As someone interested in my family's history, it is important to me to document every generation in my tree with as many sources as possible. It soon became apparent that this was not going to be easy when it came to Norine.
She was born on March 27, 1884 in Mt. Sterling, KY. My mother's notes say that her mother, Lucy, was not well and that Jan went to school in Lexington as a young girl. Her notes also say she had a "mammy" at some point. As fate would have it, Kentucky did not mandate birth records until 1911. The first census in which Norine would have appeared was the 1890 Census which was destroyed. Despite years of searching I have not been able to find a death record for either Lucy Probert Cronin or John Cronin. I have been able to substantiate through other records that John and Lucy were the parents of the first five children. I also know that a young, married black couple was living in the Cronin's home in the 1880 Census, and perhaps this young woman was the "mammy" referred to in my mother's notes.
The records to the right and below are part of the admission record for the first five children. They were brought to a Catholic orphanage in Covington, KY months before Jan is born. Boys and girls were placed in separate facilities at the time and in a record they found for Joseph and Charles Cronin (spelled three different ways) it notes that their "father dead." This lends credence to the idea that Norine had a father different from the father of the first five.
The family was of Irish descent. Mt. Sterling, at the time, had quite a bit of animosity toward "foreigners" including the Irish who made up 10% of the population. I have read through several of the local newspapers of the time and there are several articles that discuss limiting the political influence of the Irish and trying to deny them a vote.
Here is where the history gets cloudy, however. When I try to submit our family lines for recognition through the Hamilton County Genealogical Society, every generation must be fully-documented with reliable source documents. I recently submitted our Jones/Wainright family for recognition as one of the First Families of Cincinnati because I could prove that Britton was born here in 1819. I'm actually scheduled to get the award in a few weeks at a luncheon. When it comes to Jan, however, I am not without documentation. In fact, I have a fair amount of documentation. Unfortunately, there is no agreement.
Norine is the daughter of either Lucy Probert Cronin and John Cronin or Lucy Probert Cronin and William Dailey. Let me present the evidence for each, and you can be the judge.
I personally believe that Jan's father was a man named William Dailey. He lived in Mt. Sterling close to where the Cronin's lived. He, too, is of Irish descent. He is living with his sister, Ellen, in the 1880 Census. The Cronins and Daileys were friends. Evidence of this is the fact that I have a copy of the baptismal record for Jan's brother, Charles. Ellen Dailey is the Godmother.
On Norine's application for a Marriage License, she listed her name as Norine Dailey Cronin. She listed her father as William Dailey and her mother as Lucy Probert. The Church record posted earlier shows that the wedding was between a Jones and a Dailey.
I have a copy of both the Church Wedding Record for Edith Jones Breving and Edith's Baptismal Record. In both cases, the father is listed as Charles F. Jones and the mother as Norine Dailey.
It seems like it should be a "slam dunk" -- yet there are conflicting records. On Norine's Death Certificate, Pop was the "informant". He listed John Cronin as the father. He said the same when he published her Death Notice in the newspaper.
As I type this, I can't help but think that Jan is asking me why I didn't just leave well enough alone. She had five brothers and sisters. As mentioned earlier, she lived with a few of them when she arrived in Cincinnati. They were her family in every way and had the last name of Cronin. Every entry in the City Directory listed her name as Norine Cronin. I think it was just easier.
One of these years I may solve this mystery. It would be easy if I could prove John Cronin was, in fact, dead at least a year before her siblings were placed in an orphanage. I wish I could understand what her mother's illness was and whether or not Jan actually lived in an orphange-type setting as a young girl.
What I know for sure is that she "landed" in Cincinnati. She shared a 59 year marriage to Pop who never got over her loss. Jan was Irish through and through. (Hence I could not be anything but Kathleen as long as she was alive). She was the mother of my father and I wish I could have known her better.
I think both of them would be extremely proud of their descendants -- and I feel strengthened that they preceded me. The river (and their strength) definitely runs through us.