Monday, August 11, 2014

#52Ancestors (32) Daniel McBride, A Man of Three Countries

Daniel McBRIDE was my great-great-grandfather on my paternal side. He was born in Ireland around 1840. After living for many years in northeast England, he emigrated to and died in Joliet, Will, Illinois in 1902.

Ireland. The mysterious ancestral motherland of so many Americans, myself included.

In his wife Mary Ann's biography, I shared the basic details of their lives. Daniel is one of those 'brick walls' that I would like to conquer.

After locating the family in Joliet, Will, Illinois, I determined they came from England. It was easy to find the family on the English census records of 1871 and with their birth families in 1861 prior to their marriage. Daniel was kind enough to me to live with his brother Edward and sister Jane - but no parents - in 1861 in Birtley, County Durham, England. In later years, Edward and Jane both note County Tyrone as their place of birth so I think that is an appropriate assumption for Daniel as well.

Daniel and Mary Ann McALEER married in Birtley in 1865. The marriage record lists a Daniel McBRIDE as Daniel's father. I ordered Edward's and Jane's marriage records as well, and they were also children of Daniel McBRIDE. So far, so good.

As an aside - if you have English ancestors, ordering their vital records from the General Register Office is easy and surprisingly reasonable. And really, who doesn't get excited receiving a crown post envelope in their mailbox?!

After reviewing a microfilm of St. Joseph Catholic Church records from Birtley, I also noted a Bridget McBRIDE LEE(S) as a witness and/or sponsor in several McBRIDE family records. Bridget married Samuel LEE (or LEES) and I located a marriage record on in the townland of Magherafelt in Derry in Ireland. They also eventually lived in Birtley, County Durham. Now THAT is a clue!

I cannot find any record of these McBRIDE siblings in England on the 1851 census. Since they would have been teenagers then, unless they had a parent with them, it is probably unlikely they had yet left Ireland. Perhaps by then one or both parents died? Perhaps they simply left for a chance at a better life after the famine? I can only speculate.

My other modern clue to this old family is DNA. I was fortunate to have my father tested and have learned he fits the Northern Ireland haplogroup R1b1b2a1a2f2, which is a fairly specific group possibly descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages. Now that would be pretty cool, but right now I'm happy to make a solid connection on Irish terra firma through Daniel McBride first!

Are you connected? Let me know! I know my American cousins but so many more are still in England and Ireland. Have any unique Northern Ireland or County Tyrone research tips? Let me know those, too!

© 2014 Sally Knudsen