Breen Genealogy: Part 3

In my last Blog, I corrected some mistakes I made in my first Blog on my cousin’s genealogy. In this Blog, I’ll follow up on some Breen genealogy issues.

Too Many John Breens

A search at RootsIreland for births of John Breen from County Tyrone shows this:

It turns out that none of these are the my cousin’s grandfather John Breen. He shows up as Alexander Breen. However, the next to the last John Breen appears to be one shown as in the military in Hong Kong:

Here’s Tattyreagh

Our Hong Kong John Breen in 1911 said he was born in Drumragh:

This looks like basically the same place to me. However, I am guessing due to similar names and closeness geographically that this John could have been a cousin to our John Alexander Breen.

More On John Breen and Mary Quin(n)

In my previous Blog, I had surmised that John Breen and Mary Quin(n) were the grandparents of John Alexander Breen. This was based on the fact that the 1911 Census for Recarson showed that John Breen had an Aunt Isabella:

RootsIreland showed one Isabella Breen born in that time period in County Tyrone:

Here is her birthplace of Kilgort:

a marriage for John Breen and Mary quin(N)

I have found a marriage for this couple. Let’s see if the dates fit. In, the marriage looks like this:

At RootsIreland, the marriage looks like this:

If this information is right, this will push the genealogy back another generation. Based on the above, we would expect that John was born about 1831 and Mary was born about 1832. The first thing I would fact-check would be the age of Mary when her last child was born. I have this child to be Joseph Wilson Breen:

Joseph was born January 1876, so perhaps Mary was 44 when he was born. This is surely possible. Also note that in 1911, Mary gave her age on the Census as 76. Based on her age at marriage, she was probably a few years older. All the dates seem to be within reason. This is a good record to have, because the older the record, the more I trust the dates. Now I can update my Ancestry Tree and push back this couple’s birth dates yet again:

This is starting to look like a proper tree. At the top, I added rough birth dates in the early 1800’s for our new John Breen and Andrew Quin – Rusty’s third great grandparents.

Still, no parish records

I have still not found any Catholic Parish records for the Breens. I find the RootsIreland Civil Marriage record interesting. It shows that John Breen lived in Creevan, Parish of Donacavey. However, Mary Quin lived in Creevan, Parish of Drumragh. The note at the bottom of the record says “Fintona C.O.I Parish of Donacavey”. C.O.I means Church of Ireland which was the established Protestant Church. This leads to a few possibilities:

  • Is the record trying to say that Breen was from the Church of Ireland and Mary was Roman Catholic?
  • Is the record just giving the two different Parish boundaries (Church of Ireland and Catholic?)

Here is one reason there is no Donacavey Catholic Parish record for this marriage:

The National Library of Ireland Parish records begin in 1857 and this couple married in 1854. I also checked the Drumragh Parish, but there were no entries between February and May of 1854. So either there were no marriages during that time, or there was some sort of omission.

Fast Forward to 1912

In a recent email, Rusty tells me that his grandfather met his grandmother for the first time on the ship to New York.

One thing I don’t think I mentioned to you involves the ship passage.  According to Margie, my grandfather met my grandmother on the California.  They were from the same area, but had never met before.  She was traveling with her sister.  Apparently the two sisters had been to the United States before, and may of had family here already. 

Here is the outbound ship record for the two McCullough sisters:

I imagine that a long trip to the US would be good time to get to know someone and swap stories. Here is Anna returning to New York on about page 726:

I’m guessing that Anna wasn’t really a machinist.

Here is their nearest relative:

From what I can tell, here is where the McCulloghs lived in Ireland:

For reference, as I recall, I had that John Breen’s Aunt Isabella died in Beragh. At, this place is called Altdrumman:

This is where Anna and her sister were born.

More on the McColloughs

Here is Anna’s civil birth record:

But wait, there’s more:

From this, it looks like Anna was baptized before she was born. How could this be? From what I understand, there was a penalty for late registration of births. That resulted in some births being recorded later than they actually happened! In this case, obviously, trust the baptismal record.

I expanded my search at RootsIreland and came up with this extended family from Altdrumman sometimes known as Streefe (but apparently not Streffe).

Michael McCullough and Ann Henry

I couldn’t easily find a marriage for this couple. A search for Michael McCullough resulted in two people born closely together. One was from the parish of Ardboe or Arboe which seemed further away. So I went with this one:

This appears to be Fernagh:

IF first you don’t succeed….

I tried another marriage search for just Ann Henry and came up with this:

Silly me, I was looking for a McCullough marriage instead of a McMullaw marriage. Even though I entered McCull in my search, this didn’t show up. So, good thing I found this as I may have had Michael’s birth wrong. This time I searched with the father as John and found the Michael from Ardboe Parish again. So I expanded the dates and found an older Michael here:

Here the places sound more familiar and even the spelling of the last name is similar. However, I wouldn’t trust the spelling of McSoarly. I believe that McSorley is a more standard spelling.

I had given up finding Ann Henry’s birth record, but now that we have her marriage record, it should be easy to find.

Actually, I was leaning toward this record as the Parish sounded most familiar. Here is a new McCullough family tree:

Here is a summary of Rusty’s dad’s Breen ancestors as far as I can tell now:

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