California Genealogy · General Genealogy · New York Roots · Vital Records

These Death Certificates Complicate Things

I thought it would be a nice addition to my brother-in-law’s Christmas present if I found his Higgins line.  So many databases have been added to the web since I last tackled this line two years.  I might get lucky.

What I know:

1.  His great grandmother was Margaret Higgins

2.  She was born in Ireland about 1840.

3.  She married Dennis Patrick Murphy around 1860, most likely in New York.

4.  In 1870 and 1890, the family lived in Queensbury, Warren County, NY

5.  Margaret is a widow before 1880.

6.  Margaret is living with daughter, Mary in 1900.

7.  A photograph dated 1906 says “Margaret Higgins Murphy, South Carolina”.  This coincides with a family tradition that Margaret went to South Carolina to live with family.

8.  Margaret died in South Carolina in 1913.  Her body was shipped back to Glens Falls, Washington (Warren) County, NY to be buried with Dennis.

I had already tracked Margaret through the 1900 US Census.  I could not find her in NY or SC in 1910.

I decided to see what familysearch.org had on South Carolina.  Aha!  They have the South Carolina death certificates.  I searched for Margaret Murphy and found a certificate which I believe is hers.  There are problems though (aren’t there always?).

First the similarities.

It says that Margaret was living in Charleston for 2 years.

She was 82 years old and was born in Ireland.

She was buried in Glens Falls.

She was a widow when she died.

Perfect…right?

The problems…

Margaret’s death date is 10 May 1917–not 1913.  I can live with this.  Families often get dates mixed up.

Her parents were Enneas O’Leary and Mary O’Connor.  O’Leary? O’Connor?  What happened to Higgins?

It’s possible the family got confused on her maiden name.  Maybe she was married between 1900 and 1917 to someone named Higgins.

I would need corroborating evidence to figure this one out.  The informant on the death certificate was Mrs. Wm. Leach on 25 Mill Street.  If I was lucky, this would be Margaret’s sister.

I found Mary’s death certificate but it only makes things cloudier.  Mary’s daughter is the informant.  She gives Mary’s parents as Jerry O’Leary and ??? O’Connor.  Hmmm…Jerry might come from Gerald or Jeremiah, but Enneas?

I did do some research in 1850 and 1860 to see if I could find the O’Leary’s in the census.  I wasn’t successful.  It’s possible that Mary and Margaret came over as adults, so I’m not even sure their parents were in the US.

I do believe these are my people.  Now I have to figure out how to link them together and how to figure out the true name of their father.

I think my best bet is to find Margaret’s obituary.  I’m not sure how to find an obituary for Charleston or Glens Falls, so I’m going to have to research that.  The obituary may reveal other siblings who may clear things up or confuse them further.

Next, I need to see if marriage certificates exist for Queensbury to see if either Margaret or Mary married there.

I also should search the census for all of Margaret’s children to see if finding their records might lead to an answer to Margaret’s parents and her association to the Higgins surname.

It can be great finding new documents.  However, sometimes they add more questions than answers.  I think I have my work cut out for me if I plan to put anything together by Christmas!

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