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Hello,

Thank you for setting up this message board. :)

My Great Great Grandmother was Mary Josephine Callahan born in County Donegal. She immigrated to the US about 1863  or 1864. Family story was she came to work with a sister in Pennsylvania, but soon left for California. She married John Meehan (originally from County Mayo) in 1873 in San Francisco. I have different birthdates for her: 1847 (from age on various US census'), March 1848 or '49 (from 1900 US census-hard to read), 3/25/1850 (from US death certificate). She died 3/16/1939 in Arizona.

Her death certificate lists her parents as Bridget McGinley and Michael Callahan. I hadn't found anything on these two until a couple things popped up on ancestry listing them and children. One child was named Mary with a Baptism 12/26/1847 in Clondavaddog mentioning BallyMichael. It must be her, but I wanted to check here first. I know these were common names. My questions are:

1) Were there any other Mary Callahans with parents Michael Callaghan and Bridget McGinley in County Donegal any time between 1846 and 1851?

2) Where would I look to try and find information on Mary's husband John Meehan (1847-1903) from County Mayo?

Thank you. :)

Marianna

mbyer

Sunday 19th June 2016, 06:46AM

Message Board Replies

  • Marianna:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    We have a parish liaison in Clondavaddog so I will contact him and alert him to your e-mail. There were likely many Mary Callahan/Callaghans born in Co. Donegal between 1846-1851. Unfortunately, most Donegal RC parishes do not have records back to the 1847-1851 period. Clondavaddog records, however, start in February 1847 http://registers.nli.ie/parishes/1011

    Ballymichael is a townland in Clondavaddog parish.

    Roots Ireland has four baptismal records for a John Meehan-- one in 1848 and three in 1849. You would need his parents names to confirm any of these records. Co. Mayo also has a number of parishes where records do not go back to 1847.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 19th June 2016, 01:47PM
  • Hi Marianna,

    Thank you for getting in contact and Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    My name is Seamus and I would be a Irelandreachingout Volunteer for the Parish of Clondavaddog in Donegal. I would be glad to give a small bit of help towards researching your family ancestry and hopefully connect you back to where you family would have originated from within our Parish.

    I have a large Family Resource Tree of various local Families from Clondavaddog, (Fanad), on a website Ancestry.co.uk, I happen to have on it a referance Church Birth Record from RootsIreland for - Mary Callaghan b.26Dec1847 – daughter of Michael & Bridget Callaghan

    I also have a Record of Death from Pennsylvania for a Mary Callahan Meehan b.1847 d.15Mar1939  a daughter to a Michael & Bridget McGinley and wife to Wife to John Meehan.

    Rosemary, a good friend that I have in Pennsylvania, would have researched a lot of her own Callaghan family connections and she was looking into this family last year, and together we have concluded that both these Marys are one and the same, even though her mother Bridget uses her married name upon the Church Birth Register for Mary and her siblings, rather than using her maiden name, that being McGinley.

    I would be optomistic of this being the same family, because as it happens Marys father Michael Callagan from Ballymichael would be my GGGrandfather and Marys Callahans sister Eleanor b. 01June1856 married my GGrandfather William Callaghan b.1847 from Murrin, Fanad.

    I know Rosemary would be very interested in this, and she would possibly have alot more information on the Meehan side of the family also, through a strong family connection on her side, so I will contact her and I hope to be back to you Marianna with some results in the near future..thanks again for getting in contact

    Kind Regards 

    Seamus

    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 19th June 2016, 11:11PM

    Attached Files

  • Thank you both so much! Yes, Seamus, that is my GGGrandmothers death certificate from Arizona (not Pennsylvania). I think her birth year is listed incorrectly on the Arizona death record. She died in 1939. That is also the baptismal record I saw that I thought was her. Notice that the baptismal record does not have her birthdate, so the fact that I have March seems feasible, although baptising at 9 months old, in December, seems a little late to me.

    Cousin (?) Seamus, an easy way to see if that is the correct Michael is to see if we share any DNA. I wonder...have you had your DNA checked and is it on ancestry.com? Or, maybe on GEDCOM? I put mine on both. I will go check. :)

    Roger, thank you so much for your information, too. I know that a lot of records from Ireland are gone for that time period, which is why I am a little leery about assuming I have the right family on Callaghans. The only other thing that makes it seem like this might be the right family is that Michael/Bridget's children were Mary, Francis, James and Eleanor. Mary Callahan Meehan had 9 children and among them was a Mary, Ellen/Ella, and Francis -- but no Michael, no James and no Bridget. The only living boys name was Thomas, which I am pretty sure was the name of John Meehan's father.

    It's difficult to figure it out, but fun!

