One aspect of our lives that rarely appears in our family trees are our friends. Unless someone marries one, or the child of one, you really don’t know much about your family’s friends.
My gg-grandparents Robert William Black and Emily Kinley Wilson are alleged to be cousins of some sort. Unfortunately, due to the paucity of records about their families, this has never been proven. However, a new theory has come to me recently. What if their fathers were friends?
Robert William’s father Robert lived and worked in Dungannon until he immigrated with his family in 1863. He was a draper by trade. His marriage certificate says his father Joseph was a farmer, so it was not a family trade. So where did he learn it? Most likely with another draper in Dungannon.
One of the drapers in Dungannon around the time Robert would have been looking for an apprenticeship was Thomas Kinley. He seems to have been quite a wealthy man, as directories from 1824 have him associated with various businesses including as agent for an insurance company and the East India Company.
Thomas was the son of John Kinley and Mary Carr. His sister Anne married John Wilson, the minister at Lecumpher Presbyterian Church. Their son William E Wilson immigrated to Pennsylvania where he had a daughter Emily Kinley Wilson.
So put it simply, Robert William’s father may have worked for Emily’s great-uncle.
So would Robert (Snr) and William E ever met? It seems likely. Thomas Kinley’s oldest daughter (and William’s cousin) was called Emily and she lived in Dungannon.
And if we want to add some soap to all of this, perhaps William E wanted to marry Emily but wasn’t allowed, so he immigrated to Pennsylvania. She married Rev. Robert Hamilton in 1848, shortly before William E left.
So far, all of this is supposition. How do we prove it?
With great difficulty, is the answer. Although the thought did come to me tonight, that I have never researched William E in Ireland. I’ve always been busy looking for him in Pennsylvania. So off to search!