All About Connections, Following the Kelleys to Iowa, Part 3

Part 1 Of this series of posts was about a woman named Mary Hibbard Stewart and the possibility of her being my 3rd great-grandmother. TL;DR: Mary lived near my 2nd great-grandfather John Kelley in two different states from 1850–1880.

Part 2 established that Mary was the right age, had not yet married John Stewart when John Kelley was born in 1825, and John Kelley, his wife’s father, and Mary were close neighbors in Henry County, Iowa, from 1856 to 1870 or so.

So now I want to look for any more ties I can make between Mary Hibbard Stewart and John Kelley.

I’m awaiting John Kelley’s death certificate. Usually, the names of the deceased’s parents are listed on these records. I could get really lucky and discover Mary’s name listed on it. Chances are, though, that other researchers of this family have already ordered his death certificate before me. So, probably, his parents’ names were left blank.

I’ve checked several newspaper archive sites and haven’t located Mary’s obituary. Obituaries often list the names of children and grandchildren. [Update: Mary’s obituary has been located.]

I also checked in the newspapers of York County, Nebraska, where the Stewarts lived before they moved to Washington State, with no luck. I’d like to look through the newspapers of Henry County to see if they mention a connection between the Kelleys and the Stewarts. Newspapers back then reported every little picnic and out-of-town guest, so there’s a chance I’ll find a link.

That leaves me with my dad’s and my DNA tests. I didn’t find any direct ancestors to Mary Hibbard in our matches. [update: we now have a direct match to a descendant of Mary’s!] But I did find this:

You’re looking at’s latest feature. It’s called Thrulines, and it’s a compilation of family trees based from people with whom my dad and I share DNA. At the top is Mary’s father, Ozias, and the next row down are several of her siblings. The far left guy shows that my dad and I share DNA with the 11 descendants of Mary’s brother Henry who have taken DNA tests. The rest of the tree shows descendants of 4 other siblings of Mary’s with whom we share DNA. So all signs point to us being related to this Hibbard family in some way.

John’s mother isn’t necessarily Mary, though. He could have decided to move with his aunt and her family since she had just lost her husband. But it’s not far-fetched to think she’s his mother. I was also thinking John Kelley’s father could be one of Ozias’s sons and his mother could have been a Kelley. I don’t think it was common for a child born to unmarried or divorcing parents to be given the mother’s last name back then, but it’s possible.

And that’s why I’m going to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in a week!

Read Part 4. Sources aren’t necessary for this post, but here is a link to my Sources page.

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I am a writer for an e-Learning course vendor near Chicago.

3 thoughts on “All About Connections, Following the Kelleys to Iowa, Part 3”

  1. Awesome post! So excited about your trip to Henry, Iowa. Keep your eye out for Jemima Reynolds while you are there. I think that’s where she died.

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