Squeezing all the information from a source
Updated: Dec 29, 2018
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve talked about reorganizing my office, and my file system. So far, my resolution to work on my own family and to organize, scan and file all of the papers I found during my “clean out” is working. One of the first documents I pulled from my “to do” pile was a funeral notice for “Mrs. Flood” which I had copied from a newspaper in Ireland in 2015. I wasn’t sure who Mrs. Flood was, but I did have a collateral line marry a Kate Flood and in the list of people attending her funeral, were three Moughtys. This past December, I received an email from a gentleman in Ireland who was researching Floods. He knew one had married a Moughty and in searching had found my website. What might have been just a short time to scan and file this funeral announcement turned into a multiple day adventure.
The funeral notice was dated 20 June 1903 and never mentioned the given name of Mrs. Flood simply stating she was a “much lamented lady” and that the chief mourners were her husband Daniel and son Willie. There were 34 additional individuals listed in the chief mourners category, in some cases with their relationships and locations (uncle, brothers-in-law, cousins). There was also a list of another 30-40 individuals (all male) as public attendees. Included in this second list were, James, Patrick and Bernard Moughty. So what’s the plan?
Research Question: What was the given name of Mrs. Flood?
What documents are available that might answer the research question?
Death Certificate for Mrs. Flood. It would provide her given name, age, date and cause of death. If the informant was her husband, it would also confirm the correct individual. Death records from 1878-1966 are available online (free) at IrishGenealogy.ie. (Older records are still being added to this database.)
Catherine Flood died on 9 Jun 1903 at Carrickbawn; she was a 35 year old married female, wife of a farmer. She died of accidental hemorrhage-child birth and the informant was her husband Dan, present at death. 
This appears to be the correct document.
Birth Certificate for Willie. A birth certificate for her son would provide the maiden name of Mrs. Flood as well as the father’s name, which should be Daniel. The fact that she is only 35 years old means the child was likely born after 1890. Birth records from 1864-1916 are available online (free) at IrishGenealogy.ie.
William Flood, son of Daniel of Carrickbawn and Kate Flood, formerly Kelly, was born 31 Dec 1892 and the birth was registered by the father on 8 Feb 1893. 
Kate’s maiden name was Kelly. (Be flexible with given names as well as the spelling of surnames. Catherine/Kate/ Katie could all be used for the same person.) The fact that this child was born in 1892 and Kate died in 1903 would suggest that there were additional children, perhaps too young to attend the funeral. A search for the surname Flood in the Registration District of Mullingar between 1892 and 1903 turned up two additional children: Anne, born 1896 and Daniel born 1898.
Marriage Certificate for Daniel Flood and Catherine (Kate) Kelly prior to 1893. This would provide the names of the fathers of both the bride and groom (frequently noting if they are deceased), as well as their residence, their condition (bachelor, spinster, widow, widower), the place of the marriage and the witnesses.
Daniel Flood, age 22, a bachelor farmer of Ballymahon, son of William Flood, a farmer; and Katie Kelly, age 24, a spinster of Carrickbawn daughter of Patrick Kelly, a farmer, were married 1 Feb 1892 in the Roman Catholic Chapel of Ballynacargy, registration district of Mullingar, Westmeath. Witnesses: Hugh Garrahan of Abbyderg and Nannie Byrne of Rockbrook. 
So I’ve now answered my research question. Mrs. Flood is 35 year old Catherine (Kate/Katie) Kelly of Carrickbawn, daughter of Patrick Kelly.
If Catherine was 35 years old when she died, she was born about 1868 (remember to be flexible on dates). Civil registration began in Ireland for births in 1864, so I should be able to find her birth. From her marriage record I know that her father was Patrick Kelly…who was her mother? There was another hint in the funeral notice. One of the chief mourners was Cornelius Byrne, an uncle. Was her mother a Byrne?
Birth Certificate for Catherine Kelly.
Catherine Kelly, daughter of Patrick Kelly of Carrickbawn and Anne Kelly, formerly Byrne, was born 10 September 1867 and the birth was registered by the father on 12 Sep 1867. 
Yes, I’ve likely got the right record. Squeeze all the information out of a record. I’m always looking for the corroborating detail and the fact that her uncle is listed as Cornelius Byrne fits with her mother being Anne Byrne. Hopefully you’re getting the idea of how you can work back to fill in the details.
While writing this blog, I realized that I hadn’t checked the 1901 census. Writing an analysis of your research frequently will clarify issues and point to holes in your research. It’s also a good process to use when you hit a brick wall. Pull out all of the information you have on the brick wall ancestor, create a timeline and see what is missing.
