Brick Wall Case Studies #13: Finding the family of a Pennsylvania woman with no birth record

Mary Ann was born in Pennsylvania and her father's name was known but it was uncertain to which family she belonged. Her death certificate, studying families in the area, census records, and Civil War records showed who were her parents.



What We Knew

  • Mary Ann McKinley Day died in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, in 1922. Her death certificate lists her husband as Ephraim Day and her date of birth as 3 April 1861 in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Her father is listed as David McKinley with mother unknown.
  • Mary Ann's tombstone lists her birth date as 3 March 1859 and death date as 5 Feb 1922. She is buried in the Granite Falls City Cemetery in Chippewa County, Minnesota.
  • Mary Ann is listed in the 1920 census in Minnesota Falls, Yellow Medicine, Minnesota, with her husband and children. She is listed as age 51 and born in Pennsylvania, making her birth year about 1859.
  • Mary is listed in the 1910 census in Minnesota Falls, Minnesota, with her husband and children. She is listed as age 51 and born in Pennsylvania, making her birth year about 1859.
  • Mary Ann is listed in the 1900 census in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, with her husband and children. She is listed as born in March 1859 and married for 23 years, making her marriage year about 1877.
  • Mary Ann is listed in the 1880 census in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, with her husband and children. She is listed as age 22 and born in Pennsylvania, making her birth year about 1858.


Records We Located

  • The census records which had been located, as well as Mary Ann's tombstone listed her birth year as 1859 except the death certificate listed her birth year as 1861. So we thought there was a good chance that Mary Ann could be located in the 1860 census with her parents.
  • Mary Ann's death certificate had listed her place of birth as Titusville and her father as David McKinley. We used the Newberry Atlas of Historical County Boundaries to identify where Titusville is located. Titusville is in Crawford County, but is located pretty close to the border of Warren and Venango counties as well. Thus, Mary Ann's family could have been from any of these 3 counties.
  • We looked for men name David McKinley in the 3 counties where Mary Ann's family could have lived. There was a David McKinley living in Deerfield, Warren County, Pennsylvania. He had a daughter named Mary A born about 1857. There wasn't another David McKinley living in this general area around Titusville other than this one.
  • This same David McKinley family was living in Perry, Armstrong, Pennsylvania in the 1870 census. Mary Ann is listed there with them. The ages and name of the family members fit both families.
  • In the 1880 census, David McKinley was living with his wife in Parker, Armstrong, Pennsylvania. David McKinley died in 1883 in Parker, and his tombstone is in the Parker Presbyterian Cemetery. His tombstone lists him as serving in the 145th regiment in the Civil War.
  • There is a Civil War pension card found on Ancestry.com that indicates there is a full pension file in the National Archives that will give more information about David McKinley, his war service, and his family members.


Conclusion


The father of Mary Ann McKinley appears to be David McKinley of Warren and Armstrong counties, Pennylvania. The documents and sources we gathered are found on the person page of Mary Ann McKinley and her family members in the FamilySearch Family Tree, ID LVJ6-5FT.




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