Timothy was the second child and first son of Stephen & Hannorah Hurley Madden, who started their lives in the Parish of Kilbrogan, the town of Brandon, County Cork, Ireland. Their tombstones in the Catholic Cemetery of Mendota, Illinois gave me the information of where they were born.
Their first three children were born in Ireland - Julia in 1825, Timothy in 1828, and John in 1830. Their last child, Ellen, was born in Fall River, Bristol County, Massachusetts in 1834. Ellen was my great-great Grandmother.
In the late 1850s the family moved to Mendota, LaSalle County, Illinois. All can be accounted for on the censuses except for Timothy.
While I was actively researching this family and nosing around Mendota by mail, one of my letters was passed on to a fellow named Peter Donohue, who was a descendant of the Peter Donohue who married Julia Madden. This, of course, made me a distant relative of Pete himself, and he was a gold mine of information on the Maddens.
In one of those all-too-rare surprises in genealogical research, in the 1960s he had received, and kept, a letter from another Madden researcher (Lucille Fulton York), who descended from Ellen Madden just as I did. Ellen was her grandmother, and Lucille remembered a lot of what her grandmother had told her about the family. Pete forwarded a copy of her letter to me, dated from 1967, and it was there that I discovered why Timothy was absent. There were no details, but it simply said that Timothy went to California looking for gold and was never heard from again.
Timothy Madden was a very common Irish name, and in my research I found dozens of Timothy Maddens in California during the gold rush period. I could not find the one to whom I was related, which is not at all surprising.
It is for this reason that I have picked him to at least be acknowledged as part of a family by appearing here --- but without a date of death.