Daniel Fitzgerald Died?

I always find it fascinating and exciting when I find a book that describes a direct ancestor and their family so when a fellow genealogist pointed me to the book “History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario, containing an outline of the history of the Dominion of Canada, a history of the city of Toronto and the county of York, with the townships, towns. villages, churches, schools, general and local statistics, biographical sketches, etc., Vol. 2” by Charles Pelham Mulvaney, I was elated. Mulvaney’s two volume history was published in 1885, shortly before Mulvaney died. The book is now in the public domain so a digitized version of both volumes can be found on the Our Roots website in addition to the Internet Archive website.

The book confirmed other research that I had already completed but unfortunately left one mystery unsolved – when and where did Daniel Fitzgerald die? Daniel is my third great grandfather and was born around 1804 in Ireland. Mulvaney places the his origins as being Waterford, Ireland, a city known for its fine crystal. Mulvaney’s biographical sketch indicates that Daniel emigrated to the USA, and Cape Vincent, New York, in 1825 where he married Rebecca Noble. Daniel and Rebecca had four children while in Cape Vincent, the eldest of whom, Lewis, my great great grandfather, was born in 1837. In 1843, according to Mulvaney, Daniel moved his family to Toronto, in what was then referred to as Canada West, where he purchased 100 acres of land at Lot 5, Concession 2. Mulvaney records that Joseph, the youngest of Daniel’s three sons eventually purchased the family land and was still living there in 1885 when Mulvaney wrote his book. Also, as Mulvaney reports, Lewis purchased land not far from his family.

The 1880 map of the area confirms Mulvaney’s report on the land holdings as the map clearly shows Joseph owning the large lot and Lewis owning a smaller (25 acre) lot a short distance away. What is interesting to note is that the map also shows Daniel occupying a small corner of Joseph’s large lot yet Mulvaney’s biography of Daniel states that Daniel remained on his land “until his death in 1844.” If Daniel died in 1844, how could he be shown on the 1880 map. To add to the mystery are two further pieces of information. Rebecca, Daniel’s wife, died January 20, 1879 in Toronto. Her death registration shows that she was a ‘Lady’ who died suddenly of old age. The informant who signed the registration was Daniel Fitzgerald!

Civil registration began in Ontario, Canada in 1869 so if Daniel died in 1844 as Mulvaney claims, there will be no civil registration record. If Daniel died after Rebecca’s death in 1879 as both his signature on her death registration and the 1880 map indicate, then there should be a civil registration for his death – but there doesn’t appear to be one!

Fortunately, I have also found that Daniel and Rebecca, along with other family members were buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Toronto so a visit there along with a review of the burial records, if they are accessible, may clear up the mystery. But I’m going to wait until the snow is gone before I make that trip!

2 thoughts on “Daniel Fitzgerald Died?

  1. This is from quite a few years back, but I am a descendant of Lewis Fitzgerald as well, he is also my great great grandfather, via his daughter Ellen (1862-1949), who married Michael O’Sullivan (1858-1928) of York Township.
    It might be interesting to compare notes. Thanks for finding this information, I will use it.

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