    Marianna

    mbyer

    Monday 20th June 2016, 06:17AM
  • Hi Marianna

    I have attached just a few snap shots of the Parish Register for the Callaghan family from Ballymichael. . I am afraid it is the luck of the draw as regards the clarity of images preserved and transcribed at the time.

    The McGinley name is present in a lot of records relating to this family which is always promising when trying to confirm the identity as it is in our case.

    I am afraid I have not yet gone down the road of getting my DNA recorded but I intend to possibly get my father to do this when I travel back home up to Fanad for a Holiday in few weeks time.

    My grandmother family were McGrenaghan and McElwaines, and my grandfather’s family were two different Callaghan families from Fanad also. A lot these have family that emigrated to the East coast of America in particular, from the early 1800’s, and some having kept in contact with families back home for centuries since.

    Ancestry Family Trees and DNA Testing for families living in Fanad would be fairly new endeavor for the Parish, and I include myself in this, but Ireland-Reaching-Out (Irelandxo) is creating an important part in helping communities connect, it is the start of something good to come..

    Thank you Roger O’Donnell for contacting me also. You are a brilliant help to us always..Slainte

    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 20th June 2016, 04:59PM

    Attached Files

  • Seamus:

    Thanks!

    Marianna:

    All the best in your research and I'm sure Seamus will continue to be a great resource.

    Roger

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 20th June 2016, 08:39PM
  • Great work gentlemen, thanks very much!

    Clare Doyle

    Genealogy Support 

    Clare Doyle

    Tuesday 21st June 2016, 07:35AM
  • Thank you again. I am hopeful this is the right person, but I would be interested in touching base with Rosemary to see what she thinks. My Mary Callahan Meehan and her husband John lived in Nevada and Arizona on the West coast of the US, never in Pennsylvania. There may be two couples with the same name around the same time. I think this may be my Mary in the records you have given me because the names of the parents are correct. I am thinking the East coast Mary may be someone different?

    I hope to hear from Rosemary. You may give her my email if you like.

    Marianna

    mbyer

    Wednesday 22nd June 2016, 01:56AM
  • Well, Mary first went to Pennsylvania, but didn't stay long and came out to California before marrying John. John  was never in Pennsylvania.

    Just to clarify, :)

    Marianna

    mbyer

    Wednesday 22nd June 2016, 01:58AM
  • Hi Marianna,

    I apologise for the slight confusion. I incorrectly said the location of the Certificate of Death as being Pennsylvania rather than Nevada. There is no other couple other than the Mary Callahan and John Meehan that raised their family in Nevada. 

    I have contacted Rosemary and I know she intends to follow up on this soon as she can. I attached a snap shot of Rosemary’s Tree and its connection to Mary Callahan and John Meehan.

     I also attached a photo of the homestead that is still standing in Ballymichael for this Callaghan family. It is unfortunate however that the last of this family passed away within the last ten to twenty years. The last family memebers were known as the Barney Antoin Callaghans, and I hear they were quite the characters.

    I will be putting together few SLIDES of information on this family such as: Mary Callahan father Michael and his brother Bernard’s family (same location) and their connections to another Callaghan family living closeby in the townland of Balloor.

    Its will have Historical Maps of the townland of Ballymichael back in 1858, and direction of travel for viewing the area on google maps, or the help any family if they intend visiting sometime in the future.

    All the best, 

    Seamus

    seamuscallaghan1@gmail.com 

    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 23rd June 2016, 05:38PM

    Attached Files

  • You are so helpful! I am grateful that you have taken an interest in this. :) I will email you. I was a little confused. I thought maybe there were two families, one in the west and one in the east USA. It is sad that the family died out in Ireland, but I can tell you that Mary and John have many descendents here in the US. :) I believe that this family may have been characters, like you said. I know that Mary lived a very long and adventurous life. Her family was all quite intelligent, by the way, so I think these Callaghans were smart and resourceful. I became more interested in them when I did my DNA and it showed I was 26% Irish, which for an American is quite a bit of Irish. I have a long story that was told by one of Mary's daughters on a tape when the daughter was about 80 years old. It is a fun tape and has been transcribed. I will send it to you.

    I'm emailing you now,

    Thank you again, Marianna

    mbyer

    Saturday 25th June 2016, 04:50AM
  • PS I am descended from Mary's daughter Katharine Josephine (Meehan) Drew.

    That photo of the homestead is fantastic! So beautiful!

    Marianna

    mbyer

    Saturday 25th June 2016, 04:53AM
  • Hello Marianna,

    Your GGGrandmother is certainly an interesting person!  Her story would be fascinating to me even without a family history connection.  

