Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Retracing Research Steps


It is clear that, despite waiting a few years to tackle my Kelly brick wall again, I'm making little further progress. In an attempt to retrace my research steps from a few years ago—I know, insanity—I was, however, pleasantly surprised. But not successful.

However, it's helpful to see what is new on those online sites we've used in the past. After all, active sites are constantly updating their material. So, just to catalog my steps—and take a look at what has changed since the last time I passed this way—let's take a look at a list of local online resources for the city of Lafayette and Tippecanoe County, Indiana. 

I've always been one to check out local resources, and Tippecanoe County has been fortunate to have not one, but two volunteer-driven genealogical sites. Of course, the GenWeb network is ever-present, and Tippecanoe County has been part of that system, and has a list of clickable links to resources on their landing page. Among those links was a listing of the county's early settlers; clicking through, I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see that neither my Kelly family or the Stevens line was represented on that list. But when it comes to such lists, I'll always look, just in case.

Another old familiar site is the TIPCOA website. Short for Tippecanoe County Area Genealogical Society, the site has had a face lift since I last visited. Apparently still hosted on the old Rootsweb, many of the links lead to other pages also on Rootsweb, making me wonder whether the site will, someday, simply disappear. The website includes links to many resources, yet none of them seem to hold the key to answer my research problem.

I checked once again the FamilySearch.org wiki for Tippecanoe County. Though it clearly indicates that marriage records should be available back to 1830, I know I had already attempted to find confirmation of Catherine Kelly's marriage to John Stevens with no results in the past. However, I had approached this puzzle from the angle of looking for church records, not civil records, so maybe that is one revision to make, as I rework this research dilemma. Despite there being a Catholic church presence in Lafayette well before the possible date of the Kelly-Stevens wedding—at least according to this chart—the response to my former inquiry was that such records were no longer available.

While this brief tour, revisiting old resources, did point out a few new options to try in seeking details on Catherine Kelly Stevens' origin back in Ireland, it brings to light the lack of records needed to connect the Kelly family with their roots back home in Ireland. Find the marriage record in Indiana, yes, and also the telltale passenger records for the entire Kelly family. But if nothing further can be found, then what? 

The realization that there may be nothing more to be found—at least from my limited current position of not being able to travel and research in person—may mean I'll need to set aside this research goal and move on to the next month's challenge. Sometimes research can be that way; in one case, we find next to nothing, in another, we amply fill the time allotted and then some.

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