All of this cemetery walking I’ve been doing has piqued my curiousity about my own family tree.
Over the years, I’ve dabbled in tracing my roots. I’ve had some relatives who have done a lot of work and they’ve shared some information – although no one really wanted to share the bulk of the information. Just bits and pieces here and there.
And tracing your ancestry is like a mystery with a thousand plot twists and a million roads that will all lead to a legitimate clue. You’re only hinderance is time and patience.
So last week, I pulled out the old notebooks and folders and headed to the Rochester local history department, and then Brighton Memorial Library, because they have a free library edition of Ancestry.com.
I’ve been working on one mystery in particular: why my great, great grandmother is known as both Mary Ann McDevitt and also Mary Ann McDade.
Here’s the mystery: on the birth records and marriage records of the children of my great, great-grandparents John P Sheerin and Mary Ann McDevitt, her last name has been listed as McDevitt, McDavett, McDavid and McDade, McDeid, McDaid.
The first time I came upon the McDade variation, I passed the record up, because it was a birth record for a son, John, born in Willksbarre, PA. Wrong last name of the mother, and the other children I’d already found were all born in Berkshire County.
Then I found a photo that my mom’s cousin Suzanne had given to me before she died: a photo of two women she identified as “Mary Ann McDevitt (McDade)” and her sister, “Nellie McDevitt (McDade).”
Huh. Continue reading