Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mary Ellen Cook has been Found

Back in December I posted on my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Ellen COOK. She's been one of my brick walls since I started genealogy.

To sum up that post, it turned out that she wasn't Mary Ellen COOK after all. She was Mary Ellen WEAVER, who grew up living with a family named COOK.

After that, I sent away to New York State for a copy of her death certificate, and lo and behold, they sent it to me after only 3 months! Way faster than the last time I tried ordering something from them. Now I'm encouraged to order more stuff!

Anyway, her death certificate arrived last week and it was all I could hope for - it listed her parents names and where they were born. Joy! The informant was Mary's son Wesley who she had lived with for many years (her husband John MIX had passed away in 1906.

So here is the information I wanted all these years on Mary's parents:

"FINNEY" is a brand new surname to me, sounds Irish! I searched around to see if there was anything easily found on Almira and Thomas on ancestry and the internet and there isn't that I can see (yet). Both Mary and her mom Almira are listed as being born in Cooperstown, NY.

And Poughkeepsie as a birthplace for Thomas! That's also a new county for me, all this time I've been limited to a few counties in the Finger Lakes region of New York - now I have some interest way over in Dutchess county in southeastern NY (near the Hudson river).

There's a bit of confusion surround her birth year. The death certificate lists "Feb 19th, 1839" as her birth date. The age is listed out as "85 Years, 11 Months, 24 Days". I had had "1840" as the birth year from her gravestone. I figured the gravestone would be the one that had a typo but wasn't sure.

So I went to the super awesome WolframAlpha search engine site that does math and stuff for me and entered "feb 19 1839 - jan 13 1925". The death date is right off her death certificate as well.

So somebody was wrong somewhere. I have to admit, I would have messed up figuring out years/months/days for people as well. Whenever I do math I seem to lose interest somewhere in the middle and start thinking about flowers or sparkly things.



...things that sparkle...

I'm sorry, I've lost track of what I was writing about! :-)

Oh yeah, so I don't know for sure if Mary was born in 1839 or 1840. For now, I'm going to leave 1839 in my records with a notation about the chance of it being 1840.

And so with all that, I no longer have a Mary Ellen COOK brickwall! Now it's time for some new research on my new surnames!


  1. This brought such a smile to my face - then I saw a bird fly by the window and saw the flowers in the breeze...

    Seriously, great news about your elusive Mary Ellen. And a fabulous post!

  2. Thanks Susan! I was definitely doing the happy dance when I got that letter in the mail!

  3. Thank you for your kind words about our cat Sissi! Pets really hold a special place in our heart! I miss her every day...

    ..and you have lovely "things that sparkle"...I love the colors..!