I decided to put in some time on my Dolan’s this weekend since I’m all juiced up to solve their mystery. When I started, I knew that Catherine Dolan married Martin Kelly ca 1840. Little did I know that Dolan families would work their way into the tree over multiple generations.
As I was going over the 1880 US Census I found Patrick Dolan, Catherine’s brother. I thought Patrick had married Mary Coyne back in Massachusetts. However, I found Patrick and Mary living with Mary’s mother, Bridget Kelly. This doesn’t necessarily mean Mary isn’t a Coyne, but it sure complicates things. Maybe Bridget was married more than once. I don’t really know. Now I have two Kelly families in the tree.
I decided to focus on ol’ Unknown Dolan, possibly named John. I found his widow in the 1900 census, then his married children in the 1910 census. His son, Michael, had a curious person living with him. An Uncle named, Michael Kelly. At first I got all excited. Could this be Michael Kelly, son of Martin & Catherine? He would have been Michael Dolan’s cousin. But, being older, he might have earned “Uncle” as a title of respect. I didn’t really think so, but you know, one can always hope.
I decided to try to locate Bridget Dolan’s obituary. She died sometime between 1900 and 1910. The San Francisco Call Newspaper is online at the Library of Congress website and that’s the newspaper I needed.
It wasn’t too difficult to find her obituary. She died in 1908. But, guess what? Michael Kelly was her brother, so her maiden name was Kelly. These Kelly’s were from Galway not Roscommon, so they probably weren’t related to my family.
Undaunted, I decided to find Michael Dolan’s marriage announcement. Wouldn’t you know it? There is was right there in the newspaper and he married Mary Kelly!
I now have four seemingly unrelated Kelly families all marrying into my Dolan tree. It makes me think that the Genealogy Gods are playing a joke on me and they think this is really funny. Ha! Ha! Ha!
The important thing is that I don’t jump to some sort of conclusion that they are all related. Kelly is akin to Smith and their were alot of them in San Francisco at the turn of the century.
I hope I don’t find anymore Kelly’s unless it’s really clear that they are related to Martin Kelly. I think I’ve collected enough of them already.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com