Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hughes-Researching a Family Story, Part 1

I remember my paternal grandmother Agnes telling me a story about our family being related to Arch Bishop John Hughes who founded St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.  She said that her mother Sarah Rowan King (See blog post Finding My Irish Roots-First Steps) had taken her and her sisters Anna and Sadie once to see the grave of the Arch Bishop in the crypt under St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Hughes Archbishop John
Arch Bishop John Hughes
(photo found on Dead Fred website)
I have often thought of this family story and wondered if it is true and if so….how exactly are we related?  I thought perhaps it was time to research this and see what I could find out. 

What I know:
  • My paternal great-great grandmother Sarah Hughes Rowan lists her parents on her marriage certificate as Patrick Hughes and Susan McKenna.  Sarah lists her place of birth as New York City.  Sarah’s address at the time of her marriage in 1869 was 306 10th Avenue, New York City.
  • On Sarah’s death certificate her parents are again listed as Patrick Hughes and Susan McKenna.
  • I also have the following letter from my grandmother’s sister Anna:
Transcription:  “My grandma Sarah (Hughes) Rowan well her second cousin was Arch Bishop Hughes and he was buried at the cathedral-I went with my Mom and family a few times to see.  My sister Agnes, Gloria’s mom and your grandma traced a lot, years before.”

This confirms what I remember my grandmother Agnes telling me but also gives me the idea that John and Sarah were second cousins.  Oh, how I wish I could have found the research she says my grandmother did.

I have tried repeatedly to go back from Sarah Hughes Rowan to find her parents Patrick and Susan McKenna Hughes.  This has become difficult since the name Patrick Hughes is a VERY common name.  I have found the following information:
  • I believe I found the marriage record on of Patrick Hughes and Susan McKenna in 8 November 1840 in Moy, Clonfeacle, Tyrone, Ireland
  • I was able to find in the 1850 US Federal census on a Patrick & Susan Hughes (both born in Ireland) living in NYC with a daughter named Susan.  I believe that my great-great grandmother Sarah was born in late 1850 or 1851 in New York City. 

So, this time I thought I would try to start with Arch Bishop John Hughes family and see if I can connect it to mine.  Since the Arch Bishop was such a famous person there is a lot of information available about his life.  While most of the information deals with him becoming a Roman Catholic Priest and his journey to become the Arch Bishop of New York City there is some family history that I can use.

I know that Patrick and Margaret Hughes came from Annalogham, County Tyronne, Ireland before coming to the United States.  I started to develop a family tree of the Arch Bishop’s family with information that I was able to find so far:
  • John was Arch Bishop and had no children.
  • Peter died at age 11 in Ireland.
  • Mary died at age 10 in Ireland.
  • Margaret’s married name was Rodrigue.  (Interesting-when Michael died in 1869 he was at his sister’s home on 11th Street in NYC.  This was not far from where my Sarah lived when she got married 2 months before.)
  • Ellen became a Nun.
Michael and Patrick were married and had children.
  • Michael married Bridget, who died in 1836 about 7 days after her newborn son Patrick. 
    • Ellen born 1831 and died in 1833
    • Patrick died in 1836 at birth
  • Patrick married Ellen McCone and was residing in Pennsylvania in 1850 according to the US Federal Census.
    • James b. 1823
    • Michael b. 1825
    • Mary b. 1828
    • Sarah b. 1830 – this doesn’t match my Sarah who was born in NYC about 1850/1
    • Patrick b. 1847 – this doesn’t match my Sarah’s father who was married in 1846 in Ireland
    • Charles b. 1848
Some final thoughts:
  • I am thinking that the term ‘cousin’ was loosely used to mean they were ‘family’. 
  • John’s father was a Hughes and his mother was a McKenna.
  • Sarah’s father was a Hughes and her mother was a McKenna.
  • Since Sarah’s parents and John’s parents were from County Tyronne in Ireland that is a connection.
  • I believe that perhaps Sarah and John had the same grandparents or that their grandfathers may have been brothers?

Definitely need to do some more researching to see what else I can find out and I probably need ……to do a trip to Ireland to do some research Smile.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

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