Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Just For the Record

In the case of determining just which Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gordon should be shown as the parents of John P. Hennessey's bride, Mary Frances—notwithstanding what her Perry County, Ohio, marriage license may have indicated in 1912—we are not without other resources. The wife of Candidate Candidate Couple Number One—Thomas R. and Elizabeth Gordon—actually sported a maiden name of McCann, just as the application for marriage license had indicated. This couple had several children, at least some of which should show up, given a diligent search, with baptismal records which could also confirm that fact.

Though the wife of Candidate Couple Number Two—Thomas V. and the other Elizabeth—was known before her marriage as a McCabe, not a McCann, she was one of the unfortunate women of that era who did not live long after giving birth to her second child. Thus, to confirm her maiden name for her eldest child Mary Frances' sake, we'd have to hope her second daughter left a paper trail up to genealogical standards.

Mary Frances' younger sister Blanche was born in January of 1886. Fortunately for our purposes, not only did her marriage application twenty eight years later include her by-then long-deceased mother's maiden name, but thanks to a collection provided online via, known as Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, we can see the transcribed collection states Blanche's mother's name was Elizabeth McCabe. Thus, Mary Frances' only full sister comes through with the provision of the right maiden name for the woman who married John P. Hennessey, regardless of what the document said.

If, that is, we can trust these other official documents. We've already seen—at least in this one example—that government-issued records aren't always correct. Better to make sure that the other couple can assuredly be ruled out as the potential parents, so let's use the same treatment to look at records for a sibling in that other family.

Let's take another child from the family of Thomas R. and Elizabeth Gordon, say, one from approximately the same year of birth. In that family, the candidate to examine would be their daughter Rose, born in 1884 in that same county in Ohio. Taking a look for what records could be located for Rose, the Ohio, Births and Christenings Index comes through again. Sure enough, the record for Rose is transcribed, showing her parents to be Thomas R. Gordon and Elizabeth McCann.

What a relief to have that settled. However, of course, that means there is a mess left for me to clean up, back on my database. And the very first step may have been triggered by noticing the date of birth for the Gordon daughter, Rose. After all, not only was Rose born on July 3, 1884, but Mary Frances, herself, was said to have been born in April of 1884—a sure clue that not only was her mother not Elizabeth McCann, but that I really didn't have duplicate entries at all.

There were no two Mary Franceses. The only thing I can figure out is that, at one point in my research, I must have noticed the mother's maiden name was listed as McCann, not McCabe, made the switch in my database, and added Mary Frances to the wrong family constellation. Then, another time, saw another record indicating Mary Frances should have been under the McCabe descendancy, made another entry, and added an entirely new line there, as well.

Now, as Wendy likes to say, "Clean up on aisle three."


  1. Sorry! One thing still confuses me. There were no two Mary Franceses in the last paragraph?

    1. No! See: poof! Just like that, Kat, the two Mary Franceses morphed into one. But I had to go carefully in confirming that, because the documentation seemed to indicate there were actually two. It was that marriage license app that had thrown me off. But once I had the two trails, I had to be very careful so as not to delete any of the work I had done in adding all her family data to my tree--until, at least, I knew for sure this was a case of a "simple" duplicate.

  2. FamilySearch has images of the handwritten birth and death registers for most (all?) Ohio counties, 1867-1908. So there is no need to settle for Ancestry's or other transcriptions.

    1. That is good to know, Marian, as I believe it is essential to view those original documents to insure the transcription wasn't the source of any error. Thanks for mentioning that!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...