Brick Wall Case Studies #24: Finding the descendants of one of the daughters in a family

A marriage record for Nancy had been located, but nothing further. Marriage records in the area as well as census and death certificates helped us locate her other marriages and children.

What We Knew

  • Nancy Kennedy was born in about 1839 in Crawford County, Illinois. She was listed in the 1850 census as living in Crawford County with her parents, Thomas Kennedy and Joicey Hicks.
  • Nancy married Milton Jackson on 22 December 1857 in Crawford County.
  • No death, census, or any other record had been found for Nancy after her marriage in 1857.

Records We Located

  • We looked for Nancy in the 1860 census under the name Nancy Jackson since she had married 3 years earlier to a man with the surname Jackson but we found no woman of that name that seemed to fit our Nancy.
  • We wondered if perhaps Nancy had married again after she married Milton Jackson. We looked for marriage records for Nancy Jackson and found a marriage of Nancy Jackson to Malachi Norris on 27 February 1861 in Crawford County where our Nancy had been living. We then found a marriage of Nancy Norris to Daniel Sears on 30 September 1863, also in Crawford County. We thought that all of these marriages were probably our Nancy but needed more proof to be certain as the parents were not listed on any of these marriage records.
  • We located Nancy Sears in the 1870 census with her husband, Daniel Sears, living in Crawford County. They had 2 children listed, Joicy O Sears and Cora Sears. Notice the name Joicy, the unique name of Nancy's mother. When Joicy got married, she named her parents as Daniel Sears and Nancy Canady (Canady is a common spelling variation of Kennedy). So this verified that all 3 of these Nancy's were the same person. In the 1880 census, Daniel Sears was listed with his children without Nancy, so Nancy probably died before 1880. In the 1880 census, there's another son, Daniel R Sears listed and his marriage record listed his parents as Daniel Sears and Nancy Canady.
  • There were not deaths recorded in Crawford County at this time, so it's uncertain what happened to the first two husbands of Nancy, but they may have died or there could have been a divorce. We were also not able to locate death or cemetery information for Nancy.


Nancy Kennedy married 3 times and had 2 children. The documents and sources we gathered are found on the person page of Nancy Kennedy and her family members in the FamilySearch Family Tree, ID KC5C-1T5.

Need help finding more records? Try our genealogical records directory which has more than 1.3 million sources to help you more easily locate the available records.

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