Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Moving Over to Oklahoma


Does it sometimes seem as if the record-keeping powers that be are conspiring to keep us genies from discovering the answers to our family history questions?

Here I am, still grappling with this month's research goal, now finding myself in a wild chase to identify whether the Sarah Nolan I've found in 1880 Wichita, Kansas, is one and the same as the Sarah Murdock Nolan who disappeared from Lafayette, Indiana, after 1860. In the process, I stumbled upon a one-paragraph acknowledgement of the passing of someone by that same name. Only problem: this Sarah Nolan's death was not in Kansas, not even back in Indiana, but in Oklahoma.

Same person? I'll give it to you in a nutshell, but the pathway to personal assurance for this researcher is far from straightforward.

Apparently, one by one, each of Sarah Nolan's children left their home—and, in some cases, business—in Wichita to move to Norman, Oklahoma.

Oldest of Sarah's surviving children—John, one of her children born in Wisconsin—left Kansas originally for Garfield County, Oklahoma, along with his wife Mary and their three children. By the time of the 1930 census, though, John, by now widowed, had moved to Norman.

Younger brother Tony, having met Louisa Sandelback in Norman, along with his bride became the first couple to celebrate their wedding in the new Saint Patrick's Church in Norman on December 27, 1898. By then, Tony had been a resident of Norman "for years."

Tony's younger brother Peter, a lifelong confirmed bachelor, was a holdout in Kansas—as was older brother Samuel—but finally moved in with his sister Sabina and brother-in-law Owen Martin in Norman by the time of the 1930 census, adding one more to the tally of Nolan siblings who moved from Wichita to Oklahoma.

And baby of the family Sarah—nicknamed Sadie—followed her September 1900 wedding in Wichita with a move to the home of her husband, William Synnott, in Norman.

With that, we have a tally of every Nolan sibling  moving to Oklahoma and eventually settling in Norman—except Samuel. But even in Samuel's case, I can't be entirely sure where he died; all I can find is that he was buried in Kansas, not Oklahoma, according to what appears to be his 1924 headstone.

There is a reason for being so particular about where each of these Nolan siblings died. Remember, my goal in tracing these lines of descent is solely to locate a death certificate for one of the children of Sarah Murdock Nolan. I'm looking in particular for that document entry stating mother's maiden name. I still want confirmation that this Sarah Nolan whose similarly-named children showed up in Kansas was one and the same as the Sarah Nolan who left Indiana.

That, as it turns out, is not a goal easily accomplished. You see, there are some limitations to accessing information on deaths in Oklahoma. And if you think the easy work-around is to pursue information on the lone descendant who was buried in Kansas, think again. We'll take a look at the research pitfalls for accessing this information tomorrow.

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