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Hello and thanks for allowing me to join the group.  I am seeking help in locating the Townland of my GG Grandfather James McFadden.  According to US records, he was born abt 1825.  He sailed from Derry in late March 1847 and arrived in Philadelphia, PA in April 1847 on the ship Susan E. Howell..  There were 11 McFaddens on the ship and I believe James was with his brother John and sister Margery. He married Sophia Sharkey, who was on the same ship, in 1853 and they resided in Philadelphia until their deaths in 1899 & 1903.  As per naming of their children, I believe James' father was also named James and mother may have been Sarah?

Thanks so much in advance for any potential feedback.


Denny McFadden

West Chester, PA.


Thursday 1st December 2016, 05:22PM

Message Board Replies

  • Denny:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    I also have a McFadden great-grandmother who emigrated to Philadelphia around 1868 and she came from Raymunterdoney parish in Co. Donegal. I see that you have posted in five parishes in different parts of the county. We do have a parish liaison in Clondavaddog parish and I will send him an e-mail alerting him to your message.

    It is very difficult to research ancestors from Donegal who were born in the first part of the 19th century because very few church records are available prior to 1850. 

    You may want to consider autosomal DNA testing to see if you match up with someone who has more info on your McFadden line. My autosomal DNA test helped me pinpoint the exact townland where my great-grandmother was born. There is no guarantee that your matches will provide you with a similar outcome.

    FYI. I have a sister who lives in West Chester.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 1st December 2016, 05:33PM
  • Hello Roger,

    Thanks so for your prompt reply.  My reasoning for posting to many Parishes in Donegal was these Parish names came up when I did a search of James McFadden on Griffith's Tithe reports & some 1831 & 1841 census.  Most of the hits were from Raymunterdoney, Tullaghbegly, Templecrone & Clondahorky.

    Where did your mother settle Philadelphia?  My GG G/F settled where the Art Museum is located today, 2323 Hamilton Street and belonged to St. Francis Xavier Parish.

    I have done a DNA test with Ancestry with a listing of 67% Irish.  Not sure if the test is an autosomal DNA however?

    May I ask where your sister is located in West Chester, PA?  I am one mile south of West Chester University.

    Thanks so much again.





    Thursday 1st December 2016, 06:41PM
  • Denny:

    My sister lives off of Boot Road.

    My great-grandmother and great-grandfather were married in 1873 at St. Patrick's at 20th and I believe Locust so she must have lived in that area.

    The Ancestry test is autosomal. It checks both sides of your family. You may want to look into Gedmatch which is a volunteer run site where you can load your raw DNA data and see if you match someone who tested with another company e.g Family Tree DNA and also loaded their data to Gedmatch.



    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 1st December 2016, 09:57PM
  • If you are looking for your McFadden line then a Y DNA test might be of better use as it matches you with male relatives on the direct male line, as the surname is localised and tends to fall under the same Haplogroup there is a good chance you can connect with someone who has a good background.

    Family Tree DNA have a sale on at the minute.


    Thursday 1st December 2016, 11:09PM
  • Hi Denny

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!I

    Having read all the good advice above from Roger and rm1978,  I would tend to agree (manys thanks folks). If you were to upload the raw data of your Ancestry DNA file that you have to the site and to FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) this would possibly be the strongest way forward to gain results.

    Because you have been able to confirm that your GG Granfather James McFadden emigrated in the year 1847, then I’m afraid it makes it difficult to research further on paper as 1847 would be the first year that Birth, Marriage and Death (BMD) Records started to be recorded in Massmount Chapel in my own Parish of Clondavaddog in Co.Donegal.

    The only Records available before 1847 that would help us are the 1834 Tithe Applotment Books for the Parish of Clondavaddog, yet they just happen to tell the name of only some of the tenents and farmers that were able to afford the leasing of land at that time, and these names only work best when combining them with findings of families in the 1858 Griffith Valuation for Clondavaddog, and also the BMD Records for the Townland which are all available online, which is great.

    I will check all the Parish Records for the years in and around 1847 and look your family tree on ancestry also. I wonder would you maybe check out a few sites below (of course you may have done this already)


    Donegal Genealogy

    Donegal Genealogy Resources

    IGP's County Donegal Ireland Genealogy Group

    The last Facebook group above does have a list where you can upload your DNA Kit Numbers, which is handy for checking out similar matches posted.

    Similar to here in,  I would recommend adding as much information as you can and post it directly up on the page, there would be many McFadden Families in Donegal that would take an interest.

    Take care,


    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 2nd December 2016, 07:53PM
  • Hello Roger, thanks for the advice and I will follow up with your suggestions. Also, small world as my 1st home in West Chester was also off of Boot Road on Mary Jane Lane.

    I am in agreement that your G G/M McFadden most likely lived in the same general area as my GG G/F.

    Thanks again



    Saturday 3rd December 2016, 12:41AM
  • Hi RM1978

    Thanks for advice on the Y-DNA and sale on the FT website. I will check into it.



    Saturday 3rd December 2016, 12:44AM
  • Hi Denny,

    Unfortunately it seems that James McFadden b.1825 happens to be too far back for Records and I have exhausted searches with Parish Records etc..for possible McFadden Family connections in Donegal.

