Any Living Descendants of Walter [and (Isa)Bella] Conway?

(updated 2-21-00)

Walter Conway (abt 1873-aft 1905) was a son of John M Conway, my great grandfather.  He married Bella Puff in New York City on July 12, 1894.  According to NYC birth and census records they had a son John J(oseph?) Conway, born November 29, 1902.  After a long and involved search,  we have determined that John married Julia Free and we located a niece of Julia's who reports that there were no surviving children of that marriage.

But we're still exploring the possibility that either Walter or his son John may have had children by earlier or second marriages.  Any such children would be my first cousins once removed, or second cousins.  I'd like very much to find and be in touch with them.

Walter and Bella lived in New York and, perhaps briefly, in Waterbury CT and in Greenwich CT.  They appear in the 1905 New York City directory, and Bella [but not Walter] appears in the 1910 and 1920 Federal census as "head of household" living at 557 W 48th Street with a son John J Conway, born 1903.  (But we learned from his birth certificate that he was actually born 11-29-1902.)

However, because a copy an 1896 trust agreement which mentions Walter was recorded in the County Clerk's office on April 15, 1909 (after the death of Walter's brother, James Louis Conway who was the trustee for their father's estate), and because we have not found any death notices or obituary for "our" Walter Conway (The 1914 New York obit for a Walter Conway is not "our" Walter), there is a good chance that Walter was probably alive in 1910, and maybe as late as 1920, as further described below.

The 1910 census and NYC directory list Bella as "widow", but the 1920 census lists her as "divorced."  As I understand it, some people in the early 20th century were reluctant to acknowledge that they were divorced; this could account for the "discrepancy" in the various records.  (We have actually found two divorce records for Walter and Bella -- an absolute decree in 1899, and a second decree (which might have rescinded the first) in 1902 -- before the birth of their son JJC.)

We have not found a 1910 or 1920 census record for Walter; there appears not to be one in New York. Nor have we found an obituary or death record for him.

We've concluded (tentatively) therefore, that Walter and Bella may have separated [for a second time?] sometime between 1905 and 1910 and that Walter moved away.  Could he have returned to Connecticut?

If this conclusion is correct, Walter may have remarried and had other children, who would also be of great interest to us.  We would certainly like to find a death record for him to establish if who was listed as next of kin.


Any help in locating living descendants of Walter Conway would be appreciated.

Please email John Konvalinka with any information or ideas.

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