This post is part of the Donohoo Descendancy Project. Rosaline Commerce Dowling Donohoo Nally was the second wife of Charles Donohoo, son of FT Donohoo, grandson of Patrick and Sarah Donohoo.


Sometimes you come across a distantly related in-law who’s records prove more valuable to your genealogy search that your own ancestor’s records. Sometimes they live such an intriguing life that you are willing to research, record and write about their entire life, even though you are barely related (Rosa is  the second wife of my 1st cousin 4x removed!) Such is the case with Rosaline Commerce Dowling Donohoo Nally. Rosa outlived three husbands. She lived through the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. She died in 1956 at the age of 103. But, let’s back up and start again at the beginning.


Rosaline Commerce was born about 1853 in Tennessee to Pedro and Alice (Rogers) Commerce [1, 2]. In 1854, twins sisters Christina and Aurelia Commerce were born to the family. By 1861, a brother, James Commerce, was born. Little is known about the children’s early years. All four siblings migrated to Kentucky by adulthood.

In January 1875, Rosa married John F. Dowling [3-8], a man many years her senior. By the time of the 1880 U.S. Census, the couple lives as servants in the household of a widower named Thomas J. Nally, in North, Washington, Kentucky [9]. John F. Dowling died sometime before 1896, when Rosa Dowling appears in the Louisville, Kentucky directory as his widow [10].

Rosa lived with her brother, James Commerce and his wife and children, in 1900, in Louisville, Kentucky [11]. By December of 1901, Rosa married her second husband, Charles Donohoo, in Springfield, Kentucky [12]. This was a second marriage for Charles as well. By 1909, Rosa was widowed again when Charles died. She applied for a widow’s pension for Charles’s service in the Civil War [13]. (See Separating Three Muddled Identities: Charles Donohoo, Charles Donohoo & Charles Donohoe)

In November 1911, Rosa married for the third time, to Thomas J. Nally [14]. This was the same Thomas J. Nally for whom she worked as a servant with her first husband at the time of the 1880 Census. This was the fourth marriage for Thomas, having been widowed thrice himself. Although married in Louisville, the couple resided in Bardstown at the time of the 1920 U.S. Census [15]. Thomas died in 1926.

By 1929, Rosa applied again for widow’s pension for both Charles Donohoo’s and Thomas J. Nally’s Civil War service [16]. Rosa lived in the household of her niece, Rosa E. Escott, along with her sisters, Christina Shuter and Aurelia Commerce, in 1930 in Louisville [17]. Louisville continued to be Rosa’s home throughout the rest of her life [18-21].

She was noted for her old age and tenacity, such as the time a newspaper article was written about when, as a 99-year-old, she walked several blocks in the rain to cast her vote [22]:

Found on Newspapers.com

Rosaline Commerce Dowling Donohoo Nally passed away in February 1956 at the age of 103 [23-26]. Her death notice was published in the paper [27]:

Found on Newspapers.com


Sources and Notes:
Both Aurelia and Christine’s death certificates list their parents as Pedro Commerce and Alice Rogers.

1. Death Certificate: Aurelia Commerce, died 22 March 1949, Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1963 ‎[database on-line]‎. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

2. Death Certificate: Christine Shuter, died 2 February 1949, Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1963 ‎[database on-line]‎. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

‪3. Marriage Records: Marriages, ‪1851-1900‬ [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, ‪2001‬. Name: Rosaline Commerce‌‌, Gender: Female‌‌, Spouse: J. T. Doolin‌‌, Spouse Gender: Male‌‌, Marriage Date: ‪18‬ Jan ‪1875‬‌‌, County: Washington‌‌, State: Kentucky‌

4. Marriage Records: “Kentucky, County Marriages, ‪1797-1954‬”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM‪9.1.1‬/QKJS-LT‪2‬J : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), J F Doolin and Rosaline Commerce, ‪1876‬. GS Film Number ‪000551246‬, Digital Folder Number ‪005773084‬, Image Number ‪00898‬. ‌

‪5‬. Marriage Records: “Kentucky, County Marriages, ‪1797-1954‬”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/‪61903/1:1‬:QKJS‪-6‬SD‪1‬ : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), J F Doolin and Rosaline Commerce, ‪1876‬. GS Film Number ‪000241383‬, Digital Folder Number ‪005771982‬, Image Number ‪00897‬. ‌

‪6. Marriage Records: Kentucky Marriages, ‪1785-1979‬,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/‪61903/1:1‬:FWYM-M‪2‬L : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), J. F. Doolin and Rosaline Commerce, ‪18‬ Jan ‪1875‬; citing Washington County, Kentucky, reference Reg ‪5‬ p ‪187‬; FHL microfilm ‪1,915,011‬. ‌

