Thanks, I'll lay out what I'm looking for, and perhaps you can let me know if I'm in the ball park.
1880 Federal Census (Niskayuna) has a Patrick and Catherine Kiernan (ages 60 and 50) and their daughter Emma. I am trying to ascertain whether these are the parents of my known great-grandfather, Felix Kiernan. I have found a baptism record for Felix in Little Falls - 1858 (just upriver near Herkimer), listing Patrick Kiernan and Catherine Halton as parents. His marriage notice (1887) has Patrick and Catherine as parents. I have a tentative marriage for Patrick Kiernan and Catherine Halton in 1851 in Ireland. They could have emigrated after marriage, and had their son Felix in 1858 here in NY. My last paper evidence of a Patrick Kiernan is in the Schenectady Directory in 1885, listed as living at 18 Romeyn Street with a Felix Kiernan. Patrick Kiernan is not an uncommon name, but Felix is rarer. They are both listed as "laborers", which is consistent with what little history I have.
I am wondering if Catherine died in Niskayuna sometime after the 1880 census, but before 1885; and Patrick died in Schenectady between 1885 and the 1900 census. The family memories have no mention of an Emma, but she may have died young, with her mother.
Does this make any sense to you? I have purchased some marriage and birth records from Ireland, if any parent's name are on the American death certificates, perhaps I can clarify who these people are.
Thanks for your interest.