Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Ancestor #8:
While We're in the Neighborhood


When we've already cleared out the easy pickings on the family tree—thanks to those census records, birth announcements, and obituaries—it takes a different kind of sleuthing to make any research headway. And that's where I'm stuck now.

I've been turning to more broad-based research now to help point the way to find those elusive ancestors. Exploring social history and delving into the details of an ancestor's locale are rising high on my go-to list. Since we will have already spent a month exploring the records for Lafayette, Indiana, in the quest to find any sign of Hugh Stevens, number seven of my Twelve Most Wanted for 2024, we may as well capitalize on already being in the neighborhood. We'll make another Lafayette neighbor the focus of our family history quest for next August.

In that neighborhood, I need to look for more signs of the Kelly family. In particular, the descendants of James and Mary Kelly have been showing up in my DNA matches. The problem is, despite ThruLines' assurance at Ancestry.com that these matches descend from this couple—my father-in-law's second great-grandparents—I can't seem to find any confirming documentation.

Another issue with James and Mary Kelly that they share with our previous ancestral challenge is the missing sections of passenger records at the port where they arrived in America. Just like Hugh Stevens, our research challenge for the preceding month, James and Mary arrived at the port of New Orleans. It's been a while since I searched through all the available passenger records for New Orleans, so this August, in hopes something new materializes, that will be on my to-do list, as well as the DNA exploration.

Granted, it would be lovely to discover just where in Ireland James and Mary Kelly originated. That has been my forever dream, yet I realize with names as common as theirs—and their Irish-born children—this might be an attempt repeated with the same outcome once again. But if we never give that search another try, we'll never make any further progress.

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