Mourne

County Down

Raymondscountydownwebsite

People Researching Ancestors The Rostrevor Area

Reseaching our Down Roots

 by Judy Mckeon

 

This research includes shared information by 5 individuals with a common name, O'Hare, looking for our roots in and near Warrenpoint and Rostrevor. We are researching and sharing our family interests from England [Pat], Dublin [Dee], New Zealand via Australia [Midge], Colorado [Judy] and New Hampshire (Tony) and in the process discovering one another. Not everyone in this data has clearly been identified as relating to any of us nor have we found all of the links we know are there. We owe  much thanks to Rootsweb for helping us find each other and for finding Raymond's site and the opportunity to share our research in this manner. We hope that this information will help others find useful information and perhaps help us find you.

My name is Judy O'Hare McKeon. I was born in Colorado.  My mother died when I was seven along with a newborn baby. My sister was five and brother  was four.   Father Berry of County Clare had been the chaplain at the hospital and had been with my mother when she died. Dad was very thankful that he was there with her.  Father Berry got a lot of help building churches after that. My father, a building contractor, was almost killed the following summer in a mountain driving accident while helping  Fr. Berry,  build a church in the mountains.

My father, James O'Hare, son of Elizabeth Shields and Peter O'Hare of Ballyagholy townland,  decided that life was potentially very short and a trip "home" was in order, his first since leaving Ireland in 1921. He began planning to spend the following summer in Ireland accompanied by his sister, Mary, and us children. We drove to New York in early May to fly from there. On our drive, we stopped in Chicago, rented a suite of rooms in a hotel overlooking Lake Michigan and Dad began making phone calls and driving us around searching out people from all over that city. I enjoyed myself exploring the city and playing with children who lived in Chicago apartment houses. It was my first experience with being in a BIG City and in an apartment building and in a hotel which was not a motel. I was excited getting to watch laundry  hung between buildings on a pulley line and playing on a fire escape landing, just like in the stories in my Weekly Readers at grammar school. I was 9 years old. Dad threw the biggest party he ever had given while we were in Chicago. I was amazed as we were among strangers as far as I knew and didn't live like this normally. I remember that he had to talk his way back into the hotel on our way home four months later after promising to do a better job of keeping the company limited and less entertaining to those who were trying to sleep! 

Only when I started this research did I begin to understand what was happening that spring in Chicago. Names like Ferron, Butterfield, McClorey, Rooney, Sloan, and  McAvoy began to pop back into my brain and I suddenly realized that Dad was in Chicago getting folks from the Kilbroney/Clonallon neighborhood together to share stories and information and pictures to take back home. In New Jersey we again made stops to visit folks from Down. We then began our 14 hour flight from New York to Shannon in a twin engine plane with a stop to refuel in Greenland. The year was 1948.

Our arrival in Ireland is a story for another time and place but when we finally arrived in Warrenpoint, several tires later, we had a parade of people along the road with us. They were a bit disappointed to find that our overloaded car was not an advance group from the circus expected in Warrenpoint the following week! We definitely didn't know how to pack to travel. My husband says I still don't.

I had a wonderful four month with my grandmother on Ballyagholy townland in her little stone cottage. No electricity; trips down the lane to get water; searching for duck eggs for breakfast; going to a barn dance down the road at the Rooney's; playing hide and seek with the O'Hare cousins up the hill;  riding a work horse in the field with the fairy tree in the center; and riding bicycles down the lanes and, woe is me, back up again. I remember shushing the poultry away when the revenue agent was coming to count them, having been alerted by children from nearby farms who sprinted over to spread the news. I thus contributed to my first act of tax evasion!

There were the visitors coming to visit and sing and tell stories and play the fiddle and accordion and dance. I did my share of the entertainment which was recitation of the alphabet backwards as taught me by my O'Hare cousins up the hill. Some performance! But I sure got the applause.

Among my favorite  memories was laying on the floor with my head hanging out the floor height loft window watching the evening  night life having been sent to bed in the long evening light. I learned the story of how my father had broken his arm falling out that window as a consequence for having climbed the fairy tree and broken a branch. Granny told us this story after my little brother fell out of the same window while sitting there with my sister exploring the countryside from their lofty view. My brother didn't break his arm. This gave further credence to the story that my father's broken am was the direct result of his shenanigans in the fairy tree.

