Sunday, August 10, 2014

#52Ancestors (31) Mary Ann McAleer McBride

One of my ancestors that took years to find is still shrouded in mystery. Mary Ann McAleer McBRIDE is a paternal great-great-grandmother. Even though McBRIDE is my name, I had considerable difficulty tracking down these ancestors.

Mary Ann was born somewhere in County Durham, England into an Irish mining family. Her father was Bernard McALEER. I am uncertain of her mother, as none appears on the 1851 census and I have yet to find a birth record for Mary Ann. Based on the English census records, her birth was about 1845.

Mary Ann married local miner and Irish immigrant Daniel McBRIDE on 13 August 1865, when she was 20 years old. They were married and resided in Birtley in County Durham.


GRO certificate: Marriages 1865 in Chester le Street District, County Durham, England


Mary Ann and Daniel had three known children: Mary Ann born 1866, Joseph born 1870, and John Joseph born 1873. The two eldest children both died in June 1872 after contracting scarlet fever. The youngest, John Joseph never knew his siblings as he was born the following year.

Eventually, the McBride's made their way to America, following Mary Ann's younger brother Joseph. They landed in New York on 9 June 1880 after travelling on the ship Scythia from Liverpool. In only 10 days they were living with Joseph McALEER and family, and being enumerated on the 1880 census of Joliet, Will, Illinois on 19 June 1880.

Ten days! Timing is everything!


McBride's arriving 9 June 1880


McBride's enumerated 19 June 1880

Daniel and later his son John Joseph (or Joseph John, depending on the record) both found work in the local iron mills, just a short walk from their home. In England they mined the ore and in America they created the metal.

In a discussion with a cousin many years ago, I learned that Mary Ann was not well, and was essentially homebound. For that reason, a housekeeper was hired, and the housekeeper later married John Joseph. Whatever Mary Ann's affliction was eventually killed her in 1899. She was buried in Joliet's Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery in an unmarked grave. No marker has ever been erected for the family. When I first contacted the diocese requesting records, I learned she was listed as "Mrs. McBride." It was some searching later that I finally learned her given name. I also have no photos of the McBRIDE's and I dearly wish I did. They lived the difficult life of an immigrant laboring family.

I have no faces to look at and no gravestone to visit. I can only thank them for the hardships they endured while becoming my ancestors.

© 2014 Sally Knudsen

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