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  • Missing Friends: Help for Pre-Famine Irish

    Ann S. Lainhart

    Published Date : October-November 1991

    The Pilot, a Boston Irish newspaper, began running advertisements for the whereabouts of “missing” Irish immigrants in 1831.  These notices are being published by the Society in its series The Search for Missing Friends.  The first volume, edited by Profs. Ruth-Ann M. Harris and Donald M. Jacobs of Northeastern University (1989), covers the period 1831-1850 and the second, edited by Prof. Harris and B. Emer O’Keeffe of Northeastern and NEHGS (1991), 1851-1853.  Much of the first volume, and all of the second, covers the period of massive Irish emigration following the Famine of 1845-49.  Yet much data is given about earlier immigrants as well.  From a Pilot ad placed in 1849 I was able to find the parish of origin and maiden name of a woman who had arrived at least 23 years earlier.

    I was asked to trace the ancestry of Henry and Mary (McConville) Kingsbury by their descendant, Georgiana Botta of Allendale, N.J.  Henry Kingsbury is an eighth-generation descendant of Joseph Kingsbury of Lowell, Massachusetts. Mary E. McConville was born at Lowell 1 July 1852, the daughter of John and Mary (Roane) McConville.  John “McCombill” and Mary A. “Roan” were married at Boston 14 September 1851; he was 24, she 22.  Both are listed as born in Boston, so they are both from pre-Famine Irish families.

    On his marriage record John gave his father as Hugh, but did not provide his mother’s name.  Baptismal records of Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross include that of John “McConvell,” born 8 June 1827 and baptized two days later, son of Hugh and Mary (3:266).  According to Hugh’s naturalization record, he arrived at the port of Boston 6 September 1826; passenger lists for the 1820s are not complete, and his name was not found in those for September 1826.  Hugh’s naturalization record gives his birthplace as “Rosstrever,” Co. Down, Ireland.  Rosstrevor is a townland in the parish of Kilbroney, Co. Down.

    Mary A. Roane’s father was listed on the marriage record as Patrick.  No baptism has been found for Mary in the Cathedral’s records, but her sister Elizabeth was born 20 October 1832 and baptized the next day, as daughter of Patrick and Elizabeth.  A Patrick “Roon” is listed in the 1830, 1831, and 1832 Boston city directories.  In the 1850 census Patrick “Rowan,” age 50, with wife Elizabeth, age 50, and daughter Ann, age 22, are in Boston, Ward 3.  Mary’s middle name was probably Ann, and she is most likely this daughter in the census.  No naturalization record has been found for Patrick Roane (or any of the above variations).

    On 6 October 1849 Mrs. Elizabeth Roane advertised in the Boston Pilot for her brother and sister (The Search for Missing Friends, vol. 1 [1990], 412):

    OF JAMES HEIFFERNAN and JUDITH WHOLAHAN (his sister), natives of co. Kildare, parish Kildangan.  When last heard from were in Charleston, South Carolina. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by their sister, Elizabeth Roane, No. 54 Nassau street, Boston, Ms.

    Mrs. Roane gave her address as 54 Nashua Street, Boston; the 1851 city directory lists Patrick “Rowan” a living at 54 Nashua Street.  Kildangan, the Heiffernans’ home parish, is the name of both a townland and a parish in Co. Kildare.

    I could not find any more information on Mary’s sister, Elizabeth, nor could I find death records for Patrick or Elizabeth (Heiffernan) Roane.  I was able, however, to find much information on the family and children of Hugh McConville and his two wives:

    Hugh McConville was born at Rosstrevor, Co. Down, Ireland 1 May 1798 and died at Worcester, Mass 12 December 1860 of “asthma consumption,” aged 64 years (Mass. VRs 140:275).  He married (1) Mary ___ who died between 1831 and 1836, and (2) before 1836 ___ (Michael’s death record gives him as son of Joanna) Joanna/Joan Neef, who was born at Boston ca. 1806 and died at Worcester 3 September 1878 of “dropsey,” age 72 years (VRs 303:421), daughter of Michael and Honour/Honary/Norah (Jackson) Neef, who were married at Boston 8 June 1798 by Francis A. Matignon _ (Record Comm. Reports, Boston Marriages, 30:173).

