Recently I had been trying to find death records for a couple, immigrants from Galway to Rosendale, Ulster County, New York who are ancestors of a genealogy client. The husband passed away in 1887 but I could find nothing in the New York Death Index nor in any newspaper or other likely resource for his wife no matter how I spelled their last name, which was Reilly / O’Reilly. She could have died elsewhere but before trying that angle, I decided to look for a subsequent marriage.
At her husband’s death, Catherine (Lynch) Reilly was approximately 47 and had given birth to 12 children over about 28 years of marriage. Looking for a Catherine Reilly who married after 1887 in Ulster County, New York in the New York State Marriage Index 1881-1967 on Ancestry.com I found an 8 Jun 1891 marriage to a Daniel Murphy in the town of Rosendale. The index provides only the names of the parties, the date and town, not their ages or marital status or whether this is their first or second marriage, so we don’t know if this is the right Catherine Reilly.
Findmypast.com now has transcriptions of baptisms and marriages for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York which includes Rosendale. This database contains a 7 Jun 1892 marriage for a Daniel Murphy and Catherine “Rully” which I think must be the same marriage though it is off by one year and also one day. Unfortunately this record does not provide any new information except the church, St. Peter’s.
Looking for this couple in the 1900 U.S. census we find them in Rosendale. Daniel is age 40 and Catherine is age 56, putting her birth within the range she has given in other records and lining up with her age on the 1867 passenger list on which she appears. They have been married nine years, putting their wedding about 1891. The 1900 census also asked women how many children they had had, and Catherine’s answer is the expected 12. She also says she arrived in the U.S. in 1868, only one year off from the passenger list.
I feel fairly confident that Catherine (Lynch) Reilly married Daniel Murphy, and that she is likely the Catherine Murphy who died in Rosendale 21 Jan 1904. I have not been able to find a church record for Catherine’s first marriage in Ireland in about 1859, but it would not be likely to name her parents. However the civil record for this late marriage should provide us with that information, as should her 1904 death certificate, though the marriage data would likely have been provided by Catherine herself so is more reliable evidence.
It is a good idea to look for subsequent marriages for women who have “disappeared” even when their husbands are findable and claiming to be widowed–divorced people often list themselves as widowed, I assume because of the stigma of divorce.
For years I searched for the death of my relative Caroline Isabella Fuller, born 1856 in Dorchester, Mass. She married Barnstable native Julius Bartlett Brown in 1878, but the 1900 census finds Julius “widowed” and living with his brother. Naturally I assumed Caroline had died before the 1900 census, though I could never find a record.
Eventually I found her 1888 marriage to another Brown from Cape Cod, South Yarmouth native and railroad brakeman Peleg T. The record does not indicate her marital status but does say this is her second marriage and provides her parents’ names and her birthplace. Sadly Peleg died from “traumatic amputation of arm” after a workplace accident in 1909.
Still finding no death information for the right Caroline Brown after 1909, I searched for a third marriage. I found that Caroline married Charles Leander Webster in Provincetown in 1917 and died in 1924–almost a quarter century after her first husband listed himself as a widower–and is buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester with her second husband Peleg T. Brown. Her gravestone gives her name as C. I. Brown Webster.