Margaret Ann Richards’ family line has become one of my biggest roadblocks.
Family lore says that Margaret and her sister Bessie were born in Yorkshire, England and the girls came to America as children with a mean stepmother. The name given for their biological mother was Ann Williams.
Margaret is pretty easy to trace from her marriage on. Anything before that is super frustrating.
Margaret and her sister Bessie first lived in Mercer County, Pennsylvania in Greenville and Sharon. Margaret married James Joseph Murphy on August 17, 1903 in Youngstown, Ohio. They had six kids: Pearl, Katherine, Elizabeth, James, Edward, and Margaret.
There is a possible 1900 census record where Margaret (“Maggie”) is living with a German family in Pittsburgh as a servant. The only thing off about this is that they list her birthplace as Pennsylvania; the family may not have known all of her details. But they did know her birthday was in April and parents from Wales.
Margaret and Bessie’s parents were not present at either of their weddings, in fact, Bessie’s future brother-in-law James Joseph Murphy presented himself as her legal guardian (even though he was only 19!).
On September 8, 1908, Margaret’s father John Richards was hit by a train and buried as an “unknown” in Oak Hill cemetery. It wasn’t until days later that Margaret and her sister Bessie figured it out. There was no obituary or information about who he was, only an article about the accident.
I don’t think Margaret was a real stickler for dates because her age and immigration year drastically changes from one record to the next. She reports her immigration year to be during the 1880’s while her sister Bessie reports various years in the 1890’s.
I found a potential match in an 1881 census record in Linthorpe, Yorkshire, England. There is a Margaret and a slightly older sister “Betsy” and the parents are John Richards and Ann. But there are also three other siblings that I’ve never heard of before: Polly, Joseph, and Elizabeth.
I pulled two birth records corresponding with the census record that also seem to be a match.
Betsy Richards, daughter of John Richards and Ann Williams, born the 16th of January 1878. Margaret Ann Richards daughter of John Richards and Ann Williams, born the 22nd of April 1880.
It lists their mother as Ann Richards, formerly Williams and their father’s occupation is “Puddler” which is consistent with his occupation in Pennsylvania.
If only I could find Polly, Joseph, and Elizabeth Richards – where they ended up, who their descendants are, that would help a lot.
Polly Richards, b. 1865 in Darlington, Durham, England
Joseph Richards, b. 1869 in Warrington, Lancashire, England
Elizabeth Richards, b. 1874 in Stockton, Yorkshire, England
A birth or marriage record for John Richards and Ann Williams would also be fantastic, but it’s a fairly common name combination.
I also suspect that this was my poorest family line and they had to move around a lot to find work. I do not think that Margaret was able to read or write.
For information on Margaret Richards’ and James Joseph Murhpy’s descendants check out the Murphy page 🙂