52 Ancestors #3: Bridget Cafferty

Bridget was married to the guy I mentioned earlier (Anthony Maguire), and she has been just as much of a pain in the ass to figure out. (Why are most of my people so mysterious?) I have some theories about where she came from and who her family is, but I haven’t been able to prove any of it. The earliest record I have of her is her marriage record to Anthony in September or 1860 in St. Paul. In the state marriage record, it says that both Anthony and Bridget came from Pennsylvania. In the 1865 Minnesota state census, Anthony and Bridget were living in Winsted, Minnesota, RIGHT NEXT TO some other Cafferty’s (Patrick, Ann, and family) that also had ties to Pennsylvania. I think this is not just a coincidence. When the Irish migrated to America, they stuck together as much as they could, and they would go to where family was, if they knew where they were.

Other than census records, I’ve only found the death record for Bridget – she died just 2 weeks after giving birth to their eighth child, Kate. The cause of death listed in the death register was “Insanity”, but I’m guessing that what they meant by “insanity” is not what we would think of these days. ┬áThat’s my hope, anyway. Last summer, I made a trip to Winsted to go tromping through the catholic cemetery looking for her grave. I found lots of my other relatives there – including some Poles (more on them later), but not this Biddy. Later, after a little more research, I found that this particular cemetery was started the year she died (1872), and that there was another, older cemetery in use before that time. I drove to Winsted again in search of it, only to find that it was practically in someone’s back yard, and I didn’t particularly feel like trespassing that day. Another time, perhaps.

Years ago, my genealogically-talented aunt got in touch with some other Winsted Cafferty researchers for me. They all thought that yeah, we might possibly be related through Bridget, but none of us could prove it. And if we’re connected, then Bridget is likely from County Mayo in Ireland! I’m looking through my emails with them as I’m writing this post, and I see that one of them lives (or lived?) in the town where I currently reside, and I’m getting a little inspired to contact them and start digging into this line again. Another thing that I really need to do is spend some time in the old newspapers and find some obituaries for the people that I think she’s related to. With luck, one of them will mention their “sister Bridget”.

In two days I’m heading out to Salt Lake City for the RootsTech conference, and maybe some research at the Family History Library there. I’m not hopeful that I’ll actually find anything, but I do hope that I’ll pick up some tips on things I could try next.

No post next week, probably. ┬áBut maybe I’ll blog a little about my conference experience!


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