Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Researching Death of William Nolan

Now that I know for sure that Sarah (Noland) Steele’s parents came, lived, and died in America, where do I start looking for records? Since I grew up in North Grafton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts I went to the Grafton Town Hall to search for Ann E. and William Nolan’s death records.  There was nothing for Ann E. Nolan's death.
I found a few records relating to my Nolan family but I want to concentrate on the one below.

5 Mar 1895, William Nolan death, age 62, Yrs., 9 Mon. ,15 days, white, married, occupation a Dryer, cause of death pneumonia, residence, place of death, and burial in Grafton, born in Ireland, parents Daniel Nolan & Annie Hamilton, both born in Ireland.

Analysis- No mention of whom he is married to so that isn’t much help.  According to William Nolan and Ann Eliza’s 1850 marriage in Ireland his father’s name was listed as Daniel Nolan so that’s a match. In the marriage record there was no mention of mother’s name so that isn’t very helpful, but I hope it will be useful later on. I think his age was 20 on the marriage record, but there was a black smudge mark over the second number and so I’m not positive. If he was twenty it would fit, as the calculated birth date from this death record would be 18 May 1832, the same date on the grave marker.

I searched for an obituary on and found one. It read NORTH GRAFTON, A Series of Deaths[1] and was dated Friday March 8, 1895. There have been 6 deaths in town this week. One of them was William Nolan, age 62 who had died at his home on Thursday night.  It talks about his funeral and that he leaves a widow and 9 children. No names but does name his pall bearers and that he was interred in Pine Grove Cemetery, which I know now as I have seen and taken a photo of Ann E and William Nolan’s gravestone.[2] Thus I have found the right William Nolan (my 2nd great-grandfather). Also hopefully I have found a lead to who his mother was from the death record if the informant knew him well.
 You can take a look at the newspaper article at

[1], Worcester Daily Spy, Worcester, MA, March 8, 1895, p4. copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004.
[2] See Blog Post, dated Thursday, January 8, 2015.


  1. Genevieve,

    I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Thanks Jana. I really appreciate it.
    Happy Valentine's day to you.