas Patrick Sullivan that lived in Colorado Springs (http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35153388) and (http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35153413) maiden name was Ryan. Wasn't there a Ryan in the mix with her mother?

    Thomas Patrick Sullivan was a "Section Foreman" for the railroad - so he would have kept the track there in good repair. This couple (right or wrong one) lived in Oklahoma in 1910, having married in about 1882. Both of them were born in Ireland.

    1. I meant 1900 not 1910 in my comment above.

    2. Thanks for finding that info, Iggy. I didn't have a good feeling about this coincidental match of Julia and Thomas Sullivan. So close. But no Ryan in this specific line...although I do have a connection from the Tully line via Canada, but that's the maternal side of the Stevens lines.

      Regardless, it's good to find out even the bad news of no connection. It's important to rule out stuff as much as it is to include people. I've found myself researching family lines that turned out to have nothing to do with our lines, simply because I needed to grab onto some sort of proof that they could be ruled out. That foray into the other Flanagan line a while back comes to mind.

  2. Has Limerick come up before?
    As aggravating as it is to read "Mrs" + husband's name, this time it worked out for you.

    1. I saw that mention of Limerick, too, Wendy, but the Limerick connection I already know about is from the Tully line--the Stevens' family's maternal side, the ones arriving in America via Canada.

      When I see these mentions of the same hometowns in Ireland, it makes me wonder how many of the marriages and friendships we find in the New World are just continuations of connections forged in the old country. Did these people all just know each other back over there?

      Another point that caught my attention in that obit was the ten years Michael Creahan spent in New Orleans. I find that curious because the one part of John Stevens immigration timeline that I can't find documentation for was the point at which he arrived in America from Ireland.

      Can you guess which port was his point of arrival? Yep, New Orleans. So...my question is: did John meet his future bride Catherine Kelly (Michael Creahan's sister in law) while they were all living in New Orleans? I can't seem to find any trace of John Stevens or Catherine Kelly in New Orleans. Maybe looking for records containing Michael Creahan may help me zero in on these other two relatives with the plain-jane names.

  3. Replies
    1. Yes! Line upon line, but progress, nonetheless. Always glad to take a step forward--even if it is just a baby step!


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