Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hugh Mathew Ryan and Mary Ellen McInerney

Hugh Mathew Ryan was the first member of our clan to settle in the United States.  I was able to locate two references to his immigration to the United States.


According to this record, Hugh arrived in the port of New York by way of Liverpool on May 2, 1849 -- just after the height of the Potato Famine.  He sailed on the ship Constitution.  I am not sure if he was the first member of his family to arrive here, but he is listed in the 1850 Census in Pigeon Twsp,, Vanderburgh Co., Indiana.  This township is part of present-day Evansville, IN.  The Census also includes a reference to 14 year-old Mary Ryan living in the same residence.  I've always assumed that Mary was his younger sister.  The Census, completed in August, states that Hugh is 24 years old and that he is employed as a "brickmaker".

Today I found an 1850 Census document for Mary Ellen and her family.  It had alluded me before because of how McInerney was spelled. As so often happens in genealogy,I discovered that some of the assumptions I had about when she came to the United States were wrong.  The first three children of Matthew and Margaret were born in England.  The next three were born in Pennsylvania.  The remaining children were born in Indiana.  Later census documents showed that they had two additional children for a total of 11. Since Mary (Ellen) was born in England abt.1830 and the next child was born in Pennsylvania in 1833, we can conclude the family emigrated in the early 1830s.

Matthew Mcinnery
Age: 52
Estimated birth year: abt 1798
Birth Place: Ireland
Gender: Male
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Pigeon Ward 6, Vanderburgh, Indiana
Family Number: 154
Household Members:
Name Age
Matthew Mcinnery 52
Margarette Mcinnery 45
Lawrence Mcinnery 25
Michel Mcinnery 23
Mary Mcinnery 18
Matthew Mcinnery 17
Bertholomew Mcinnery 13
Johanna Mcinnery 10
John Mcinnery 7
James Mcinnery 5
Thomas R Mcinnery 3
Ellen Mcguire 80
Martin Muhler 32
Laurence Link 26
Anthony Porthouse 19
John Murphy 20
Henry Garvin 22

Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Pigeon Ward 6, Vanderburgh, Indiana; Roll  M432_176; Page: 375B; Image: 283.

A couple of other interesting facts emerged.  Every one of the men in this household over the age of 17, with the exception of the father, was employed as a brickmaker.  That was the occupation also listed for Hugh Ryan and is probably partially responsible for how the young couple met.  I cannot decipher the occupation of the father, but he had assets of $4000 -- a good amount of assets for that time period.  I think it is possible that Ellen McGuire is Mary Ellen's grandmother.  Seventeen people comprised this one household.

I am not sure what attraction Evansville, IN had for these new immigrants, but I know that there was an Irish Catholic community in Evansville and that the 1850 Census listed eight Ryans.

One of the joys of my search for Ryan roots was locating a copy of the Marriage License for Hugh and Mary Ellen.   Since they got married on May 4, 1852, I was able to determine that my Irish ancestry in this country begins with them.  The Church record of the marriage lists Patrick and Mary Ryan as witnesses.  I know Mary was Hugh's younger sister, at least they shared a residence, but who was Patrick?


I was able to contact the Diocese of Evansville in an effort to identify marriage and baptismal records for Hugh, Mary Ellen and several of their children.  They were very helpful.  I asked them to identify what church in the Evansville area served the Irish Catholic population.  I was told that it was most likely Assumption Church and a check of their records bore that out.  Here is a picture of the church, which at one time served as a cathedral.  Unfortunately, it was torn down to make room for the Evansville Civic Center.

So who were these people?  What do we know?  How did they support themselves? Did America live up to its reputation as "The Promised Land"?  Let's explore together.

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