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Frank Behan

Frank Behan found, finally!

The following represents ten years of searching for Frank Behan.  The search finally ended this week with the arrival of the death certificate of a “suspect” Frank Behan.  The information below is a very condensed version of the documentation which supports the finding of Frank.


Francis P. Behan was the youngest son of Andrew Behan and Mary Dowling/Behan.  Frank was first listed in the 1860 Wabash, Indiana census as a female Francis age twelve.  The information on the 1860 census was very inaccurate when it came to Francis and subsequently made it very difficult to track him down in later years.  I decided to work backwards from the obituary of his brother Michael Behan; the 1922 obituary of Michael listed a brother Frank living in Detroit, MI.


The 1920 census from Detroit, MI list a Frank Behan living with wife Anna.  Frank reports on the census as being born about 1853 in Indiana; both of his parents were born in Ireland.  From the information in Michael’s obituary this Frank Behan is the only possible record which matches the correct place and date of birth. The 1910 census also from Detroit, list Frank Behan with the same place and date of birth.  Frank is not married on the 1910 census so I assumed he married Anna between 1910 and 1920.  There are no other Frank or Francis Behan/Behen/Bahan… in the 1900, 1910 or 1920 census records which even come close to matching the known facts about Frank.  Known facts would be birth place of parents (Ireland), birth either Pennsylvania or Indiana after 1850, and last known location Detroit, Michigan about 1922. 


Marriage records from Ontario, Essex Co., Canada show an Anna Winters and Frank Behan married in 1911.  Frank list his status as bachelor, age of 58 (this would place birth about 1853); father is listed as Andrew Behan and mother as Mary Darling.  On Frank’s sister Catherine’s death certificate it list father as Andrew Behan and mother as Mary Dowling.  We know from the Edward Behan baby book Ed’s grandparents were listed as Andrew and Mary Behan.  Also Anna Winters is the name of Frank’s landlady in the 1910 census.  Both Frank and Anna list place of residence as Detroit, MI. 


I remember at one time I had found a suspect Frank B?? for the 1900 census in Detroit, MI.  I cannot for the life of me find that record now!


The 1879-1880 Toledo, OH city directory list Frank Behan, working as a blacksmith.  Frank’s death certificate list him as being a retired blacksmith.  Also listed in the Toledo, Ohio city directory are Mary (widow of Andrew) and Catherine, all three Behan’s were living at the same address: 88 Jervis.  Michael Behan is also living in Toledo and listed in the directory at a different address and working for the railroad.


The 1870 census from Wabash, Indiana lists a F. and C. Bahan living with a M. Bahan.  F is listed as a male age 17 (born about 1853, Indiana), C is listed as female (born about 1851, Pennsylvania) and M as a female, (born about 1814, Ireland).  These facts all fit with all of the information we have on Frank, Catherine, and their mother Mary. 


Wabash is significant in three ways.  Wabash is where Michael enlisted in the army during the civil war, it is only five miles from Lagro where Andrew and Mary are buried, and where we find the family in 1860.  Toledo was mentioned in Michael’s obituary as a place he had lived in his younger days.

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Frank Behan Death Certificate

The above listed facts and a body of additional Behan information lead me to believe the Frank Behan who died in Chicago on June 27, 1927 is our Frank Behan brother of Michael, both sons of Andrew and Mary.  The death certificate gives an age of 75, place of birth as Wabash, Indiana, spouse as Anna.  Place of burial is Rose Hill.  Records from Rose Hill cemetery show Anna and Frank buried together and the owner of the lot is Helen McGowen.  Helen was the daughter of Anna Behan, Frank’s wife.


I have much more documentation on Anna, her children, parents and spouses prior to Frank.  Her information will be presented in a later post.  The documentation on Anna also supports the Frank Behan who died and is buried in Chicago as being our Frank.


Finally, although I am confident this is the correct Frank I will be contacting the church in Wabash and Lagro to see if there is a baptismal record on Frank.  If you remember from early post Michael, Daniel, Andrew and Catherine were all baptized in Philadelphia and there was no baptismal record for Frank.

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