Some days, you are completely surprised by what you find. In the Case of Hannah Bell, I conjectured that she was widowed sometime between February 1852, when her son Peter was born, and December 1855, when she married Charles Mayholland. I saw that Hannah Maholland died in 1856 and figured she died within the year. So, to confirm my speculation, I ordered a copy of the death registry record.
The death record indicates my speculation was wrong. Hannah Maholland, who died in 1856, died at 14 days old. My first thought was that Maholland and Mayholland must have been different people. I don’t think so. Little Hannah died at High Church Street, the same location that Hannah had lived for many years. The death registry record for Hannah MaHolland reads:
When: 25 May 1856 – High Church Street, Workington
Who: Hannah Maholland
Age: 14 days
Prof.: Daughter of Charles Maholland, a lawyer journeyman
CoD: Premature Birth Certified
Inf.: Ann Solkirt
When: 27 May 1856
Reg. John Askew, Registrar
Even though there is a minor name difference (Maholland vs. Mayholland), I’m pretty sure that this Charles Maholland is the husband of Hannah (Bell) McAllister. My new theory is that Hannah had a daughter that died at 14 days old and that Hannah (the mother) did not die in the spring of 1856 as I initially supposed.
This research reminded me that relying on indexes can get you into trouble. Always get the original record to confirm the information you have.
It is always a good day when you receive an envelope with new information. A few weeks ago, I ordered a copy of a marriage register entry for my wife’s third-great-grandparents on her Darling-McAllister line. I had found them in the GRO (General Register Office) index, which indicated her third-greats were married in October, November, or December in 1845. I was pretty sure that the registry entry would provide an exact date and might provide other bits of information. And sure enough, it did. Although many other records are available electronically, the marriage records from the 1840s are still “they’ll send you a copy via mail.”
After a number of weeks, the registry entry arrived, and I learned that Joseph McAllister and Hannah Bell were married on the “Eighth of November 1845.” There were married in the Register’s Office with William Scott and Arin Bell as witnesses. I’ll bet Arin Bell was probably related to Hannah. The registry entry shows Joseph was a “Mariner” (I knew he was a sailor before). But most interesting I learned that Joseph’s father was Peter McAlister, a miller, and Hannah’s father was Jonathan Bell, also a mariner.
The registry document provided the exact date for the marriage of her 3rd-great-grandparents and the names for two of my wife’s 4th-great grandparents, Peter McAllister and Johnathan Bell. Definitely a good day (And clues for further research.)
Hannah is one of those ancestors that just had a sad and short life. Although entirely speculation, I believe her choices in life helped open a rift between her parents who eventually separated. No society page articles about Hannah.
Bio – Hannah (Anna) McAllister Darling White
Hannah McAllister was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England on 15 August 1886. She was the fourth of six children — four boys and two girls. At the time of her birth, her father, Peter, was probably in the United States establishing himself and preparing the way for his wife and children to come to the States.
Her mother, along with three siblings, immigrated to the United States, aboard the “British King” out of Liverpool arriving in Philadelphia on 23 June 1886.
The family joined their father in Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. On May 19th, 1887, Hannah’s oldest brother, Frank, drowned in the Lehigh canal. We may never know if the anguish of that death prompted the family to relocate to Pittsburgh, but sometime during the following three years they moved.
In 1990, Hannah’s father took out a building permit to build a two-story house at the corner of Vine and Cologne. It appears that Vine was renamed Berg because the family appears at 2800 Berg street in 1895 which is at the corner of Berg and Cologne and there is no Vine Street today.
Probably sometime in 1905, she met Rufus Darling. She was eighteen and Rufus was forty-seven. In March of 1906, they had a daughter, Elizabeth Grace Darling. Family history states that there was a rift between Hannah and her father. Certainly, a granddaughter born out of wedlock from a man more than twice the age of his daughter could cause such a rift.
It appears that Rufus and Hannah kept separate households during that time, he in Chicago and Hannah in Wheeling, West Virginia. In December of 1906, Hannah became pregnant a second time. This time Rufus married her, so on 16 February 1907 Hannah and Rufus were married in Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, a small town about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River. Family history indicates that she changed her name from Hannah to Anna so that she would be “A. Darling” and became known as Anna after that. An interesting side note is that her daughter, Elizabeth, appears to have modified a copy of the Marriage Certificate to indicate that Hannah and Rufus were married in 1905, thus legitimizing her. Family history indicates that this may have been a cause of disagreement between her and cousin Katherine Lane. Katherine used to say the Elizabeth was born “on the wrong side of the sheets” indicating that Elizabeth was illegitimate. Producing a “doctored” marriage certificate could have mitigated the issues.
Anna Darling (Hannah McAllister)
with children Elizabeth & Robert
In August of 1907, their son, Robert Harry Darling, was born in New Kensington (about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River), Pennsylvania.
In 1910, Anna was living with her two children, Elizabeth and Robert, as a roomer at the home of Robert & Emma Hennig at 3319 Ward Street (Ward 4).
Anna and Rufus were divorced by 1911. Interestingly enough, the 1912 Polk directory indicates Anna is the widow of Rufus (who didn’t die until 1917). Family Tradition indicates that she then married Thomas White, which is confirmed by her death certificate, however, I have been unable to find other evidence of her marriage.
Anna died on 15 July 1913 at the age of 27 of pelvic peritonitis due to a ruptured ovarian cyst. Her death certificate indicates she was buried in Chartiers Cemetery in Pittsburgh. A Find-a-Grave request has been unsuccessful in yielding a photo of the marker.
List of Greats
Hannah McAllister – 1884-1913
Peter McAllister – 1852-1878
Joseph McAllister – 1820-
Find evidence of Hannah and Thomas White’s Marriage.
Find Hannah’s burial place and photograph marker.
 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945, FamilySearch.org, British King from Liverpool arrived June 1886 – https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/23Q3-DLD.