Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lets go back in time -- Michael McKenna and family back in Ireland

This posting I hope to uncover a little more about Mike Mckenna and his 2 sisters.  Since Mike and Maggie didn't immigrate to the US until 1906 they should be in the 1901.  I am not sure of the arrival of Sarah,  I guess we will see if she is in Ireland as well in the census.

Check out the which is the Archives for Ireland site. I am able to see the images of the 1901 census. It is quite easy to do a search on this site. The following fields help narrow down the search a great deal; name, age at census, religion, county and parish.

I found the family with only a bit of effort. The family is living in the townland of Tullylone in the County Monaghan. Interesting thing is no parents are listed in the family.

• Parents not with children, probably passed away.
• Head of house was a single brother named - Peter McKenna. Peter was listed as a Cattle Dealer.
• Two sisters listed – Margaret and Sarah both seamstresses.
• Two brothers listed – Michael and John. both scholars
• Everyone was born in County, Monaghan, were Roman Catholics and could read and write.
• They lived in a small 3 room house. They had a Cow house, Calf house, Piggery, and Barn on their property.

Looking at the census records just a few doors down is a sixty-one year old Patrick McKenna and his wife Mary who is fifty-five years of age. Patrick is listed as a farmer. I wonder what relation they are if any relation at all. I will look into that couple at a later time.

We at least can narrow down the years Sarah immigrated since she was in the 1901 census.  We still have no idea who the parents were.  Perhaps while looking at more US records we can hunt down and discover their names and where they were from.

Where do we look now and for what?
1.  Parents names
2.  Sarah McKenna passenger records
3.  Michael, Sarah and Maggie in US Census records
4.  Did the other brothers immigrate as well and if so when?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just in... Records for Michael McKenna the Uncle that met Thomas Leo Corr in NY

Who is Michael McKenna?  Why was Thomas Leo Corr listed as meeting him when he arrived in New York?  Was Tom going to live with him?  Was Michael providing him with a job or education?  What was Michael’s story?  Did any other family members arrive earlier than him or was he the first of the family to move to this land of oppurtunity?

I started off knowing a few things about this mystery man.   He had to be the brother of Anne McKenna the mother of Tom.  He was in this country before November 4, 1922 when his nephew arrived.  Having his address which was listed on the Passenger list as 196 Eight Avenue, NY in 1922, I start searching New York City directories to see if he can be found.  The following was discovered:

1920 New York City Directory
McKenna Michl (McKenna & Ginnity) 196 8th Avenue

1916 New York City Directory
McKenna, Michl. (McKenna & Ginnity) h496, 8th Avenue

I found an interesting article in the 
New York Tribune, Wed July 21, 1920.  
"Physician Wins Point In Liquor Permit Fight"

After reading that article you may scratch your head thinking what happened.  This is what happened to make such an event occur.

At the stroke of midnight, on January 16th, 1920, America went dry. There wasn't a place in the country (including your own home) where you could legally have even a glass of wine with your dinner without breaking the law. The 18th Amendment, known as the Volstead Act, prohibited the manufacture, sale and possession of alcohol in America. Prohibition lasted for thirteen years.  Source:

I have more to say about that topic and what I believe may have happened to the McKenna’s during that time.  I plan to cover unproved theories in a later posting.

What I do know from the about City Directory information is that Michael McKenna arrived here before 1916.  This narrows my search a bit for when he came to this country.  It was before 1916. 

Step 2: Look for NY real estate transactions for Michael McKenna.  I searched the Library of Congress website.  They are working on a project called Chronicling America and have access to various newspapers.  I searched all the papers listed in NY.  On June 14th, 1910 the following listing was found in “Recorded Mortgages” which appeared in the New-York tribune . 

6th ave, 852; Saloon lease; 4 stry brk; June 11; demand 6 per cent:  Michael McKenna to George Ehret; $4550; attorney, Edward M. Burghard, 129 Broadway.

I have a feeling that could be the Michael McKenna I am looking for.  I check the 1908, 1909 & 1910 City Directory again and this is what I see for the address listed in the newspaper.

1908 New York City Directory
McKenna, Michl   beer 852 6th ave, h503 W 52nd

1909 and 1910 New York City Directory
McKenna, Michl  liquors 852 6th ave, h854 6th ave

Both directory listings show us that Michael McKenna was the same guy written about in the Real Estate transactions section of the newspaper.  His business address is the same.  He lived at two different addresses between the years 1908-1910. The question that needs to be answered is this the same Michael?  Now we will check public records to help us prove this is our guy.

Step 3:  If this is our Michael, he arrived in America before 1908.  With this date it will be easier to search for ship passenger records because it narrows down the time period needed to search.  Perhaps, we could also find out who his father was from such records.

Try to find a Michael McKenna from Monaghan, Ireland and I am guessing his birth year to be close to his sister Anne which would make him born 1880-1890.  I did a passenger immigration search at 

Wow, Michael McKenna is a popular name.  I narrowed down the long list  by entering the following information; Birth year 1885 +/-5, Birth place Monaghan Ireland, and arriving before 1908.

A ship record of the Caledonia, which on April 21, 1906, departed from Liverpool.  It arrived at the Port of New York on April 30, 1906. 

Among the passengers was a young man by the name of Michael McKenna, who was 20 years old he was traveling with his sister Maggie. 
Michael was listed as a farmer his last residence was Monaghan, Ireland and his final destination was New York.  Michael and his sister Maggie paid for their own passage to America.  Michael and Maggie were planning to meet their sister Sarah McKenna who lived at 18 W. 10th street, New York.

This record gives us so much information to find Michael and his sisters back in the homeland. 

The next posting I will uncover Michael McKenna and his sisters in Ireland to get a better idea of who they were and find out about their parents.