If there is an endgame in this quest to connect Sarah Nolan in Wichita with the Irish immigrant Murdock family back in Lafayette, Indiana, I have yet to strategically eliminate the excess playing pieces on this genealogy game board. Here I've traced the suspected Sarah Murdock Nolan from the adopted city of her brothers in Indiana to a new home in Wichita, Kansas. But the trail doesn't end there.
The next step in my strategy to confirm this Sarah's identity was to find the death record of one of her children with mother's maiden name included. Just one. Apparently, that is not to be had—at least, as far as I can see from this point.
I began this secondary maneuver with Sarah's oldest son, James—until realizing his untimely death in 1892 would not achieve our goal.
The next step was to trace the timeline of Sarah's second surviving son, John Nolan. As you can probably guess by now, that tactic is not turning out to be any more successful than my first attempt. And we have three more sons and two daughters yet to go. We've hardly begun to clear the game board.
After all, keep in mind Sarah's oldest son was born in Ohio, the next few children in Wisconsin, before the Nolans moved to Indiana, presumably to live closer to Sarah's siblings.
And then, there was Kansas. At least, that's what I presume was the next move for our Sarah Nolan, sister to the successful Murdock brothers in Lafayette, Indiana. Yet, finding confirmation for such an assumption is still not within our grasp.
Taking a step backward—though not yet in retreat—I looked for any mention of the death of Sarah, herself, in Wichita newspapers. I was rewarded with a single, paragraph-long, entry in The Wichita Daily Eagle on Thursday, June 3, 1897:
Mrs. Sarah Nolan died at Norman, O. T., Tuesday night. Her remains arrived in this city last night at 8:30 over the Santa Fe and were taken to the home of Owen J. Martin, 509 Campbell avenue, West Side. The funeral services will be held at the Pro-cathedral at 9 o'clock Friday morning. Funeral was postponed for the arrival of relatives from St. Louis.
From Saint Louis? What relatives? Suddenly, with this announcement, I'm wondering whether I have the right family at all.
Newspaper images above from page 6 of The Wichita Daily Eagle, Thursday, June 3, 1897, as found via GenealogyBank.