Blogger Amy Johnson Crow has challenged us with writing about an Ancestor once a week for the year 2019. She will give us prompts to get us started. This week's prompt is Surprise.
This week’s challenge is Surprise. Many years ago, I searched and found the Mother’s name of my husband’s grandfather. Thomas J. Murphy’s mother was Honora Quinlan.
One of the first things I check when I am looking at a new family is the Census Records. The records put the family together at a particular time and place. I knew Thomas J. Murphy was born about 1877 from family and then his death certificate. The 1880 Census would be the first census he was enumerated. I found the family in 1880 in Brooklyn at 517 Court St. The family consisted of John, the head of household, his wife Nora (short for Honora), Mary, Patrick, Thomas and Maggie. Also, in the household was Mary Quinlan, mother-in-law of John. This was how I found the maiden name for Honora/Nora.
I then found Honora’s siblings, Jane, Margaret and Michael. Many years later more documents became available on-line. The wills of people who died in Brooklyn were digitized and I started checking everyone to see if they had a will. I wasn’t going to check the Quinlan’s or Murphy’s at first figuring they were not a rich family, but I checked anyway. I found the will of Honora’s sister Margaret from 1904, (she never married so was still Quinlan). This was a surprise at first that someone in the family had a will at all.
The most surprising thing about the will was that she left her estate to her sister, Honora, and her BROTHER, Alexander! Not once in all the years and documents I had found, did it mention this brother. Margaret’s sister Jane died 8 years before her so was not mentioned in the will. Her brother Michael also died before her in 1879.
It pays to check out all new databases you never know what surprises you will find.