Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mary Toner's Death Certificate - 26 Aug 1899

Mary Toner's death certificate! Woo hoo! . . . or maybe not. To be frank, while I'm inclined to believe that this is Mary Cullen Toner's death certificate, I'm not positive, and there are several pieces of information that make me wonder whether maybe Mary Cullen Toner had another relative, likely an inlaw, Mary Somethingelse Toner.

This Mary Toner died 26 Aug 1899, at 270 Van Brunt Street, which was where Mary Cullen Toner's daughter Julia lived with her husband Patrick Mulvaney and their children (3 or 4 at this point: James, Grace, and Mae, certainly, and Willie may have been born this month). In 1892, Mary Cullen Toner was living with her other daughter, Elizabeth Toner Loughlin, so it's reasonable to think that she spent time living with each of her daughters after her husband Richard died. The undertaker was "Mrs. T. Murphy," who is likely Mary Cullen Toner's other daughter, Mary Toner Murphy. This Mary Toner died of a cerebral hemorrhage and pulmonary edema.

Now here's where things get tricky. According to her death certificate, she was widowed, 63 years old, Irish-born, had been in the US 35 years, and was the daughter of parents named John and Mary. Mary Cullen Toner should be widowed and Irish-born. She should have been well older than 63, though it's difficult to say just how old. Her age was given as 40 in the 1860 census, 40 in the 1870 census, and 69 in the 1892 census. If any one of those is correct, 63 is far too young. The fact that her age was never given consistently, though, means this isn't really a strike against her. 35 years in the U.S. is clearly wrong for Mary Cullen Toner, although maybe by "only" 15 years or so. The Toners' oldest known child, Julia, was born in the US around 1851, so her mother couldn't possibly not have immigrated until 1864 - not to mention that Mary was enumerated on the 1860 census.

Further, there's the matter of of the baptismal dates that were looked up for me. If you'll recall, someone looked up some names in the parish registers of St. Mary's Church in Maynooth, Co. Kildare for me, and gave me this information:

24 Sept 1818 Mary, (of) Patrick Cullen and Mary Carr godparents John Carney and Judith Scully.

3 Nov 1821 Richard (of) William Toner and Margareth Walsh godparents Charles Kearns and Mary Cushion.

15 Jan 1850 Richard Toner to Mary Cullen witnesses Edward Hackett and Mary Boland

I was already skeptical because Richard's mother's name didn't match what I knew. Her name was either Judith or Julia, but it certainly wasn't Margareth. And now Mary's father's name doesn't match, either. Does that mean that the baptismal information refers to the wrong people, that the death certificate doesn't belong to Mary Cullen Toner, or that the information on the death certificate is wrong? If the baptismal information is correct, Mary Cullen Toner should have been way older than 63 in 1899; she would have been in her early 80s.

Which piece of conflicting information should I doubt? All of them, probably. Can they be reconciled? It's possible that, say, Richard's mother and Mary's father both died soon after their children were born, and their parents remarried. Might Judith have been the step-mother who raised Richard, and John been the step-father who raised Mary? I contacted the church in Maynooth to try to verify the information I was given and to see if there were records of such later marriages, but got no response.

Not sure what my next step is going to be.


jmg3 said...
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jmg3 said...
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