Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Thinking my results from yesterday's search through Fort Wayne burial records via Allen County Public Library's online Genealogy Center were a snap, I thought the rest of my quest would follow suit. Wrong notion.
Yesterday's search yielded me twelve Danehy burials in the same family plot at the Catholic Cemetery. From all those in Lot 49 of Section B, I was able to determine relationships and double check my family tree sketch for those descendants of the immigrant Phillip Danehy. What could be more encouraging? After all, there were at least three other family plots in that same cemetery. Surely I was on a roll.
From the online burial records, I started work on another plot which included Danehys: Lot 10 in the same section of the cemetery. It wasn't long before I realized only three people claiming that same surname were buried in that family plot: husband and wife Cornelius and Margaret Rayel Danehy, and their son, John F. Danehy. Where were the others from their family?
It seemed a simple matter to go through the various spelling permutations of the family's surname. Surely, I thought, the records for the others were simply spelled Denehy instead of Danehy. Or...perhaps a married daughter and her family were buried in the plot; surely I could find that.
No matter which contortions I chose to explain away one family plot filled with twelve Danehys and another containing only three, I couldn't come up with a reasonable answer. Of course, going to Fort Wayne and looking it up myself would be one option—but not one I plan on taking in the near future.
So I took an alternate route: grunt work. You know those exhaustive searches? Well, I'm here to say: I'm exhausted.
What I did—since the search function for the Catholic Cemetery at the Genealogy Center doesn't make this an easy process—was to go through the entire list, bit by bit, and search for any burials showing the location, lot 10 in section B. Because the search function doesn't simply allow you to page through the entire alphabet, I used the fuzzy search option and searched for names containing two contiguous letter sequences, starting with the vowels.
Yes, that means I started with "aa" and went through "az," then for each entry, checked the "find" function, which I had set to "ln. 10"—just as the website had abbreviated the entry. I did that for each stop along the way. Once I completed the sequence for "az," I went on to "ea" and repeated the whole dance again.
It did yield some information, thankfully, but not what I had hoped. Apparently, after husband and wife, Cornelius and Margaret, were buried in 1920 and 1949, respectively, there were six additional burials for which I can determine no family connection.
One was for what appeared to be an infant—the entry at the Genealogy Center is unclear on this, and I can't locate a corresponding Find A Grave memorial, nor a death certificate in the Indiana collection at Ancestry.com. The name for the burial was Thomas J. Hirschfelder. Whoever he was, he died on July 21, 1934. The only other detail on the notation at the website was that he was born in Fort Wayne.
The other entries all seemed to be related to each other—though not to the Danehys in any way that I've been able to discern. The first of this family was a young, single woman named Myrtle Strube. According to her death certificate—the scan of which was quite faded and difficult to read—she was the daughter of Adolph and Elizabeth Ashley Strube.
No surprise here to discover that Adolph and Elizabeth were also buried in the same plot—Adolph in 1941, following his wife's earlier burial in 1934. They, in turn, joined another single daughter, Marguerite, and a son, also named Adolph.
How these members of the Strube family—or the infant Thomas Hirschfelder—were related to the Danehys is beyond me. Likely, there was no connection whatsoever—other than a possible financial transaction, or perhaps a charitable gesture to destitute members of the same congregation.
And yet, even that explanation doesn't seem likely, as, after the last of the Strube burials in 1941, one last burial took place in 1972: that of Cornelius' and Margaret's son, John F. Danehy.
Perhaps there is a connection and I have yet to find it. But after my alphabet dance on the keyboard, searching through the burial records recorded at the Genealogy Center, I'll save that next challenge for another day.