About 10 years ago, I got the surprise of my life when I read Patrick Dolan’s reinstated probate file. Patrick Dolan died in 1905, but his estate was not settled before the 1906 earthquake. In 1907, the administratix, Mary (Kelly) Meincke, reopened the probate–and a can of worms. Cousins from Boston came forward to claim their were Patrick’s one and only true heir. These were cousins I had never heard of.
It’s been a painstaking process. I’ve started with Patrick’s sister, Margaret (Dolan) Coyne. I’ve found very little on her beyond name in Patrick’s probate file.
I’ve worked on her children. The probate file listed Bridget (Coyne) Wall, Thomas Coyne, and Patrick Coyne Jr. Thomas and Patrick seem to disappear from the records, so my focus has been on Bridget.
Slowly, but surely I’ve pieced together her family. I’ve used the census and city directories to figure out where they lived. I’ve used the Massachusetts vital records at www.familysearch.org to find birth, marriage, and death records. Each time there is an update I search again.
The family is now slowly taking shape. Last night, I found this marriage record at familysearch.org:
The third entry is for Joseph A. Wall and Margaret T. Glavin. Joseph is the son of Bridget (Coyne) Wall. My next step was do so some google searches on Joseph and Margaret. By searching for Margaret Glavin Wall, I found one of their daughter, Margaret’s, obituary. Using one of the odd surnames in the obituary I found, I found the obituary of Margaret’s brother, Maurice. For the first time, I am able to see a photograph of one of the Boston Dolan’s. This is my cousin, Maurice.
Unfortunately, I located Margaret and her brother, Maurice, a year too late. Both passed away within the last year or so. But, there are others listed in the obituaries. My focus now turns to finding the living.
I am not sure what I hope to learn from descendants of this tree. I doubt they know about their cousins on the West Coast or the wealthy relative, Patrick Dolan, who left the bread crumbs that lead to them. I am hoping that they’ll be willing to share their family details with this stranger cousin in California. Maybe they can fill in the details of Margaret (Dolan) Coyne’s life, those of her children, and maybe produce a photograph or two that will make them seem more real. It’s worth a shot anyway!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com