Probate Records @ MNHS

I went to MNHS today to see what they had for probate records.  I had to get some help, because I had never looked up probates at MNHS before.  I’d like to record the steps I had to take to find what I needed, in case I need to remember how to do this again, because I just know I will forget.

A knowledgeable volunteer and I started by searching the Library Catalog for “Sibley County Probate”, and in the results found that there was an index on one of the rolls (SAM 432 Roll 77). So I loaded it up and…saw no index.  Instead, I saw case files of probate records in numerical order.   “Haaaallp” I whined (not really), and the nice volunteer helped me figure out that the index was actually at the end of the roll.  Here are some of the names in the index which I thought might be helpful to me:

Surname First Name File # Roll #
McGuire John 947 25
McGuire Martin 1836 55
O’Meara Margaret et al Guardianship (minors) 805 21
O’Meara Mary 809 21
O’Meara Patrick 1371 39

I thought for sure that the John McGuire one would be my great grandfather, but it wasn’t.  It was a John McGuire, Jr. that passed away “prior to 1865”, and though I’m not completely sure how to read these probate records, it mentioned a John McGuire Sr. several times, I think, as the person who was claiming, or taking responsibility for what Jr. left behind.  After the Johns, I went searching for the other rolls, and found none of them.  They had to be ordered from the Mormons in Salt Lake City, so I will probably see them in about a month.  I’m very curious to see the Patrick O’Meara and Mary O’Meara probate records, since some of the Maguire children lived with the O’Mearas. Maybe they will be mentioned in these records? And maybe Mary’s will say something about the saloon/house that she inherited from Anthony after his death? I can hope.

Next, I wanted to check McLeod County probate records (P-Recs?). I’m not sure why these were different, but I had to go to another room and submit a request to have a box of old records brought out to me.  Maybe they haven’t gotten around to archiving these yet? So I submitted the request, sat at table #8, and waited for my box. When it arrived, I pulled out the thing I recognized:  an old ledger book, the index. The rest of the box was filled with file folders of other really old, miscellaneous files (jail records, school records, etc.).  I opened up the book to the “Mc” tab, and guess who was there? And guess who is being really difficult again?

Anthony McGuire in the McLeod County Probate Index

“No Record”. Of course. I guess that means I won’t find a probate record for him?

The other curious thing is the “Insanity of” bit. Why that, instead of “Estate of”?  I’m trying to find the answer to this, but so far, no luck.

I also checked this index for my other McLeod county names: Cafferty, Mathiasen, Mochinske.  And nothing.

The rest of my time was spent reading the Sibley County Independent for 1881.  More on that later. Must sleep.

Winsted On a Whim

On Labor Day, I made a trip out to Winsted to go walk through some cemeteries.  I knew that I had some family buried in Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery, but I didn’t really plan or make a list of the people I wanted to find.  I just kind of went for it.  And I found that there are a crap ton of Cafferty’s buried in that cemetery!  I took photos of all of the Cafferty stones that I could find; I think I must have some sort of connection to some or all of them, I just don’t know how, yet. So for now, I’m just working on throwing them all up on, since none of them were on there.  Hopefully that will help somebody out.

While there, I was also reminded that my grandmother (my father’s mother), Anna Clara (Mochinske) Maguire is buried there. I was only 12 when she died in 1996, and I don’t remember her funeral at all – I must have gone, though? I don’t think I even really have any memories of her, as a person.  (TODO: get over stupid anxiety about talking to extended family, stop being lazy, and interview some living people.)

Buried along with her were her parents, my great grandparents, Waddick Mochinske & Helen (Grzasewicz) Mochinske.  And even more, Waddick’s father, my 2nd great grandfather, Lawrence Mochinski, as well as some other grand and great grand uncles. One day when I’m as obsessed with my Polish side as I currently am with my Irish side, I’ll be more excited about these finds. Or maybe not, because they haven’t been as difficult to track down as dear Anthony.

When I was done at Holy Trinity, I drove south and then west in search of another similarly-named cemetery: Old Holy Trinity Cemetery. I really had no idea if any of my relatives were buried there; but I thought I would check, since I was out there.  But, I still don’t know if any of my relatives are buried there, because I couldn’t find the cemetery. I see now that Google Maps has the cemetery sitting in the middle of nowhere, with no roads leading to it.  I think I would have to trespass on country folks’ properties in order to get to it. Maybe another time…