Thursday, July 8, 2021

Name Twins in the Family Tree


I don't expect you would be surprised—would you?—if I told you my father-in-law's Irish family sported not one but two ancestors by the name of Catherine Kelly. Both of them immigrated to Indiana. And that's not the end of their similarities.

We've discussed the family of the one Catherine Kelly in my Twelve Most Wanted ancestors for 2020. It was she who, having become second wife of John Kelly Stevens in a quiet 1883 marriage ceremony in Fort Wayne, became the second of his wives to lose her life after giving birth to his child. (Note: his third wife wisely chose only to raise his other children.)

For this month's goal of my Twelve Most Wanted for 2021, we'll be shifting to begin three months of tackling research challenges among my father-in-law's ancestors. First off will be the other Catherine Kelly. This woman was not John Kelly Stevens' second wife, but the mother who bestowed him his middle name, her maiden name. Strangely she, too, lost her life early, following the birth of her third son—with the result that not only did John Kelly Stevens lose two of his three wives to such a tragic outcome, but his mother as well.

I know very little about this elder Catherine. Included in what I do know is family lore that she came from Dublin, but I have found no substantiation for such a claim. Still, so many times I've gone back to revisit a brick wall ancestor's challenge, only to find with this latest review, a new resource supplants those question marks with answers.

With hopes for the same outcome for this Catherine Kelly, we'll begin tomorrow with a brief introduction to Catherine herself—brief, of course, simply because there has been so little to discover about her short life. We'll then take some time to review her family constellation and explore those few details about her siblings. From there, we'll launch out into the deep unknown of her roots somewhere in Ireland before 1850—a challenge in itself. Hopefully, by the end of the month, we'll emerge with a research victory of some sort, no matter how small it may be.

If nothing else, at least we can try.  

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