The other day I received a notice that my genealogybank.com subscription had expired. GenealogyBank.com is generally a large newspaper collection, but they have other related content too. As this is a website I use often, I decided to renew it.
I am not sure why I chose my great x2 grandfather as the subject of my test search after renewing, but I did. His name was Jeremiah Hayes and he had settled in Manchester, New Hampshire after leaving Ireland at a young age and stopping over in England for a handful of years. While living in England, he was married to Catherine / Margaret Ahern and had two children… John J Hayes (my great x1 grandfather) and William M Hayes.
I have been able to find birth records for his children in England as well as tracking him through Manchester for more than a decade using additional birth records of children born in the United States, census records and Manchester City Directories. According to numerous records, he was “grocer”. But then his trail went cold in 1869 when he last appears in the City Directory. Two years later, Catherine, his wife, appears in the City Directory as his widow, but still running a “grocer” business. This pretty much told me that he had died Circa 1870… but where, how and when?
I have been looking for proof of his death since I started researching the Hayes family many years ago. The death records in the Manchester, New Hampshire area, are quite extensive and available on multiple websites. I have searched through them numerous times, trying many different strategies that included variables on the spelling of his last name, but turned up nothing.
He also does not appear in the burial database of St Joseph’s Cemetery in Manchester where his son and many other relatives were buried.
So, last week, when I renewed my subscription to GenealogyBank.com, he was the first person I searched for. An BOOM! There is was… The seventh item in the list of search results.
This turned out to be a detailed obituary and funeral description. The obituary tells me when he was born and where. It also tells me where he died and when…. Boston. The only odd thing missing from the obituary was the name of his wife and children. Odd, but not suspicious of any problem there.
So based on his obituary, we know that our Hayes family name comes from Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. His obituary certainly makes him sound like a hard working, well respected man. Pretty cool!
Two more articles about his funeral tell us about his burial at St Joseph’s Cemetery. It appears, over 300 people were in attendance. Pretty impressive.
And now for the sad news. After discovering he died in Boston, I was able to find his death record in Massachusetts records.
Jeremiah Hayes (Hays) died in City Hospital on May 7, 1869 of Disease of the Liver (Cirrhosis) and “Drunkeness”.
How sad. After reading how well respected he was, this was a bit of a let down. But then again, times were tough back then, and our family line survived. Jeremiah successfully immigrated to the United States and established a family here. There is something to be said for that. Many were not as fortunate.
So.. why did these articles suddenly appear? These websites are constantly adding new content. They probably just recently added some new content from the Manchester, NH newspapers. So the lesson is… you need to keep trying… don’t give up. There is so much more content out there that is yet to be indexed.
By the way… I already new his father’s name was John from his marriage record in England. But I did not know that is Mom’s name was Hanorah. Guess what I discovered when I plugged those names into the Ancestry.com search… more to come on that later.