Monday, July 18, 2011

Mystery Monday - What's Your Name?

Throughout my time researching, I occasionally come across a piece of information that will conflict with another piece of information I already have. An example of this would be the name of my great-great grandmother.

Throughout my research, I have come across two different names for her - Bridget & Theresa.

I first found her name in the obituary of her son, Frederick McRae (my great grandfather). Her name is listed as "Bridget (Kane) McRae"

Brockton Daily Enterprise - Wednesday, February 28, 1951

Her name was also listed as Bridget in a 1900 United States Census.

United States Census, 1900

However, when I looked up Fred's birth certificate, her name came up as Theresa Kane.

Names written on Fred McRae's birth certificate. Dated May 10, 1892.

I went to an Irish Festival where there was a genealogy booth. I told the genealogist my dilemma and she recommended that I go by the name I found on the birth certificate because it would be the most accurate. And I went with it.

Later on, I found the marriage certificate of her marriage to my great-great grandfather, James R. McRae, at the Massachusetts State Archives and her name was listed as "Theresa McCormick (Kane)". The McCormick part is correct because she was previously married to a McCormick.

Names written on marriage certificate. Dated February 19, 1887.
On the birth certificate of Walter McRae, the second son she had with James, her name is listed as Theresa (although Theresa is misspelled in this document and written as Tressa). 

Names written on Walter McRae's birth certificate. Dated Aug 17, 1889.

However, the name Bridget started coming up again when I went looking for her death record. After looking through the records at the Brockton Public Library, I found her. She died on December 9, 1926 and was listed in the book as "Bridget T. McRae". The complete accuracy of her death record is questionable though because they listed her mother as Maria Horne, when in fact Maria was actually the mother of her husband, James. 

And her obituary and death notice listed her as "Bridget T. Kane" as well. 

Friday, December 10, 1926 , The Brockton Times - Page 3

Friday, December 10, 1926 , The Brockton Times - Page 13

I frequently use the genealogy website,, and have recently discovered that my great-great grandparents had another child before Walter. His name was also Fred E. McRae. However, he died in 1991, a year before my great grandfather, Fred McRae, was born.  On both his birth and death records, his mother is listed "Theresa Kane".

Names written on Fred E. McRae's birth record. Fred was born on December  11, 1887.

Names written on Fred E. McRae's death record. Fred died on  April 5, 1891.

I also found a census record from 1880 during the time of her first marriage and it lists her name as "Bridget" although it is actually misspelled on the census as "Btiget".

The death record of Thomas H. McCormick has his mother listed as "Bridget Kane".

In the obituary of Mary A. McCormick, her name is given as "Bridget" but once again, the question of accuracy comes into play because of several other typos in the obituary (ex. Kane is spelled as Cain).

Thursday, November 13, 1958 , Brockton Daily Enterprise - Page Two

On Mary McCormick's birth certificate, the name of her mother is also listed as "Bridget".

Names listed on Mary McCormick's birth certificate. Mary was born on January 30, 1879.

This whole name conflict remains one of the biggest mysteries and whether her name was in fact Bridget or Theresa may never be known.

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