Vita brevis; genealogia longa

Tombstone Tuesday: John KELLY (1840-1905)

John Kelly's grave marker

Kelly, John grave marker, St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Union City, Randolph, Indiana, USA; photograph by Suzanne Stamper-Youmans, 23 Apr 2008. Digital copy privately held by Jean Marie Diaz, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Linden, California. 2009.

John KELLY is my second great-grandfather. He’s one of the more elusive characters in my tree… at least of the ones whose names I know. Thanks to a fortuitous error by an overzealous census enumerator in 1920, I know he and his wife hail from County Tipperary, Ireland. However, while he’s consistently listed as naturalized, I’m not convinced that the naturalization papers found in Darke County, Ohio are actually for him, because at the time they were filed, he was living in Miami County! What about naturalizations there, you say? None for John Kelly! And then there’s the mystery of his eldest daughter, who is consistently (across six censuses) listed as being born in Canada… well after the dates given for John’s immigration. (All her siblings were born in Ohio or Indiana, which makes sense as they were living near the state line.) Did John go back to Ireland to get his wife, and take enough time at it for their first child to be born on the way back? Mysteries.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: