Patrick John Ford 1866

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I believe that Patrick J. Ford was the son of John Ford and Bridget Thornton, born in Clooneen, Co. Sligo on September 23, 1866 (though other lifetime documents list a combination of these dates and September 28 or 1867).  His gravestone in Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, Erie County, NY shows his birth year as 1866.  

John and Bridget Thornton were married on 24 July 1864.  Bridget was the daugher of Henry Thornton.  John was the son of Patrick Ford.  

Patrick had one sister who was born Mary Ford to the same parents in Clooneen on 13 April 1865.  I was told that Mary would call herself "Ellen" later in life, and also emigrated to the US.  

Patrick emigrated to the United States in August 1888, via Liverpool, landing in 1888 in Philadelphia.   He eventually settled a little further west, settling in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

Patrick declared his intention to become a US citizen in October 1892 in Erie, PA.  The next month, he married Mary Dorothy Schneider in the same city.   

My grandfather, Michael Joseph Ford, was one of seven children born to the couple in Pennsylvania, but the family then moved north to Buffalo, NY where most of them reached adulthood.

On Patrick's naturalization form for citizenship, his date of birth is listed as 28 September 1866 and place of birth is listed as "Calloon, Co, Sligo."  

Patrick died in Buffalo, NY on 17 September 1928.  On the death certificate, his date of birth is listed as 28 September 1867 in Ireland.  His father's name is John Ford of Ireland, and mother's name is "unknown."  

Patrick John Ford 1866 - 1928.jpg (508×719)


Additional Information
Date of Birth 23rd Sep 1866 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 17th Sep 1928  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) John Ford  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Bridget Thornton  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Mary Dorothy Schneider  
Number of Children 7  
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  • May be that we have a connection. In my tree I also have a Bridget (Belinda) Thornton. She was married to my grandmother's brother James Reynolds of Ballynahowna, Dromoire Westt, Parish of Kilmacshalgan, Co Sligo. Jamers and Bridget had 7 children. I have no information on her parents. I have a birth date of 1883 and a death date and location of 19 Jun 1964 at Ballynahowns. Her husband James Reybolds was the fourth child of Michael Reynolds and Bridget (Beezy) Hart. I have visited the area and met a son (since deceased) and grandson of James Reynolds and Bridget (Belinda) Thornton. I also have had contact with a granddaughter. The family informed me that whilst her name was Bridget she preferred to be called Belinda.

    Regards Kevin McKenna (New Zealand)


    Thursday 31st October 2019, 09:11PM
  • Hello Kevin, and thank you for writing!  Perhaps we are Thornton "cousins" because I'm told that this surname is quite rare in Ireland.  My great-great grandmother Bridget Thornton would have likely been born in the early 1840's (so a different generation than your Belinda).  But perhaps there is a clue here.  

    I can find no trace of the fate of my Bridget Thornton ... no date of death or place of burial.  I connected with another Ford(e) family in Easkey decades ago and we had a working theory that my Bridget died in childbirth giving life to my great-grandfather, Patrick (born 1866), leaving John Ford to re-marry a woman named Bridget White who is documented on the Easkey- Forde family tree.  But it was strange that there seemed to be no record of her death.    

    Then a few years ago, we compared the DNA from my father, Eugene Ford in the USA, with the patriach of the Forde's in Easkey (another Eugene by coincidence) and found there was NO CONNECTION!  So my brick wall remains very tall as I wonder which other Ford family my great-grandfather Patrick was born from and which one JOHN Ford??  I would love to compare DNA with any of the Thorntons still living in the area, as well as other Ford's outside of Easkey.  Hoping someone will see my posting on this site and be willing to participate in a genetic comparison.  I'm in desperate need of a new clue!

    Also hoping that someone recongizes my great-grandparents' names and knows the oral history that will finally solve my mystery!  I have been searching for this answer for nearly 40 years now!

    By the way, I had never heard of Belinda as a nickname for Bridget -- perhaps my brick wall is due to a nickname that I don't recognize.  Thanks for sharing this!

    How fortunate that you were able to travel to County Sligo and meet relatives!   How long ago were you there? 






    Jackie Ford

    Friday 1st November 2019, 01:13AM
  • Good to hear from you Jackie.

    It seems to me very likely we are connected. Dromoe West, Easkey and Ballynahowna are all very close geographically and nit largely populated. My Bridget could even be your Bridget's daughter and may have taken the name of Belinda to distinguish heself grom her mother.  My Bridget and husband James Reynolds are buries in the Easkey Cemetery. 

    It is difficult to get back very far with Irish ancestors. The Genealogy Centre in Sligo was very helpful to us in tracking our Reynolds ancestors and they supllied some birth, death and marriage certifificates and then told us how to get to Dromore Werst and to ask the Post Office there to direct us to the Reynolds people strill in  the area. Have you tried to contact them.

    Best wishes for your research. Would love to hear is you have any luck. I will let you know if I come across anything.



    Friday 1st November 2019, 10:56PM
  • Hi again Kevin ... I have not been fortunate enough to travel to Ireland yet, but am hoping to connect with others in the family through this great organization! 

