Monday, April 28, 2014

FAN Club: Looking for Mary Ennis

The premise of the FAN Club method of research is a focus on the Friends, Associates, and Neighbors of your research subjects in order to trace your own ancestors and contextualize their lives.

In looking over some old posts recently, I found a reference to an excellent candidate for this type of search. In 2009, I had posted briefly about finding the death notice of a Mary Ennis, whose funeral left from the home of my 3x great-grandfather, Richard Toner. At the time, I was not keeping good records, so she had fallen off my radar in the interim. In fact, it took me quite some time to track down where I'd even found the newspaper notice in the first place. (I added a citation to the old post once I figured it out.)

Mary Ennis, Richard Toner, death notice, May 5 1866, Maynooth Kildare
Brooklyn Daily Eagle. "Died." 5 May 1866. via

Mary Ennis's death notice was published on May 5, 1866, in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. She was born in Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland, like the Toners. She died on May 5, 1866. Beyond that, there was no biographical information - no age, no address, no place of residence, no relatives. This does not make her an easy person to track down, but she obviously had a connection to the Toner family, and I'd like to figure out what it is. Did it go any deeper than being from the same hometown? How do I find out?

To begin with, I'm using the technique outlined in this excellent tutorial and the Irish Family History Foundation website to draw up an index of all the Ennises in Maynooth prior to 1866. I've already determined that there were no marriages between Ennises and Toners, Ennis births to women with the maiden name Toner, or Toner births to women with the maiden name Ennis. 

Next, I would like to order Mary Ennis's death record. In 1866, it would have been a line in a ledger, not a certificate, and would have included only minimal information. However, I might be able to learn her age and where she was buried. The former could help narrow down the Mary Ennises I've identified in Maynooth, and the latter could lead to cemetery records or a tombstone that could further locate Mary Ennis's relationships.

I also looked into the Kings County Estate Files series on FamilySearch, and found that Mary Ennis does not appear.

I am hoping to find Mary Ennis in the 1865 NYS Census, as well, but since it is not yet indexed, I haven't had a chance to search for her yet. Additionally, while I could begin the search for her in the Toners' neighborhood, she could have actually lived anywhere in Brooklyn or Manhattan, or even further afield, and without the additional information possibly provided by the death record, it will be hard to know if I've found the right Mary Ennis.

Am I missing anything? Where else can I look to find out about Mary Ennis and her connection to the Toner family?

1 comment:

Jana Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a fantastic weekend!