When Patrick and Mary Mooney arrived on the “Mary Ann” in 1857 from Tuam Galway, Patrick had under his care 8 year old Mary Ford. Mary’s parents were in America. There was nothing further on the shipping papers to explain what (if any) relationship Mary had to the Mooneys. As Mary Mooney’s maiden name was Ford, the assumption was that she may have been a niece/great niece or some other distant relation. For many years, I sat on this, waiting to be able to find out the connection.
As records subsequently came online, I found that Patrick and Mary’s daughter, Mary, had married a Patrick Ford, and that they had a daughter, Mary. Great!!! Part of the puzzle solved, Mary Ford was the granddaughter of Patrick and Mary Mooney. The next question was what became of Mary once she was here.
The NSW Births Deaths and Marriages indexes showed several Mary Fords marrying in the right time period, the obvious one to follow up on was one registered in Goulburn in 1866 to Michael O’Keefe. When I received the certificate, there was no additional information about Mary’s place of birth, parents names or anything that would confirm without a doubt. The marriage took place in Taralga, and one of the witnesses was Patrick Mooney, so I felt I was on the right track. Mary O’Keefe’s death certificate didn’t shed any further light on the puzzle.
Several people that I spoke to about it, stated that they had not heard of any connections between the Mooneys and O’Keefes, and believed I was on the wrong track. A visit to the Taralga Historical Museum didn’t confirm or refute this, either. What I did learn on this visit, though, was that included in Mary O’Keefe’s descendents are Johnny O’Keefe, Barry O’Keefe and Andrew O’Keefe.
The National Library of Australia is in process of digitizing Goulburn newspapers. One of the articles is Mary O’Keefe’s obituary. It states that Mary arrived on the Mary Ann with her uncles Patrick and John Mooney. Bingo!
The only questions left now about this branch of the Mooney family, are what became of Mary’s parents? And why did they leave their daughter in Ireland when they went to America. I’m not sure that I’ll find the answers to these questions, though.