Monday, April 1, 2013

My Missing Mary

I am having the hardest time figuring out what's going on with my O'Hara family in the first decade of the 1900s, after they returned from a brief sojourn in their Irish homeland. The family consisted of parents John O'Hara and Mary E. King, and children John J., Eugene W., Patrick, Malinda, and Mary.

In 1900, they're enumerated in Brooklyn, at 253 Clinton Ave. (John, Mary E., John J., Eugene)
In 1901, their son Patrick was born, on 15 Dec., at Castle St., Castlebar Co. Mayo, Ireland.
On 1 May 1902, they arrived back in NYC.  (John, Mary, John, Eugene, Patrick)
On 6 April 1905, their daughter Malinda was born in Brooklyn and, 10 days later, baptized at St. Augustine's Catholic Church.
In June 1905, they were enumerated at 586 Baltic St. (John, Mary, John, Eugene, Pacey, Malina)
In April 1910, they were enumerated at 527 Baltic St. (John, Mary, John Jr., Eugene, Patrick, Melinda)
On 29 Oct 1910, Malinda died at home, at 527 Baltic St., age 5 1/2.
On 20 September 1911, their daughter Mary died at home, at 527 Baltic St., age 3.


Mary O'Hara existed according to both family lore and her death certificate. Both put her at 3 years of age at her death in 1911. And yet there's no evidence of her life. She's not a between-the-censuses baby. She was alive - she was about 2 - in 1910. But she's missing from the one census that should be a record of her. And although the O'Hara family lived in the same 2-block stretch of Baltic St. from 1905 through 1911, she was not baptized at St. Augustine's Church (116 6th Ave.), the nearby church where her sister had been baptized a few years earlier. I haven't been able to get a response from any of the other Catholic churches that I've contacted in the neighborhood. If they were switching churches, there must have been something going on, some story behind it. (I attend Mass at a few different local churches, depending on my schedule, but I can't imagine celebrating my family's important sacraments all over the place willy-nilly - not without a good reason.)

I have a baptismal certificate for Malinda, and death certificates for both girls. I've just requested a birth certificate for Malinda, and I've requested one for a Mary O'Hara. (There are a good half a dozen other Mary O'Haras born in Brooklyn between 1907 and 1909 who could be my missing Mary, and if this one's not right, I'll be requesting the rest of them next.)

There are lots of between-the-censuses babies in my family tree, and each of them has a sad story. But I can't get Mary out of my mind. Because she's not. Because she should be there, and she's missing. And it make me so curious - where is she? - at the same time that it makes me so sad. I hate that there's no record of this little girl except her death, especially when there definitely should be.


Claudia said...

Perhaps the Baptism was not recorded in error. Searching the Archives of the Diocese of Pittsburgh I could not find the Baptism of my grandfathers sister, Agnes Dowd, but I did find the other seven siblings. They lived in the same house until my great grandparents death.

Lisa Taisey said...

I also have a missing Mary that was born in Ireland and came to the states with my family in 1870. Lucky enough to find her on the 1870 census otherwise I knew would have know she was alive. Too many brick walls right now to find out more. I will eventually get to the bottom of this! My only thought was too poor to post in the newspaper and most likely in a paupers grave somewhere in Boston.

Kathleen Scarlett O'Hara Naylor said...

Claudia - there's a possibility that the baptism wasn't recorded due to an error, but they had a younger brother born in 1914 who is also missing from the records of that church, even though their address in 1915 is in the same neighborhood. That 2 of them are missing suggests to me that they were baptized elsewhere, but I don't know where!