Friday, June 30, 2017

Sometimes, Families are Like That

There was one other reason why I wanted to take my time over the puzzle of the duplicate Mary Frances Gordons this past week: the possibility of cousins, despite being born about the same time, who are given the exact same name.

We see this sort of thing happen all the time, if we are studying family histories from eras or cultural backgrounds honoring naming systems. I've seen it quite often, for example, when working on my father in law's Irish ancestry. It can be downright frustrating, for instance, working on his great grandfather John Kelly's line, or even his Tully line, with all their Margarets. When individuals are duty-bound to honor their ancestors by bestowing specific names to certain offspring—no matter how close that child's birth to another cousin destined to bear the same name—it can be confusing to sort the matter out.

That, of course, was not the operative specifically coming into play in Mary Frances Gordon's situation—but when I first encountered the double entry, I couldn't be sure.

Here, incidentally, was what I was faced with, as far as the two fathers, Thomas R. Gordon and Thomas V.. Gordon, were concerned.

Thomas R. Gordon, older of the two men and husband to the Elizabeth who turned out to be a McCann, happened to be related to Thomas V. Gordon. So, on top of both having wives named Elizabeth, not only did they live in the same small, rural county in Ohio, but they were closely related.

Let's take a quick peek at the pertinent section of their respective pedigree charts. First, for the elder of the two men, here's Thomas R. Gordon's line. You can see his wife listed as Elizabeth McCann, and that he was son of James Gordon and Sarah Rinehart.

Then, let's take a look at the section of the pedigree for the other Thomas, whom we now know as father of Mary Frances Gordon, along with his ill-fated first wife, Elizabeth McCabe. Note the appearance of those same ancestral names I've already mentioned: James Gordon and Sarah Rinehart.

The older Thomas was actually uncle to the younger Thomas. Thomas V. Gordon's father, Basil Gordon, was brother to Thomas R. Gordon.

Though Thomas R. Gordon and his wife Elizabeth were much older than the other Thomas Gordon couple, they lived long lives blessed with many children, including a daughter born in 1884, same as Mary Frances. It's just that their youngest daughter was not named Mary Frances; her name, it turns out, was Rose.

Fortunately, we can now rest assured that our Mary Frances Gordon has been placed in the right family constellation. With all the records of her marriage, her children and her grandchildren now placed in the right family line, it is now safe to merge the duplicates and do away with the false lead—despite the fact that, out there in the back rooms of Perry County records, Mary Frances' marriage record still asserts that her mother's name was Elizabeth McCann, rather than Elizabeth McCabe.

At least, now we know better.

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