Tuesday, June 13, 2017


For quite a few years I have tried to figure out what happened to my great grandmother's  (Bridget Naughton Dowd) sister (Mary Naughton Downs).   Mary was a bit of an enigma.  I know she was married in 1882 and she and her husband Michael Downs had six daughters.

I learned this information from the church records from the Diocese of Pittsburgh Archives, Saint Thomas RC Church in Braddock PA.   Then the couple disappeared, and left me in a lurch.   Ancestry published the PA Death Certificates and none of them were there.  But, Pennsylvania did not start recording deaths until 1906.   Therefore, the missing must have been gone before then, or so I had surmised.  The last child of Michael and Mary Downs was born in 1896, so that gave me a window of 10  to search for a death.

By chance I found a will for Michael written in 1898, and it gave the date of death as 26 March 1898, in North Braddock PA.    In his will he mentioned his five children, not named.  It is interesting that Allegheny County had death records but not any of the Downs family was listed in them.

I have not found Mary in the 1900 census, but she was a sponsor for the Baptism of her nephew, Richard Dowd on 23 December 1900.   An interesting side note is there was a Marie McCoskey who served as sponsor for a niece, Theresa on 7 October 1906.   I have everyone of the sponsors identified,  could this Maria be a remarried Maria Naughton Downes?

In the 1910 census she is listed as Mary Downes, and living with her four daughters in North Braddock PA. Her oldest daughter Mary, her son in law Dominick Molloy and two grandchildren, and daughters Margaret, Josephine and Sadie.  There were  also ten boarders, none of which I have yet found to be relatives.  She took in boarders to make ends meet.

Then, again, the family disappears....

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