I thought I had found my great-great-grandmother Ellen Cronin Hegarty in the 1911 census, living with her widower son-in-law Michael Phipps. Her age was mistranscribed, but I opened the image of the page and she was 67. She is listed as single with no children, and her role in the family is scrawled unclearly, but what other elderly Ellen Hegarty would be living with this man who wasn’t his mother-in-law?
However, I found that census entry by searching through the images at Ireland’s National Archives site. Since then, the 1911 Irish census has been indexed at Ancestry.com. Ancestry’s search turned up another 1911 census image for an Ellen Hegarty who is a 67-year-old widow sharing a house with someone, still working as a housekeeper, and the mother of 15 children of whom 5 survive. That sounds like it fits my actual ancestor much better. She is also living on the same street as someone who might be her son.
But if this new independent housekeeper person is my great-great-grandmother, then who is the Ellen Hegarty living with the Phipps? Could it possibly be Michael Phipps’s late wife’s maiden aunt, and that scrawl is for “Aunt”? What did widows and maiden aunts tend to do in 1911 in Cork?
And why is Ancestry’s index finding things that I didn’t find in my fairly methodical searching?
It needs more looking into but it’s late at night so I will wait until I am fresh.
I am mostly posting this so I will remember what my thinking was when I return to this problem.
You win some, you lose some. I’m in the process of writing up what I know of the Hegarty family history in Register style. I’m finding the process really helpful in establishing what I do and don’t know, what I do and don’t have sources for. Already I have made some changes. When I have my new Hegarty outline done I’ll post it up in place of the now outdated history that’s up there on the sidebar, and then start on the other lines.
I think I was wrong about the link to the Fitzgeralds. In reality, I don’t know where John Hegarty was born and I don’t feel comfortable narrowing it any further than County Cork in general, so I really can’t seek him in a particular parish marriage record. During this time period people were moving into Cork City in large numbers due to the famine, and just because someone was married or baptized a child in a Cork City parish doesn’t mean they were born in that parish as well.
This same new understanding expanded my search for Cronins. I found Ellen Cronin mis-transcribed in the 1911 census of Ireland, and the census provided her age. I calculated back to her birthdate and did a search of baptismal records for Ellen Cronins born in 1844 with a father named Cornelius, and there was only one! Married to a Foley — so I have a new ancestor. I’m not guaranteeing I have everything right yet, but I feel like I have made headway by working the census alongside the baptismal records.
In other research news, I tried out the new FamilySearch family tree wiki but I don’t like it. Too much clicking! It throws up potential matches from other people or records, but the majority of the matches are not actually matches and each requires two clicks to dismiss. When one record had 99 matches, I decided I didn’t want to work that hard for FamilySearch.
1. You may recall that in March someone complained about Hegarty inaccuracies, specifically that Hanora Hegarty (b. 1878, Cork City) had not married but had instead perished in the Titanic disaster. However, that unfortunate Nora is a different person who was born in 1894 and lived in Whitechurch, not Cork City. So that’s one question settled.
2. A new question arises about Ellen Cronin (b. 1852) who married Michael Hegarty. I have very solid evidence for her place in my tree: family narratives, her marriage registration, and baptism records for her children. However, someone on Ancestry.com has contacted me to inquire because they have the same woman married to an Ahearn in the same parish, complete with marriage record and baptism records for the subsequent Ahearn kids. It’s not a second marriage because my Ellen Cronin is still having little Hegartys after the Ahearn/Cronin marriage date. So, it seems that there were two Ellen Cronins with fathers named Cornelius living in the same parish at the same time. Right now I don’t have enough information to resolve the question so I am just placing a big question mark here for now.
3. Also in the Hegarty tree is Julia Foster (1898-1977) who married William Libby. They are listed in the 1930 census in Dedham, Massachusetts, but I didn’t know anything more about William Libby. Well, the “hints” function on Ancestry.com pointed me at the 1920 census too, where they are listed as the family of William Lebowitz. William shows up with his Hungarian parents in the 1900 census in Utica, NY as Wolf Leborvitch. So that’s why there weren’t any Libbys showing up; “melting pot” name changes.