Monday, October 24, 2016

Adding Another Kelly to the Collection

Genealogical researchers have become used to the routine of adding female names to the family group sheet—and eventually seeing such entries disappear on the timeline of the family's history. Whatever becomes of such siblings to our direct line, we sometimes never know. Do they marry and become untraceable, thanks to an unknown married name? Do they end up with the fate of an early—but undocumented—death?

Such was the situation with my husband's Kelly family, which had settled in Lafayette, Indiana. At first, all I had been able to discover was the name of the parents of our direct line—James and Mary Kelly, parents of Catherine Kelly Stevens, the unfortunate young woman who met her fate after the birth of her third son.

It wasn't until years later, when Internet resources gifted us with digitized versions of each decennial census record, that I uncovered more information. That was when I discovered the widow Mary with all the rest of her children. I now knew the identities of the deceased Catherine's siblings.

There was oldest brother Mathew, the Irish-born bachelor who died in Lafayette in 1895 and his spinster sister Rose who died seven years before him. There were the two Kelly siblings whom I knew were married in Lafayette: Bridget to Michael Creahan, and Thomas to Bridget Dolan.

And then there was Ann.

Ann Kelly was the baby of the family—at least as far as I could tell. Born in Ireland about 1839, I could find her with the rest of the family in the 1860 census, when they lived in nearby Warren County, Indiana. At the time, Ann was listed as a woman of twenty one years of age.

The problem with Ann begins with the next census—the one for 1870. Not a trace can I find for anyone in this Kelly family, with the exception of Thomas, who was by then married and in a household of his own in Tippecanoe County. Where did the rest of those Kellys go? More importantly, what happened to Ann?

What I didn't know—at least, if the rest of the story, according to the administrator for two DNA matches, turns out to be true—is that Ann married a man by the name of Bernard Doyle. Now that I learned this by virtue of corresponding with that administrator, one of those transcribed collections at Ancestry indicated that such a marriage did indeed occur on January 7, 1872, in Tippecanoe County.

Unfortunately, that 1872 date was likely to be too soon to glean any more information from the actual marriage records than the names of bride and groom—and maybe the mention of the officiant's name and church affiliation.

Still, since we had the chance to take a look at the actual records in Tippecanoe County, thanks to the archives at the Frank Arganbright Genealogy Center there, we couldn't visit the Chicago area without driving down to Lafayette to take a look for ourselves.

As it turned out, my guess was right on. There wasn't much to discover on the actual document containing the marriage record for Ann Kelly and Frank Doyle. But at least there was a crumb. And no matter how small the hint, you know I'll follow those leads anywhere...


  1. Your dedication is an inspiration. All that travel for one hint...

    1. Oh well, you know that trip was good for more than just that one hint! But I figured, while I was in the neighborhood...


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