Saturday, March 24, 2012

Surname Saturday - Riley

Thomas Riley is my oldest known Riley ancestor.  He is also one of my least known, genealogically speaking.  I have him fairly well documented for the last 40 or so years of his life, but his beginnings are a mystery.

Thomas Riley's first appearance in a US record is his marriage to Mary Ann McWeeney on 3 June 1865 at St. Dennis Church, Lockport, Will, Illinois.

He appears on the following US censuses:

1870 Lockport, Will, Illinois, age 40, Ireland, canal boat captain
1880 Lockport, Will, Illinois, age 45, Ireland, laborer
1900 Lockport, Will, Illinois, age 59, October 1840, Ireland, laborer, emigrated 1844, owned home
1910 Lockport, Will, Illinois, age 75, Ireland, own income, emigrated 1855, owned home

Thomas and Mary Ann had four known children:

Elizabeth (1866-1948) never married
James (1868-1906) never married
John Patrick (1872-1955) married Rena Clara Blanchard
Andrew (1880-1889)

Thomas died in 1915 and is buried without a gravestone in St. Dennis a/k/a South Lockport Cemetery.  His death record at the church states he was 75 and born in West Meath, Ireland.  Is there a "West Meath" or does this mean County Westmeath?  Thomas's birth ranges from 1830-1840 and his immigration from 1844-1855.

His last name can also be spelled differently.  The census records alone have Riley, Reilly, and Rihley.

I have a lot of clues but not a lot of certainty.  Are you related?  Do you have experience with Riley's and/or County Westmeath?  Let me know!

Riley Family in Lockport, circa 1913
Mary Ann McWeeney Riley (far left) and Thomas Riley (far right)

© 2012 Sally Knudsen