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With a lot of help, I now understand a bit more about "my" Emma Mahaney. For this family I have found the name spelled Mahary, Mahany and Mahony. Emma was the daughter of William (b 1835, PA) and Sarah (b 1838, England). Based on 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910 census data, William and Sarah live in Green County WI then Janesville WI. All of their children on the census were born in IL. Found in various census records are Emma (b 1862), Alfred (b 1865), Joseph (b 1869) and Jennie (b 1875). I am not sure which 4 of 7 children survived until 1910.
The key for me was an obit for Helen M. Mahany who passed away in 1988 at the age of 86 in Milkauwee. She was the daughter of Joseph (b 1869) and Inez Thomas Mahany (b 1873)of Janesville. A Helen Mahany had written a letter to my grandmother in 1975 concerning the funeral of Chester Collman, my grandmother's brother-in-law. Combining the obit with this letter gave me reinforcement that Joseph and Emma were probably siblings. I turned my attention away from trying to find William or Emma in Illionis to Joseph in Wisconsin. I found William Mahary in Green Co., WI who had an 8 year old daughter Emma, and two sons.
Helen was an only child and a very interesting lady. She went to Bennington College where she studied with Martha Graham. She was involved in teaching music and dance at many colleges in Illionis. In the last years of her working life she was a Dean of Women at Joliet College in IL. She retired to Milwaukee.