    If your Bridget had the surname of Thornton, then she could not have been my Bridget's daughter as her father would have been John Ford.  Bridget and John Ford's children were my great-grandfather, Patrick Ford, and his sister, Mary or Ellen Ford.    

    I will definitely keep your information in my files, and hope that we can confirm a cousin connection as our research progresses in the future.  Thank you once again for writing and sharing your thoughts. 








    Jackie Ford

    Saturday 2nd November 2019, 01:14AM
  • Thanks Jackie. Of course - they could not be mother and daughter.  - my logical thinking deserted me

    Hope you can get to Sligo sometime. Hope you can make it and have similar experiences to those I enjoyed. You never know what you might discover.

    All I knew when we arrived in Sligo was that my grandmother came from a place called Ballynahowna in Co Sligo. I hadn't been able to find it on an y map. Once we had met up with newly found Irish cousins, thanks to the Genealogy Centre and a Post Office, we got to see the cottage my grandmother grew up in. It was still standing and being used for farm storage.

    We had a similar experience earlier in Co Clare - found close McKenna relatives, the family farm, and  the cottage my grandfather grew up, which was still standing. I understand it has since been restored. We actually arrived in Ogonnelloe on the day the relatives moved out of the newish farm house we were told they lived in - the farm passed out of family hands that dau- as they had sold the farm. The Priest in St Mary's church - not far from the farm - told us this and that a community farewell was being held that very night in the Piper's Inn - just down the hill from the farm. Se we sneaked into the Inn and sat there waiting. Soon people began arriving and then we saw the Priest talking to a couple and pointying to us sitting in a corner. In no ti,me we were surrounded by relativbes all takiling expremely fast wik excitement . A great evceining. We later stayed wfor a few days ith a sister of the farm holder in her and her husband's fishing lodge.

    As I said - you never knoiw

    Best regards, Kevin


    Saturday 2nd November 2019, 04:40AM
  • Hello Fellow Researchers!

    I am currently looking at some clues revealed by my father's Y-DNA test results.  My father actually has several Thornton DNA matches, but one is descended from a Thomas Thornton who was born in Donaghpatrick, County Galway on 1 July 1856.  He emigrated to Boston and died there in 1924.  

    My father also matches more closely (on his 67 marker list) several people wiith the surname O'DAIR from County Mayo.  

    Not sure how to interpret these clues yet because I don't have a known connection to either Galway or Mayo, but perhaps others will recognize a common thread with the Fords or Thorntons in Sligo. 

    Thanks in advance to anyone considering my research data and offering advice or information that may help me discover my family's Irish story.  







    Jackie Ford

    Wednesday 6th November 2019, 01:50AM

    Hello Jackie, I believe that we have a connection.  Patrick John Forde was born to John Forde and Bridget Thornton 23 September 1866 in Clooneen, County Sligo.  As you correctly state Bridget Thornton died in September 1866, this could very well have been in child birth.  John Forde then married Bridget White in 1866 (he didnt waste any time!), they went on to have 7 children, one of them being my grandmother Mary Forde.  Mary married my grandfather Michael Gillespie and my mother Ellen was the youngest of their 8 chidren, born in Easkey in 1920.  There were numerous Fordes and Gillespies who like Patrick John travelled and settled in the USA, I have knowledge of many of these but would love to hear of how they all spent their lives and whether or not they travelled back to Ireland. Regards, Michael Reynolds


    Michael Reynolds

    Monday 13th April 2020, 08:48PM
  • Hi Michael ... we actually have corresponded before (check your emails from October 2010). Unfortunately, you recite the family folklore version that still hasn't been substantiated all these years later, but we all had believed it for a long time. About two years ago, I decided it was high time to take that final step to settle the question. I arranged for DNA analysis of Eugene Forde in Easkey, whom you met along with son, Des. I had corresponded with Eugene, Agnes, Jackie and Des since I was a teenager.

    The science showed why we are never able to find records proving a relationship between "your" John Forde and "my" John Ford (no e) -- there is no DNA match between my father and Eugene and/or Desmond in Easkey/Grange.

    So, the mystery continues. I have never found a civil registration of Bridget (Thornton) Ford's date of death, nor a burial site, though there is a concerted archaeological effort being made recently to map and reclaim abandoned cemeteries in the county.

    Note also that my great-grandfather never had an "e" at the end of his surname, and none of the civil records I have identified for him, his sister Mary or his father John spelled Ford with the extra letter either. It seems odd that John Ford would adopt the extra letter only upon marrying Bridget White/Whyte. Do you have a civil marriage for them?

    I wonder if you have had a DNA test done at FamilyTreeDNA? or MyHeritage? These produce the most reputable results. The only other slim possibility is that some non-paternal event/adoption is part of the story.

    My thanks for your message; it is good to see that you are still continuing your research and I'm sure I'll see your future discoveries as part of Des' online group.


    Jackie Ford

    Tuesday 14th April 2020, 02:12AM

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