One brick wall knocked down…Mary Ford

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.


2 responses to “One brick wall knocked down…Mary Ford

  1. OKeefe descendant

    Hi Penny, I was googling ‘OKeefe family Taralga’ this morning and found your family page and blog. I am descended from Andrew Francis OKeefe who was born in Taralga in 1873. I visited Taralga and also contacted historians down there in 1979. I have a letter which states Johnny OKeefe was the great grandson of “Granny OKeefe” who lived in Bannaby St Taralga. My grand father’s father was also named Andrew OKeefe. Andrew and Thomas OKeefe had land and a farm at Guinecor. I looked up the land grants back in the 70’s and found the original land grants. I also have a copy of a death certificate for Michael OKeefe 4 July 1909. Born Ulladulla around 1834, died Taralga 1909. He was married to Mary Elizabeth Ford, and his son Thomas OKeefe of Taralga was the informant. Not sure if this is of any use to you. I have also copied some entries from the Baptism records for St Peter and Paul RC Cathedral Goulburn. There were a number of entries including the name of Mary Ford (wife of Michael OKeefe, baptism of son Joseph 3/2/1867), Mary Anne Ford (wife of Michael OKeeffe, baptism of son Andrew 17/2/1869, sponsors John and Catherine Mooney). There was also an entry mentioning Patrick Mooney and Mrs Andrew OKeeffe as sponsors for baptism of Mary Anne OKeeffe, parents Michael and Mary OKeeffe, abode ‘Gininga’, also on 3/2/1867.
    I find Irish genealogy confusing because of the tradition of naming children with same name as parents.

  2. Hi Penny
    I would be very interested in sharing Mooney History information. I’m Biam Mooney living relatives of the Mooney’s from Taralga.
    you can contact me at

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