“Mrs. Hugh Walsh, Latonia, Ohio:” Using FamilySearch

Michael McGlade’s obituary (Perth Courier, 20 January 1905) notes that he was predeceased by his wife Bridget McNulty and by five of their nine children; and that he was survived by three sons and one daughter. Of the five dead children, the obituary records, one is buried in Perth (that one is Margaret McGlade, who died in Brockville in 1894), and “four are buried in Ireland” (presumably Co. Armagh). The surviving sons are named as Patrick and John of Perth (Ontario), and Michael of Havelock (also Ontario); and the daughter is named as “Mrs Hugh Walsh, Latonia, Ohio.”

So who was Mrs Hugh Walsh of Latonia, Ohio? I had no idea what her first name might be, though I knew, of course, that her maiden name was McGlade; and I had also never heard of a place called Latonia, Ohio.

FamilySearch made it very easy to identify her as Mary McGlade.

I began by running a search for any possible children of Hugh Walsh and [first name left blank] McGlade. At the main search screen, I entered Walsh for Last Name, with no first name, and then clicked on Parents to enter Hugh Walsh for Father, and last name McGlade (first name left blank) for Mother. I did not specify a birthplace or a place of residence, because I wanted to cast a broad net (with the surnames Walsh and McGlade as specifiers):

And the results of the above search (click on below image to see larger version):

Five children (Margaret, Patrick, Hugh, Alice, Elizabeth) born to Hugh Walsh and Mary McGlade in Leetonia (Columbiana County), Ohio, with the youngest of these five, Hugh or Huey, dying in 1905. So I now had the first name (= Mary) of Mrs Hugh Walsh, maiden name McGlade, and I realized that the Perth Courier’s “Latonia” should be Leetonia, Ohio.

Of course, I could have begun by searching for a marriage record for Hugh Walsh and [first name left blank] McGlade. Here again, from the main search screen, Hugh Walsh and [blank] McGlade, with nothing else specified:

This turns up a marriage record for Hugh Walsh and Mary McGlade, along with the birth records for the same five children as above (Margaret, Patrick, Hugh, Alice and Elizabeth), and the death record for son Hugh or Huey (click on image below to see larger version):

Do these broad queries at FamilySearch turn up all relevant records for this family? No, not at all, not even close. Further searching (at FamilySearch and at ancestry) turns up another four children (Thomas, John, Mary B., and Harry B.), and also indicates that between 1905 and 1910, the family moved from Leetonia, Ohio to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But the initial broad search is what allowed me to readily identify Mrs Hugh Walsh as Mary McGlade of Leetonia, Ohio.

Obviously this type of search isn’t going to work so well for John Smith and his wife [first name unknown] Jones. But for less common surnames, it also worth trying to find something at FamilySearch, which is easy to use and also free of charge.