Monday, January 11, 2010

Eureka. I found my matrilineal Great Grandmother.

While I was waiting for a huge order of films to come in, I rethought how I was approaching my research.

Over the Christmas break, I realized that when I had a birth, marriage, or death film, it was far better to focus the research on that roll of film, rather than a specific person.  In other words, go back to the index film for that quarter and year, scan the index, and write down the reference for anybody who might be of interest on the register film.  Then look at the register film and write down the details of all the references.

This method works.  While I was knocking off lookups of Collinses and McCarthys, I found Ellen Hurley.  She was born 6-Jul-1871 in Coolnagarrane (Coolnagrane), exactly where her marriage record said she was from.  And her mother's name was Margaret Hourihane.  Now how cool is that?!?

Well when I go to the Family History Center I don't normally expect to actually FIND somebody important.  On Saturday, I was expecting to spend my day looking over these register films.  But instead I immediately went to the 1901 census film, which I fortunately have on hold.  I found the household record, and it appears that Ellen's father was already deceased.  There were two siblings listed.  One was a younger sister Katie.  Another was a younger sister. Annie.  "Annie" is making a lot of bells clang in my brain, as this could have been Annie Sullivan's mother.

I also ran over to the computer, used the PILOT function on the Family History website, and found the index reference for the marriage of John Hurley and Margaret Hourihane.  So I'll be able to find out where Ellen's mother was from.  I've already got that marriage information on order.  So now I have a new obsession to pursue - Hourihane.

It turns out that one of my Internet genealogy buddies emailed the basic information about this Ellen Hurley to me a few months ago.  Only the information was very general for Skibbereen, it didn't say where in Skibbereen these Hurleys were.  My buddy also found a few other siblings.  So I know much more about the Hurleys now.

I also found the birth record for Ellen McCarthy Maher.  She was born 15-Sep-1869 in Tooreen.  Her mother was Mary McCarthy McCarthy.  I still do not know her relationship to Greatgrandmother Margaret McCarthy Collins.  But we are one step closer to finding out.

The real Ellen Hurley ended up being four years older than I was lead to believe from census and death records.  Ellen McCarthy Maher ended up being five years older.  This just goes to show how difficult it can be to find somebody!

More later...