Mary Mahoney was born sometime between 1858-1863 in Pennsylvania. There are various dates given in the census records found at Ancestry.com.
Birth Date Without Official Record
In 1900, her specific birth date is given as September 1862. She lists her age as 37, which does confirm she’s born in the later half of the year, between June-December.
In addition, Mary’s parents are both listed as being from Pennsylvania.
In 1910, her age is listed as 52, which is somehow fifteen years older than she was ten years ago. So that would put her birthdate around 1858. Her parents are split in their nationality: her father is from Pennsylvania, her mother from Ireland.
In 1920, her age is given as 57, which puts her back in 1862/63 birth date. This time, her parents are both from Ireland.
In 1930, her age is 66 which makes that September 1862 date to be most likely. Curiously, the birth place of her parents was first written as unknown, then crossed out and US was given for both.
Beyond census records, the only other record I have with regards to a possible birth is a marriage license for her third marriage to George Cannon in June 1889. Here, Mary says she is 28 years old. This again, does seem to corroborate a birth date of September 1862.
As already insinuated, Mary’s parents are not consistently listed in census records. However, on her marriage license, their birth places are given as Ireland. Given their names, there is no reason to assume that is not true. On that record, Mary lists her parents as William Mahoney and Mary McNulty.
Beyond those names, I only know two more facts about her family: Mary had at least two siblings. A sister, Catherine, and an unnamed brother. I know they exist because my grandmother had a huge suitcase full of photos, and several in her handwriting:
Catherine’s caption, in my grandmother’s handwriting, writes that this is Great Grandmom Mahoney’s sister, and in the corner of a larger version of it are the words “Aunt Catherine”
The brother’s photo is listed on this smaller version as Grandmom’s Brother, but the larger version says Great-Grandmother Brother. There is no name given. I have, when trying to search for him, tentatively called him William.
I have been unable to trace this family further, due to their common Irish names and the time period.
So what are my ways forward to trace Mary’s family? Her birth is not listed in the online database of Philadelphia births at Familysearch.org, nor are any of her siblings. I might look for church records, but for a variety of reasons, I’m unsure of her religion (later on that).
I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall here, at least for now.