Saturday, March 9, 2013

Surname Saturday: Bridget Corcoran from Ireland

This will be a very short post, indeed! As you likely know, Surname Saturday, is a very useful blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers and if you follow here you can see how I relish each Saturday's work because it brings me to see what's missing. As I step through the generations, and now we're into Generation 5, I can see where the tree is well built out and where there are dead ends or holes. This week we're stumbling into a big hole.

Our focus is my 2nd great grandmother, Bridge Corcoran. As you'll see in short order, her life is pretty much a mystery. But never mind, we've only just begun! Our Irish ancestors and their records, that are a complete mystery to me now, will be tackled one fine day. So here we go and let me share what Mom and I know now.

1. Diane K. Weintraub (me)

2. Francis Patrick Kelly 1916 - 2007
3. Virginia Williams Kelly, living and loving it!

4. John Lee "Lee" Kelly 1892 -1969
5. Helen Gertrude Zeller 1894 - 1985

8. Francis Patrick Kelly 1854 - 1923
9. Christiana Eckhart 1861 - 1932

16. John Kelly 1829 - 1891
17. Bridgit Corcoran 1830 - after 1910
John and Bridget were both born in Ireland. We know that John was born in Shannonbridge, in Clonmacnoise Parrish, County Offaly, but haven't a clue as to where Bridget was born... and without a town and a county we're outta luck with our Irish research.

John came to the United States, met Bridget and married here. They married 21 June 1848 in Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland. They are there in Cumberland in the 1850 US census with Mary, age one year.
In the 1860 US census John is living in Frostburg which is about six miles west of Cumberland, and working as a carpenter. My GGF Francis Patrick, has arrived on the scene and is just 5 years old.
Right now I'm busy looking for this family in the 1870 US census and not having much luck. Have tried alternate spellings and looking for one of the other family members: you know, all the usual tricks. I'll keep trying even if I have to browse the territory from Frostburg to Cumberland page by page.
In the census for 1880 the family is there and we have a pretty good picture of them living in Eckhart, Allegany, Maryland right adjacent to Frostburg where they lived in the 1860 census.  Mary is 18 years old and living 2 doors down with a family named Graham as a servant. My great grandfather Frank Kelly was living at home and working as a blacksmith. Unfortunately for me, who wants every detail to be on the census, John Kelly the head of the house, is simply listed as laborer.
In 1900 Bridget is 69 years old, listed as a widow and living in Eckhart, Allegany, Marylnad with her son John age 28 and next door to her son Thomas who is head of household at age 32. Both boys are working in the coal mines.
The 1910 census was a bother because the surname variation was Kelley, a common enough thing. I visited the record and this time entered a variation on to help others find this family. In the 1910 census Bridget is 81 and living in the same place with her son John who is 39 and not employed. Low and behold, right next door is my great grandfather, Francis P. Kelly, a conductor on the railroad, and his entire family including my grandfather Lee Kelly who is 18 and working as a brakeman on the railroad!
Bridget died some time after that census but exactly where and when is missing.
For years we thought that her surname was spelled Corkrane, but further records searches showed that it was absolutely Corcoran! Imagine our surprise, but not too much when you pronounce both versions:)
They had eight children:
Mary Ann Kelly 1849 - ????
8. Francis Patrick Kelly 1854 - 1923
Catherine Elizabeth Kelly 1857 - ????
Michael Kelly 1859 - 1909
Margaret Kelly 1862 - ????
Theresa Kelly 1860 - ????
Thomas Kelly 1868 - ????
John Kelly 1872 - ????

End of the line and the beginning of the work yet to be done. We know exactly where John Kelly is buried but have not the foggiest clue as to where Bridget lies. Checking on FindAGrave, we find a burial for a Bridget Kelly in a close-by community. We need to track this one down in person and see what the grave reveals, if anything. Are there other Kelly family members there?

UPDATE: Bridget is buried next to John!!

So much to do, so little time!!

Mom found the tombstone of #16. John Kelly 1829 - 1891
in St. Michael's Cemetery in Frostburg, Maryland
inscribed with his birth and death dates and the
place of his birth as Shannonbridge, Clonmacnoise, Ireland.

It was because of the tombstone above that we were able to visit
the historical site of Clonmacnoise on the Shannon River
as well as the towm of Shannonbridge on our trip to Ireland.

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