I am looking for two marriages and for suggestions on how to proceed:
Alexander Kerr (Presbyterian) m. Mary Collins (Catholic) 1862-1965 in
greater SF Bay area; David H. Burson (Friend) m. Julia Collins (Catholic)
aft1870, when both were living in Pajaro (Monterey Co but near Watsonville,
Santa Clara Co).
Any suggestions on how to find a record of the above "mixed marriages"? The
Kerr children were raised Catholic at St Patrick's in Watsonville, Santa
Cruz CA (they lived lust across the Monterey Co. line), first by their
parents and then by the childless Bursons, but there is no record of either
marriage or the birth/baptism of the first Kerr child, Mary Elizabeth, in
Jan, 1866 at that church, the Diocese of Monterey, Salinas courthouse, or
pre-web newspaper indices (Santa Cruz and SF papers) that I have checked.
The Diocesan archivist insists they would have been married in a Catholic
church but can't find any records in the greater Watsonville area. It is *
possible* that the children didn't become Catholic until after the
institutionalization in 1874, when her sister Julia took over their care.
Given St. Patrick's careful records of the last child, b, 1873, I suspect
the parents did not marry there. I'm more puzzled by the lack of a church
record for the Bursons, unless the archivist priest was wrong and they
couldn't be married in a Catholic church.
Alexander Kerr, b. Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland ca 1840, came to U.S. with
brother John via Philadelphia in 1851. Most of their family settled in
Barry, Pike Co, IL. John was in 1860 census there and died there of TB in
1867. I find no trace of Alex until maybe 1860 census, Dry Creek, Sacramento
Co., where an Alex Kerr of right age, b. Ireland is listed. Next I find him
in Great Register of Santa Cruz, as native of PA--which he claimed as his
birthplace until his death in Pajaro in 1882. (I recognize his handwriting.)
He and Burson farmed undivided shares of a farm in Pajaro. In 1870 Julia
Collins was living with the Kerrs and Burson was living with another farm
laborer. By 1880 they were married. Unfortunately both died in early 1890s
so not in 1900 census.
Neither Alex nor his two brothers seem to have served in the Civil War. John
may have been too ill (although he was engaged to be married when he died),
and their older brother Oliver, married in Barry in 1856 and had several
small children. A younger cousin from Barry did enlist.
Mary and Julia Collins came from Co. Cork with their elderly widowed father
and mostly adult siblings to Tioga Co., New York ca. 1863 (based on
immigration date of a sibling in 1900 census--none of the family were in
Tioga County in 1860 census and I haven't found immigration records). Mary
came around the Horn to "visit friends" in San Francisco ( I suspect, given
birthdate ca. 1834, she was looking for a husband). 1874 committal records
(to Stockton Insane Asylum for what looks to my like severe postpartum
depression, perhaps provoking a mood disorder) said she had been in CA 12
years and last lived in Boston--not out of the question as one of her
brothers settled there. Julia, much younger, came by ship to the isthmus,
traveled overland, and took another boat to CA. (This is from family lore; I
haven't located passenger records.)
I'm picking this up again after 30 years and would like to do a systematic
search for the marriages and other information using web resources. I have
subscriptions to Ancestry and Footnote. (No more grinding through microfil
at NARA). Suggestions?
Julie, a Californian cold and wet in Ohio