The Nicholas Sinnott and Mary Frain Family: An Analysis of Their Migration from South Bend, St Joseph County, Indiana to Nebraska and Back in Census, Church and Other Records

Nicholas Sinnott and Mary Frane were married in St Joseph County, Indiana on June 17, 1872 according to the Indiana Marriage Collection 1800-1941 Database. When the St Joseph Church Census was conducted in 1876, Mary Sinnet, age 3, Grand child was living with the John and Katie "Fraan" Family in South Bend. Then in the 1880 St Joseph Church Census there is a notation that Mary Frain (age 27) is married and living in Omaha, Nebraska. This bit of information is of interest as several other youths this age at St Joseph Church were also listed as being in either Omaha (James McNulty and Joseph Gorman) and my 2nd Great Uncle Michael Brennan is listed as being in "New Braska." It would appear that they most likely traveled together (or followed a shared migration trail); some returned (albeit briefly) such as James McNulty and Mary Frain and others like Michael Brennan did not. I am a bit puzzled why Mary Frain does not appear with her family in the 1870 US Census with her family in South Bend (age 17). Nicholas and Mary Sinnott are living with their two children Dora (7) and Kitty (5/12) in Sarpy Bellevue, Nebraska in 1880. Both children were born in Nebraska. By 1900 Nicholas is widowed and living back in South Bend, Indiana with children Katie M born December 1880 in Nebraska, Grace born August 1882 in Nebraska, and three children born in Indiana including Florence (July 1874), Edgar J (February 1886) and Chester N (July 1894). Based on this it would seem to indicate that Mary Frain Sinnott died sometime between 1894 and June 1900. An online Family tree on by Mary Forse has a picture of her tombstone from Cedar Grove Cemetery. It indicates that she was born in 1853 and died in 1900. I have yet to find her death documented in the St Joseph Church records, but the compilation Mary Seed Forcell received from BL Schroeder indicated there is a burial record in there for her around 1900.

Mary Seed Forsell, a descendent of this family has generously shared information on the Johnstons, Devines, Sinnots and Frains, all of which had family members in the South Bend, Indiana Irish Community. She has a remarkable compilation of stories that were recounted by Chester Sinnott, son of Nicholas and Mary (Frain) Sinnott and compiled by B L Shroeder. Nicholas appears to have been quite the adventurer. One of his stories describes his journey out west to a variety of places like the Dakota Badlands and Broken Bow, Nebraska where he met a German Missionary who later ended up at Notre Dame University. According to it was during a visit to see his missionary friend in South Bend that he met his future wife Mary Frain. Family lore suggests that Mary traveled with him back to Nebraska betwen 1872 and 1879 to an area near Lincoln Nebraska. (this would account for the 1880 St Joseph Church Census mentioning Mary being in Omaha Nebraska). Based on the stories, Mary didnt quite have the comfort zone that Nicholas did in dealing with the Indians and they subsequently returned to Indiana somewhere between September 1882 and July 1884. After a brief stint at farming in the Laporte area they returned to South Bend. Mary's contribution to the pool of information on the South Bend Irish Community is greatly appreciated and will benefit us all!

It is beyond the scope of these website pages to go beyond the first generation of descendents. Seek out Mary Seed Forsell's tree for more extensive research on this family. A brief summation of the Sinnott children based on Mary Seed Forsell's compilation from Brian Schroeder follows:

