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Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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19 November, 2005

A Chain Reaction

The above 1930 Census Image is an example of how genealogy can lead to multiple findings. I found this image as a result of a simple search at a genealogy site. I plugged in the name "John Doyle" and "Pittston PA" in the location field and found this image. It shows my maternal great-grandfather John J. Doyle with his wife Jane and children Joseph and Anna. The information provided on this record for John shows, among other things, that: He did not live on a farm, he was 64 years old at the time of this census, he's been married since the age of 24, he was born in England and his parents in "Irish Free State", he immigrated to the U.S. in 1869 and he was a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Plugging in that one name and location into a genealogy wbsite's search fields provided me with some insight into my great-grandparents as people. I didn't know before, for example, that my great-grandparents were married at ages 24 and 20, or that my great grandfather immigrated to the US at about age 5.

But that one search also helped me find new ancestral connections. For example, I know from oral family history that my mom's mother's sister married a Raymond Williams and that they had several children (one of which was Jane, whom I've noted a few times on this blog). The 1930 census record shows this Williams family living with the Doyle's at 623 N. Main Street in Pittston, PA. So now I have the names of Margaret Doyle-Williams' children. This same census record also shows another possible lead. There is a listing, a few lines above my great-grandparents, for a John and Marie Jordan family. This is important for me because my grandmother Regina Doyle married into the James O'Rourke family, and one of my grandfather O'Rourke's sisters married a Jordan.

On this same name and location search, I found other census records for John J. Doyle and family. Between 1900 and 1930, my Tighe line and my O'Rourke line also lived at the same Main Street, Pittston address as my Doyle line. During those other census years I'd also found collaterals living next to the Doyles, such as the McCarthys, and the Horans, and including my 2nd great grandparents, William and Mary Doyle. So on my one search for John J. Doyle, I found multiple generations of Doyles, the Williams, the O'Rourkes, the Tighes, the McCarthys, the Horans, and possibly the Jordans. That's a heck of a chain reaction!


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