Finding Family

December 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

With the last post published (see Conroy & Coakley) I had intended to take a break from active research and blogging, and to focus on the holiday season, my family, and some other similar things. However, as it turns out, it seems there was a little more work to do, and new discoveries to report. Hopefully this will be it for the year.

Near the beginning of November I had sent away for a death certificate for a certain Evelyn Harney, the daughter in-law of my great-grand aunt, Ellen Conroy. I had one main goal in doing this and that was to attempt to discover the name of a potentially living relative whom I might contact. In a  death certificate the person listed as the informant, or the individual providing personal details about the deceased, is usually a family member, or next of kin. Evelyn’s husband, Thomas Harney, had passed away a few years earlier, but if I had requested his death certificate it was likely that Evelyn herself would be listed as the informant, not one of their children. Hence, going after the spouse who dies second holds the most promise for a name. In the event that no informant is listed, or it is a name that does not seem familiar, the next best thing is to have the place where they were buried listed. If that should occur you can then contact the cemetery directly and get information regarding who is buried as well as any details on plot ownership, which often includes the name and address of the next of kin.

In my case I got lucky, and sure enough, the name of Evelyn and Thomas’ daughter was listed, only now a married woman herself. It would also be revealed that the Conroy/Harney clan had continued to call Newton, Massachusetts their home for several generations. In addition, Evelyn’s parents’ names were listed and I have been able to already start making significant connections in my research regarding them, including a bombshell of a discovery I will mention later.

As for contacting Evelyn’s daughter I believe her to still be living and I have even found references to her own offspring and their families online. I intend to write her a letter and I hope to hear back. I can only hope that my communication will be received positively. It would be amazing to be able to establish a connection with living family members in my home state, and indeed a town in which I worked for a while.

US Census showing the Coole family, with Evelyn and her brother Simeon.

Evelyn’s maiden name was Coole and it appears that her family hailed from Newfoundland, Canada. I have managed to discover more than one individual with related family trees on Ancestry.com, and in the process of viewing those I made a startling discovery. Evelyn had a brother name Simeon, after their father, who apparently lived and died in Littleton, Massachusetts, the very town in which I was raised. In fact, he was even living there while I was kid, going to school and growing up. I think he may have married but I haven’t conformed that yet. It is simply stunning to me to find this out. He is for sure a distant relative, but a connection can still be made. All the same it is quite exciting. We’ll have to see what comes from it….

In the meantime, I now turn my attention to the holidays and the end of the year. With the coming new year I plan to get going with another of my passions, beekeeping. But, rest assured, a Junkie can never stay away too long, and I’m sure I’ll have more to report soon enough. I also hope to get some of the other pages on the blog finished, such as the resources and research focus areas. Until then, Happy Holidays.

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