‪7‬. Marriage Records: Kentucky, County Marriages, ‪1797-1954‬”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/‪61903/1:1‬:QKJS-LTK‪8‬ : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), J F Doolin and Rosaline Commerce, ‪1875‬. GS Film Number ‪000551244‬, Digital Folder Number ‪005773082‬, Image Number ‪00930‬. ‌

8. Marriage Records: “Kentucky, County Marriages, ‪1797-1954‬”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM‪9.1.1‬/QKJS-D‪71‬P : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), J F Doolin and Rosalin Commerce, ‪1875‬. ‌

9. Thomas J Nally household, US Census, Year: ‪1880‬; Census Place: North, Washington, Kentucky; Roll: ‪445‬; Family History Film: ‪1254445‬; Page: ‪337‬D; Enumeration District: ‪204‬; Image: ‪0270‬. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ‪1880‬ United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, ‪2010‬. ‪1880‬ U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright ‪1999‬ Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited use license and other terms and conditions applicable to this site. Original data: Tenth Census of the United States, ‪1880‬. (NARA microfilm publication T‪9‬, ‪1,454‬ rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group ‪29‬. National Archives, Washington, D.C. ‌

‪10‬. City Directory: Rosa Dowling, Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1896‬, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, ‪1822-1989‬ [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., ‪2011‬. Name:, Rosa Dowling‌‌, Gender: Female‌‌, Residence Year: ‪1896‬‌‌, Street address: ws Stucky av n of Shipp‌‌, Residence Place: Louisville, Kentucky, USA‌‌, widow of: J T Dowling‌‌, Publication Title: Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1896‬‌

‪11. U.S. Government, ‪1900‬ U.S. Census: James Commerce household, US Census, Year: ‪1900‬; Census Place: Louisville Ward ‪11‬, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: ‪532‬; Page: ‪5‬B; Enumeration District: ‪0118‬; FHL microfilm: ‪1240532‬, Ancestry.com. ‪1900‬ United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, ‪2004‬. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, ‪1900‬. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, ‪1900‬. T‪623‬, ‪1854‬ rolls. ‌

12‬. Marriage Records: “Kentucky Marriages, ‪1785-1979‬,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM‪9.1.1‬/FWB‪7-2‬QB : accessed ‪5‬ January ‪2015‬), Charles Donohos and Rosa Dowling, ‪23‬ Dec ‪1901‬; citing Springfield, Washington, Kentucky, reference ‪4‬; FHL microfilm ‪241,386‬.

‪13‬. Military Record: “United States General Index to Pension Files, ‪1861-1934‬”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/‪61903/1:1‬:KD‪13-1‬YH : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), Rosaleane Donohoo in entry for Charles Donohoo, ‪1883‬. Affiliate Publication Number T‪288‬, Affiliate Publication Title General Index to Pension Files, ‪1861-1934‬, Affiliate Film Number ‪126‬, GS Film Number ‪540882‬, Digital Folder Number ‪005080215‬, Image Number ‪00307‬ ‌

14‬. Marriage Records: Kentucky Marriages, ‪1785-1979‬,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/‪61903/1:1‬:F‪43‬N-HMR : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), Thomas J. Nally and Rosa Donahue, ‪28‬ Nov ‪1911‬; citing Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, reference CN ‪1137‬; FHL microfilm ‪827,346‬. Rosa Donahue‌‌ mentioned in the record of Thomas J. Nally and Rosa Donahue‌‌, Name Thomas J. Nally‌‌, Spouse’s Name Rosa Donahue‌‌, Event Date ‪28‬ Nov ‪1911‬‌‌, Event Place Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky‌‌, Race White‌‌, Spouse’s Race White

1‪5‬. ‪1920‬ census- United States: Thomas J Nally household, US Census, Year: ‪1920‬; Census Place: Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: T‪625‬_‪593‬; Page: ‪5‬B; Enumeration District: ‪168‬; Image: ‪659‬. Ancestry.com. ‪1920‬ United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, ‪2010‬. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, ‪1920‬. (NARA microfilm publication T‪625‬, ‪2076‬ rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group ‪29‬. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts ‪819-839‬ are on roll ‪323‬ (Chicago City). ‌

1‪6‬. Military Record: Rosa Nally widow of Charles Donohoo, Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War and Later Wars Index to Remarried Widow Pension Applications, ‪1860-1934‬ [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., ‪2013‬. Name: Rosa Nally‌‌, File Date: ‪11‬ Feb ‪1929‬‌‌, Spouse: Charles Donohoo‌‌, Application Number: ‪916239‬‌

‪17‬. ‪1930‬ United States Census: Rosa E Escott household, US Census, Year: ‪1930‬; Census Place: Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: ‪756‬; Page: ‪20‬A; Enumeration District: ‪0091‬; Image: ‪392.0‬; FHL microfilm: ‪2340491‬. Ancestry.com. ‪1930‬ United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, ‪2002‬. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, ‪1930‬. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, ‪1930‬. T‪626‬, ‪2,667‬ rolls. ‌

