Do you have that one ancestor or relative who drives you nuts? I don’t mean those who are still living. You know, the one who no matter how many databases you search, microfilms you roll through, and indexes you go through, they managed to slip through the cracks. It appears they went through life and left no trail.
Such is the case with my third great aunt, Margaret (Dolan) Coyne. I would not have known about Margaret had it not been for her brother’s probate file. I’ve mentioned it many times on this blog. Patrick Dolan died in 1905, but his probate was not completed before the earthquake. When his niece, Mary (Kelly) Meincke, refiled the papers after the disaster, relatives from back East came forward claiming their were the one and only true heir.
Margaret’s three children, Bridget Wall, Patrick Coyne, and Thomas Coynecame forward. I’ve been able to research Thomas and Bridget a little. I have found them living together at the time of Thomas’ death. I’ve found Bridget’s marriage index entry listing her parents. I can follow Bridget’s family all the way through the present.
What I can’t find is the existence of their parents. A researcher who helped me years ago, thought Bridget might have been living with another Coyne family in 1860 and 1870. So far, I can’t connect anything to that family. But, I cannot find Patrick and Margaret (Dolan) Coyne or anyone that reasonably matches them within the census records or vital records. I’ve checked Milford, Roxbury, Boston, and even Dorchester (all locations given in various records on Bridget and Thomas) There is no couple that fits the bill. There isn’t even a couple with the wrong names who has the three named children. I’ve use Soundex, wildcards, and thought up any which way to spell Coyne. Nothing has rooted them out.
So, I’m left with a problem. The court records confirmed the relationship. They even contacted someone in Ireland for proof. Unfortunately, the testimony for the witnesses is not in the probate file. I’ve got the questions but no answers! How annoying is that?
Now I am left to wonder…
Were records forged to prove a relationship that wasn’t there? Have I been chasing these Coyne’s who may not really be related to me?
Is it possible the Margaret and Patrick never came to America, but their children did? Or, were they living in another state? Bridget claims to be born in Boston, MA, and Thomas in Dorchester, MA. But, I have no birth records to prove this.
Maybe they were dumped in Massachusetts by fairies. That seems to be the most plausible explanation at this point.
I have a friend searching for Patrick Dolan’s naturalization records. I am hoping that he continues to be the gift that keeps on giving and leaves me a clue that I can follow. At this point, I do not know if the Dolan siblings came to America married or unmarried, together, or one by one. Perhaps Patrick’s naturalization records will give me a puzzle piece I can lock into place.
Right now, I’m left with a family attached to my tree, but I’m really not sure they are who they say they are. I hope they are. Otherwise, I’ve wasted a heck of a lot of time researching someone else’s people.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com