  1. Dora E Sinnott married Charles McCoy in Chicago, Illinois Holy Name Cathedral on July 5, 1894. The Illinois Cook County Marriage 1871-1920 Database indicates Charles McCoy 24 m Dora E Sannott 20 Cook County, Illinois June 28, 1894. They lived in South Bend, Indiana, moved to Houston, Texas and had two sons.
  2. Katie Mae Sinnott married Elmer J Williard November 20, 1901 in South Bend, Indiana at St Joseph's Church. IN Marriage Collection Database also shows this record listing L Elmer J Willard and Mae Sinnott. They had three children Esther, Dorothy and Jay. Elmer died in 1935 and Mae then married Joe Wolf on August 1, 1935. Mae died in their 710 South Bend Avenue home on August 1, 1945 and is buried in Cedar Grove with the Willard Family in Section G, Lot 38, Grave 2,3 and 4. (for Mae, Elmer J and Jay).
  3. Grace R. Sinnott married George M Fisher on JUne 23, 1904 at St. Joseph's Church, South Bend, Indiana (He worked for Studebaker). They had two children Nadine and George S. Grace died January 21, 1948 at St Joseph's Hospital, South Bend, Indiana. Funeral was held at St Patrick's Church in South Bend. She and George are buried at Highland Cemetery, South Bend, Indiana. Their marriage record on lists them as Grace Sennett and George Fisher, married by Rev. P Lauth CSC.
  4. Florence Sinnott (probably Anna Frances) married Wilber Thomas Butler on June 22, 1905 in St Joseph Church, South Bend, Indiana (see record details below). This marriage application record is most significant as it lists her father as being born in Dublin, Ireland. It is available on line at Wilbur worked a Singer Manufacturing like many of the Irish immigrants in South Bend and she worked at a Watch Factory. She died February 18, 1906 from Pulmonary Tuberculosis Exhaustion and is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery.
  5. Edward (Edgar) J Sinnott (the J stood for John) was deceived into marrying his first wife and subsequently divorced her. He then married Margaret Koehler on December 23, 1914. They had one daughter Marguerite Louise. Edgar died of TB and Heart Failore on January 8, 1918. His funeral was held at St Joseph Church and he was buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery after quite a dispute over the catholic church's issues with divorce and marrying a protestant woman (He prevailed in the end). Their daughter Margaret (Peggy) went on to marry William Koster. There is a marriage application for Edgar J Sinnott and Margaret Koehler on for December 23, 1914. It states he was born to Nicholas Sinnott (born in Ireland) and Agnes Frain (born in Chicago- deceased) on February 22, 1887. A further notation indicates that he was divorced in 1909.
  6. Margaret Joanna Sinnott (aka Bessie or Maggy) died at a young age on December 1891 and was buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery. The funeral was held at St Joseph Church, South Bend.
  7. Thomas Joseph Sinnott died of membranous croup at less than two years of age on November 23, 1891. His funeral was held at St Joseph Church in South Bend and he was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery.
  8. Chester Nicholas Sinnott married Jane E Dickinson February 14, 1920 in Buchanan, Michigan. He worked for Studebaker in his early years, was in the army in WWI, an Electrical Contractor and Electrical Inspector in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He died on July 1, 1966 and is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Buchanan, Michigan Section C, lot 127. He was single and an electrician living in South Bend, Indiana in 1917 according to his WWI draft card. This family is easily traceable through the 1940 census and SSDI.

This is a work in progress! I would love to hear from anyone who feels they are descended from the Frain Family of South Bend, Indiana. If we all work together, we have a much better chance of tracing our family's back further in Ireland!

