Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The O'Neill Connection To St. Patrick

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I wanted to highlight the O'Neill family connection to St. Patrick.

All information on the older O'Neill ancestors, my 3rd great grand-parents and beyond, is from Patrick G. O’Neill, my 1st cousin 3x removed, who wrote the O'Neill Descendants of Con & Katherine 1700-2000 with George K. O'Neill, another distant O'Neill cousin, I was able to purchase the book he wrote and learn more about the O'Neill family.

The O'Neill line begins with my 2nd, great grand-mother, Winifred Agnes O'Neill. Winifred was born 03 Sep 1874 in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Michael O'Neill and Ellen Cunningham, my 3rd great grand-parents.

Winifred Agnes O'Neill and Robert Alphonsus McDonald by michelle.murosky

Winifred Agnes O'Neill and her husband Robert Alphonsus McDonald

Michael O'Neill was born 19 Sep 1827 in County Leitrim, Ireland. Michael was the son of Thomas O'Neill Jr. and Bridget Conboy, my 4th great-grandparents. Thomas O'Neill Jr. and Bridget Conboy had nine children, all were born in County Leitrim, Ireland. Birth records for some of the later children indicate the birth location was Sruhan, Fenagh Parish, County Leitrim, Ireland.

Michael O'Neill

Michael sailed from Liverpool on May 12, 1851 on the ship "Roscius". He would have departed Ireland during the "Great Famine" which struck the country between 1845 and 1852. This would have been a period of incredible hardship for the Irish people and we should be thankful our ancestors lived through this period considering the large amount of death that resulted.

He settled in Clarion County Pennsylvania. He married  Lucinda Jane Aaron on 13 Feb 1855 in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. They had six children together before Lucinda died on 20 Apr 1870. Michael married Ellen Cunningham on 20 Apr 1871 in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. They had ten children together.  Michael died on 08 Feb 1892 in Limestone Township, Clarion County, Pennsylvania at the age of 64.

Michael's father Thomas O'Neill Jr. was born about 1799 in Ireland the son of Thomas O'Neill Sr. and Leticia York, my 5th great grand-parents. Thomas O'Neill Jr. died on 19 Jul 1873 in County Leitrim, Union of Mohill, District of Rowan, Ireland at the age of 74.  Thomas was buried at the Fenagh Abbey Cemetery, Fenagh Parish, County Leitrim, Ireland.

Fenagh Abbey is one of the most ancient monastic sites in Ireland. (Additional images Fenagh Abbey) It is said that nineteen Gaelic Kings are buried in the graveyard. History has it that St. Patrick's early work preaching was at a site several miles north of the present day abbey ruins which date from the fifteenth century.

At least two generations of our direct O'Neill line lived in this general area before departing Ireland for the United States. Only two of Thomas O'Neill Jr. and Bridget Conboy's nine children remained in Ireland.
  1. O'Neill Descendants of Con & Katherine 1700-2000

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In Memory of WWI Veterans

March 25, 2016 This post was updated to correct the label on the photograph. 

In honor of the death of the last WWI veteran, Frank Woodruff Buckles on February 27, 2011, I found it fitting to honor the military service of family members who were also veterans of WWI

Currently, the only known veteran of WWI is Robert Edwin McDonald, my great grand uncle. Robert was born in Clarion, Clarion County, Pennsylvania on Feb 1, 1899 the third child born to Robert Alphonsus McDonald and Winifred Agnes O'Neill. Additional work in the research process should reveal more specific details about Robert's military service.

Virginia Dorothy McDonald Geary, my first cousin 3x removed, recalls her Robert Edwin McDonald, her first cousin, coming to visit her parents, Ambrose Aloysius McDonald and Gertrude Anna O'Neill, in his military uniform after returning from the war when she was five years old at their home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It should be noted here that Virginia's father Ambrose Aloysius McDonald was the younger brother of Robert's father Robert Alphonsus McDonald and Virgina's mother Gertrude Anna O'Neill was the younger sister of Robert's mother Winifred Agnes O'Neill. This made Robert Edwin McDonald and Virginia Dorothy McDonald Geary double paternal first cousins.

With the known dates of Virginia's birth and Robert's birth, Robert would have returned home from military service sometime in 1919 when he was about 20 years old. Virginia also indicates that he was one of the soldiers who suffered from the effects of poison gas during the war.

After returning home from his military service Robert visited with other family members who were living on the North Side of Pittsburgh at that time. Robert relocated to California shortly after arriving back in the Unites States and never returned to Pennsylvania after moving. It is unknown if Robert moved due to continuing military service or personal preference. His younger sister, Madeline Gertrude McDonald, traveled to California to visit him during her lifetime.

The details of Robert's life in California are unknown at this time.
Michelle M. Murosky: The McDonald Collection &emdash; The McDonald Family
Three Generations of the McDonald Family
Three Generations of McDonald family members photographed:
Back: Loraine Anthony McDonald, [my great grandfather], Frances Philomena Selker [my great grandmother], Winifred Agnes O'Neill [my 2nd great grandmother], Robert Edwin McDonald [my great grand uncle].

Front: Robert Alphonsus McDonald [my 2nd great grandfather] most likely holding Francis Winifred McDonald [my great aunt].

The location of the photograph is not known. Loraine Anthony McDonald and Frances Philomena Selker were living in Clarion County, Pennsylvania in the early 1920's. This photo could have been taken in Clarion at the home of Robert's parents or the home of his older brother Loraine Anthony McDonald.

This photograph would have been taken after March 18, 1920 for Francis Winifred McDonald to be included in the picture.

This photograph was included in the Frances Philomena Selker Collection. Frances Philomena Guth appears to have passed the photographs down to her daughter Frances Philomena Selker. Frances' daughter Mary Eugenia McDonald ended up with her mother's photo collections which is time were handed down to me. Photographer Unknown. Editing and digital restoration by Michelle M. Murosky.