I loved drinking tea with my Granny, and listen to her stories as I  impatiently waited for my cup to settle so that she could turn it upside down, twirl it, let it dry, and read the leaves. I never worried about spilling the tea because the floor was packed dirt anyway and no one was going to get mad.  I always enjoyed the possibilities which came out of those tea leaf stories. One of my favorite Granny stories was the tail she told me when I asked her with some annoyance why my father wore a dress and had long curly hair in a picture on the mantle. I was told that leprechauns are all wee men but they get old and die and, because there are no women, there are no babies born. Therefore, leprechauns stole wee boys to replace those who died. Only when  baby boys were taller than  leprechauns could  they cut their hair short and wear trousers. Thus I had my first sex education lesson!

Granny's picture in the doorway of her little house hangs on my wall and keeps my memories very much alive. And they are alive for my children and grandchildren, too, as I attempt to do my part as story teller in the Irish tradition.

I didn't visit again until 1993, 45 years later, and was amazed at how at home I again felt. Of course I found Aunt Bridie and cousins to visit, some of whom had visited us in Colorado usually coming for weddings or Aunt Mary's 50th anniversary or in more recent years just because they could. It was my husband's first trip to Ireland. Both of his parents were born in Donegal and he was able to meet an uncle and his wife and their adult children, the only first cousins he had ever met. Some friends of his father from his youth stopped by and we heard stories of his dad's fishing prowess told by these other members of "the cubs" who in their 80's went fishing again and brought us a sea trout to marvel at the taste. It was good we were able to go when we did and share our stories because within a few years none of Tom's elders were living either in America or in Ireland.

In 1999 we went with our kids and grandkids for a visit, saving for 5 years, putting away money for the trip instead of presents at birthdays and Christmas and other events. We made the trip together that September. There were ten of us including three grandkids -- a one year old who took her first steps in Ireland and  six and seven year olds, both of whom were introduced to the Irish tooth fairy while in Ireland much to their delight. During that visit I asked my Aunt Bridie about her family history and even though I only got a bit of information which I wrote on one page of a very small notebook it gave me the tools I needed to move forward on a genealogy quest. The following information is bits and pieces from the research of all 5 of us --Judy, Pat, Midge, Dee, and Tony. Where known we have identified the family groups we are associated with.

The information shared by Aunt Bridie is this. "My mummy was Elizabeth Sheilds who married my grandfather Peter O'Hare, son of James O'Hare and Mary Polin some say Poland. Elizabeth's mummy was Margaret Gribben who married Bernard Shields. Margaret's  was Shibby or Shibley or something like that and Heaning or Heaney". Shibby (Elizabeth or Isabella) Heanen (Heaney) were all names found in her records!  By the way the Shields family name was spelled Shields, Sheilds, Sheils on my grandmother's marriage certificate.  This paragraph is a good example of why to look for many spellings when doing research.

 I believe that John O'Hair (O'Hare) married to Mary McVay (Veagh) is the probable next generation of my O'Hares but this is based only on naming patterns and shared christening sponsor names. I have no family history information which confirms this. I also believe that the researcher, Pat's family is probably related to mine, perhaps on both sides Shales could be Sheilds and O'Hare,  but the only confirming piece of information is that her her ancester's child, Patrick O'Hare who died on Dec 2, 1876 was from Ballaughley (Ballagholy) townland.

My Grandpa O'Hare, Peter, had come to Butte, Montana, to work in the mines in 1906 at the age of 36 when my father, James, was a few weeks old. Peter's brothers Will, Jim, Bernard, and Daniel had also emigrated. Great uncle Barney (Bernard) is the one who brought my father and his sister, Mary, to Colorado in 1921. He died in 1947 in Denver, Colorado.  I don't know much about Will except that he worked for the Southern Pacific railroad and I don't have any information in that he was married although he might have been. He was present at my father's wedding in 1937 as evidenced by a group picture. The others all were married and lived in Colorado. Jim had peach orchards in Palisades, Colorado, near Grand Junction and Dan lived in Pueblo, Colorado, and worked for the railroad as did Bernard.

