Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Irish Places: Belfast? County Armagh?

For the 3rd Edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture, I submit this small piece of what I know so far on my ancestors and where they came from in Ireland. Lisa over at Small-leaved Shamrock has done a great job with this new carnival even though this edition has been a challenge for me personally. I think because I haven't done enough research to establish the Irish hometowns for all my Irish ancestors. Among the Sullivans, O'Keefes, Griffins, MacEntees, Slatterys, Farrens and McGinnises, I have only found conclusive evidence of my great-great-grandmother Bridget Farren having come from what is now considered Northern Ireland.

Growing up as a child in upstate New York, I was always told by my great-grandmother, Therese McGinnes Austin that her mother, Bridget Farren McGinnes had come to this country from County Armagh. But that's all I was ever told. No dates, no exact location. Nothing. Even worse, I had no information about her husband Matthew McGinnis who also arrived on these shores from Ireland. Had that met in Ireland? Were they married in Ireland? Did they meet in New York and if so, how? So many questions, most of which remain.

I only have slight pieces of evidence about my great-great-grandparents, Bridget and Matt McGinnis: I have Matt's citizenship certificate from September 9, 1888 and I recently located a passenger ship manifest for the Auriana which arrived in New York on May 25, 1885 (pictured above). Source: New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 online (downloaded from http://www.ancestry.com on 5 January 2008), Provo, Utah: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.

My great-great-grandmother's name is written as Bridget Farran, which is an acceptable variation of her surname, and one that I've been using in research. In addition, her point of origination is listed as Belfast. I have to conjecture that the person completing the manifest either used that as a generalization or it is the location that Bridget gave during the process.

County Armagh is close enough in location, the northern part touching the Belfast area that this seems correct. In addition her age and date of birth seem to jive with what I've been given. The other piece of information on this manifest that confirms to me this is my Bridget Farren is the listing of the Martin family from County Clare immediately below Bridget's name. In The Box, which is my treasure chest of items from my great-grandmother, are several photos of Martin family members. I never could understand the connection with the Farren family but now it is much clearer. I wonder if Mary Martin was actually born Mary Farran and was sister to Bridget. Time and research will tell.

One bit of confusion has been an entry in the International Genealogical Index which lists her location as County Tyrone. Source: International Genealogical Index (R), Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, 2002, data downloaded 3 January 2008, Batch #: C012095. I believe the confusion may come from a town named "Omagh" in County Tyrone and is close enough to Armagh.

One other piece of handwritten evidence, undated, done in Therese McGinnis Austin's hand, is a small scrap of paper with "In case I need these" in ink at the bottom. There is also a note which states "Names of legatees of Ed Farren estate. 3 are dead I heard."

I am going to post the info here in hopes that there is a connection somewhere with someone - sort of the proverbial message in a bottle. I just hope it lands in someone's caring and helpful hands! (Note: the information is posted as is, errors included)

A. McCourt
9 Upper Edward St.
Newry, County Down
Northern Ireland

Ed Mallon
6 Davis St.
Newry, County Down
Northern Ireland

Annie McGill
Mullaghbawn, County Armagh
Norhtern Irelnd

James Mallon
Aghayalloghue Meigh, County Armagh
Northern Ireland

Stephen Mallon
Ballinliss Meigh, County Armagh
Northern Ireland

Bridget McAteer
Ballinless Meigh, County Armagh
Northern Ireland


Jewelgirl said...

I am not sure if you've ever used
this searchable database: "Austin Families Association of America", it has alot of Austin/Austens. This is the web address;
I found my Austin on this database
and it was quite helpful.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Thanks jewelgirl

The AFOA site has been a g*dsend to me and was one of the first one's I visited when I got started. I have since become a member of AFOA and even uploaded my data on the descendants of John Ralph Austin to the Robert Austin of Charlestown, Rhode Island database!

barbara said...

Hi Thomas,
It's nice to know you and your blog.I'am a fellow Carnival participant.
Wishing you lots of luck . We have all had the experience of working on a" shoestring " like that.
I don't even know for my ancestor Carroll's vessel... we only have a possibility or two.

I'am intrigued by your family name. I have ancestors named MC ENTEE, who lived in Philadelphia ( the Dad was Irish born, but I have no indication of home parish for now).
It's nice knowing you & your blog.
Best of luck !