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November 25, 2018

Part 2: Breaking Down That Brick Wall

Part 1 published on November 23 introduced the 30 year search for a county of origin for my Irish McGinnis Family. We continue with Part 2

Breaking Down a Brick Wall

Still unable to find a death date for the one remaining brother (Hugh) who was born in Ireland, I set my research aside. Then the breakthrough - two amazing women who have written several history books, spent many years going through newspapers to gather obituaries for people who had lived in Puslinch Township.  Doesn't sound impressive? It is. "A Celebration of Lives: Obituaries of Puslinch Township Wellington County Ontario" was published recently as a two-volume set consisting of 1,408 pages. There are over 6,500 obituaries. It's impressive.

An Obituary Reveals a County

It had limited printing but I managed to get the last copy. Of course I skipped right to the "M" pages and unbelievably there it was - an obituary for my Hugh McGinnis of Hespeler. His obit stated he was born in Co. Down Ireland.  I know an obituary is only as reliable as the person giving the information but it is another piece of evidence. I wish I could find his death registration but still no luck, even with now knowing the month and year and location of his death.

This morning I scrolled through every image on for a period of 12 months from his death with no success. His death is not there. But I have the obituary and that thrills me! It adds to the growing weight of clues.

Potsdam New York Gives More Clues

Second wonderful item - Hugh's wife was born in USA circa 1810. Due to finding other bits and pieces of clues, including finding her parents' and siblings' names, I found a record in 1830 in Potsdam New York which I was pretty sure was her family. Pretty sure, but not positively proven, so not good enough for me.

Did I mention that one of Hugh's brothers married one of his wife's sisters? The finding of the Potsdam record was important because I know that Hugh (and probably his siblings) was in America before 1831. This would give me more locations for searching if my theory about Potsdam was correct.

And there it was in my new-found obituary book. The obit for Hugh's wife stating that she was born in Potsdam New York in 1810!

A Theory is Proven

I love it when a theory becomes fact. Proven fact. I don't care how long it takes, I refuse to give up! And the moral of my story is that you should never give up either. You never know when that little tidbit of information will fall into your hands. Maybe it wasn't available when you first began your research. New data is being found and transcribed all the time. Who knows, maybe the piece you need is waiting for you right now.

Review Your Older Research Notes

So stop reading this blog post and go back and look over your earlier research! Is there a clue there? Something you couldn't find 10 or 15 or more years ago, but  maybe now you can? What are you waiting for???!!


Quilting Tangent said...

Wonderful! I love it when a clue finally leads to the answer. So many more records now.

Troups Trees said...

Wondering where you would find a copy of this book.