Serendipity...genealogical discoveries with a little help from above.

Brothers Who Married Sisters

by Ray Roberts

My e-mail address is
and I live in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

This really happened to me My brick wall was my maternal grandfather's father. Raymond J. McCollough was his name and all we knew of him was that when my grandfather was a young bou, his father left the family and moved to St. Louis. We knew only that he had died there and was buried in a Lutheran Cemetery.

For years I labored friutlessly untill one day, a recieved an e-mail from a researcher looking for the sister of Raymond's wife. She had a note that indicated that her maternal great grandmother had the same last name as my maternal great grandmother and that she had married a McCollough.

She found me through a relative who saw a query I posted, and thought what the heck. I checked my files and found the sister... she had married a McCollough, but his name was Mark.

The tree I referenced was done by a cousin and had very llimited information. It just indicated that Mark and Catherine moved to Cincinnati and were never heard from again. Now for the "serindipity" part.

I tried running some Internet searches linking McCollough with either Cincinnati or St. Louis. What I found was a reference to a gentleman named Mark McCollough and speaches he delivered at a symposium in St. Louis and one in Cincinnati. I thought, why not?

I e-mailed him and asked if he could be descended from Mark and Catherine... he said he wasn't, but that he was originally from the area where Mark and Catherine had lived and that his father was very much into genealogy.

I contacted the father and after some visits to Butler County, PA, Courthouse, I not only broke down the brick wall, I found that Mark and Ray were brothers who married sisters! I also found that I had the wrong middle name for my greatgrandfather. And his parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents. Instead of a brick wall in 1912, I now trace this line back to the 1770's and yet another brick wall.

I am now searching for a William McCollough/McColloch who may have been a doctor on the western frontier in Virginia, and what is now Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Will the fates intervene yet again?

Submitted:  Mon Apr 19 12:33:53 1999

Continue to the next story

What's New in Genealogy ... Today!
click to view original photo