is for “Cousin Nell.” That’s how I first “met” her: Cousin Nell. Her photo appears here and there in my great-aunt Helen Killeen Parker’s photo album. Helen came along when writing funny captions under photos was what the cool people did. Since most of her captions say “So Lazy,” “Being serious,” “Tough Bunch,” and the like, I can’t identify many friends and relatives. But Cousin Nell – her name is there picture after picture. Always “Cousin Nell.”
But HOW was she a cousin? Helen’s mother (my great-grandmother Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh) had married twice. So was Nell the daughter of Mary Theresa’s brother or sister? John Killeen’s brother or sister? John Walsh’s brother or sister?
Not knowing any siblings for either of the husbands, I just started searching the obvious: Nell Killeen. Nothing. Nell Walsh. There was a Nell Walsh, right nearby in Portsmouth, Virginia, just streets away from the Killeen-Walsh home on Charleston Avenue.
I gave myself several good pats on the back.
Then my Aunt Betty gave me an envelope of photos that had belonged to Helen’s oldest sister Lillie Killeen. It turns out she and Cousin Nell had kept in touch over the years, and Lillie had saved some of the letters. Nell had married Edward Francis Sullivan, and they lived in San Pedro, California. How ‘bout that!
Nell sent Lillie her granddaughter’s engagement announcement in the paper. And that’s when Nell’s genealogy came rolling out. Shoot! She wasn’t Nell Walsh afterall.
Heck, she wasn’t even NELL.
She was ELLEN Frances Glynn, daughter of John Joseph Glynn and Mary Bridget Killeen who was sister to John Killeen, a.k.a. Husband #1.
Ellen “Nell” outlived all her Killeen cousins.
For Numerous Nice News and Notes, visit the A to Z April Challenge.