In the 1930 census, my paternal grandfather was 5-years-old and living with his mother, two aunts, his grandmother Elizabeth and his grandmother’s brother Patrick. I thought this was odd, so I looked at the 1920 census and saw that Elizabeth and Patrick lived together then as well with their other sibling Mary, and Elizabeth’s spouse and children.
Elizabeth lived with her siblings her entire life. Starting with the 1870 census as Lizzie living with five other siblings, her parents and a seemingly random person named Demus who is 81. (I took a look at the original document, and saw that Demus looks more like Dennis and the age is 5/12 written over something else that I cannot make out. I then scanned the line to column 13, indicating that Denis was born the year the census was taken. This person is much more likely a baby sibling than an older relative.)
While scanning that same document I came across the right surname, Lehan, but saw Elizabeth wasn’t listed. I went down farther and saw Lehan again. Turns out four Lehan households were on that street, one right after another.
At the bottom of the census page, a Kennedy family is listed. While I was continuing research on the Lehan family, a Mary Kennedy popped up with the maiden name of Lehan. I am not quite sure which Mary Lehan married her neighbor because there were three of them that lived on that street. With an age range of 15-19, all of those Marys are close enough to the age listed for Mary Kennedy.
And that is another difficulty in my Lehan research: They all have the same name and live on the same street. On that one page of the 1870 census there are three Mary Lehans, two Cornelius Lehans, two Margaret Lehans, two Timothy Lehans, two John Lehans, two Hannah Lehans, an Eliza Lehan and an Elizabeth Lehan. This makes it difficult to keep everyone straight.
Also, in the 1880 and 1860 censuses, two Lehan families still lived on that same street. The heads of households were born in Ireland and do not appear in the 1850 census. That leads me to believe this branch of the Lehan family began immigrating after 1850 and before 1860, deciding to stick together as they began arriving in America.
The funniest part of this is that their descendants – my father and his brothers – have lived similarly to their ancestors without even knowing it. My father and uncle lived together on their own for years about 1.5 miles from their other brother, whose street adjoined theirs. When my father moved out, my two uncles continued to live that close up until about a year ago when one moved due to a fire. My uncles even went into business together. Talk about families sticking together.