Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary/Frances/Ellen Downey

Mary Downey was born on September 4, 1875 in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts to John Francis Downey (1854-1885) and Mary E. Showler (1857-1914).  She died on July 17, 1876 in Springfield and was buried with her maternal grandparents in Saint Michael's Cemetery in Springfield.

Photograph Copyright 2012.
Mary is the given name of baby Downey on her headstone, as shown above.  However, her birth record in Springfield lists her as "Frances Downey," and her death record lists her as "Ellen Downey."  Baby Downey was a single not multiple birth.  Her death records lists her as 10 months and 13 days old as of the date of her death, which, if you count backwards, matches the date of birth on her birth record.  Mary/Frances/Ellen Downey is a prime example of the age-old "What's his/her name?!" problem in genenalogy.  I've personally favored Mary as her first name because I assume her headstone would be engraved with the name her family called her, even if it isn't her legal name.

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