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My great great grandparents were William Fitzgerald and Mary “Dugan” according to their son John’s (born 1869) and Mary Hunt’s (born 1871) New York City marriage record.

I found a marriage record for Mary Small and William Fitzgerald in 1860, but nothing for Mary Duggan and William. I’ve found several siblings for John Fitzgerald. However, some children have a Mary Small listed as their mother in parish records but a Mary Duggan in the civil records. All of the fathers are named William. Most of the names, dates and locations are the same. I know that John Fitzgerald and his sister Catherine emigrate from Ireland to the Jersey City, New Jersey area of the USA, and sadly the twins Anne and Bridget appear to die a day apart at 11 months old. I don’t know what happened to the other siblings.

I’m so confused! I’ve attached a pdf of the records that I have located and I’m hoping someone can help me figure out what was going on or suggest where I can continue to research.

Were Mary Small and Mary Duggan the same person?

Was Mary Duggan first married to a man named "Small" and are the records reflecting both her former married name and her maiden name?

Are the 2 Fitzgerald families, 2 distinct family lines? Are the Williams related somehow and using the naming conventions for their children from a previous generation(s)?

Did William Fitzgerald have 2 families at the same time?

Any feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Eileen Healy

Eileen Healy

Thursday 28th May 2020, 10:53PM

Attached Files

Message Board Replies

  • Hi Eileen,

    It was common for women in earlier times to use their birth or maiden names. The reason for this, in many cases, was to identify them.

    I had three greant uncles whose wives were named "Mary". They lived a short distance from each other, so it was necessary to refer to them by their maiden names. The same situation applied where a grandmother was acting as a baptismal sponsor.

    When notifying the birth to the local Registrar, who normally was the local Doctor, the woman's married name was used.

    To satisfy yourself, check the baptismal records. They are available at records. This will give you an indication as to what families were involved.




    Friday 29th May 2020, 05:03PM
  • Eileen:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    Hopefully others will add comments. I looked at your attached file and made a number of searches on the subscription site Roots Ireland and the free site which has civil records. 

    Your file shows that Mary frequently over the years used Small for the church record and Duggan for the civil record. I have no proof but I'm wondering if her father died and the mother remarried. Possibly the stepfather adopted her and she became Mary Duggan. Seems like she preferred using Small but for civil records she used Duggan because it was her "legal" surname? 

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 29th May 2020, 07:01PM
  • Hi Eileen

    I think Roger's theory is probably the best one but I have also seen in my own ancestry where a family called Gallagher was known locally as 'Galway'.    Like yours it alternates between Gallagher and Galway on records that obviously relate to the same couple.  It seems that there were a lot of Gallagher families living in the area they came from so it was just a handle to distinguish them but all the civil records say Gallagher.

    Another possibility I looked at is the translation of the name from Irish to English but Duggan (O Dubhagain) means 'son of a dark haired person'.  Another family I was researching in the past had names alternating between Cashman and Kissane and I found that the name Kissane translates to Tax Collector which gives us the Anglacised version.

    Sorry I can't offer anything concrete.

    Best wishes


    Tim O'Connell

    Sunday 31st May 2020, 09:57AM
  • Thanks to all for the replies, and Roger, I hadn't thought about the adoption scenario. Would there be adoption records prior to 1860 or would it have been more informal? All of the information on my attached file did come from and, but I haven't thoroughly researched Mary Small. I will spend more time on her. Thanks again,


    Eileen Healy


    Eileen Healy

    Sunday 31st May 2020, 09:13PM
  • Eileen:

    For the 1840s/1850s in a rural setting, in my opinion it would be informal.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 1st June 2020, 11:06PM
  • Hi Mary. I wish you success on your search. I just began lookin for my family from Hospital, the Raleigh's. I am new to all this and have gone on mutliple Irish ancestral sites and no one is replying to me or has as of yet anyway. My name is Therese Anne Cleary from Chicago, IL and my father (Edward J. Cleary) is son of Alice Raleigh from Hospital. She came from large family and her brother Edmond and sisters Bridget, marion and Josie all were here in chicago too. (All born late 1800's or turn of the century) Could you please guide me to someone who can help me find the other relatives? I know in 1972 when we visited Ireland I was a child but we did go to a Raleigh relatives cottage that still lived in Hospital. They had no indoor plumbing at that time a large bog behind house.  I don't remember names. Also while in Limerick City we visited a younger brother of my grandmother who she had never met was born after she came to US.  I think his name was either Daniel or Jack(John) and had a daughter named Mary. There was also a younger man, Rev. Patrick Raleigh who was a Priest that lived in Phillipines for many years. I am a cancer survivor, stage 3 and desparately searching for family in Ireland. Also I am a descendant of Cleary's in Tipperary . Alice Raleigh married Edward D. Cleary, my dad's dad here in Chicago. I need to find family please help me if you can or forward this to someone who can,. I wish you healthy, peace and love and most of all happines. Therese Anne Cleary, 61, Chicago, Illinois or  Telephone US  (847)532-2553. Thank you!


    Sunday 2nd August 2020, 07:40PM
  • I AM SORRY EILEEN, I referred to you as Mary in error. I was thinking Mary Duggan. I used to date a John Duggan here in Chicago in the early 1900's He was a great big, handsome guy with silver hair and the bluest eyes. He was a Chicago fireman for many years and a local hero. He was involved In Irish/political organizaitons here and "hung out" at Kitty O'shea's a pub in the Conrad Hilton Hotel in downtown chicago that hosted a lot of Irish music in the 80's and was notorius for Irish rebels coming there to the pub.   Does that sound like one of your Duggan's?  I know he had a son or children too that would be in their 40's - 50's now.  He was strong and sweet man.  Very much like my father Edward J. Cleary.

    Maybe I can reach them for you somehow. Thanks.  Right now he would be about 75-80 my guess.

    I hope you can help me. Thanks again, Therese Cleary (raleigh relative)



    Sunday 2nd August 2020, 07:52PM
  • Hi Teresa Cleary, I have Raleigh.s from mid Tipperary in my ancestry early 1800s.

    I am in contact with lady who has Raleigh,s in Hospital and Emly.

    I will send you email tomorrow at the email address you gave me.

    Christina Volunteer.

    Christina, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 5th August 2020, 06:23PM
  • Eileen Healy, I may have found your SMALL family from Rawleystown not Ralogstown LIM. I have Hennessy family from Hospital and so recognize a lot of names but Ralogstown was new and I could not find it anywhere. However, I DID find the marriage of Kate SMALL and Michael KEEFFE - both of Ralogstown - at Hospital Parish on 27 JUN 1860. William FITZGERALD was one of their witnesses. In 1864, William FITZGERAL was also sponsor to their son Patrick, b. 09 JUN 1864 in Rawlingstown, X. 12 JUN 1864 Hospital LIM. A William SMALL was sponsor to their son JOHN, X. 26 MAY 1872 in Bruff Parish. Lots of good clues to follow up and possibly confirm family members.



    Monday 10th August 2020, 02:29PM