Brick Wall Ancestor Series #5: Locating the family of an Irish woman in Connecticut

Catherine was from somewhere in Ireland and lived in Connecticut. Could her family be found?


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What We Knew

  • The family knew their grandmother was named Catherine Whelan and she was from Ireland. She married first Thomas Mason and then Michael Barbour and lived in Norwalk, Connecticut.
  • Catherine Whelan Barber was listed in the 1910 census in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut, with her husband and children. She was listed as age 43 and born in Ireland, making her age about 1867. Her immigration year was 1881.
  • Catherine was listed in the 1920 census in Norwalk, Connecticut, with her husband and children. Her age was 53 and birth place was Ireland, making her birth year about 1867, Her immigration year was 1881.
  • Catherine was buried in the St Mary's Cemetery in Norwalk.
  • Catherine's obituary had been located in a Norwalk newspaper. It said that she was age 73 when she died in 1936, making her birth year about 1863. She was listed as Mrs. Catherine Mason Barbour. Her children were named but there was not anything about her parents or birthplace mentioned.


Records We Located

  • We located the marriage record of Catherine Mason to Michael Joseph Barber on 9 July 1901 in Norwalk, Connecticut. Her father was listed as Whalen, no mother was listed. Her birthplace was listed as Dublin, Ireland. This gave us a more specific birth location than just Ireland.
  • We obtained the death certificate for Catherine from the town of Norwalk. Her birth date was listed as 6 January 1867. The death certificate listed her parents as James Whelan and Elizabeth Lawles.
  • Catherine was buried in the St. Mary's cemetery, which was a Catholic cemetery.
  • Combining the records we had located, we knew that Catherine Whelan was born in Dublin, Ireland probably near the 6th of January in either 1863 or 1867. We also knew she was Catholic so most likely her family was Catholic as well. Her parents named were James Whelan and Elizabeth Lawles.
  • We searched the Irish Catholic records on FindMyPast.com and located a birth for Catherine Whelan born 7 January 1863 in St Nicholas parish in Dublin City, Ireland. The parents were James Whelan and Eliza Lawles. So this appeared to be the birth record for our Catherine.


Conclusion


Catherine Whelan was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 7 January 1863. Her parents were James Whelan and Eliza Lawles. The documents and sources we gathered are found on the person page of Catherine Whelan in the FamilySearch Family Tree, ID LJBW-DV8.


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