In my last post, I recounted two “anonymous” comments that had recently been left for me on a May 2011 posting about William Mitchell’s disappearance or perhaps, his abandonment for whatever reason of his family sometime in the mid-1890’s. Both of the comments indicated that William’s wife, Agnes Sweeney, my second great grandmother, had taken in a little girl named Mary Lafferty and raised her as her own. By the time this had occurred, Agnes had re-married to Joseph Branchfield and so little Mary was essentially raised as a Branchfield family member.
I concluded the last post by requesting that those who had left the comments to please contact me. I’m happy to report that Marie and Helen, daughters of Mary Lafferty Branchfield have contacted me and the information that they have begun to share is also pouring in (more about some of the discoveries and surprises provided so far will be shared in future posts).
Needless to say, I am thrilled to have been able to connect with these new ‘cousins.’ Although neither knew my second great grandmother (as Agnes passed away in 1928), they did know Agnes’ children well as their aunts and uncles. I’m certain to learn much more about these family members who until now had only been names on records and in my database.
This branch of the family (my father’s maternal line) moved from Scotland to the United States many years ago. While I always have wondered about the hardship of immigration that my ancestors experienced, particularly leaving family behind, usually knowing they would never again be seen, I continue to be amazed that we cousins could be living so close together and yet not know it. Just as I am amazed, based on the information about members of this family branch, about family resemblances, talents, and choices of employment that seem to run inexplicably through the family.
So thank you to Marie and Helen for reaching out and if there are more Branchfields out there, I’m waiting to hear from you too!