US Census – Kelly – 1880

Finding this 1880 census document for the Kelly family was not a straightforward process. The online database I use to search these records apparently had the last name entered incorrectly — but understandably given the original document — as “Kelby” instead of “Kelly”. I succeeded in tracking this down by searching for Michael’s neighbors from the 1870 census. If you look at the census documents side-by-side, you can see that this is the same community documented as “Township 23 Range 7 East” in 1870. By 1880, this area was apparently called Logan Precinct.

 

June 1880 – Logan Precint, Cuming, Nebraska

 

Again, we note the fact that reported ages — even for many of the neighbors — do not necessarily resolve nicely with those reported in 1870. Michael Kelly (38) is listed along with his wife Johanna (22) and children Mary J. (5), Ellen (3), and Robert J. (1). Michael’s profession is listed as “Farmer” and Johanna’s is listed as “Keeping House”. Michael is listed as being born in Ireland, as were his parents. Johanna is listed as being born in Canada, with her parents being born in Ireland. All children are listed as being born in Nebraska

The original source documents are provided below. Most browsers will let you “right-click” on these links and then “Save Link As” to save a copy of these documents to your computer.

US Census – Kelly – 1870

I believe this census document shows my great-great grandfather Michael Kelly, living next door to his brother Patrick in November 1870. The form indicates that Michael was 22 years old, Patrick was 24 years old, and they both worked as farmers. Patrick had an estate worth $210. Patrick could not read or write, but presumably Michael could.

 

November 1870 – Township 23 Range 7 East, Cuming, Nebraska

 

This document plays a pivotal role in my decision to claim that Michael was born in 1848, as opposed to 1849 as it has been commonly reported. The other document supporting my claim is the newspaper clipping from the Bancroft Blade announcing his death. There are several documents claiming his birth year was 1849. Notably, one of these documents is a US Census form from 1900, which states very clearly that he was born in November of that year.

My reasoning for claiming 1848 as his actual year of birth is as follows. (A) It is widely accepted that Michael came to the US with his brother Patrick in the mid 1800s and settled in Cuming County, Nebraska. (B) The population of Cuming County was small enough that I feel confident in my assumption that the Kelly’s on this census document are indeed my ancestors. (C) This document was filled out on November 3, 1870. (D) There is a very high likelihood that the census worker actually spoke with Michael directly. (E) The census worker documented Michael as being 22 years of age, on this date which was presumably just two days after his birthday. (F) Later documents, such as the 1900 US Census, may very well have been filled out through discussion with other family members such as his wife. (G) I would believe the information coming directly from Michael thirty years earlier to be more accurate than information being gathered thirty years later from perhaps another family member.

The original source documents are provided below. Most browsers will let you “right-click” on these links and then “Save Link As” to save a copy of these documents to your computer.

Michael Kelly Newspaper Clippings

The following newspaper articles discuss my great-great grandfather, Michael Kelly. The first article was published about his death in 1921. The second was apparently a history piece written in the mid-1980’s. Based partially on information in the first article, I believe that Michael’s birth year has been erroneously reported to be 1849. Instead, I believe he was born in 1848.

 

 

Grand Old Man Passes Away (from Bancroft Blade, August 26, 1921)

After months of patient suffering, Michael Kelly, a pioneer resident of this community, passed peacefully from this life Monday evening at 8 o’clock at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Alvin Browning, at the age of 72 years, 9 months and 21 days. Last spring he contracted a bad cold, which resulted in a serious attack of yellow jaundice, which with complications finally broke his health down and he succumed (sic) to the inevitable as above stated. The funeral was held at the Holy Cross church yesterday morning at 10:30 o’clock and burial made in the Catholic cemetery. Complete obituary next week.

Broke First Furrow in Neligh Township (from Heritage of Bancroft 1884-1984, A Centennial Project)

Michael Kelly, son of John and Ellen Kelly, was born in Ireland, November 1849. He had one brother, Patrick. Michael immigrated to Canada at age 12, remained six years and came to Cuming County. In 1872, he and Hannah Evans, a native of Ireland, were married. They had three children: Mary, Ellen, and Robert. In 1867, Michael Kelly homesteaded a quarter section in Neligh Township. He built a dugout 10 by 12 feet which he covered with prairie sod. A year later, he built a small frame house where he lived for six years until it burned. He built again and made substantial improvements upon his land, by adding a three acre grove. He broke the first furrow in Neligh Township. In 1881, he leased his farm and engaged in the mercantile business at Bancroft, where he carried a general stock of dry good and groceries. John Ronk, J. Cromin, J.R. Kelly and Miss May were clerks. The Central Telephone Office was located in this store.

