I was hoping that the East Providence marriage index I ordered from the Family History Library might shed some light on the mystery of Catherine Creegan. It did, but not without some further digging…
Catherine Creegan was Mom and Uncle Bud’s maternal grandmother, born in Rhode Island in either 1853 or 1855. My assumption was that Catherine was the sister of Bridget Creegan, who married John W. Shields in 1875, connecting the Farrars, and later the Dunns, with the Sheilds, but the dates of birth of the sisters recorded in the 1900 census didn’t match up with birth and other records. It now looks like the census birth dates were wrong.
Catherine’s husband was Daniel Farrar, a native of England, almost twenty years older than her. Their first child was a son, Daniel, born in 1885. I didn’t find a marriage matching Catherine Creegan and Daniel Farrar in the Rhode Island marriage index, so I gave the East Providence index a try. There was only one marriage involving a Daniel Farrar in the time period covered (1862-1947), but that was to a Catherine J. Reagan, in 1883.
It didn’t really seem likely that Mom had her grandmother’s maiden name wrong, so I tried the possibility that Catherine had been married to someone else, named Reagan, prior to marrying Daniel Farrar. And that looks very likely: the Rhode Island Marriage Index records a marriage on February 1, 1872, between Catherine J. Creegan and Jeremiah Regan. Catherine would have been 18 or 19 years old. Her husband is likely the same Jeremiah Regan whose death is recorded in the Rhode Island Death Index on 30 Dec 1876, just four years after the marriage. All of this is bolstered by the 1880 census, which records Catherine J. Regan, widowed daughter of Philip Cregan, living in East Providence. On the very same census sheet, just three doors down the street, is a widower named Daniel Farrar!