Saturday, February 25, 2012

How I Found Mrs. Patrick Kelly, Daughter of Daniel Larkins

Throughout my several years of doing family history research, my Irish ancestors on my mom's Larkins side have caused me to encounter many brick walls! I often ran into the name of "Mrs. Patrick Kelly" as a daughter of Daniel and Johannah Larkins. Mrs. Patrick Kelly, also known as Mary Larkins Kelly, is my Third Great Grandaunt. For a long time, I thought I would never find a Mary Larkins or a Patrick Kelly, with such common Irish first and last names! One day I found a Patrick and Mary Kelly living in Springfield, in Clark County, Ohio, with two small children, in the 1860 Census. It seemed logical, since the Mad River Railroad ran from Sandusky to Springfield at that time, and perhaps Patrick worked for the railroad, and ended up in Springfield. Below is a marriage record of Patrick Kelly and Mary Larkins, from Clark County, Ohio on November 21, 1849, accessed at Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950 on Family Search.

Since the obituaries of Daniel and Johannah Larkins stated that Mrs. Patrick Kelly resided in Elgin, Illinois, I decided to contact the Elgin Genealogical Society in Elgin, Illinois. The Research Associates of the Elgin Genealogical Society, for a very reasonable fee, provided me with death records, probate records, and obituaries of both Patrick and Mary Kelly. I was absolutely amazed at what was in that special envelope from Elgin! It turned out that Patrick had been born in Ireland in 1824. He first settled in Ohio, and in 1877 he brought his family to Elgin, Illinois, where he was the first janitor of the Elgin City Hall building. His obituary, which appeared in the Elgin Daily News of April 24, 1908, stated that "He was a man of genial disposition and always ready with some witty replay or anecdote." Mary Larkins Kelly passed away on December 14, 1914 in Elgin, Illinois. Her obituary provided details of her life, which included making quilts for all her children and grandchildren. She was known for her kindness in times of sickness and death, and she had endeared herself to large number of people in Elgin.

The death record of Mary Kelly is pictured below, in four different images. The left side of the first portion of her death record lists Mary's name and death date, which was December 14, 1914. She died at 4:40 p.m. Her residence had been 204 Villa Street in the 5th Ward of Elgin, Illinois.

Cause of death was listed as bronchial pneumonia and senility.

The second portion of Mary Kelly's death record listed her husband's name, Patrick Kelly. Her occupation was housewife. The undertaker was listed as the Wait & Ross Co.

On the right side of the second portion of the death record of Mary Kelly, stated are her birth date, 1830, and the names of her parents: Daniel Larkin and Johanna Skahanke. Mary had resided in Elgin for 35 years.

Mrs. Mary Larkins Kelly, and her husband Patrick Kelly, who had died on April 24, 1908, were both buried in the Bluff City Cemetery. Though I have never yet had a chance to visit their grave sites, the Elgin Genealogical Society provided me with a map of the cemetery, noting the exact Lot and Section numbers. I do hope to make the trip one day, to see where my dear Irish relatives were buried.

My journey to find Mrs. Patrick Kelly included searching census records, obituaries from Sandusky, along with outstanding research assistance from the Elgin Genealogical Society. It was a fun journey, and I was eventually able to touch base with some descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Kelly now residing in Washington State. Genealogy is SUCH a wonderfully rewarding hobby!


Shelley Bishop said...

Well done, Dorene! Your experience is a great reminder of the tremendous assistance that local genealogical societies can provide. That's a resource I need to use more often. Don't you just love the personal detail in those obituaries?

Dorene from Ohio said...

Shelley, I was so thrilled when the Elgin Genealogical Society was so thorough in their research. They went above and beyond the call of duty!