    I agree with Seamus that it is very possible that she is the Mary Josephine born in Clondavaddog to Bridget McGinley and Michael Callahan in about 1848. I also have Callaghan roots in Fanad, but I haven't caught up with all of the connections that Seamus has made among the historical Callahan families.

    I wonder if a marriage record for MJ and John might exist in San Francisco.  And if it did, would it give any greater detail about their hometowns.  Maybe the Catholic diocese or parish in San Francisco has archival records for 1873.  Its something to consider.

    But MJ is still a family connection to me even if she is not a Fanad Callahan.  The connection is through her daughter Viola who married Mark, and Mark is my husband's great-uncle.  

    After emigrating from Germany as a child in 1886, Mark left the U.S. east coast between 1900 and 1910 to live in the dry Arizona climate to help manage his asthma.  Mark and Viola married in 1912 and they had a daughter Pauline in 1914.  After Viola died in 1916, it appears that MJ helped raise Pauline because Mark, Pauline, and MJ are together in the same household in both the 1920 and 1930 census records.

    As far as the Meehan side is concerned, I haven't gone there!  I know there are some good resources in Mayo because I've used them for another branch of my family, but I haven't stumbled across anything for John.

    Please feel free to email me at famhist33@gmail.com.

    Rosemary

    R

    Saturday 25th June 2016, 02:06PM
  • Thank you Rosemary. :) I know all about Viola. I have her death certificate even (so sad). I will email you.

    Marianna

    mbyer

    Sunday 26th June 2016, 06:34AM
  • Hi Marianna,

    I think we did well compiling and sharing records on Mary Josephine Meehan and Eleanor Callaghan. I enjoyed the transcription of the audio tape you sent on to me and Rosemary, it tell a great family story, very interesting. We had been somewhat fortunate also that we have come across some records on the family back in the 1850’s as it is pretty difficult for many families going back beyond this.

    Unfortunately there are two questions still to be answered, Who are the Michael Callaghan and Bridget McGinley that are recorded on Mary Josephines Cerificate of Death in Nevada, are they from the Ballymichael? and are your Mary Josephine Meehan and my father’s G.Grandmother Eleanor Callaghan siblings?

    I decided it was about time to take your advice and get a DNA Sample processed by a member of my family. I have received results back recently from ancestry.com. DNA is a pretty new venture for me and I wonder could you take a quick look as you might understand the results that bit better ; )

    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Tuesday 6th September 2016, 04:28AM

    Attached Files

  • Woo Hoo! You are definitely related!! Which means I have the correct Michael and Bridget. You share DNA with CMBenefield. I also share DNA with him. Benefield is descended from Bridget and Michael Callahan through Mary Callahan, Eleanor's sister. So do I. The only difference is he is descended from Mary's daughter Ethel and I am descended through Mary's daughter Katharine. So, you and I are cousins, too. I also have a DNA match with Danielle Zoe Garrett who is descended from your Eleanor. So you see, it all fits. When I check shared matches Garrett and I share Benefield. Check if you are a match to Danielle Zoe Garrett for fun. :) She is descended from Eleanor. Ancestry might show you and I as matches in a few weeks. They constantly update, but because this was several generations back we may only share a little DNA. Still, Hello cousin. :)

    mbyer

    Wednesday 7th September 2016, 12:04AM
  • Hi Marianna,

    I am glad you are also happy with the result, it is brilliant news! Just imagine our GG Grandmaother Eleanor and your GGrandmother Mary Josephine happened to be sisters living in Ballymichael.

    I know who you are on about as regards your shared matches. I have not got chance to meet Danielle yet, but I did get to meet Danielle mum Colleen Callahan Garrett last year when I was over visiting New Yorks on long weekend away.

    My Dad first cousin Eileen Walsh Callahan invited over all the nearby cousins for a get-together as you do when there is an Irish Cousin in town..lol. Eileen would be an Auntie to Colleen, Colleens father was William Callahan (Eileens brother) a first cousin to my dad Liam Callaghan from Fanad. We were all together again this summer as they all came over from New York for a Callaghan Family Gathering.

    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 8th September 2016, 08:12PM

    Attached Files

  • My grandfather was called Henry Callaghan, and he was one of 11 brothers born to Willie and Annie Callaghan from Murrin, Fanad. We are blessed as we still have one of the family of 11 brothers still alive and well and just turned 91 this year. His name is Joe Callaghan and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with his lovely wife Winnie and their family.

    Joe, Henry and all the other brothers would all be grandchildren of Eleanor Callaghan , so your Mary Josephine Meehan would have been their grand aunt. 

