The clue on the gravestone

When I located Bridget Sheehan’s grave at St. John’s, it provided some important information- the death dates of her sons, and the surprising fact that Michael and Bridget had had a daughter Mary, who had died in infancy. It was the discovery of Mary that got me thinking about another possibility.

I’d noticed that Bridget’s daughters were named after her sisters- Margaret after Maggie Sheehan of Mechanicville, Julia and Nellie after the two sisters who remained in Ireland. If Bridget another, earlier daughter named Mary, did that mean she had yet another sister named Mary?

I confirmed that possibility last night from information in the International Genealogical Index maintained by the Mormon’s Family History Library. That database has a record of the birth on 16 October 1875 for a Mary Sheehan, parents Patrick Sheehan and Bridget Doody. The same database also has records for Maggie and Uncle Ned, but not, unfortunately, the other siblings.

The dates are not exact matches for the existing information I had for Ned and Maggie, especially in the case of Maggie, who would be 4 or 5 years older than some of the census records show.  The census records aren’t consistent with each other, however- in 1900 Maggie is said to be 20, in 1910 she’s 27, in 1920 she’s 36, and 47 in 1930. The 1900 record would place her birth in about 1880, the  last three in about 1883. The birthdate given in the IGI for Maggie is 9 Mar 1878, which isn’t inconceivable (no pun intended) based on her children’s birth dates. She would have had her first child at 26, her second at 34.

I haven’t had any luck yet in tracking down what became of Mary- did she emigrate, or stay behind?

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