‪18‬. City Directory: Rosa Nally, Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1932‬, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, ‪1822-1989‬ [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., ‪2011‬. Name: Rosa Nally‌‌, Gender: Female‌‌, Residence Year: ‪1932‬‌‌, Street address: Tm S ‪4‬th‌‌, Residence Place: Louisville, Kentucky, USA‌‌, Widow of: T J Nally‌‌, Publication Title: Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1932‬‌

1‪9‬. City Directory: Rosa Nally, Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1933‬, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989‬ [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., ‪2011‬. Name: Rosa Nally‌‌, Gender: Female‌‌, Residence Year: ‪1933‬‌‌, Street address: ‪2729‬ S ‪4‬th‌‌, Residence Place: Louisville, Kentucky, USA‌‌, Widow of: Thomas Nally‌‌, Publication Title: Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1933‬‌

20‬. City Directory: Rosa Nally, Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1934‬, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, ‪1822-1989‬ [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., ‪2011‬. Name: Rosa Nally‌‌, Gender: Female‌‌, Residence Year: ‪1934‬‌‌, Street address: ‪2729‬ S ‪4‬th‌‌, Residence Place: Louisville, Kentucky, USA‌‌, Widow of: Thomas Nally‌‌, Publication Title: Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1934‬‌

‪21‬. City Directory: Rosa Nally, Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1939‬, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, ‪1822-1989‬ [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., ‪2011‬. Name: Rosa Nally‌‌, Gender: Female‌, Residence Year: ‪1939‬‌‌, Street address: ‪4619‬ Louisville av‌‌, Residence Place: Louisville, Kentucky, USA‌‌, Widow of: Thomas Nally‌‌, Publication Title: Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, ‪1939‬‌

‪22‬. Newspaper Article: ‪99-‬Year-Old Walked Blocks in Rain to Vote. Clipped from Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), ‪7‬ Nov ‪1951‬, Wed, Page ‪3‬. Accessed at newspapers.com on ‪6‬ January ‪2015‬. ‌

‪23‬. Death Record: Rosa Nally, Ancestry.com. Kentucky Death Index, ‪1911-2000‬ [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, ‪2000‬. Original data: Commonwealth of Kentucky, Health Data Branch, Divisision of Epidemiology and Health Planning. Kentucky Death Index, ‪1911-‬present. Frankfort, KY, USA: Kentucky Department of Information Systems. Name: Rosa Nally‌‌, Death Date: ‪16‬ Feb ‪1956‬‌‌, Death Place: Jefferson‌‌, Age: ‪103‬‌‌, Residence: Jefferson‌‌, Volume: ‪7‬‌‌, Certificate: ‪3034‬‌

‪24‬. Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com): “Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM‪9.1.1‬/QVLM‪-22‬QH : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), Rosa Donahoo Nally, ‪1956‬; Burial, Springfield, Washington, Kentucky, United States of America, Saint Dominics Cemetery; citing record ID ‪84845854‬, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com. ‌

‪25‬. Death Record: Kentucky, Vital Record Indexes, ‪1911-1999‬,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/‪61903/1:1‬:QKCM‪-75‬TY : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), Rosa Nally, ‪16‬ Feb ‪1956‬; citing Death, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort. Rosa Nally‌‌, Kentucky, Vital Record Indexes‌‌, Name Rosa Nally‌‌, Event Type Death‌‌, Event Date ‪16‬ Feb ‪1956‬‌‌, Event Place Jefferson, Kentucky, United States‌‌, Age ‪103‬‌‌, Birth Year (Estimated) ‪1853‬‌

26‬. Death Record: Kentucky Death Records, ‪1911-1961‬”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/‪61903/1:1‬:QVJ‪5-‬G‪4‬LC : accessed ‪4‬ November ‪2015‬), Rosa Nally, ‪1956‬. GS Film Number ‪001669907‬, Digital Folder Number ‪007552617‬, Image Number ‪00548‬. Rosa Nally‌‌, Kentucky Death Records‌‌, Name Rosa Nally‌‌, Event Type Death‌‌, Event Date ‪16‬ Feb ‪1956‬‌‌, Event Place Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States‌‌, Gender Female‌‌, Age ‪103‬‌‌, Race (Original) W‌‌, Birth Year (Estimated) ‪1853‬‌‌, Birthplace Tennessee‌‌, Burial Place Springfield Kentucky‌

27‬. Newspaper Obituary (White Mountain Independent): Mrs. Nally, ‪105‬, Dies. Clipped from Kingsport Times (Kingsport, Tennessee), ‪17‬ Feb ‪1956‬, Fri, Page ‪3‬. Accessed at newspapers.com on ‪6‬ January ‪2015‬. ‌