    Hugh became a U.S. citizen 8 September 1841 at the Boston Municipal Court, saying he arrived at the port of Boston 6 September 1826.  His name appears in Boston city directories from 1836 to 1845; by the time of the 1850 census, he was living at Worcester. His occupation in the directories and censuses, and on his death record, was “tailor.”

    Children of Hugh and Mary (___) McConville:

    i.     John A. McConville, b. Boston 8 June 1827, d. Boston (447:90) 28 Feb. 1894 of heart disease, ae. “M” yrs.; m. Boston (56:115) 14 Sept. 1851 Mary A. Roane, b. Boston ca. 1828/30, d. Boston (330:227) 18 Sept. 1881 of typhoid fever, ae. 50 yrs, 10 days, dau. of Patrick and Elizabeth (Heiffernan) Roane. John was an ironmonger.

    ii.    Margaret McConville, b. ca. 1828. Listed with Hugh and Joanna in the 1855 Massachusetts census as Margaret Bogue, but in the 1865 state census with Joanna as Margaret McConville, single.

    iii.   Joseph McConville, b. Boston 2 June 1829, bp. Boston, Cathedral of the Holy Cross 7 June (3:389); prob. dy.

    iv.   Barnard McConville, b. Boston 6 Dec. 1831, bp. Boston, Cathedral of the Holy Cross (4:59) 7 Dec.; prob. dy.

    Children of Hugh and Joanna (Neef) McConville:

    v.    Michael S. McConville, b. ca. 1836, d. Worcester 25 Dec. 1872, of kidney and liver complaint, ae. 37 yrs. (Mass. VRs 249:420), unm. He served in Co. C, Third Battalion of Rifles, Mass. Vol. Militia (Mass. Soldiers -and Sailors, 5:310). Michael was a druggist.

    vi.   Mary/Mariah M. McConville, b. Boston ca. 1837; m. Worcester (246:362) 16 July 1872 Frederick J. McNulty, [144] b. Virginia ca. 1835, son of William and Anne McNulty. Frederick was a physician.

    vii.  Henry McConville, b. Boston 11 Feb. 1839, bp. Cathedral of the Holy Cross 14 Feb. (5:46), d. Washington D.C. (rec. Worcester, Mass., 176:339) 12 June 1864 of wounds received at the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, ae. 25 yrs.; unm.  He served in Co. C, Third Battalion of Rifles, Mass. Vol. Militia, and in Co. F, 25th Regiment, Mass. Vols. (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors, 5:312, 3:31). Henry was a walletmaker and a cardmaker.

    viii. Peter I. McConville, b. Boston 24 April 1840, bp. Cathedral of the Holy Cross 28 April (5:92), d. Camden, N.J. 6 Feb. 1864, an. 24 yrs., unm. He served in Co. I., 50th Regiment, Mass. Vol. Infantry (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors 4:539). Peter was a machinist.

    ix.   Thomas McConville, b. Boston 8 April 1842, bp. Cathedral of the Holy Cross 10 April (5:181), alive and unm. in the 1865 Massachusetts state census for Worcester. Thomas was an undertaker.

    x.    Francis A. McConville, b. ca. 1843, d. Worcester, Mass. 6 March 1867 of typhoid fever, ae. 23 yrs., 8 mos. (204:295). Francis was also an undertaker.

    xi.   Josephine McConville, b. Worcester, Mass. 27 Aug. 1847, alive in 1865.

    Ann S. Lainhart is a professional genealogist and the editor of First Boston City Directory (1789), Including Extensive Annotations by John Haven Dexter (1791-1876), published by NEHGS in 1989.  She is currently transcribing and publishing the 1855 and 1865 state censuses for all towns in Massachusetts. A recent Register article was “Descendants of Paix Cazneau” (142[1988]:126-148).

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