Surnames Researched In This Blog

Allen (11) Armstrong (1) Chope (1) Compean (12) Conn (1) Coon (1) Darnley (20) Dorris (6) Fields (4) Flanagan (26) Gann (4) Grasley (1) Green (1) Greene (11) Haley (3) Harless (10) Hayes (12) Hemphill (4) Jimenez (11) Kennedy (26) Lyman (1) Lynch (16) Mara (12) McNamara (5) Nieto (13) Pace (7) Preiss (4) Price (1) Race (3) Robledo (13) Salas (10) Sanches (14) Sanford (1) Shippee (1) Ward (6) Webster (1) Worsham (3)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Finding Great Grandma Kennedy Under Wrong Surname On 1920 U.S. Census

Since my visit to the Family History Library this past February during the 2014 RootsTech conference, I have been focusing more on researching my maternal grandfather's Flanagan and Kennedy lines. These lines have always been problematic for me due to my grandpa being orphaned as a young toddler and then separated from his older brothers. Grandpa knew almost nothing about his parents and his family history.

Sarah KENNEDY (1898-1930) was my grandfather's mother, who died from tuberculosis when he was just 3 years old. I assume Sarah caught TB while nursing my great grandfather Patrick Thomas FLANAGAN (1897-1928), who died from that disease when Grandpa was only 1-1/2 years old.

What I have been able to piece together about Sarah's early life is very little:

  • Born circa 1898 most likely in Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland.
  • Living (1 year old) with her father Joseph KENNEDY (1876-?) in Lonaconing, Aellgany County, Maryland at the time of the U.S. Census. Her mother was living apart, with her parents and siblings in the same town.
  • Married first husband Frank J. WARD (1895-1967) on 25 June 1913 in Mahoning County, Ohio.
  • Was residing in Poland, Mahoning County, Ohio at the time of her wedding.
  • Gave birth to daughter Catherine Mae WARD in 1914.
  • Gave birth to son Joseph A. WARD in 1916.
  • Gave birth to someone named Walter WARD in 1916 (possibly the legal name of Joseph, possibly a twin that died, possibly a 2nd son born within the same year).
  • Gave birth to son Leonard Luther Ward in 1917.
  • By 10 April 1925, she married her second husband (my great grandfather) Patrick Thomas FLANAGAN.
I have been unable to find Sarah yet on the 1910 U.S. Census.

And until June of this year, I had been unable to find Sarah or her  children on the 1920 Census. I solved this mystery when searching for the 1920 U.S. Census record for Sarah's mother Catherine DARNLEY (1878-1926). Even Catherine was hard to find initially, but I managed to identify her enumerated under the surname of her third husband Leonard L. FABRY (1877-?)

It was while reviewing this census record that I discovered Sarah and the children living with Sarah's mother at this time. Oddly, neither Catherine's husband Fabry nor Sarah's husband Ward are indicated as living in the home. I assume from this omission that Sarah had separated from and/or divorced Frank Ward by this time.

Although the children were recorded under the correct last name, that of their father Ward, my great grandmother Sarah was mistakenly recorded under her stepfather's name Fabry. No wonder I could never find a 1920 Census record a Sarah Ward or even a Sarah Kennedy! I don't understand why the census enumerator recorded Sarah's last name as Fabry, since Sarah is described as "married" at this time.

1920 U.S. Census, courtesy of
The following details are extracted from the Fabry household census record:
  • Date: 10 January 1920.
  • Location: Pultney Township, Bellaire, Belmont County, Ohio.
  • Address: 3355 Franklin Street
  • (Line 82) Kathryn Fabey
    • Head of household / Renting
    • Female / White / 41 years old / Married
    • Able to read and write / Speaks English
    • Born in Ohio
    • Father born in Scotland (speaks Scottish)
    • Mother born in England (speaks English)
    • Housekeeper for private family
  • (Line 83) Sarah Fabey
    • Daughter
    • Female / White / 21 years old / Married
    • Able to read and write / Speaks English
    • Born in Pennsylvania
    • Father born in Maryland
    • Mother born in Ohio
    • Not employed
  • (Line 84) Andrew Quinn
    • Son
    • Male / White / 14 years old / Single
    • Able to read and write / Attending School / Speaks English
    • Born in Oklahoma
    • Father born in Maryland
    • Mother born in Ohio
    • Not employed
  • (Line 85) Kathryn Ward
    • Granddaughter
    • Female / White / 6 years old / Single
    • Attending school
    • Born in Ohio
    • Father born in Ohio
    • Mother born in Maryland
  • (Line 86) Joseph A. Ward
    • Grandson
    • Male / White / 3 years 2 months old / Single
    • Born in Ohio
    • Father born in Ohio
    • Mother born in Maryland
  • (Line 87) Leonard L. Ward
    • Grandson
    • Male / White / 2 years 1 month old / Single
    • Born in Ohio
    • Father born in Ohio
    • Mother born in Maryland
Google Street View of block on which the Darnley/Fabry/Ward home was located at 3355 Franklin Street.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#52Ancestors: The Many Husbands Of My 2nd Great Grandmother Catherine Darnley

My 31st entry in Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" family history blogging challenge.
The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.
I have fallen way behind in this challenge again due to continued health issues the last few months, but I am trying to catch up by the end of the year. 