My grandmother's brother, Owen Sheilds, had also gone to Butte in 1904. According to my notes from Bridie, "Owen met a girl from Donegal on a boat while going to the worlds fair and married her." I know his wife's name was Anne Sharkey. I am still researching the Shields family who lived in Butte and Anaconda in Montana and in Idaho. I have met several of the children of Owen Shields, many are no longer living. I believe family members still live in the Montana and Idaho.

In the meantime, Granny was home alone on Ballyagholy townland farming the little bit of land she and my grandfather had and raising four children: John, Mary, Margaret and James. She also took care of Peter's mother in her old age. And later she had two more children, twins Bridget (Bridie) and Bernard (Barney) born in 1920 to raise. Although I know her life was often a struggle, and lonely and much too full of goodbys, what a woman was my Granny!  Peter went home in 1919 for a visit and during or after this visit my Uncle Barney and Aunt Bridie, were born. I don't know if Peter had been back home before that although I believe he was there in 1911. It is unlikely that he was able to get home during World War I. Bridie remembers the excitement of his returning for visits in the 1920's. Dad and Aunt Mary left for Colorado in 1921. Uncle John, Dad's brother, emigrated after my dad and went to Butte to mine with his father.  Peter died in an accident in Butte in about 1933 having retired from the mines and sold part interest in a local Pub.  He was  reportedly  planning to return home to Ireland to retire. Bridie's twin, Barney, left for America shortly after our visit in 1948 leaving only Bridie who married John O'Hare of Lurgan (no known relationship) and Margaret who married  Bernard Rice of Ballymaconaghy at home.

I have some information about most of the people in my family who emigrated and would be happy to share with others researching these families. I have a few pictures of Peter, Will, Bernard, and Jim O'Hare sons of James and Mary (Polin). I also have a wonderful picture of Mary Polin O'Hare.  I have a few pictures of Elizabeth (Granny) and one early childhood picture of her oldest four children. None of the people mentioned are still living except my siblings. I also have an old picture of Peter O'Hare, Owen Shields, Peter Rice and Charlie Caulfield taken in a pub in Butte. I believe all of these men were from the Rostrevor - Warrenpoint area. I would be happy to share copies with anyone who is interested.

While this research is giving me some additional data about my direct descendents,  it is giving me even more of a sense of their place in a small community and of the community itself. I will always feel at home when I visit Warrenpoint and Rostrevor and wander the hills above.

Judy O'Hare McKeon (Juditoh@aol.com) I can be contacted with questions about this data and would love to hear from any one who shares these families .

Most of the research lookups took place at the National Library in Dublin and most are of Kilbroney Parish Religious records.  Deirdre McEvoy has proven an invaluable source of help with this family research and will check records for accuracy if questions arise. She can be contacted through my email address. Other researchers have not been named at their request. I would be happy to pass on inquiries.

 

From oral  memoirs of James O'Hare, father of Judy as dictated to Judy's sister in 1981 while he was convelescing from a serious illness. Bracketed remarks are by me, Judy.

"My mother was going on 19 when she married my father. He was 10 years older. He left for America in 1906 after I was born.

Mummy [Elizabeth Sheilds] had the top farm which she rented out for sheep.

Where Isacc lived - the house high on the hill belonged to Dad's Grandfather [Possibly John and Mary McVeigh O'Hare]. When he died he left 1/2 to Jim O'Hare, Isaac's father[referring to Isaac, son of James and Mary Sloan and grandson of Isaac and Bridget Rooney O'Hare]. The farm was divided. Peter's part of the mountain was 22 acres. That mountain was always green and great for sheep and cattle.  When Peter came home from America in 1919, he bought the lower house and 10 acres. Bridie and Barney were born there. {my father's youngest siblings - twins}.

Peter died on the 16th of September, 193?, in Butte. He got burned when a boiler exploded and he died three days later. He had been planning on going back to Ireland in the spring time that year and retire there.

Mummy sold the mountain in about 1940. Everyone was grazing sheep and cattle on it without paying so she sold it to Isaac O'Hare [son of James and Mary Sloan]. Barney [Elizabeth's son] and Mary [Barney's wife] had  married and moved to Warrenpoint. They weren't interested in farming."  Quote of James Joseph O'Hare, son of Peter and Mary Polin

 

List of Heads of Households living in Ballyagholy Townland in 1911

John Levelle                         

Thomas Gribben

Peter Gribben

Peter O’Hare

Lizzie O’Hare

James O’Hare

Patrick Fegan                       

John Lindsay                       

Michael Higgins                  

Margaret Shields

Thomas Rice                        

John Burns                           

John McAlinden 

Bernard Kelly                       

James Gribben

Patrick Rooney

Felix Campbell

Mary Ann McCartney       

Thomas West                      

John McMahon                  

Martha Shilliday                                  

Arthur Bennett                    

Patrick Mackin

                               

From 1901 Census for Clonallon Civil Parish (Note that Ballyagholy townland is in Clonallon Civil and in Kilbroney Religious parish.)

