The Kenrick Serving Women

Given that I’m at something of a good stopping-off point with the Pearces, I think we’ll stick a pin in them and the McNallys for a bit. Rest assured, we’ll return to those subjects, and you can always track the story of individual people or things using the tags on each post.

I want to turn my attention instead to a group of women I’ll call the Kenrick Serving Women. Collectively, this group consists of the white girls and women in the Kenrick household census records who are not identifiable as family and who, from 1850 onward, are generally identified as servants. The ones we have records of were almost uniformly Irish. I have no way to identify the origin of these women prior to 1850, but I’ll lay out what I do know about them and what their lives may have been like.

Working backward through the censuses, I can generate this list of women not immediately traceable to the family:

1900: U.S. Federal Census, Household of Sarah F. Kenrick (not the same property)

  • Delia Wood, no age/EBY, “Servant,” no birthplace identified
  • Carrie Wood, no age/EBY, “Boarder,” no birthplace identified

1900: U.S. Federal Census, Household of John Kenrick Taylor (not the same property)

  • Maria Flaherty, age 35, EBY 1865, “Servant,” no birthplace identified

1880: U.S. Federal Census, Household of Mary S. Kenrick

  • Mary Henan, age 20, EBY 1860, “Servant,” Ireland
  • Frances Smith, age 18, EBY 1862, “Servant,” Massachusetts (parents English)

1870: U.S. Federal Census, Household of John Adams Kenrick, Jr.

  • No women unaccounted-for as family (one male Scottish farm laborer)

1865: Massachusetts State Census, Household of John Adams Kenrick (Sr.)

  • Margaret Tiernan, age 18, EBY 1852, “Servant,” Ireland

1860: U.S. Federal Census, Household of John Adams Kenrick (Sr.)

  • Mary O’Brien, age 35, EBY 1825, “Domestic,” Ireland

1855: Massachusetts State Census, Household of John Adams Kenrick (Sr.)

  • Catherine Dunn, age 17, EBY 1838, no position listed, Ireland

1840: U.S. Federal Census, Household of John Adams Kenrick (Sr.)

  • One free white female, age 15-19
  • Two fee white females, age 20-29

1830: U.S. Federal Census for Household of John Kenrick (Esq.)

  • One free white female, age 10-14
  • One free white female, age 40-49
  • One free white female, age 70-79

1820: U.S. Federal Census for Household of John Kenrick (Esq.)

  • Two free white females, under age 10
  • One free white female, age 10-15
  • One free white female, age 16-25

1810: U.S. Federal Census for Household of John Kenrick (Esq.)

  • No women unaccounted-for as family (two FWMs, age 16-25)

1800: U.S. Federal Census for Household of John Kenrick (Esq.)

  • One free white female, age 45 or older

1790: U.S. Federal Census for the Household of John Kenrick (Esq.)

  • One free white female, no age identified

Some of the women I can’t identify in the earlier censuses may in fact be family members beyond the parents and children. The presence of Ella Stedman (a cousin), Mary Preston (a grandmother returned to her childhood home), and Elizabeth Mason (a grandmother from a line that married in) in 1865 and 1870 show that such women and girls did pass through the house sometimes, too. As I investigate each, I’ll note when/ where that may be the case.

That means the women for whom we have names are as follows, with their estimated birth year and reported birth locations:

  • Mary O’Brien, EBY 1825, Ireland (in MA in 1860)
  • Catherine Dunn, EBY 1838, Ireland (in MA in 1855)
  • Margaret Tiernan, EBY 1847, Ireland (in MA in 1865)
  • Mary Henan, EBY 1860, Ireland (in MA in 1880)
  • Frances Smith, EBY 1862, Massachusetts (in MA in 1880)
  • Maria Flaherty, EBY 1865, Unknown (in MA in 1900)
  • Carrie Wood, EBY 1895 +/- 5, Unknown (in MA in 1900)
  • Delia Wood, EBY Unknown, Unknown (in MA in 1900)

Any reported age could be off by a few years, especially for girls who might have found that “rounding up” gave them opportunities to improve their situation sooner rather than later. But having a name, EBY, and location of birth, as well as evidence of their momentary presence in the greater Boston area, gives us ways to start searching for an verifying any of their identities.

I should note, though, that many Irish immigrants found their way through New York eventually, either as a final or temporary destination, and as I’ve mentioned before, New York has a bad tendency to be a black hole for the kinds of vital records that may be the only ones ordinary people leave as they pass through life.

We know from the diary of Mary Mehitable Kenrick Taylor that in 1870, at least, the serving women were hired short-term, so the census records we have are comparatively tiny snapshots of the women who passed through the house. There may have been far more of them. But they did at least all pass through Massachusetts, and they should — most if not all of them — have registered some sort of documentation when they got off a boat, either in the U.S. or in Canada, if not when they got on it, too.

So I’m going to start with Massachusetts Vital Records, then immigration/passenger lists into Boston, New York, and Canada, then immigration/passenger lists out of Ireland, Liverpool, and other U.K. ports. If I can identify relatives or husbands, I’ll go next to the censuses and burial records. Here’s hoping that some of this works. 🙂

 

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One thought on “The Kenrick Serving Women

  1. Ancestry.com. 1790 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: First Census of the United States, 1790 (NARA microfilm publication M637, 12 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

    Ancestry.com. 1800 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Second Census of the United States, 1800. NARA microfilm publication M32 (52 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Second Census of the United States, 1800: Population Schedules, Washington County, Territory Northwest of the River Ohio; and Population Census, 1803: Washington County, Ohio. NARA microfilm publication M1804 (1 roll).

    Ancestry.com. 1810 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Third Census of the United States, 1810. (NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls). Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

    Ancestry.com. 1820 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fourth Census of the United States, 1820. (NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

    Ancestry.com. 1830 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fifth Census of the United States, 1830. (NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

    Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. (NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

    Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

    Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Minnesota census schedules for 1870. NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

    Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited use license and other terms and conditions applicable to this site. Original data: Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, State Census, 1855 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Massachusetts. 1855–1865 Massachusetts State Census [microform]. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, State Census, 1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Massachusetts. 1855–1865 Massachusetts State Census [microform]. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

    Taylor, Mary M. Diary, 1870. Held by Historic Newton, Newton, MA.

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