My Great Grandfather- The Big Brick Wall

+7 votes
I need some help with a brick wall I have and advice to go forward.  My great grandfather is Joseph Mathew Connard.  Things I know are: His marriage to my great grandmother (Annie Settle Connard), their children, where they lived (Fayette County WV), and where he passed away (Elkins WV).  Not much is know before this.  Three different censuses have 3 different years he arrived in the U.S.  I have seen 2 dates for his date of birth (1855 and 1860).  Censuses say he migrated from Austria.  His marriage record is the only place I have seen parents names (Joseph and Martha) so don't know how accurate they are.  Also the marriage record to Annie has him listed as a widow.  No birth record has been found.  The rest that is known is mainly stories with nothing being able to be proven.  I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to approach this brick wall.  I have been doing family research for 2-3 years, so I still have alot to learn.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Billy Connard
in Genealogy Help by Billy Connard G2G Crew (960 points)
I can't help but I can sympathize. I have a similar situation with my paternal gg-grandfather. I did Y-DNA testing in the hope of making a breakthrough, but the closest match has a common ancestor about 3000 years ago! That said, it is an approach you might want to consider; however, since he was an immigrant I wouldn't expect much.

1 Answer

+2 votes

Hey! So on Ancestry, someone actually has a copy of his naturalization papers. You need an Ancestry account to see it, but here's the link. If said link doesn't work, Ancestry user lombardi11 has the copy attached to Joseph Matthew Connard.

According to said papers, Joseph was born in Vienna in Austria.

There are more papers this individual may or may not have. You should either contact them or... some organization in West Virginia directly. The naturalization year was 1896. They might have more information for you. Said information isn't available online yet.

Best of luck.

by G. Borrero G2G6 Mach 9 (96.6k points)
Oh, and for advice -- make sure you have access to all routes you can think of (Ancestry, WikiTree, GEDMatch, FamilySearch) and don't be afraid to go through some records by hand or by looking at pictures on a screen. Sometimes records are skipped during indexing on accident. It happens. And make sure you aren't afraid to call or mail any governmental institutions you might have to in order to get hard copies!

Billy, from Rootsweb World Connect, possibly not new news but does give you a birth date.  You can access this page with a simple google search for your g. grandfather.  There are several sites with some info on the Connard families.  Hope this is of some help Billy, it is a long road but worth every bit of energy and love you put in.   

  • ID: I33320
  • Name: Joseph Matthew Connard
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 19 FEB 1860 in Vienna, Austria
  • Death: 13 MAY 1935 in Elkins, Randolph County, West Virginia
  • Burial: 15 MAY 1935 Ward, Kanawha County, West Virginia
  • _UID: D0D0DB2DB28BFE4CAEB01A3E71BCDE02F224
  • Note:
    Joseph Matthew Connard immigrated to America from Vienna, Austria, settling in the state of West Virginia. He filed a petition for citizenship in Fayette County, West Virginia in 1892. Each year a reunion titled "The Ward Reunion", which is named after the coal mining community of Ward, in Kanawha County, West Virginia, where many of Joseph's descendants were born, reared and buried, is held the second Saturday of September at Carnifax Ferry State Park in West Virginia where many of the living descendants attend regularly. 

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