Friday, March 15, 2013

The Saga of My Search for Great Grandpa Mathers

This was published in "The Irish Family History Forum's" newsletter dated March-April 2003

During the many years I have researched my Mathers/Mathews family line, I found only a few things about my Great Grandfather William Mathers.  He was born in Ireland in Tyrone.  He married in Castlefin, Donegal.  He immigrated to New York and raised a large family while working as a shoemaker in New York City.

I have been researching many years and have asked every family member if they knew anything about William Mathers.  No one remembered any mention of him in any family stories except that he was a shoemaker.

I searched all the documents I could find, birth, marriage, census, naturalization and found his marriage and naturalization records.  I found him with his family in the 1870 through 1900 census.  I then found his wife alone in the 1910 census.  I also traced him in the New York City directories up until 1902.

So I finally narrowed it down to circa 1902 that he died.  I then searched the Death Index for New York City.  I found several Mathers/Mathews/Matthews in 1902-1920 indexes and sent for the certificates through the Family History Center.  No luck!

I thought I would never find when he died and where he was buried.  I wrote letters to all my relatives asking them to check any burial plots they might own to see if he was buried with some of his children's families.  He wasn't found in any cemetery plots.

Years passed and no information was found.  One day while at the library with not much to do, I looked again at the Death Index for New York City for 1902.  There mixed in with the Mathers, Mathews, and Matthews was a MATTHERS.  Well that is odd I thought, no one would spell it that way and how come I never noticed that before?  So I sent for the certificate.

Joy!  It was my William Mathers buried in Calvary Cemetery in 1902.  I immediately called the cemetery to find out how much it would cost to get the internment list for the cemetery plot.  I received another wonderful gift.  The woman had me hold on for a minute while she looked it up and proceeded to give me all the information on the two people buried in the plot with William Mathers.  The correct spelling was used in the Cemetery records. She didn't charge me and told me to have a great day!!!!

I have learned much from this experience.  Look over all your notes and check back on records you looked at before, you might have missed something.  You also might have more clues than the last time you looked at the records.

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