Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mystery Monday - Mystery Solved

It all started with a short clipping of a death notice in the Hazleton, Pennsylvania newspaper. It alerted me to my 2nd great grandfather's niece who I didn't know existed and to a sister I didn't know existed.

The Plain Speaker, 22AUG1903, pg 1

Now I can finally put Mrs John Dever (Nellie/Ellen Dever nee Reilly), her mother Margaret Reilly nee Barrett, and Mrs. John Mulhearn (Ellen Mulhearn nee Barrett) in my family tree.

Excerpt from Patrick Barrett's death certificate

I knew from Patrick's death certificate that his father's name was Edward Barrett and his mother was Mary Merrick. I head never heard of the surname Merrick before, but I was hesitant to add the names to my tree because the information was second-hand and given when someone was grieving. I needed more before including it.

While Nellie Dever's mom was only referred to as Mrs. Charles Reilly in her obituary I found her death certificate online, but it wasn't as clear cut as I would have liked.

Excerpt from Margaret Reilly nee Barrett's death certificate

Her daughter (also named Margaret) gave the information for her death certificate and it seems the elder Margaret's husband's name found it's way into the place of "father" on the certificate. I'd have dismissed this certificate entirely if it wasn't for seeing her mother listed as "Mary Merrick." Seeing that is what led me to believe that the father's name was most certainly wrong.

So there I was trying to see if Patrick Barrett and Margaret Reilly nee Barrett were siblings. The assumption is that they are, but you need more than assumptions. I went through all of the news clippings I could find on the Reillys and Devers and didn't find anything else I could use to solidify the connection. I went to sleep knowing that I was missing something. Something that was obvious. I couldn't sleep. I spent too much time thinking through this problem. When I woke up the next morning I knew what I needed to check.

In the initial clipping that led me to the niece of Patrick Barrett I had completely overlooked the other sister...Mrs. John Mulhearn. I didn't know her first name, but if my deductions were right she'd be another sibling to Patrick and Margaret. I found her death certificate. Her name was Ellen. Just like her niece Nellie/Ellen Devers nee Reilly.

Excerpt of Ellen Mulheron nee Barrett's death certificate

Their similar names was great and all, but I was interested in the information on her parents to finally make or dispel this theory. I found what I was looking for.

Her parents were indeed Edward and Mary Barrett nee Merrick. The information was given by what appears to be a nursing home. They were obviously given all of her information by her family. I also have a county in Ireland now. County Mayo. Who knows if it's right, but it's a new lead to take. Hopefully I'll finally be able to jump the pond!