Thursday, September 18, 2014
Meeneghans in Mayo
Finding my first Irish census record for my mother's family has brought my attention back to that branch of my family. We are fortunate that my great-grandparents' Irish homeland was known by family lore. "Granny" came from Mullaghroe on the Mullet peninsula in western Mayo (God help us), as she always modified it. In telling what I have learned about my grandmother, Sarah Meeneghan, and her older sister, Mary, in early posts I pulled together much of what I know about the family. The digitized 1911 Irish census has added Irish names to my data base.
My great-grandfather, Dominick Meeneghan, emigrated from Ireland and married in Wheeling. WV in January of 1887. The marriage record lists his parents: William Meeneghan and Mary Riley. There is some evidence that he had followed his bride, Ellen Broderick, who may have come to work as a domestic. A woman I believe to be her sister Margaret was working in a household across the river in Ohio. The couple moved north to Springfield, NY where their first child, Mary, was born in October of that year.
"Cousins" William and Hannah Meeneghan were already established in Springfield. What was their relationship? They must have paved the way for Dominick and enticed him to settle in rural New York. The Meeneghan name is uncommon enough in the US that I can identify all but one or two of those currently in on-line phone directories.
I had no other information beyond the parents' names until I found an April 1906 obituary that lists a Mary Meeneghan as Dominick's sister. It also mentions a "sister in the west." The 1900 census lists her as a servant in the household of William Festus Morgan in Cooperstown.
Another researcher had passed along an Irish birth record from LDS microfilm that lists a daughter, Sarah, to William and Mary in Manraghory. That gives Dominick two sisters, both of whom have namesakes in his family.
This census record for Binghamstown, on the Mullet peninsula, fills out the family and adds several more siblings.
Combining these individuals we can construct what we know of the family unit.
William, b 1829
Mary b. 1835
William b. 1844 (not possible to be the child of William and Mary)
Dominick b. 1857 (Mary was 22)
Mary b. 1860
Sarah b. 1861 (was she the sister 'in the west?')
Catherine b. 1865
Margaret b. 1871
James b. 1874
Anne b. 1881 (Mary was 46)
Certainly, there could be additional children who had left home by 1911. Gaps of more than 2 years could also indicate early deaths. Could there be another William who was the eldest? Naming convention would be to name sons after the grandparents before taking the father's name.
The Irish are not known for being imaginative with family names, and the names of Dominick's children mirror his birth family: Mary, Sarah, Ellen, William, twins Katherine and Anne, Margaret, and John were his children.
The next census schedule indicates that they owned their home, which was called one room, with two windows on the front. It was solidly built of stone, brick or concrete, with a roof of wood or thatch.