First of all, Happy New Year – wishing you all and your families the very best for 2018! Thank you for following and reading, and for the encouragement and advice along the way!
The first post of the year is about a mystery. Unfortunately I still don’t have the answer, but hope by writing it all out here somebody may spot a clue I’ve missed, or even better – somebody who knows what happened, one of this couple’s descendents maybe, may come across this post.
I used to joke that the family of John Bradley and Mary Ann Keenan must have been in the witness protection program when they moved to Boston – there are so many inconsistencies with the available records, and so many records missing. It’s a real muddle. I’ve written about their daughter Catherine (Bradley) McManus and the sad fate of her children.
Nellie (Ellen) Bradley is Catherine’s sister, born about 1859 in Scotland and moved with her family to Boston as a child. Nellie married Neil McNulty on 25 Dec 1879, same day as her other sister Mary married Francis Sullivan.
Neil’s parents are James and Mary, and he is 22 years old, born in Boston and a shoemaker.
In 1880 census Neil McNulty, as well as the other sister’s husband – Francis Sullivan, are listed as boarders in the same household as John and Mary Ann Bradley and their children at 5 Foster Street. Neil is 23 years old and a shoemaker.
Nellie and Neil had three boys:
- Frank McNulty – b. 6 Oct 1880 (5 Foster)
- James McNulty – b. 14 Aug 1882 (19 1/2 Fliesbon?) and
- Henry McNulty – b. 2 Dec 1886 (32 Hull)
The last mention of the father Neil, or Nellie and the boys is the birth record for Henry in 1886. I have not been able to find Neil McNulty after that.
I also have a possible birth record for him – Cornelius McNulty b. 10 April 1858, Boston to James and Mary McNulty. Unfortunately there are quite few McNulty families so I haven’t been able to confirm 100% this is him, but it’s quite likely.
Imagine my surprise when I was researching another Keenan line in Boston, one of the brothers of Mary Ann who also moved from Scotland, and I came across Nellie Raymond in 1900 and after with three Raymond children with exact same first names and same dates of birth but living in Lynn, Essex, MA. Their father is listed as Frank Raymond, and parents as married c.1879 accoring to 1900 census.
In 1900 the family lived at 91 Chestnut Street:
- Frank Raymond is 42, b. Apr 1858 and his occupation is Agent, lasting machines (“lasting” according to Google is the process of attaching the leather top of a shoe to the sole)
- Nellie is 41, born in Sept 1858 (I’m yet to find a birth certificate for her in Scotland) and immigrated in 1862
- James b. Aug 1882
- Harry b. Dec 1886
The eldest son Frank (Francis) has married on 17 Dec 1899 to Nellie T McQuillian, his parents listed as Francis + Ellen J Bradley. In 1900 was living on 33 Parrot Street. They had one son – James (1900-1954) Frank died on 13 Jan 1945 in Lynn, however I don’t have a death certificate for him yet. He is buried in Saint Joseph Cemetery.
The second son, James Raymond, married Claire Mary LeMont on 30th Jan 1907 (parents listed as Frank Raymond and Nellie Bradley) and sadly died by suicide a month later on 5th March. His age is listed as 24y 6m 19d which would make his date of birth around 14th Aug 1882.
The youngest son, Harry Wheeler Raymond was born on 2nd Dec 1886 according to his WW1 draft registration card and married Alice L Keenan on 4th Jan 1914.
They had two sons – Frank (b. 1915) and Fred (b.1918). Harry seem to have sustained war injuries and in 1930 is listed living at the National home for disabled volunteer soldiers in Chelsea, Main. He died on 14th Mar 1932.
Their mother, Nellie (Bradley) Raymond died on 18th Feb 1912 in Lynn from paralysis with exhaustion as contributing disease.
Her date of birth is listed as 29th Sep 1858, however I’ve been unable to find her birth certificate in Glasgow or anywhere in Scotland. I’ve had no luck with the birth certificates of any of her siblings either, apart from Rachel (Bradley) Molloy who was born in Boston.
As for her husband Frank Raymond- he remarried in 1913 Mary Ann Conway (his parents listed as James and Mary – same as Neil McNulty’s parents first names) According to some trees on ancestry he had died on 20th Oct 1939 but I haven’t been able to confirm this. The only record I’ve found that lists Frank Raymond who died on that date is a mason membership card – not that the date of birth is listed the same as the suspected DOB for Neil McNulty – 10th Apr 1858, and his occupation – an Agent. I have no other information about Neil McNulty or Frank Raymond being masons.
So, this is all I have found so far. I’m seriously leaning towards the theory of Neil McNulty changing his name to Frank Raymond, even though it sounds really far-fetched. Was it done in 1890s and what sort of paper trail would there be?
It’s also possible that Neil had died or left the family, and Nellie re-married Frank Raymond who adopted the boys very young, they may not have even known he wasn’t their father. However, the same possible date of birth of both men, same occupation and same first name of the parents are a bit too much of a coincidence for me.
While this mystery is for now unsolved, I’m planning on renewing my newspaper subscription to see if there is anything in the papers, and tracking living Raymond descendents – hopefully one day we’ll figure it out.