So I'd been trying for a few years to break through a brick wall for my 2nd-great grandfather, Edward McDermott. I knew he came from Ottawa, and last fall, thanks to the good folks here, I broke through with an 1851 census listing him, his brother Hugh, and parents Michael and Catherine.
I know Edwards brother Hugh survived him, and he's the one I'm focused on now as I've found almost no traces of him, even though he apparently lived for 80+ years. There's very little known about my ancestor before he emigrated to America, so I'm hoping that finding Hugh may shed some light on their younger years and parents.
That census lists Hugh as having been born in Quebec first, in 1848, and then Edward Patrick in 1850. So working backwards, Hugh was found in a baptism record at Notre-Dame de Quebec on 13 Aug 1848. There's also a marriage record for parents Michael McDermott and Catherine Connell at the same church on 21 Sept 1847.
After the 1851 census, he basically vanishes for 83 years, and the name doesn't come up again until he's mentioned as alive and living in San Francisco in his brother Edward's obituary in 1934. There is one Hugh who appears in records there at that time, but he appears to be from the southern United States and not the one I'm looking for.
As far as clues, the family was Irish Catholic and immigrated to Canada probably shortly before the marriage. The parents were listed as being from Leitrim and Offaly. Hugh's brother Edward crossed the border to the US at Ogdensburg in the spring of 1865, and then settled in Oshkosh before moving on to Escanaba. Hugh may or may not have joined him during the journey, but if so, I've haven't found a record of it. There's also a third brother Michael who I've never found again after his baptism, and whose name is so common that he's proved very difficult to find.
I believe my family is also cousins to a McDermott branch who lived in Port Huron, Michigan and Door County, Wisconsin. They have a Hugh also, and he's likely related, but not the person I'm searching for. Regardless, the family definitely did seem to have a connection the Great Lakes states.
So my big question is really this - what am I missing? I've got many, many ancestors who I can't find in a census or two, but I've got no one else appears in two records 80+ years apart and has an enormous hole where there life's records should be. I've searched by birthplace and last name in case he went by a name other than Hugh, I've looked through old newspapers for obituaries, and he would have been old enough, so I've tried combing Civil War records. Thus far, none of them have turned up anything. Where else can I be looking, and is anyone able to turn up a clue to his whereabouts during any of this time?