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Smith & McGinnis clues in Surrogate Records

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

Two notices I found in the Cortland Democrat, May 31, 1895, and June 4, 1897, could provide valuable clues about the extended family of McGinnis and Smith.


To Susan Smith of Glen Aubrey, Broome Co., N.Y.;

Rosie Ryan of Taylor, Cortland Co., N.Y.;

William McGinnis of Cincinnatus, Cortland Co., N.Y.;

Robert McGinnis of Eglinton, Derry Co., Ireland;

May Smith of Spafford, Onondaga Co., N.Y.;

and to all other person or persons whosoever they may be or wheresoever they may be, heirs at law, next of kin, legatees and devisees of Mary Garrity, late of the town of Homer, in the county of Cortland, New York, deceased, and relating to both real and personal estate, has lately made application to the Surrogate's Court, of our county of Cortland, to have said instrument in writing proved and recorded as a will of real and personal estate; You and each of you are, therefore, hereby cited to appear before the Surrogate of the county of Cortland, at his office, in the village of Cortland, in the said county of Cortland, New York, on the 21st day of June, 1895, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, of that day, then and there to attend to the probate of said will.

In testimony whereof, we have caused the seal of office of our said Surrogate to be hereunto affixed. Witness, Joseph E. Eggleston, Surrogate of our county of Cortland, at the Village of Cortland, in said county, this 16th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-five. H.L. DeClercq, Clerk of the Surrogate's Court.

Some of these names are familiar. For example, Rosie Ryan, became the wife of William Vallier. She married 2nd to Jasper Haley.

Susan Smith, I believe was William McGinnis' sister or relative listed on the census in the same home with William McGinnis in 1850 (Click here). She was counted on the census in 1900 in Nanticoke Twp, Broome County, New York, with her husband Charles Smith. He was 64 and she was 66 and both were born in Ireland. On that census, zero is given for the number of children they had. In 1880, the couple was in the same town with their nephew, James Ryan, age 21, residing with them. Was Charles related to William's wife, Catherine Smith?

There were several women named May Smith near Syracuse in 1900. There was one who was age 28 living her husband, Charles Smith (age 31). They had no children yet.

Mary Garrity was found on the 1880 census in Taylor, New York, with her husband, Patsey Garrity and their son John. She was born in Ireland about 1841. In her will, she mentions William Ryan, Richard Ryan and William Ryan, identifying them as "children of my sister, Rose Ryan".

These are just more pieces to the puzzle! Stay tuned for more and if you can contribute to this information, please use the comments below!


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