    I am glad to see that your DNA kit number (A389105) is up on the list on IGP's County Donegal Ireland Genealogy Group. DNA testing is your best approach going forward for finding where your family came from in early 1800’s.

    DNA testing on this side of the pond, to help connect families that have emigrated is something that is fairly new, yet is an interest that is growing, and that is what irelandreachingout ( is all about.

    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 5th December 2016, 01:04PM

    Attached Files

  • I have prepared a list of all McFadden Families recorded back in the 1830’s Tithe Applotment Books and the 1857 Griffith Valuations for Parishes in North West Donegal.










    I wish could have been of more help, and I hope you will get a few successful DNA matches with McFadden Families in Donegal in the near future.


    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 5th December 2016, 01:07PM

    Attached Files

  • Hello Seamus, 

    My sincere apologies for not thanking you earlier for your research of the McFaddens in County Donegal.  I truly thought I had replied earlier.

    I can't thank you enough for your time and effort as well as formulating these files for me.

    Again my apologies for this late reply and thank you post.  Merry christmas to you and all of your family.


    Denny McFadden


    Monday 19th December 2016, 04:39PM
  • Thank you Denny,, when I was growing up I was lucky to have some of the best neighbours and friends anyone could ask for, and the majority of them were McFadden families, so I of course i felt a connection and realy enjoyed researching this as much as I could! Please keep in touch, we would love to know how it progresses and I believe it will!

    I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas with happy memories of Christmas past, and Best Wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Tuesday 20th December 2016, 09:45AM
  • Hello Seamus and Denny!


    Great work on the McFadden file. I did not notice the file when you posted on December 5th. My great-great grandfather, Daniel McFadden, is shown in the Raymunterdoney parish Griffiths. He was living in Derryreel townland. He is not listed in the Tithes.

    Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!


    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!





    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Tuesday 20th December 2016, 10:29PM
  • Roger& Seamus,

    This is probably a silly question. On the ship that my gg g/p's ( James McFadden & Sophia Sharkey) sailed in March 1847 from Derry, there were 11 McFadden 's on board. I know that James was with his brother John & sister Margery and Sophia with her sister Biddy. I also know that Temple crone had many Sharkey families. Also, i found Sharkey's from Tullaghobegly and on the list of McFadden's that Seamus provided, quite a few McFaddens were from Tullaghobegley.

    My silly question or thought is, do you think it possible that these 11 McFadden 's & 2 Sharkey's were from the same townland and that the townland was hard hit with the famine thus maybe many parents passed away and these young folks had to leave? Their ages ranged from 16 to 24. Very sad thought.....




    Thursday 22nd December 2016, 11:03PM
  • Hello Seamus and Roger,

    Hoping all has been well with you both. I am excited to tell you that my wife, son and I will be visiting Ireland 22 Sep thru 01 Oct 2017. We will be in County Donegal from 25 Sep thru 29 Sep than heading to County Mayo for visits to townlands of my Hanahoe, Coyne, Ferguson & families.

    I am planning to drive the Wild Atlantic Way starting in letterkenny and on the Fanad Peninsula and heading toward Cruit Island. Wondering if either of you could recommend a town to stay in for an evening near Carrickhart or somewhere near there on the water? I do have 2 nights booked in a thatched cottage on Cruit Island.

    Thanks in advance,


    Denny McFadden


    Tuesday 20th June 2017, 12:49AM
  • Hi Denny, if you have not yet done the Y-DNA test at FTDNA, you really should. There is a McFadden Surname Project (see and it has its own webpage ( I know the ancestors of the man who adminstrates it, Rob McFadden, are from Donegal.

    The tests will be going on sale soon for the holidays. Get at least the Y-37. You won't be sorry. Rob will be very helpful, and even if you don't match anybody on there right now, you will at some point.

    Susan Rogers

    P.S. I'm from a different McFadden line from County Cavan, but I found your old posts in a Google search. 

    Susan Freas Rogers

    Thursday 5th November 2020, 01:31AM
  • Hi I'm a mcfaddem from milford and surrounding areas Ramelton we have james,. John William. Francis samual. Alexander Sarah. Charles familiar names in our family tree. Originate from Francis McFadden father of John McFadden and Sarah Elliott


    Saturday 16th January 2021, 07:43PM
  • Hi Denny McFadden,

    I happened to come upon your posts here just now. I see that you are a descendant of John or James McFadden and that their sister was Margery McFadden. My great grandmother Unity McFadden and her brother Dominick emigrated from Donegal in the early 1840's. Dominick McFadden married a girl named Margery McFadden circa 1855 in Altoona, PA.  I am on Ancestry and GED match. My great great grandfather was Daniel McFadden. To my knowledge he did not emigrate with his wife Briget Gallagher McFadden nor his children. I hope to hear from you. I'm on Ancestry as mojomc62.


    Mary Jo Carney McConnell

    Altoona, PA, USA

    MJ Carney McFadden, Cooney, Gallagher

    Tuesday 27th July 2021, 11:30PM