Dan Flood with his wife Katie lived in Baronstown, Kilbixy with their three children William (9), Anne (5) and Dan (3). Also in the household was Anne Kelly (69), mother-in-law, a widow; Kate Word/Ward (48), a relative not married. There were also farm and domestic servants, one of whom was a Mary Kelly (18).(6) (There are six Mary Kellys born between 1882 and 1884, none of whom can I connect at this time.) 
The 1911 census showed that Daniel Flood was still in Baronstown with a new wife, Elizabeth (24). (A check of marriage records shows a 1908 marriage to Elizabeth Cunningham.) The only individual from the earlier census living in the household was Kate Ward (63), again identified as a relative. A search of baptismal records for Catherine Ward about 1848 turned up three records. The one that I find most interesting is Catherine Ward, daughter of James Ward and Ellen Kelly baptized 2 Dec 1847; sponsors Patrick Kelly and Margaret Mulvanny. Was this an aunt of Kate Kelly Flood? More research is required here.
Where are the children? A search for Anne Flood gave three results. One was living in the household of William and Anne Jordan along with a Daniel Flood both listed as grandchildren. These appear to be the correct children, but who are the Jordans? The census states that Anne Jordan had been married 28 years (about 1883). A search for marriage of William Jordan between 1882 and 1884 provided the following:
William Jordan of full age, a bachelor farmer of Ballymahon, Longford, son of Thomas Jordan, a farmer (living); Anne Flood, alias Garrahan, a widow of full age of Derrmacor, Cashel, Longford, daughter of Daniel Garrahan (deceased) married 19 Jul 1883 at the Roman Catholic Chapel of Cashel in the registration district of Ballymahon. 
Anne Flood (nee Garrahan) was the widow of William Flood, and the mother of Daniel Flood (I had done similar research on Daniel).
This blog could go on and on. The point I want to make is that research is a process of creating a research question, identifying the possible sources to answer the question, and based on the evidence in the source, creating a new research question. Then repeat. As I mentioned, this one funeral notice kept me busy all day working through civil registration of births, deaths and marriages, and even back into church records. For example, the marriage of Anne Byrne to Patrick Kelly was found in the Roman Catholic records of the Parish of Ballynacargy on 2 Jul 1857.  Indexes and transcriptions of Roman Catholic Church records can be found at RootsIreland (subscription), Ancestry.com or FindMyPast.com. As I mentioned, it was while writing this blog, I realized I hadn’t checked the census records for Daniel Flood in 1901 and 1911. Hence the additional information on the second marriage of Daniel Flood, and the second marriage of Anne Garrahan, Daniel’s mother, as I found the children living in the Jordan household as grandchildren.
I probably have enough information in this one source to keep me busy for another few days. Although I haven’t proved any direct relationship to my Kate Flood who married Michael Moughty, there are enough overlaps of names and places to hint at something.
If you’d like to know more about creating a research plan, check out the blog I wrote last year. You can also download a copy of the Research Plan template I use here.
I planned to write on my digital filing system this week, but I’ll follow up on that next week.
 Westmeath, Ireland, “Funeral of Mrs. Flood, Ballynacargy,” 20 Jun 1903, 9003628 The Westmeath Examiner, database online: Irish Newspaper Archive, The Westmeath Examiner 1882 - Current, National Library of Ireland, Dublin.
 “Civil Registration,” Death, Ireland, Catherine Flood, 1903 Mullingar, Group Registration ID 4648765, Digital Image, IrishGenealogy.ie.
 “Civil Registration,” Birth, Ireland, William Flood, 1893 Mullingar, Group Registration ID 9003628, Digital Image, IrishGenealogy.ie.
 “Civil Registration,” Marriage, Ireland, Daniel Flood and Katie Kelly, 1892 Mullingar, Group Registration ID 2580960, Digital Image, IrishGenealogy.ie.
 “Civil Registration,” Birth, Ireland, Catherine Kelly, 1867 Mullingar, Group Registration ID 8183782, Digital Image, IrishGenealogy.ie.
 “1901 Census of Ireland,” 31 Mar 1901, Household of Dan Flood, House #1, Baronstown, Kilbixy, Westmeath, Digital Image, National Archives of Ireland, http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie.
 “Civil Registration,” Marriage, Ireland, William Jordan and Anne Flood (Garrahan), 1892 Ballymahon, Group Registration ID 2160727, Digital Image, IrishGenealogy.ie.
 Irish Family History Foundation, (http://ifhf.rootsireland.ie/ ) Marriage of Patrick Kelly and Anne Byrne, Ballynacargy, 2 Jul 1857.