( John O'Hare eldest son of James &Mary Polin is said to have lived in Mayobridge and work on boats. I have no information about him except that his wife died young leaving a child. Wife's maiden name was Burns per family oral history. Unknown whether he married again or when he died)

 

Name

Status

Age

Occupation

Literacy

Born

Mayo

 

 

 

 

 

John O’Hare

Head

70

Grocer

Read & Write

Co Down

Mary A

Wife

57

 

 

Co Down

Charles S**

Son

26

Chemist

 

Co Down

John J Woods

Apprentice

16

Apprentice

 

Co Down

Bridget Morgan

Servant

25

Servant

 

Co Down

Patrick Morgan

Servant

25

Servant

 

Co Down

** In this census everybody in this document had Roman Catholic written beside their names, but in the case of Charles, ‘Idolator RC’ was written beside his name with an asterisk beside this description.  Under the list of names and beside another asterisk ‘Further Information Refused’ was written.  I can’t seem to find this family in 1911.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose Ann O’Hare

Head

38

Widow (of John O’Hare?)

Can’t read

Co Down

James O’Hare

Son

10

 

 

Co Down

Bernard O’Hare

Son

9

 

 

Co Down

Henry O’Hare

Son

7

 

 

Co Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballyagholy

 

 

 

 

 

James Gribben (possible son of Isabella)

Head

45

Farmer

Can’t read or write

Co Down

Mary Gribben

Wife

34

 

Read & Write

Co Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Shiels  (Judy's great grandmother )

Head

40

Farmer (widow)

Read & Write

Co Down

Owen Shiels ( Judy's great uncle emigrated to Butte Montana 1904)

Son

21

 

Read & Write

Co Down

Lizzie Shiels  (Judy's Grandmother married that year to Peter O'Hare)

Daughter

20

 

Read & Write

Co Down

Mary Shiels

Daughter

11

 

Read & Write

Co Down

Isabella Gribben  Judy's Great Great (Grandmother [nee Heanen ]aka Elizabeth and Shibby)

Mother

 

Widow

 

Co Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

James O’Hare

Head

50

Farmer

Read & Write

Co Down

Mary

Wife

30

 

Read & Write

Co Down

Bridget

Daughter

6

 

 

Co Down

Lizzie

Daughter

4

 

 

Co Down

Mary

Daughter

10 mths

 

 

Co Down

Thomas O’Hare

Brother

 

 

Read & Write

Co Down

The above O'Hares are relatives of Judy's family.

 

 

 

 

 

Mary O’Hare( nee Polin) Judy's Greatgrandmother

Head

75

Widow Farmer

 

Co Down

Peter O’Hare ( Judy's Grandfather)

Son

29

Farm Labourer

 

Co Down

Maggie Shields (may be younger sister of Elizabeth Shields who married Peter in 1901)

Visitor

16

Seamstress

 

Co Down

 

From 1901 Census for Kilbroney Civil Parish

Name

Occupation

Age

Literacy

Born

Ballymoney

 

 

 

 

Michael O’Hare

Farmer

60

Can’t read or write

Co Down

Margaret O’Hare

Wife

55

Can’t read or write

Co Down

Margaret O’Hare

Daughter

25

Read & Write

Co Down

Annie O’Hare

Daughter

23

Read & Write

Co Down

Lizzie O’Hare

Granddaughter

3

 

Co Down

 

 

 

 

 

Edward O’Hare

Farmer

30

 

Co Down

Mary O’Hare

Wife

28

 

Co Down

Levallyclanone

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth O’Hare

Farmer (single)

65

Can’t read

Co Down

Mary Fearon

Sister (widow)

60

Can’t read (imbecile)

Co Down

Mary McGivern

Cousin

25

Housekeeper

Co Down