Thanks for your response. My experience is like yours. I began with no documentation and very little oral history for William Oldfield except his name. The O’Brien line opened up when I found a Civil War widow’s pension record for Mary’s mother. My mother’s generation knew Mary O’Brien, but neither she nor my grandmother, Anna Oldfield Hogan, seems to have passed on much about William. My mother knew that he had been married previously. He had a daughter, known in our family as “Aunt Jeanette”, who was known to my mother’s generation. My aunt said that “one of his sons by his previous marriage went west for gold. Another lived upstate NY”. I have not found any evidence to support the comments about the sons.
Based on census and death certificate data, I had thought that William came to NY from Ireland (maybe through Canada) in 1857. I would like to hear what you know or even what you think about his life before 1870.
Mary was born in County Wicklow, Ireland, 15 Nov. 1849, and came to as an infant. In 1876, she signed a statement in her mother’s pension application as Mary Oldfield. The NY City directory for 1872/73 shows “Oldfield, Wm. printer h 38 Frankfort”. William and Mary show up in the 1880 Census with three daughters and two sons (George 5 and John 5mo.). The oldest child, Ellen (probably named after Mary’s mother) was 11. Because Ellen was born in NYC June 1870, I searched for a marriage record for the years 1866-68. They didn’t find one.
The 1910 Census says Mary had 9 children. I only found 8. My mother did not know about Agnes and Lucy, though my grandmother must have known them. They died at the ages of 1 and 4 and were not alive for any census. They are buried at Calvary Cemetery.
I have William’s death certificate. It is badly filled out. It says that he died Sep 29 1889. He was 50, married, a “compositor” (typesetter), resident in NY for 31 yrs. His father’s name was William, and his mother’s Francis(?) He was buried at The Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn. The cemetery told me it was a “charity grave”.
I am very interested in the mystery of William’s background. If you think we have something worth pursuing, I have more data. There are contradictions among the sources, but I am used to that.
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