Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More O'Malley Research in Mason County, Illinois

As this is being posted I am in Sharp Memorial Hospital recovering from Tuesday's surgery for replacement of my left hip.  One of the nice things about Blogger is the ability to schedule when you want your blogs to be released.  So I am composing this on Monday and will release it on Wednesday evening.

 In my previous blog, I recounted my experience doing land research at the Mason County Clerk's office in the courthouse.  However, I covered a lot of Mason County that day doing O'Malley research. 

Since Manito is in the northern portion of Mason County and I had spent the previous night at Peoria, Illinois, NE of Manito; my first stop the following morning was St. Frederic's Catholic Cemetery in Manito.  I knew that my maternal ggrandfather, Peter O'Malley, his wife, and a daughter were all buried in Manito.


My GPS took me right to the back entrance of the cemetery.  As I crossed into the cemetery, the first headstone on my left was that of Peter and Julia O'Malley.  When I got to the headstone and glanced to the adjacent grave, it was that of their daughter, Sarah, her husband, Tom, and one of their children who had died in infancy.  So much for having to wander around going up and down looking at row after row of graves searching for their headstones! 
Adjacent Graves of Peter & Julia and their Daughter

I was hoping to be real lucky and find some helpful information on the gravestones others than dates; but it wasn't to be.  I did wander around a bit in case there were other relatives buried there that weren't contained in the cemetery list I had reviewed; but also struck out there. 
Peter and Julia O'Malley
Previous to my visit I had searched diligently to find any cemetery or church records that might provide any additional information about Peter or Julia.  I did find that the Church in Manito had closed and records had been forwarded to the diocese.  When I first contacted the diocese they had lost their archivist and didn't know when they would get another.  About two years later, with a lot of perseverance, I finally received a response that there was a two line entry in their records regarding the death of Julia; but nothing about Peter.
In earlier correspondence with a member of the Mason County Genealogical Society helping me with my research, she commented the headstone looked reasonably new and more modern than headstones of others for people of the same vintage.  I felt the same way when I examined the headstone.  It is possible later descendants placed the headstone, possibly replacing a smaller one.   Unfortunately, there are no records to verify this.  I also checked for records of the funeral home that handled the burial(s).  To the best of the knowledge of the current funeral home, what records that existed had been given to the Havana library.  A search of those records came up empty, however.
I also searched all of the newspaper archives at the Library for the 1880 (Peter and Julia moved to Mason County) to 1906 (Julia's death) period without finding a single mention of them.  Why does it seem that they were keeping below the radar?  Were they really trying to make my life more difficult?  It sometimes seems so to me! 
Hopefully, I will be back "in battery" by Friday.