Brick-walled with a Bridget Murphy b. abt 1832 Ireland and Robert Forrester b. 1822 Ireland

+5 votes

The family lived in Darien, Walworth County, Wisconsin, US at the time of Bridget's death in January of 1862 (not 100% certain of the date - could have been January of 1861  through about March or April of 1862). January 1862 is the most likely date.

In any event, the only record of her death which I've been able to find was within the orginal pension application of Robert Forrest and the widow's pension application of his second wife. No county nor state nor church records thus far.  No cemetery nor burial records.

It strikes me as suspicious, especially considering that the family members were practicing Catholics in the St. Andrew's Parish of Delavan.

Maybe someday...


WikiTree profile: Bridget Forrester
in Genealogy Help by Keith Baker G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
edited by Keith Baker
These two married and settled in Darien, Wisconsin to raise their new family until Bridget's death in 1861 or 1862.  Both immigrated to US in the 1840's.  Thanks in advance for any help.

4 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
Have  you tried DNA testing?  With so many Murphy's in Ireland it is like a needle in a haystack!  My Murphy's are from Wexford.  DNA could help break down the brick wall or possibly give you more clues.  I would suggest family finder with
by Veronica Williams G2G6 Pilot (220k points)
selected by Keith Baker

Thank you for your kind thought and suggestion.  As it turns out, I have sent my DNA sample with 23andMe several weeks ago and am anxiously awaiting the results.  During this interim there has been (and remains) a great deal for me to learn and absorb regarding the whole topic of: DNA for genealogical purposes.

I do realize that it is NOT a magic wand but am hopeful that, as you say, it may give me clues.  You correctly surmise the problem: Murphy was and is the most common surname in Ireland. Bridget was the most common given name for girls born during that era (1820s, '30s, '40s).  In fact, there were no less than 238 Bridget Murphys who sailed to the North American continent from Ireland/England during the Potato Famine years.

Anyhow, hope remains that the DNA results will offer some breakthroughs for this brick wall.

Thanks again for your kindly response.

Results are now available from 23andMe so I am in the process of making contacts with those of Murphy and Forrester who are willing to share.

Who knows?
Glad to hear it, an exciting time.  Make sure you upload your information to so that others like me who have tested with another company can also compare our results.  You never know what it might show up.


ps just saw that gedmatch has uploads on hold at the moment but put it on your to do list anyway!!
Veronica: accepted the Raw Data upload.  They are now only accepting data which includes ALL DNA: autosomal; Y and Mt.

Once they have the data, they are now saying it will take at least 6 weeks to generate a report.

It seems DNA testing and matching is really gaining some traction.

Thanks again,


that's great

Not to hijack your thread but I'm waiting for my Gedmatch report to process too. I'm excited! I haven't quite wrapped my head around DNA and what it all means but as an adopted person I'm hoping it will produce some leads and cousin connections for my biological father's family.  I know very little about them!
Do you have Murphy's too?

Not a hijack as far as I'm concerned.

The whole DNA science as it is presented currently by various authorities and sources seems as much a work of "smoke and mirrors" as definitive scientific conclusion.  All of which is really to say that, like all "new" scientific studies, it is a work in progress within which there will continue to be controversy, more discovery, evolution, reversals, etc.  That seems part of the fun of it all, to me, at least.

So I try NOT to put all my faith into one particular basket of eggs in this matter.

But there are many among us (perhaps even those who would spell that 'amoung') who are quite knowledgeable with the arguments and the present condition of that science.  It is the arguments which I find most intriguing...

Meanwhile, the 23andMe results, (while listing 985 autosomal matches of varying degrees), have put me in touch with about 20 to 30  fellow genealogists who are trying to make definitive connections, and a couple of very promising looking 2nd cousin matches - the best two of whom have not yet responded to the invitations for sharing that were sent.

My best expectation for's results is that they will be for folks who are more universally seeking to expand their ancestral knowledge and not merely looking for an already completed, colorful chart or similar novelty.  If that turns out to be an accurate assumption, then it will be a helpful result indeed.

Good luck on your quest and happy hunting to you!

+5 votes

Bit of a longshot, but might be him.  1880 Census shows him remarried (if this is him).  It shows born Ireland, 1822 but spells the name Forrister.  Residence is Delavan, Walworth County, Wisconsin, which is less than five miles from Darien.

by Fred Remus G2G6 Mach 4 (44.6k points)
Thank you.  That is the family and I've had this info for nearly thirty years, along with Robert's ship passenger entry, military enlistment papers, etc.  The surname is regularly misspelled due to his Irish accent.
But nothing for either Robert or his first wife Bridget (Murphy) parentage.
It is nice that you are so willing to help others here!
Keith Baker (
+4 votes
Hi, I also have a Robert Murphy who was from County Londonderry and he also went to USA but not sure of dates.  Perhaps it may or may not be the same person?

Plus I had a Robert Boyce around the same timeframe went to USA somewhere.  

They both seem to have immigrated around 1840's
by Kerri Montgomery G2G Crew (990 points)

Thank you for your response and for your interest in WikiTree.

My brick-wall here is with a Robert Forrester and Bridget Murphy.  Lately however, it seems that this Robert may have been the son of Theobald Forrester of Dublin.  It is hoped that time (and more evidence) will tell.

Bridget Murphy!  Quite the challenge though!  I have not yet even found any record of her death other than the affidavitted statement in her husband's (Robert Forrester) application for military pension.

Keep up the hunt!

+3 votes
I had trouble finding burial information for somebody who should have been buried in St Andrews in Delevan also.  I got help from a Shirley Sisk in Elkhorn who found the graves.  She found a record of unmarked, but recorded graves in St Andrews and was able to get information about this.  This was in 2006.  Not sure if Sisk is around or if the church would still give up this information.  I have extensive notes on the whole episode which produced a huge breakthrough for my work.  Walworth Genealogical Society, Shirley Sisk.
Let me add that if they RC in Walworth County at this time, ST. Andrews was about all they had.  Mt Olivet in Elkhorn comes much later. I don't think there was another RC cemetery around for them.
by Timothy Morrissey G2G1 (1.2k points)

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