Figuring out when John Dolan Died

Figuring out when John Dolan Died

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In my last post about my Dolan research I wrote about how my Dolan’s were getting all tangled up with the Kelly surname.

I’ve been following the family of John Dolan and Bridget Kelly who lived in San Mateo, California according to the 1880 census. Bridget (Kelly) Dolan’s obituary told me that she was a widow in 1908.  I narrowed down the time John Dolan died to between 1880 and 1908.  That’s really not much help, is it?

I needed to narrow it down the figure further.  There was no 1890 census to refer so the 1900 census was the next best bet.  The 1900 census shows Bridget as head of household and a widow.  I now know that John died between 1880 and 1900.  Still not close enough!

In order to get around the lack of a census for 1890, I decided to check city directories.  I knew that the family lived in San Mateo in 1880 and on Mission Road in San Francisco in 1900.  I went to the San Francisco Genealogy website ( to see if they had city directories in the period I needed.  They had a link to the 1890 city directory–perfect!

I was searching for John or Bridget Dolan with children John E., Michael H., Mary A. Lawrence J., and William T. living with them.  There were no entries for Mission Road or Mission Street, so scratch that idea.  I found a family that seems to fit the description living at “E s Lundy Lane nr Virigina Ave, B.H.”  I’m not sure what that B.H. means!  Going through all the Dolan’s I put together this group:

Dolan, John, teamster

Dolan, John E., cutter

Dolan, Lawrence, Plumber

Dolan, Michael H., shoemaker

I am pretty sure that’s them even though they have different occupations and live on a different street.

So, what’s my next course of action?  I know that John Dolan was alive ca 1890, depending on when the information was gathered.  I should find more city directories to see if I can narrow the gap between 1890 and 1900 as to his date of death.  Once I have that information, I can then search for an obituary. Since those resources aren’t online yet, I’ll spend my times looking for information on the children.  By figuring out who they are, I may stumble upon something that will help me pinpoint the link (or not) to my family.

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