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A Young Woman with Many Footprints

Common wisdom states that genealogical research comes more easily for male ancestors than for female ones. I often find the opposite to be true in my family.

One example is my Irish ancestral couple, Daniel Ryan (1829-1863) and Jane Lawless (abt. 1829-1853), who resided in Illinois. I have found much more information about her and her family than I have located for his. I believe other researchers have encountered the same difficulties with Daniel because online family trees commingle him with another Daniel who lived in New York.

Everyone seems to have difficulty with him, yet Jane has been easy to find. Although she lived a short life, I have several records for her:

  1. Arriving New York passenger list for the Home on 1 May 1849. Jane and her family travelled in steerage from Ireland.
  2. 1850 U. S. census for Peoria, Illinois. Jane resided in the Thomas Lawless household with perhaps 10 siblings. Two other Lawless families appeared on the same page.
  3. 1851 marriage record for Jane Lawless and Daniel Ryan in Peoria, Illinois. They married 15 June 1851 in the Catholic Church.
  4. 1852 baptism record for her son Richard in Kickapoo, Peoria County, Illinois.
  5. Death in 1853. I have not located a death or burial record for Jane, but an affidavit in a Civil War pension application file states that she died at Bloomington, Illinois in 1853.

These records will provide ample fodder to learn much more about Jane and her family. All her siblings would have left tracks in Illinois and elsewhere.

Once again, the female in my family becomes the easier one to document.

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