Me and Mine

Life, Family and Ancestors

Finding Mary Head

- Posted in Family History by

Post Updated 13 Mar 2022

In my post, The Two Minnies, I wrote about finding two girls in the Charles Head family named "Minnie", either of whom might be my grandmother, Mary Head. As described in that post, I found enough evidence to conclude that it was the younger of the two, born around 1875, who married William Poole. But that left unresolved the more fundamental question of why there were two girls in the family with the same name and where that second girl came from.

Let's review the problem. In the 1880 census, Charles and Bridget Head have a single daughter, Mary. She is 16 years old. Twelve years later, in the 1892 New York State census, there are two Minnies (a common nickname for Mary) living with them. One is 25 years old now, consistent with the girl from the earlier census. The other girl is 16. Who is the that younger Minnie? Where did she come from? The 1892 census does not list family relations and at the time I had found no earlier source of information about my grandmother.

But now we do have more information!

The Two Minnies

- Posted in Family History by

My paternal grandmother, Mary Head Poole died in 1944. I was born in 1942 so I don't actually remember her, but photos show that we did indeed meet. For a long time, I knew nothing very little about her. Thanks to US Census records, I learned about her life after marrying my grandfather in 1896, but I still knew nothing about her parents.

Then, while collecting information about my grandfather, I examined the 1892 New York State Census. It one told me that William Poole, my grandfather, was then living in Brooklyn at 73 Schenectady Avenue. On the same page, immediately above William's entry, is a listing for the family of Charles Head, living in the same tenement! He was listed as a 60 year-old painter from England. His wife Elizabeth is the same age and was born in Ireland. They had two daughters aged 25 and 16. Oddly, both daughters are listed with the same name, “Minnie” - a common nickname for Mary. It appears that that William and one of the two neighbor girls fell in love. They married a few years later.