    I won't add too much more as it is a public site, but I will contact you privately to share family stories..I don't think my family will mind if I do add one or two photos...We are a fairly good family for organising Callaghan Family Gatherings every few years, and although not everyone can make it, the occasion still manages to attract a few from a few distant corners of globe that the brothers settled, Seattle, New York, England, Scotland and Ireland. Welcome to the family Marianna!

    Seamus

     

    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 8th September 2016, 08:38PM

    Attached Files

  • Thank you so much for the wonderful photographs. :) It is really great to have the DNA confirmation, especially when there are so many similar names.

    I reread this whole thread and looked at all the documents again. :) The only thing I wonder is why a young woman would have left Ireland for the US back then, but I guess I won't know that answer.

    Marianna

    mbyer

    Friday 9th September 2016, 05:51AM
  • PS I did contact the archdiose in San Fancisco and they did have a marriage record of Meehan and Callaghan for 1873, but I think it was a different couple because the Callaghan was Ellen, but it's all in Latin, so will need to get it translated to be sure.

    mbyer

    Saturday 10th September 2016, 07:38AM
  • Wow, that's great!  Was it from St Mary's Church?  I wonder if "Ellen" could be a witness instead of the bride.  - Rosemary

    R

    Saturday 10th September 2016, 08:50PM
  • Hello Shamus and Marianne.

    I am related to you both through Mary Josephine and John Meehan's daughter Ethel (Meehan) Benefield.

    My Grandmother Ethel spoke of her mother fondly and relayed the story of how her mother Mary left Philadelphia on a ship to the isthmus of Panama in the late 1860s. She travelled with two girl friends. When they arrived in Panama, they took the Panama Railroad to the west coast. From there they boarded a Banana Boat to San Francisco. Her two girl friends found employment in San Francisco and the Sacramento Valley as maids/nannies. Mary found work as a maid in San Francisco. Mary met John Meehan, who was a laborer in San Francisco and they were married. They moved to Gold Hill, Nevada, where John worked in the mines. I created a YouTube video about my Grandmother Ethel, using a recording that was taped back in 1967 along with family photos. It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0_3b_nLcU4

    Mary Josephine was a resident of the Arizona Pioneers Home during the last years of her life. She lived with other pioneers like Doc Holiday's (of Wyatt Erp fame) girl friend Big Nose Kate.

    Mike

    Monday 12th September 2016, 06:16PM

    Attached Files

  • I have attached my DNA Relatives...

    Mike

    Monday 12th September 2016, 06:54PM

    Attached Files

  • 1870 Census for San Francisco shows a Meehan family featuring a 25 year old John (the youngest of brothers?)

    The dates seem to fit.

    Mike

    Mike

    Monday 12th September 2016, 07:29PM

    Attached Files

  • Hi Mike and Marianna,

    I know we have already made contact privately by mail, since these last few posts were added here, however I just wanted to saya quick thanks again to you both for adding the family video, transcripts and and all information posted on the site here. I'm glad we have found a good strong family connection between all our families in Nevada USA, Ballymichael and Murrin Fanad.

    Sláinte 

    Seamus

    Clondavaddog Donegal, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 1st October 2016, 08:17PM

    Attached Files

  • Thank you, Seamus. :) It has been a lot of fun to do this!

    Mike, I'm outwest6112 on ancestry. You are a strong DNA match to me and we are both DNA matches to 'Garrett' and Seamus is a DNA match to Garrett, which means we do have the right Bridget and Michael. :) Now, who is Jed0814, I wonder? I'll have to go figure that one out!

    PS I do think that is likely the right John on the San Francisco census.

    mbyer

    Sunday 2nd October 2016, 05:19AM
  •  

    Thanks Marianna and Seamus!

    I believe that there are still Meehans in San Francisco who are related to us. I believe that one of John's older brothers was a policeman there. Marianna I believe that you are related to a Drew who I made contact with long ago, who was related to Edwin Drew and Kate Meehan. Finding Seamus has been quite the break through for me.  Best wishes and I will be in touch. Mike

     

     

     

    Mike

    Sunday 2nd October 2016, 03:38PM
  • Seamus-

    Attached is what I have for Liam.

    Mike

    Mike

    Monday 3rd October 2016, 12:57AM

    Attached Files

  • Hello all,

    I come late to the conversation.... However, my Great Grandmother was Elaine Meehan.

    Thank you for all of the fascinating research!

    The video-interview of Ethel Meehan (who, as it turns out, was my Great Aunt) was so interesting. I shared it with my parents. Ethel mentions my Great Grandmother marrying my Great Grandfather, George Jay, in Arizona.

    As children, we had heard about our Great Great Grandparents marrying in the Old St. Mary's Church in San Francisco.  

    Thank you for all of this

    Anthony Corcoran 

     

    Sunday 17th February 2019, 12:56PM