Picking Up the Trail of the Wrongly Indexed David/Daniel Moran-Mary A. Coleman Marriage

If you read Empty Branches regularly, you might remember back in February when I had an impossible time in Salt Lake City locating the actual image of the marriage record of David Moran, who turned out to be Daniel Moran, and Mary A. Coleman on 31 March 1858, which turned out to be 31 March 1856, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Well, a few bread crumbs of a trail have finally been located. Between indexing errors and parameters set by various search engines, tracking this couple has turned out to be an excellent example of why no one database should be used. “Reasonably exhaustive research” must include multiple records and multiple databases.

After it was finally determined that Daniel Moran married Mary A. Coleman on 31 January 1856, that he was aged 28 and she was 21, that he was a resident of New York City and she of Boston and that he was a produce dealer, the trail ran cold.

My heart also ran cold when I saw that he lived in New York City, because finding a Daniel and Mary A. Moran in Boston or New York was not difficult. The problem was that there were too many of them and not a one Daniel and Mary looked to be a good match for mine.

I did locate two death records for Daniel and Mary’s children. I am sure I have the right parents because Daniel was born in Ireland and Mary A. was born in Calais, Maine. The first record was for three year old John E. Moran:

Little John was three years, seven months and nine days old, placing his birth at approximately 19 January 1861. The ditto marks in the column for place of birth seem to indicate that he was born in Boston, but no birth record has yet been found for him.

It appears that he might have been a victim of a diphtheria outbreak because the death of his baby sister, Julia M. Moran, was recorded eleven days later on 8 September 1864.

Infant Julia was only 7 months and 24 days old. Her place of birth was an additional clue pointing again to New York. It seems the Moran family might have moved back and forth at least a couple of times between New York and Boston.

Both records give 120 Cove as the home address. If you have never used a historical map collection, you are overlooking a tremendous resource. I searched the David Rumsey Map Collection and found one for Boston, 1856, right at the time when the Morans married:

Cove Street 1856

Cove Street began at the top of the red line at East Street in a southerly direction right down to the harbor. Most of Cove Street is gone today – the one block that remains has house numbers under 20, which is that first block up by East Street.

The really neat thing about historical maps is that both with Google Earth and right on the David Rumsey site, it is possible to overlay the maps on top of each other.

Perhaps the reason Cove Street was demolished was the construction of the 93 highway interchanges. The street ran right down to the water, which is in the area of the interchange.

In spite of these finds, I am no closer to finding Daniel, Mary A. and any other possible children they might have had in a census record or death records. It seems likely that they might have been moving between the two cities and missed each census taker, so the search continues.


One thought on “Picking Up the Trail of the Wrongly Indexed David/Daniel Moran-Mary A. Coleman Marriage”

  1. At least you have the deaths of the two children and an address to help you put the family in a certain place at a certain time. Have you tried directories? Just a thought…

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