Analysis

The first article, if we assume the data to be factual as reported, can help us make a strong assumption about Michael Kelly’s actual date of birth. The article was apparently published on August 26, 1921, which was a Friday. Since the article states that he passed away on the previous Monday, we can deduce that his date of death was August 22, 1921. Assuming they accurately knew his date of birth, and used a straightforward calculation for his lifespan (72 years, 9 months, 21 days), we can conclude that Michael was born November 1, 1848. This contradicts other information we have about his birth year (US Census 1900, second newspaper article above), but is consistent with answers recorded on a US Census Form (1870) that I believe shows he and his brother Patrick in Cuming County, Nebraska.

The second article gives us a lot of information related to family members. Michael’s parents were named John and Ellen. His first wife’s name was Hannah Evans, with whom he had three children (Mary, Ellen, and Robert).

The original source documents are provided below. Most browsers will let you “right-click” on these links and then “Save Link As” to save a copy of these documents to your computer.

US Census – Kelly – 1900, 1910, 1920

These records contain information about my great-great grandfather and his family during the early part of the 20th century in Bancroft Township, Cuming County, Nebraska. These documents include information about the year he immigrated to the US, but it is difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from the conflicting data. Additionally, two of these documents support the argument that he was born in 1849. The third document supports the argument that he was born in 1848.

 

June 1900 – Bancroft Township, Cuming, Nebraska

 

According to the 1900 census, Michael (50) lived with his wife Mary (31) and his children Robert J. (21), Mildred M. (6), Lucille A. (5) and Bryan M. (3). Michael and Mary are listed as being married for thirteen years. Mary is listed as having three children, all of whom were still living at the time this census was taken. This most likely indicates that Mildred, Lucille, and Bryan were children she had in her marriage to Michael. Birth information is listed for all family members — Michael (Nov 1849), Mary (Jul 1868), Robert J. (Nov 1878), Mildred (Aug 1893), and Lucille (Aug 1894). Michael was born in Ireland, as were both of his parents. Mary was born in Michigan, while her father was born in Ireland and her mother was born in Canada. All of the children are listed as being born in Nebraska, with their father (Michael) being born in Ireland. According to this document, Robert’s mother was born in Canada, and the other three children had a mother (Mary) who was born in Michigan.

Michael is listed as a naturalized citizen who immigrated to the US in 1868 (being in the US for 32 years at the time of the census). Michael’s occupation is listed as a dealer for dry goods and groceries. Robert’s occupation is listed as a salesman for dry goods and groceries. Michael, Mary, and Robert were all able to read and write English. Mildred and Lucille had both attended school for nine months. Michael owned his house without a mortgage.

 

April 1910 – Bancroft Township, Cuming, Nebraska

 

The 1910 census shows Michael (60), apparently a widower for a second time, living with three children — Mildred (17), Lucille (16), and Bryan (13). He is living next door to his son Robert. The birthplaces for everyone’s parents is consistent with the previous census, with the exception of Robert (who is living next door). His mother on this form is listed as being born in Michigan, which was likely not the case. Michael’s year of immigration to the US is listed as 1856, which was ten years earlier than the reported date in the 1900 census. Michael’s occupation is listed as the proprietor of a general store working on his own account. He owns his house free of a mortgage.

 

January 1920 – Bancroft Township, Cuming, Nebraska

 

The census documents from 1920 show Michael (71) living with his daughter Mary Jane and her husband Alvin Browning (39). Michael’s year of immigration is listed as 1866, with his naturalization taking place in 1867. It appears that they live with another family in the same house (George Edward Anderson and ??? Myrtle).

The original source documents are provided below. Most browsers will let you “right-click” on these links and then “Save Link As” to save a copy of these documents to your computer.

US Census – Kelly – 1910, 1920, 1930

These records contain information about my great grandparents’ household in the early part of the 20th century, where my paternal grandfather grew up as a child. It also appears that they are living next door to my great-great grandfather at the time (but I am not directly addressing that in this particular article).

 

April 1910 – Bancroft Township, Cuming, Nebraska

 

According to the 1910 census, John R. Kelly (32), Minnie (27), Harold (6) and Margaret (4) lived on Elm Street in Bancrfot Township, Cuming County, Nebraska. John and Mimmi had been married for 7 years and had two children (both of whom were still living). John R. was born in Nebraska, his father had been born in Ireland, and his mother had been born in Michigan. Mimmi had been born in Nebraska, and her parents were born in other countries that are difficult to read (best guess is that the form says her father was Danish and mother was from Sweden?). Both children were born in Nebraska. John’s occupation is listed as the proprietor of a general store working on his own account. It is not clear how to interpret the marking related to ownership of their home. I assume the John R. either owns his home outright, or that his father (living next door) owns it. The family apparently had a live-in servant by the name of Bessie Gatzemeyer (21).