Census, Church or other Record Date Born, Baptized, Married Father/ Husband Mother/ Wife Child Occupation; Misc.
Indiana Marriage Collection 1800-1941 Married June 17, 1872 in St Joseph County, IN Sinnott, Nicholas Frane, Mary database; Benjamin Wall St Joseph Circuit issued license; Indiana Marriages 1811-1959 St Joseph County 1869-1873 Volume 6 has the same info. Image 167 of 222.
St. Joseph Church Census of 1876, South Bend, Indiana 1876 Fraan, John, 46 Fraan, Katie, 45 Michel 19, Ellen 16, Maggie 15, Peter 13, John 10, Joseph 6, Theresa 5. Sinnet, Mary 3 (grand child) microfilm 1617235
St. Joseph Church Census of 1880, South Bend, Indiana 1880 Fraine, John 50 Holdem, Katherine, 49 Mary 27 (married in Omaha), Michael 23, Anna 22, Nellie 20, Maggie 18, Peter 17, Johnni 15, Joe 13, Theresia 11 This is Mary (wife of Nicholas Sinnott)
US Census for Sarpy, Nebraska, Bellevue Twp, Ennum District 1 Census conducted June 2, 1880 Sinnott, Nicholas, 31 born in Iowa,and parents in Iowa Sinnott, Mary F, Wife 25 born in Illinois, parents born in Ireland Sinnott, Dora, Daughter7 born in Nebraska, dad in Iowa, mom in Illinois  
" " " " Sinnott, Kitty, Daughter 5/12 born in Nebraska, dad in Iowa and mom in Illinois  
St Joseph Church Baptismal Record, South Bend, IN Born February 22, 1885 and Baptized April 12, 1885 Sinnott, Nicolam Frain, Maria Joannes Edgar Sponsors Jeremius Donavan and Theresa Frain
St Joseph Church Baptismal Record, South Bend, IN Born March 14, 1887, Baptized April 10, 1887 Sinnot, Michaelis Frain, Maria Margaritam Joannam sponsors: Joannes Frane, Maria Donovan
St Joseph Church Baptismal Record, South Bend, IN Born March 4, 1889, Baptized March 24, 1889 Sinnott, Nicolas Timo-? Frain, Maria Thos Joseph sponsors: Peter Frain and Francis Shields
South Bend Weekly Tribune Newspaper Death Notice for Thomas Joseph Sinnott appeared November 28, 1891 Born March 4, 1889 Sinnott, Nicholas of Centre Twp   Thomas Joseph  
South Bend City Directory 1821-1989 1896 Sinnott, Nicholas E     residence at 723 South Bend Avenue; Katie May also lives a this address
Death of Mary Sinnott (according to BL Schroeder compilation) Tuesday January 2, 1900 death;   Sinnott, Mary (aka Frain)   death due to pneumonia and Tuberculosis; burial at Cedar Grove Cemetery South Bend, IN January 4, 1900; Funeral St Joseph Church. (I have yet to find this record)
1900 US Census, South Bend, Portage Township, St Joseph County, IN District 0128 Census conducted June 12, 1900 Sinott, Nicholas, Head, 50 yr old widow born June 1848 in Ireland; parents born in Ireland. Immigrated to US in 1870; Here 30 yrs, naturalized   Sinnott, Katie M, Daughter 19 born December 1880 in Nebraska; dad in Ireland, mom in Illinois Nicholas was a Day Laborer; He owns home free of mortgage; Daughter Katie was a Stenographer
" " "   Sinnott, Grace 17 born August 1882 Nebraska; dad born in Ireland, mom in Illinois Grace is a --grapher?
" " "   Sinott, Florence, Daughter born July 1874 in Indiana, dad in Ireland, mom in Illinois in school
" " "   Sinott, Edgar J, Son 14 born February 1886 in Indiana; dad in Ireland, mom in Illinios in school
" " "   Sinott, Chester N, Son born July 1894 in Indiana; dad in Ireland, mom in Illinois  
South Bend, Indiana City Directory 1901 Sinnott, Nicholas     Resides at 723 South Bend Avenue; wks at Notre Dame
South Bend Indiana City Directory 1903 Sinnott, Nicholas E   Daughter Florence, Grace (works Vanderhoof and Company), and son Edward (works E Sinnott) all live here too Residence at 723 South Bend Avenue; Business: Coal and Wood 513 E Jefferson.
Application for Marriage License St Joseph County, IN June 22, 1905 Butler, Wilbur Thomas Sinnott, Florence born June 7, 1884 in South Bend, St Joseph County, IN (Florence is the daughter of Nicholas Sinnott and Mary Frain)   Florence works at the Watch Factory; Father Nicholas Sinnott born in Dublin, Ireland; Mother Mary Agnes Frain born Chicago, Illinois- now deceased. Florence lives at 723 South Bend Avenue; information and actual license obtained from
Indiana Marriages, 1811-1959 March 2, 1908 Simmott?, Edgar John born February 11, 1886 St Joseph County, IN (son of Nicholas Sinnott and Mary Frain) Lederer, Kathleen L   John Edgar is the son of Nicholas Simmott and Marie Frain. (I couldn't get the actual image to download -this is a transcription.. I believe this is John Edgar Sinnott. database
US Census for South Bend City, Portage Twp, St Joseph County, IN census conducted April 28, 1910 Sinnott, Nicholas, Head 59 yr old born in Ireland as were parents; Sinnott, Agnes, 53 yr old wife born in Germany as were her parents. This is her second marriage 3 children, 3 living. She came to the US in 1885. Sinnott, Chester, Son 16 yr old single son born in Indiana, Dad in Ireland, mom in Illinois Nicholas was a Retail Merchant Cork? and Wood; to US in 1871, naturalized; Owns home Free of Mortgage; This is his second marriage; Son Chester is a Time Keeper in the Factory. They reside at 720 South Bend Avenue.
US Census for South Bend, St Joseph County, Ward 4 District 243   Sinnott, Nicholas, Head age 70 born in Ireland as were parents Sinnott, Agnes, 63 yr old wife born in Germany as were her parents Hubler?, John, son, age 32 born in Germany as were parents (likely her son from first marriage) Nicholas is not employed. He came to the US in 1870 and was naturalized in 1879; John was a Body Hanger- auto. They reside at 501 Eddy Street