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Hello to Co Mayo,

I am trying to trace my Grt-Grt Grandmother back to Co Mayo in Ireland. Her name was Bridget Rorke (Rourke, Roarke) and she was born about 1841 or 1842. At some point prior to 1859, she went to England, either alone or with her parents & family, and married Patrick Daley in the Catholic Chapel in Newcastle Under Lyme on January 20, 1859. According to that document, her father’s name was James Rourke and he was deceased by the time of their wedding. So he must have died sometime between approximately 1839 and 1859 since Bridget age was listed as age 18 at the time of her marriage.


She and Patrick had 3 children, Thomas, Mary and Patrick, while still living in England. Patrick worked for the railroad there. Bridget was a silk piecer. She and her children emigrated to the United States in 1871 on the SS Italy arriving in New York in August 1871. I believe Patrick went ahead of the family in 1870.


They ended up living in Newark, New Jersey, had three more surviving children... John, Catherine (Kate) and Margaret and raised the family there. Their eldest son, Thomas, was my Grt-Grandfather.


I have searched church records through the National Library of Ireland from the 1830s to 1850s. I have found a James Rorke in Pollough, Shrule, Co Mayo married to Honor Rorke (nee Clerk) with a daughter Bridget born January 15th, 1841. They also had a daughter Mary born 1839, and a son Martin born 1842. But the parish records basically stop in 1846 for 10 years, picking up again in 1856 to 1864. I assume this is due to the famine.


I found many branches of Rorke families in Pollough and in Cahernabruck, but I haven’t been able to find any other records for the James Rorke family in Pollough other than the baptism of their three children and listings of both Honor and James as baptism sponsors of children of other family members. In the Griffith’s Valuation I found a James Rourke who worked land in the Dalgan Demesne and it seems that Pollough was a part of this in the parish of Shrule. The landlord was Lady De Clifford.


I have tried to find any other listing in records for Co Mayo for a James Rourke with a daughter Bridget. But this is the only family I can find.  I would love to be able to connect these Rorkes with the Rourkes/O’Rourkes in my family, but have not yet been able to find any connecting link.


I was hoping that someone out there might have similar connections at the Ireland end that possibly could match up with some of the information I have. Any help as to where else to go for further information would be so appreciated!


Thank you,





Monday 26th October 2020, 04:34PM