 

January 1920 – Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska

 

According to the 1920 census, John R. (40), Nan S. (38), Harold (16), Margaret (14), Robert (10), and Kerwood (8) lived in an apartment building located at 836 South 24th Street in Omaha’s 9th Ward. In this document, John R. is listed as being born in Nebraska, his father being born in Ireland, but his mother is listed as being born in Canada (which is inconsistent with information on the 1910 census). Nan S. is listed as being born in Iowa, with both of her parents being born in Germany. I assume Nan is John’s second wife. All four children are listed as being born in Nebraska, with a father born in Nebraska and a mother born in Iowa. In the interaction with the census worker, it seems apparent that Nan was listed as the mother of all four children, either by design (perhaps adoption of the older children?) or by assumption (census worker simply filling in the form quickly). John’s occupation is listed as a real-estate salesman.

 

April 1930 – Omaha City, Douglas, Nebraska

 

According to the 1930 census, John R. (50), Nan S. (49), Margaret B. (24), John R. Jr. (20), and Kerwood M. (17). lived at 301 33rd Street in Omaha City, Douglas County, Nebraska (presumably in an apartment complex). They rent their home for $67 per month and own a radio set. John R.’s age at his first marriage was 25 years old. Nan S.’s age at her first marriage was 19 years old. From the census data alone (1910-1930), it is clear that Nan was John’s second wife, but it is not entirely clear if this was a first or second marriage for Nan. If it was her first, they would have apparently been married shortly after the 1910 census had been conducted.

John R. is listed as being born in Nebraska, while his father is listed as being born in “Irish Free State” (distinguashed from Northern Ireland) and his mother being born in Canada-English. Nan is listed as being born in Iowa, and the birth location for her parents looks like it was originally written as Germany, and then corrected to Lorraine-Alsace. All three children are listed as being born in Nebraska, as were their father and their mother (which is inconsistent with information on the 1910 and 1920 census documents). John R.’s occupation is listed as life-insurance salesman. Margaret B.’s occupation is listed as a stenographer in a doctor’s office. John R. Jr.’s occupation is listed as a shipping clerk in a bakery. Kerwood M.’s occupation is listed as a weigher in a bakery.

The original source documents are provided below. Most browsers will let you “right-click” on these links and then “Save Link As” to save a copy of these documents to your computer.

Kelly Family Tree Information (1962)

My parents were given these family-tree documents around 1962 by the Kelly family. Nobody knows exactly when the data was compiled, but it was apparently very close to that time since the documents include data from 1958. Three pages are included, with the first page apparently discussing my grandfather’s sister Margaret, and the remaining information is organized from that starting point. No specific “source information” is available with this data, but since it was compiled shortly after J.R. (Robert) Kelly’s death, and since it was compiled by the family, I accept the information to be “generally accurate”.

 

 

The first page includes information about Margaret Beryl Kelly, born at home 14 Nov 1905 in Bancroft, Cuming County, Nebraska. Her social security number is provided on the form. She married Lee Updegraff on 17 Jan 1959 in California. Information about the marriage license and ceremony are included. Lee Updegraff died 25 May 1963. This page includes birth, death, and burial information about Margaret’s parents (my great grandparents) as well. Information about her siblings is also included, such as the fact that her brother John Robert Kelly, Jr. died 10 Jan 1961 in Madrid, Spain. Birth dates for her siblings are handwritten on the document (I do not know when that information was added).

 

 

The second page of this document provides information about Margaret’s paternal grandparents (Michael Kelly and Johanna Evans). The names of the previous-generation family members are also included. The names of Michael Kelly’s parents are listed on this page as being Michael and Mary. This differs from the names for his parents mentioned in a newspaper clipping stored elsewhere on this website. When reviewing this document, I learned that Michael and Johanna actually had four children together, including one that apparently died at birth (Edward Kelly in 1882).

 

 

The third page contains information about Margaret’s maternal grandparents, along with their parents’ names. Before coming across these documents, I do not believe I had any of that information.

The original source documents are provided below. Most browsers will let you “right-click” on these links and then “Save Link As” to save a copy of these documents to your computer.

Genealogy Resources

Numerous resources are available to people interested in learning about their family history. I currently use Ancestry.com to manage most of the content in my family tree. If you have an account on that site, feel free to look me up and examine the public portion of my tree.

Here is a list of resources that I have either used or come across during my research.

Here is a list of sites with advice or discussions related to genealogical research.

There are numerous tools available for managing a personal family-tree website. I experimented with a couple of these, but am not currently using any of them.

Clean Slate

Wondering where everything went? Yeah, me too. I ran into a glitch when updating my website software. I am usually careful about backing things up before undertaking a large task like that. And, in fact, I did back things up, but apparently not the “right way”. So now I have the privilege of starting anew. Kinda like cleaning out an old closet and putting things back in a more organized fashion.

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