A few months ago, I received a copy of a photograph of Catherine (Dolan) Kelly tombstone. It gave me chills. This was my ancestors tombstone!
Almost immediately the questions swirled in my heard. Guess what? The date on the tombstone doesn’t match the card in Holy Cross’s file. Are you surprised? LOL
The card for Catherine Kelly states that she died 1 July 1872. The tombstone, however, states that she died 1 January 1873. What’s up with that?
I checked San Francisco newspapers for both dates, but found no obituary for Catherine. What I did find was the obituary for Mary (Kelley) Dolan! Mary died 1 July 1872. That’s the date on the burial card.
Of course, that brings on so many questions. Although Catherine’s name is on the stone, is she the one buried there or is Mary? Is Mary buried with Patrick even though the cemetery doesn’t seem to have that information? Did Catherine really die 1 January 1873?
This is what I think. The cards for Catherine and Mary got mixed up. The death date is Mary’s. Whether Mary is buried in that plot or not will never be answered. I am going to assume Catherine is buried there since all her children who died before they were married were buried there.
In going over Josephine Ellen’s cemetery card, I see that she died at 5 months old. The obituary does not say “the late Catherine Kelly”. It only says “youngest child of Martin and Catherine Kelly”. Though it’s not foolproof, it leads me to believe Catherine was still alive at that time. Though, I then have to contend with the date on Catherine’s tombstone. Clearly, Catherine did not died in 1873. Even with the benefit of modern medicine that would have been a very long time for Josephine to be kept alive in the womb!
My thoughts are that Catherine died from complications of that birth. Either at the time Josephine was born (1 Jan 1874?) or after (1 Jan 1875). I’ve searched for obituaries in 1872 (where I found Mary Dolan), 1873, 1874, and 1875 with no luck. It strikes me as odd that Martin Kelly would publish obituaries for his children who died young, but not his wife.
At this point, the only definitive information I have besides the birth and death of Josephine Ellen Kelly in 1874 is that Martin and Catherine’s son, John Kelly, died in 1887. Catherine is not mentioned in the obituary. Knowing she died sometime before 1887 isn’t really much. Since I never found Martin Kelly in the 1880 US Census, I can’t even confirm is Catherine was alive at that time.
Somewhere along the line records might appear that will answer these questions about the Kelly/Dolan family reburials:
1. Who was Ellen Kelly who died in 1866?
2. Where is Mary (Kelley) Dolan buried?
3. When did Catherine (Dolan) Kelly really die?
If anyone knows the answers, I love to hear them 😉 I’ve got some blank spots on my genealogy charts that would love to be filled in.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com