This past winter I spent some time researching my family history. One ancestor that I discovered had been right under our noses all along, buried in the family plot, sharing a grave marker with three of my grandmother’s sisters who died as infants. You can see her name at the bottom of the little marker – Ellen Collins. This is probably the first gravestone they could afford. Later when they became more prosperous they got the impressive Celtic Cross.
Born Ellen Mahoney in Boherbue, County Cork in Ireland in 1820, she married James Collins and gave birth to a son, Richard, in 1847 in Ireland. Richard immigrated to America in 1872. Ellen came with him or followed him here, probably as a widow. She appears in the 1880 census as a member of his household in Springfield, MA. That’s where I found her.
Yesterday, I was in Springfield, Massachusetts and I visited our cemetery plot. I hadn’t been there since my grandmother died in 1968. I was touched when I saw the Ellen Collins’ name there on the stone and knew who she was – my great-great grandmother.