My brother Ross was visting from Texas last weekend. He's done a lot of work on our genealogy and all of what I do is built on the foudations he and my mother put down. We made a couple of genealogy field trips while he was here so that he could see the nearby farm locations and tombstones that I've tracked down. One of the places we included on the trip was the "Root Cellar," the excellent genealogy resource in the basement of the public library in Clinton, IA.
While we were looking around, my wife, Anne Marie, (God bless her for putting up with us this weekend) pulled out a notebook labeled "St. Ireneaus" since that now-shuttered church was part of our tour. (My Irish acenstors helped build it and my dad's maternal grandparents were married there). I flipped it open and there was an abstract of the death record for John KENNEDY, one of my Irish ancestors from the region. It included his parents' names, information that I did not have. A brickwall begins to crumble!
With the help of Fran, the wonderful librarian who runs the Root Cellar, I was able to find and print the image of the original 1913 death record on the microfilm. The informant was John SHEPPARD, the husband of John KENNEDY's niece, Ann, with whom John lived for the last 20 years of his life. John's parents are listed as "Michael" and "Nolaurd"; that's his mother's maiden name. Very unusual. Knowing that parent's are listed on more recent death records in Clinton County also gives me a new place to look for the name of Hanora (COLLINS) KENNEDY's first husband. All I have to do is find the death records for their two daughters.
I also took the opportunity to take another look at the death rcords for John KAIN and his wife, Mary (FOX) KAIN. Both of them died before parent's names were recorded, so no luck with that brick wall. However, I did discover a column on the older death records that I had previously overlooked--Number of years since coming to Iowa. John KAIN's 1893 record simply lists "before the war," meaning the Civil War. That information most likely came from his sons, all too young to provide more precise information. Fortunately, Mary's 1890 record, probably information provided by her husband, was much more helpful. Her record claimed she had been in Iowa for 38 years. That would put the arrival of the KAIN's in Iowa in 1852. All I knew before this was that it was somewhere between 1850 (when the US Census shows them in St. Louis) and 1853 (when the Iowa State Census shows them in Elk River Township in Clinton County). I hope that the microfilmed land records available at the Root Cellar will provide even more precise information. That's for a later trip back to Clinton!
This post is in memory of my grandmother, Julia (KAIN) HUIGENS, who would have been 114 today. She died 30 years ago and I miss her still. The KAIN's and KENNEDY's of Clinton County, Iowa were her Irish grandparents.