A couple of years ago I found out that one of my great great grandfathers was from Ireland. That was essentially all I knew about him. His name was Patrick Connolly and the earlier mention I find of him is a marriage record in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1840′s. I connected to him through the census and marriage records of his daughter, Sarah, my great grandmother.
Though I had Patrick and his family in three mid-19th century census takings, he then vanished from my sights. There were three records that could have been for him, a marriage in 1879 (his first wife died fairly young) and a 1900 census and 1903 death record. Those three records were for the same person but were they for my Patrick?
The 1900 census said he was a naturalized citizen so I went in search of his naturalization records. There was one that seemed probable but while it gave me a firm birthdate, none of the other records give an exact birth date. But it also said he was from the county of Dublin. Interesting but not conclusively linked to either set of Patrick records.
I finally hit on the idea of contacting the Salem Public Library and the kind librarians there did a search for an obituary. Though very brief that obituary was enough to connect the early and late records together. The census, marriage and death records were for one Patrick Connolly and that was my great great grandfather!
I still have nothing to confirm the naturalization record is for him but the circumstantial evidence seems strong. I’m hoping I can use the parent names listed on his death certificate and the birth place and date listed in the naturalization to connect them together. That will depend on finding a record of his birth in Dublin County. I’ve no idea what my odds are for that but that is where the mystery will take me next (virtually if not physically).