My 31st ancestor is my second great grandmother Catherine DARNLEY (1878-1926). Her name is sometimes spelled Katherine or Cathren.

Discovering Catherine

I did not even know the name of my second great grandmother until March 2012, when I discovered the marriage record for her daughter, my great grandmother Sarah KENNEDY (1898-1930), and Sarah's second husband, my great grandfather Patrick Thomas FLANAGAN (1897-1928). This is also when I first learned the name of my second great grandfather, Catherine's first husband Joseph KENNEDY (1876-?). You see, Sarah died when her youngest son, my grandfather, was only a few years old. And even then, because Sarah had nursed her tuberculosis-ridden husband Patrick (who died in 1928), and then came down with tuberculosis herself, my grandfather and his minor age siblings had been placed in a couple orphanages while Sarah was still alive since Sarah was too ill to care for her children and could have infected them.

My orphaned grandfather never knew the names of his parents, much less his grandparents.

When I stumbled on Sarah and Patrick's marriage record, and saw the name of my second great grandmother (Sarah's mom), I immediately recognized that Sarah named her own first child -- Catherine Mae WARD (1914-1994) -- after her mother.

Marriage record for Sarah Kennedy and Patrick Thomas Flanagan.  Courtesy of

Born 1878 

Catherine Darnley was born January 1878 -- according to the 1900 and 1920 U.S. Censuses --  in Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland. Her parents were James Patterson DARNLEY (b. 1856) from Scotland, and Sarah Ann LLOYD (b. 1859) from England.

Married Joseph Kennedy 1897

According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Catherine married Joseph Kennedy in 1897 at the age of 19. I have not yet found a marriage record for them. As noted in a post I wrote in January, I find Joseph and their one year old infant daughter Sarah (my great grandmother) living in Lonaconing, Allegany County, Maryland for that 1900 Census. Although Joseph claims to still be married to Catherine, she is not listed as living at that residence. Catherine was actually living with her parents and siblings when enumerated on the 1900 Census, in Lonaconing. Catherine too is recorded as being married for 4 years, with one living child. I have no idea if Catherine and Joseph were separated at this time, or perhaps Catherine moved in with her parents temporarily to help care for an ailing parent (there were a bunch of young minor siblings in the home).

I do not know if Catherine and Kennedy divorced, or if he died and left her a widow.

1900 U.S. Census. Joseph and Sarah Kennedy. Courtesy of
1900 U.S. Census. James, Sarah, and daughter Cathren Darnley. Courtesy of

Married Andrew Quinn ca. 1905

Catherine married her second husband around 1905 or 1906, because I find a son named Andrew Quinn mentioned on Catherine's death certificate, as the person who reported her death. This son Andrew's 1929 Pennsylvania marriage record lists his mother as Catherine Darnley (born in Maryland, white, dead by this time) and his father as Andrew QUINN (born in Ireland, white, dead by this time). Since Andrew, Jr. was born in 1906, in Oklahoma, one can infer that his parents married on or before 1906.

I find no marriage record for Catherine and Andrew, nor a 1910 U.S. Census record. The application for Catherine's third marriage indicates that she had been widowed by Quinn.

Marriage record for son Andrew Quinn. Courtesy of

Married Leonard L. Fabry 1911

On 12 September 1911, Catherine Darnley married her third husband Leonard L. FABRY (1877-?) in Bellaire, Belmont County, Ohio. Catherine again moved at some point, from Oklahoma to Bellaire, Ohio. It would appear her daughter Sarah moved with her, because Sarah (at age 14!) got married for the first time, in Mahoning County, Ohio. I don't find any clues indicating that Catherine and Leonard had children together.

Although they do not appear to have had children together, I get the sense that Catherine's daughter Sarah (my great grandmother) considered Fabry to be a father. Because Sarah named her third son Leonard, the same first name as her stepfather. But, perhaps that is just coincidence. I prefer to think the name was in honor of Sarah's stepfather though because 1) I am a stepmom, and 2) Sarah seems to have had an unstable childhood being bounced around between parents and stepfathers, so I would like to think that my great grandmother Sarah finally felt like she had someone who provided her with a sense of home.

Marriage Record for Catherine Darnley and Leonard Fabry. Courtesy of the Family History Library microfilm.

Died 1926

Catherine died 27 January 1926 in Bellaire, Belmont County, Ohio. The death cerificate indicates she was still married to Fabry at the time of her death. Catherine died at home, from something I cannot interpret from the doctor's writing. Son Andrew reported her death. 

She was buried on 28 January 1926 at Rose Hill Cemetery in Bellaire. 

Death certificate for Catherine Darnley. Family History Library microfilm collection.
My second great grandmother Catherine Darnley appears to have had at least a complicated history of marriages. I guess it shouldn't shock me too much to know that her daughter Sarah, my great grandmother, also had some questionable issues with her marriages. See also: 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#52Ancestors: Grand Uncle Patrick Joseph Flanagan Desperately Reunites With My Grandfather

My 30th entry in Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" family history blogging challenge.
The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.
I have fallen way behind in this challenge again due to continued health issues the last few months, but I am trying to catch up by the end of the year. 

My 30th ancestor is my grand uncle Patrick Joseph FLANAGAN (1925-1981).

Uncle Pat and Aunt Mary, 1970s.
Patrick is the only one of my orphaned grandfather's siblings I ever met. Despite Uncle Pat dying in my tween years, my memories of him are vague. When I was a child, he lived near my grandpa, Michael John FLANAGAN (1927-1997)in Southern California. I remember Uncle Pat and his children visiting my grandparents' home on occasion. But, due to my young age, I am sure I never paid much attention to them. The most vivid memory I have of Uncle Pat though is of his death...because Mom would not allow me to attend the funeral. She didn't think funerals were too appropriate for young kids unless it was their immediate family. 

And I definitely remember Grandpa crying...a lot. Grandpa was a huge softie, he cried often. But this was a different type of crying, obvious even to a young tween granddaughter. I learned why once I started wanting to learn about my grandfather's family history, after Grandpa died. Grandpa was crying over the loss of his brother. But, more significantly, Grandpa was heartbroken over the loss of the only biological family member with whom he ever had a real relationship.

Uncle Pat was Grandpa's youngest sibling, his immediately older brother. Both boys were born to my great grandparents Patrick Thomas FLANAGAN (1897-1928) and Sarah KENNEDY (1809-1920), and were possibly the only ones in the big sibling group who were the biological children of both Patrick and Sarah. The other siblings were from prior marriages, and the parentage of brother Harry J. FLANAGAN (1920-1981) remains a mystery. Pat and Mike were orphaned at a very young age, with both parents dead by the time Pat was 5 years old, and my grandfather was 3 years old.

Uncle Pat was the last of the siblings born in Ohio, on 6 June 1925. Bellaire, Ohio, to be exact -- the multi-generation Flanagan family hometown since at least 1920, where I still have cousins. Pat was also the last of the siblings to get baptized in the Flanagan family church, St. John's Catholic Church in Bellaire, on 12 July 1925. A fun bit of family history scandal trivia... my great grandmother Sarah was already pregnant with Uncle Pat when she married my great grandfather on 10 April 1925.

St. John's High School (left) and St. John's Catholic Church (center), 2014.
Creative Commons-licensed photo from Flickr user Joanne C. Sullivan.

The family moved to Buffalo, New York sometime between Uncle Pat's July 1925 christening date, and my grandpa's birth on 23 May 1927, since Grandpa was born in Buffalo.

After their mother, the last living parent, died in 1930, the boys were all placed in a Buffalo orphanage, and were shortly after placed with the Buckley foster family on a nearby farm. Life was not kind to Grandpa or his brothers on the Buckley farm (with the exception of their relationship with foster brother Vern and his wife Edna). Pat and his older brothers all ran away multiple times, although I am told by my mom and her siblings that Uncle Pat remained the longest at the farm, with my grandfather. 

Uncle Pat (left), Grandpa (center), and I think their older brother Harry (right). Grandpa looks like he is in his late teens or early 20s here, so this appears to be one of the times the brothers reunited again briefly after the older brothers ran away. Grandpa was left alone at the foster family farm during his teens.
But, eventually, even Uncle Pat fled for good, leaving Grandpa alone (by at least age 12) without any biological family. They lost touch in their teens, with Grandpa joining the Navy at age 17, serving abroad during and after WWII, marrying in California, moving to Michigan for a while, then shortly moving back to Southern California, where he and my grandmother raised their children.

Mom tells me often how desperate she remembers Grandpa was to find his brothers while Mom was growing up. He had heard that his brother Pat moved to the Pittsburg area. So Grandpa started calling every Pat Flanagan he could find listed in Pittsburg. One day, he reached the right one -- his brother. According to Mom, the brothers were so overjoyed to find each other again and so desperate to be together again, that shortly after that phone call, Uncle Pat packed up his entire family and moved to Southern California near Grandpa.

So when I saw Grandpa crying so intensely over Uncle Pat's death in 1981, I understand now that Grandpa was also mourning for the parents he never got to know, and all of the siblings he did not get to grow up with.

Uncle Pat is buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.