In April, 2008, I posted an inquiry on a genealogy message board about Marjorie Ring, which was the maiden name I had for the mother of my generation's grandmother, Hazel Nolan Dunn.
My source for that name is Hazel's 1917 marriage license application in which she listed "Marjorie Ring" as her mother. But I couldn't find that name in any other records. The only documents I found with information that came anywhere near being about her mother showed her name being Mary. But I wasn't convinced Mary could be Marjorie; thus her identity remained an open question for some time.
A year after posting it I received a response to my inquiry on the message board. It came from a person whose GG grandmother was a Bridget Ring, and who may be related to us via the Ring line. This person provided confirmation that "Marjorie'" was Mary Ring - and provided info about Mary's parents and grandparents. Here's the response I received:
It seems clear, Patrick, that your "Marjorie" is in fact Mary E. Ring, daughter of John Ring [Jr.] and Mary Ann Martin (married 2/10/1874 in Will County), who lived near Manhattan [Illinois].
Mary and Francis Edward (or Edward Francis?) Nolan married 9/21/1898 in Will County; Hazel followed less than a year later, in 8/1899; by the 1900 Census, Mary was deceased and her sister Sarah/Sadie had moved into Francis Edward's house as a housekeeper.
John Ring was the son of John Ring and Mary Delaney and Mary Ann Martin was the daughter of Edward and Sarah Martin. No luck on connecting my Rings to this family yet, but given that they migrated first to Dutchess County in NY, followed by the move to Will County, it seems very likely.
So, Hazel was born in August, 1899, and the 1900 census (taken in June, 1900) records Hazel's father, Edward Francis Nolan (EFN), as being widowed ten months later. The 1900 census also records Sadie [Sarah] Ring (Mary's sister) as "housekeeper". From this information I surmise that Mary Ring Nolan died, either giving birth to Hazel or shortly thereafter, and her sister stepped in to help with the baby.
In view of what her early life was like, Hazel’s confusion about her mother's name may be understandable. Her father married twice more after Mary's death (he was widowed again), had three families and five more children. Furthermore, Hazel told a family member that she lived with relatives for several years before she married Eugene Michael Dunn in 1917.
My perception is that Hazel, having never known her mother - and living not with EFN, but with relatives - may never have seen any official paperwork containing her mother's name, but somehow remembered it as Marjorie when completing her marriage application. Another possibility is that Marjorie is what the family called Mary, just as Sarah Ring was called Sadie.
The information we have about the Ring line of our ancestral family is sketchy. What we do know comes from a couple of censuses and the information received in that response to my inquiry on the message board. Below is what we have at present.
Great Great Grandfather of William Edward Dunn
The 1870 census records a John Ring and wife Mary - both born in Ireland - in the same location as Mary Ring's family in the 1880 census (see below) and includes a son John, born in New York. All of this info is consistent with the other data I have about this family, and while I can't say for sure, I'm inclined to think he/they are part of our ancestral family.
This household looked like this:
John Ring, 56, farmer
Mary Ring, 45, keeping house
John Ring, 23
Lizza Ring, 21
Catharine Ring, 19
Thomas Ring, 17
Mary A Ring, 15
James Ring, 13
Julia Ring, 11
Bridgett Ring, 9
Margarett Ring, 7
Patrick Ring, 5
Martin Ring, 4
Bell Ring, 2
This census records him as being a farmer, and based upon what I've learned about the potato blight and resulting famine in Ireland in the mid-1800s, I'm thinking that our John Ring was probably a farmer in Ireland. I also think it's likely that he emigrated to the U.S. in the 1840s. I say those things because although he was born in Ireland, the 1880 census says his son John, Jr. was born in the U.S. about 1850 and became a farmer.
The 1870 census shows that son John as being 23, which would make him born about 1847, so the conflict in when the son was born may mean the family above is not our ancestral family. On the other hand, I've seen larger differences in other censuses, so I can't eliminate the family above as being part of ours.
John [the elder's] Birth: Ireland
In any event, the message above reports that John [the elder] married Mary Delaney. My informant told me they had a son, also named John.
John Ring, Jr., married Mary Ann Martin 10 Feb 1874 in Will County, Illinois. The 1880 census shows them living in Manhattan, Will County, Illinois. His birthplace is listed as New York, her birthplace is listed as Massachussets and all four of their parents are recorded as being born in Ireland.
The household looked like this:
John Ring, 30, farmer
Mary Ring, 27, keeping house
Edward Ring, 4
Mary Ring, 2 [who became Hazel's mother]
Sarah Ring, 9 months [who became known as Sadie]
Jennie Cook, 13, adopted daughter
The children are all shown as being born in Illinois.
John Jr.'s birth: About 1850 in New York
Mary E. Ring married Edward Francis Nolan.
Born: About 1878 in Joliet, Illinois
Death: Probably on or about 31 Aug 1899 in Chicago, Illinois, at about age 21
Hazel Loretta Nolan married Eugene Michael Dunn in Crown Point, Indiana, in 1917.
Born: 31 Aug 1899 in Chicago, Illinois
Death: 29 Oct 1994 in Dyer, Indiana, at age 95
William Edward (Bill) Dunn
Born: 07 Jul 1918 in Chicago, Illinois
Death: 29 Dec 1986 in Hammond, Indiana, at age 68
For details about the lives of Hazel Nolan and Bill Dunn, see the other pages of this blog; their complete stories are not reproduced again on this page.
Last updated 6/12/09