Sunday, 25 March 2018

Bright Shiny Objects

If you're wondering where I've been, so am I.  As far as genealogy goes, I've spent so much time grasping at BSOs (the Bright Shiny Objects that are always popping up when you're looking for something else entirely) I got completely sidetracked from what I was intending to do, and I've achieved hardly anything - but it's been very interesting!

One of the BSOs is a reasonably close autosomal and X DNA match called PM, who I can't pin down.  He/she has no tree anywhere, doesn't match any of my known DNA matches, doesn't answer emails and doesn't even reveal his/her gender.  But a clue led me to his/her surname, and using the DNA evidence, I think I've narrowed him/her down to the Doyle branch of my father's family tree - or it could be Wanamaker...

So I'm having another look at the Doyles.  One of my paternal great grandfathers was Isaac Francis Doyle, who had eight siblings who I've never paid much attention to before.  I'm now getting to know Isaac's eldest sister, Elizabeth Doyle, in hopes of tracing her descendants and finding somebody with the same surname as PM.  If I succeed, that will only be Step One.  The next steps, to find PM's parents or grandparents, will probably be much harder.  And if I fail on Step One, I'll move on to another of Isaac's siblings.

Was the mysterious PM descended from any of these people?

It turns out that Elizabeth Doyle is one of my family mysteries.  Interesting to have one of those on my father's side of the family for a change.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Francis Doyle and Mary Croskery.  She was born in about 1848 in Ontario, Canada (or according to one census, in Ireland, but I'm pretty sure that's rubbish, or the wrong person).

I do wonder just how many Elizabeth Doyles were born at the same time in Ontario.  Various ones pop up in early census records, but birth and marriage records are harder to come by.  So looking for 'my' Elizabeth as she goes through her life, I need to be very skeptical of everything I find, until I can prove it.

At least I can be sure that the Elizabeth in the 1851 and 1861 Canada censuses are the right person, because I know who her parents and siblings were.

The next time she pops up is in the 1871 census - twice.  In one, she's 22 years old, married to John Torongo, has a 3 month old child and is living in Carrick, Bruce county, Ontario.  In the other, taken about a week later, she's also 22 years old, probably single* and with her parents in Mount Forest, Wellington county, Ontario, which is about 50kms from Carrick.  I know this second one is my Elizabeth because of the other people in the family.  And it's not hard to imagine that she was recorded first at her home, and recorded again a week later because she happened to be at her parents' house on the day the census taker knocked on the door there - or for that matter, even if she wasn't there, whoever answered the census taker's questions might have named her as a member of the family, perhaps referring to her as 'my daughter Elizabeth' or 'my sister Elizabeth', leaving the census taker to assume Elizabeth's surname was Doyle.  It's possible... isn't it?  Or are these two different Elizabeths?

Why do I think these are both my Elizabeth?  Because many other records show that an Elizabeth Doyle, born in 1848 married a John Torongo born in 1846/7, and both of them were from Ontario.  I can't find any records of a likely Elizabeth Doyle marrying anybody else.  Well, let's face it, I can't find a record of any likely marriage for Elizabeth, which would include her parents' names and put me out of my misery. As I've found before, Ontario marriage records are notoriously frustrating to find.

I've considered the possibility that Elizabeth Torongo is the wrong person, and that my Elizabeth never married - but if not, why doesn't she show up in any more records as Elizabeth Doyle?  Possibly because she married somebody else altogether, and since I have no idea what his name was, and can't find any likely marriage records...  I'm doomed.

Naturally I've looked at other people's family trees, but there don't seem to be many people researching these Doyles.  And those who are all have my Elizabeth married to John Torongo - but is that just because they're all copying each other?  Not one of them has any solid evidence.

I'm on a mission to find some.

* On this page of the census, in the Marital Status column, there's an M for married people, W for widowed people, and nothing at all for single people.  There's nothing beside Elizabeth's name, which is not exactly a definite indication that she was single.

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