Saturday, March 21, 2015

Matthew Kearney of Derrycloney

Several years ago, a query and good fortune connected me with a distant cousin in England. I posted a query searching for information about Matthew Kearney who married Hannah Goodbody. Michael Goodbody was writing a book about the Goodbody family and had some tidbits about my Kearneys. I knew that Matthew Kearney was born about 1813 possibly in Co. Queens (now Co. Laois). He died on 17 June 1899 in New York City.[1] Several of their children were listed with them on the passenger list in 1868.[2]
Cousin Michael shared a letter he had acquired written by Hannah’s brother, Matthew, a guard for convicts in Western Australia. Just before his death in 1905, at the age of 85, Matthew stated that his “brother-in-law Matt Carney” took his family to New York, “his daughter Mary became ladysmaid to Mrs Hatok, banker & took her in the continent & presented her with gold timekeeper. Margaret got married to a native of New Jersey. Matthew a ferryman, Ellise & Nellie & Lawrence serving at Fairbank & Co.”

Michael also shared a statement written by James Goodbody of New York in 1912. According to him, “Hannah married Matthew Kearney of Daryclony (Derrycloney) adjoining Mountmellick. He was a Catholic and was married in 1838. Their children were as follows, Margaret, Elizabeth, Mary, Sarah, John, Matthew, Edward and James. They came to America in 1868.”

My brick wall was suddenly a family! They were known to people on three continents but were a mystery to me. New to me was daughter, Margaret, who will get her own blog post. While searching for records for these children, I also discovered another child, Patrick, who likely died in infancy. While Matthew Goodbody’s statement has some name errors, much of his statement matches what is known about the family. Ellise, Nellie and Lawrence are likely Elizabeth, Sarah and James. James did, in fact, work for Fairbanks Scale Company.

Michael Goodbody published his book about the Goodbodys, an Irish Quaker family, in 2011.
This well-documented family name, previously only a mysterious middle name for my great grandfather, James Goodbody Kearney, has led to wonderful clues about my Kearneys. A lingering question remains. Who was Katherine Hannah (click here to view passenger list) who immigrated with the family? I think I know.

[1] New York Department of Health, 1899, No. 17329, death of Matthew Kearney, New York City.
[2] “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” entry for Matthew Kearney, date of arrival 20 March 1868, New York aboard the City of London; digital images online, ( : 18 February 2015).

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