Sunday, April 11, 2010

The First Two Generations -- Let's Review

The Irish have a custom, unfortunate for family historians, of naming the children of each new generation after the parents, grandparents, etc. of the preceding generations. Add to that the fact that just about every girl has "Mary" as part of her name and it can all be very difficult to keep straight. So let's take a couple of minutes to review. You can enlarge this table by clicking on it.

First Generation
  • Hugh Matthew Ryan came to the United States on the heels of the potato famine. There is strong evidence that other family members came about the same time, especially a younger sister, Mary.
  • Mary Ellen McInerney was born of Irish parents in England. The family then relocated to Pennsylvania and then to Evansville, IN. There were 11 children in this family.
  • Hugh and Mary Ellen married in Evansville and had five or six children there. About 1865, the family moved to St. Louis and later to Iowa. Two of the girls were born in Iowa. Returning to St. Louis, Hugh died in 1870 of dysentery.
Second Generation
  • Three of the eight children born to Hugh and Mary Ellen died before 1870: Matthew, Richard and Hugh (not to be confused with James Hugh).
  • Mary Ellen moved the family to Cincinnati around 1875, possibly to find the support of other family members.
  • The oldest girl, Mary, got married at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral to William C. McGinnis. They had at least two daughters. Mary died in 1889 at the age of 36 of meningitis.
  • John is an interesting story all by himself -- and one I will deal with in the next post. He married Johanna Hartman at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in 1881. Census documents say they had three children.
  • James Hugh (my g-grandfather) married Mary "Rose" Gross and will be discussed extensively in future posts. They had nine children.
  • Margaret never married. She lived with her mother until her death in 1903. As a young girl, Margaret was a knitter. Later she was a seamstress and had her own tailor shop. She lived most of her life in the West End of Cincinnati.
  • Ellen is still somewhat of a mystery. She lived with her mother until her mid-thirties. After that I've not been able to find a record of a marriage or a death. One more loose end.
I wonder about how they felt about their lives? From my perspective, the second generation was still extremely poor and living in the West End. At that time in Cincinnati the housing stock in that area was less than adequate. Many family's lived in tenement-type housing with very inadequate indoor plumbing. Were the opportunities for the Ryans in the United States better than those in Co. Limerick? I think they would agree that they were. At least they could be hopeful that the third generation would do even better. Let's find out if they did.

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