About My Ancestors · Irish Roots

The Problem with Patrick Dolan’s Obituary

Again on the trail of the Dolan family…

I have Patrick Dolan’s obituary, which started this whole mess, I mean, adventure.  The obituary proves that Patrick Dolan is my gr gr gr Uncle, but it leaves much to be desired in sorting out his unknown brother.  The only facts it presents is that he is the Uncle of William and Michael Dolan.

I’ve used the census and other records to determine which Dolan family William and Michael belong to.  The closest is a family headed by John and Bridget Dolan with children Mary A., Michael H., John E., William T., and Lawrence J.

Here’s my problem.  Where the heck are the rest of the nieces and nephews in Patrick Dolan’s obituary?  Does the absence of their names mean John and Bridget are not the right family?  Since Mary (Kelly) Meincke and the Dolan’s owned boarding houses on the same road, wouldn’t that mean that she knew her cousins?

Sometimes in genealogy you have to take a leap of faith and use awhole lot of brain cells.  In the obituary, the loved ones are William and Michael Dolan, Matt Kelly, Kate McSweeden [sic], and Mary Meincke.  What happened to Michael Kelly, Mary’s brother?   Perhaps he was dead at that time.

Patrick Dolan’s will was reinstated in 1907.  He had no descendants.  His wife, mother-in-law, and a possible daughter preceded him in death. The will was contested by relatives from Boston.  Bridget Wall, Mary Collis, and Thomas Coyne contested the will.  Mary Meincke (administratix), Matthew Kelly, and Catherine McSweegan are listed as known descendants.  However, William and Michael Dolan aren’t listed at all.

There are pages and pages of testimony.  Yet, the Dolan’s were not brought in to testify.  Nor were my relatives, the Jones family,

The omission of relatives in the contested will proceedings gives me hope that Mary Meincke in her grief forgot some names when giving the information for the obituary. Mary completely ommited the relatives from Boston. Since Patrick’s original will was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, I don’t know if he knew of all his nieces and nephews.  Who knows?  He may have written them out of the will and said so!  It’s hard to say how well the Dolan cousins knew each other even those living in San Francisco.  It still bothers me that their names weren’t listed in the obituary or will.  I hope some day to sort it all out.

2 thoughts on “The Problem with Patrick Dolan’s Obituary

  1. Hi,

    My Grandmother was Catherine Ann McSweegan. dob. August 1873,in East Hartford Connecticut. dod 12/26/1944 in Hartford, Connecticut Maiden name Dacey. Married David Francis McSweegan 10/30/1895.

    Having done genealogy for fifteen years I have not run across anyone named Patrick Dolan.

    Good Luck,

    Don McSweegan

  2. Hi, My Grandfather was Edward Matt Dolan. Lived in Walnut Creek. I would like to know more about him heard he had a big family that had a lumber yard called Dolan’s Lumber in The bay area Tall blues all Irish

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