52Ancestors Lucey

52 Ancestors #26: Mary Walsh, the disappearing great-grandmother

Every family tree has someone who “disappeared”, right? I have a few people who seemingly drop off the face of the earth, no censuses, death records, obituaries after a certain point.

My 3rd great-grandmother, Mary (Walsh) Lucey led a fairly well-documented life right up until she didn’t. This is kind of surprising, given that she lived in the mid to late 1800’s in Massachusetts, a time and place when both church and civil record keeping was in place. I’d like to share what I know, in the hopes that someday she is found.

The Early Years in Ireland

There is a Mary Walsh born 6 Aug 1821 in the Parish Registers of the Diocese of Cloyne, parish of Templerobin, Cove, Co Cork, Ireland 1. The parents listed are Mich[ael] & Mary Thomey, sponsors William Grant and Cath Nagle. I’m not sure if this is the correct Mary Walsh but it was the only one I could find in the area in the timeframe of her birth.

The next record of Mary is her marriage to James Lucey, 10 July 1841, documented in the same parish register as the birth record. The clergyman was P Fuller and the witnesses Jim Callaghan and Mary Sloane.

In April of 1853, a Mary Lucey is enumerated in Griffith’s Valuation on Cuskinny Road (off Bishop Street) in Queenstown2[modern-day Cobh].

Ireland Griffiths Valuation 18481864-1 copy

In America

On the 12th of November, 1853 Mary arrived in America with her sons John and James3.

Mary, John and James, coming to America aboard the Meridian. They arrived on 12 Nov, 1853.
Mary, John and James, coming to America aboard the Meridian. They arrived on 12 Nov, 1853.

In 1855 Mary, along with husband James [the only record of James in the U.S.] and sons John and James are living in Brighton, Massachusetts.

First record of my Lucey family in the U.S.
James, Mary and sons John and James.

In 18604, Mary lived in the BallardVale section of Andover, husband James is not listed. Her occupation is “washing” and the value of personal estate is $20.

Lucey's in the 1860 Census
Mary, John, James, Margaret and David

On 24 June of the following year, she married John Hogan of Lawrence, his third, her second marriage. This is the only record where her parents are listed and unfortunately, she only listed one: David Welch5 , which doesn’t match the birth record I had found.
I assume that her first husband James died sometime between 1855 and 1861, but I have not been able to find a death record.

John Hogan & Mary Lucey Marriage Record, 24 Jun 1861, Lawrence MA. Edited.
John Hogan & Mary Lucey Marriage Record, 24 Jun 1861, Lawrence MA. Edited.

In May of 1865 Mary, husband John Hogan and her children James, Mary, Margaret and David were living in South Groveland, Mass6. Incidentally, next door lived the Crotty family, including 16-year-old Mary Jane who would later marry James and die in childbirth.

Massachusetts State Census 1865-1 copy

27 July 1870, Mary makes her last appearance in the records7. Living in the same house as the 1865 census, but listed as Margaret Hogan with children Margaret and David, no husband listed. John was about 20 years older than Mary, so I assume that he died sometime between 1865 and 70.


Three of Mary’s children, David, Mary and Margaret, stayed in the Groveland area for the rest of their lives. James [my 2nd great-grandfather] moved to Rochester, New Hampshire in 1880. She wasn’t living with any of them in the 1880 census or with anyone else in the area that I can find. I’ve checked every Mary Hogan in the Massachusetts Death Record indexes, none fit.

I’ve searched cemetery records, newspapers, directories, civil records, census records, to no avail. It’s possible that she’s buried in the same plot as her son John at St. Augustine’s cemetery in Andover, MA, but the church has lost the records of who is buried in the plot beyond John. I’ll keep looking, hopefully someday a record will turn up that shows what happened to her. Have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

1. Parish Registers of the Diocese of Cloyne, parish of Templerobin, Co Cork, Ireland, no page numbers, Film Number: P4987. National Archives, Dublin, Ireland. Transcribed by the author 22 Feb 2002.
2. “Heritage World Family History Services. Ireland, Griffith’s Valuation, 1847-1864 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: General Valuation of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Irish Microforms Ltd., 1978. National Archives, Dublin and Public Record Office, Belfast. Parish: Templerobin. Pg. 66.
3. “Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943” database. ** ( : accessed 17 Sep 2013), entry for Mary Lucy, aboard *Meridian*, Liverpool to Boston, arriving 12 Nov 1853; citing Boston, Massachusetts. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1820-1891. Micropublication M277. RG036. 115 rolls. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
4. 1860 U.S. Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Town of Andover, Ballard Vale post office, page 202, dwelling 1368, family 1615, Mary Lucy household; digital images, ** ( : accessed 17 Sep 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 496; Page: 202; Image: 206; Family History Library Film: 803496.”
5. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Entry for Mary Lucey and John Hogan
6. Massachusetts, State Census, 1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Massachusetts. 1855–1865 Massachusetts State Census [microform]. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Town of Groveland, Lines 27-32, Household 311.

7. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1870; Census Place: Groveland, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_608; Page: 602B; Image: 439; Family History Library Film: 552107. Family 382

This post is 26th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

One reply on “52 Ancestors #26: Mary Walsh, the disappearing great-grandmother”

Not the same situation exactly, but I searched and searched for my great great grandfather, Stephen Conwell, in the 1880 census but could not find him. I knew he lived in Kingston, NY as he died there that year and I had his obituary. I searched for his wife because I thought maybe the census was taken after he died. Turns out that their last name was recorded as “Caswell”. What a relief when I found the record. Turns out that the day he was recorded in the census was June 17, 1880, and he died an untimely death from cholera on June 29 of that year. Along with their three children it also lists an adopted daughter, and we have no idea who she was or how that came about. Amazing what the census reveals. So frustrating though when names are misspelled. I was not surprised though as when searching for Stephen’s older brother Simon who resided in Nova Scotia, the Conwell name was again misspelled as Cannell in the census records I found.

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