Brick Wall Review – part IV

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A week ago yesterday “Who Do You Think You Are?”, researched Rosie O’Donnell’s Irish roots. I listened intently to for any clues to finding my Irish ancestors. When they mentioned the Irish potato famine starting in 1846 I went back to my family tree to look for dates.

James Donigan, who I mentioned in my first Brick Wall review, immigrated to the United States in 1847. Bingo! His wife, Mary McCarty immigrated in April 1846. My McKim family that I mentioned in the previous post, seems to have been in the states a lot longer. My final 5th generation brick wall irish ancestors would fall into this category.

Michael Collins was born in Ireland in 1834. I believe he immigrated to the United States August 18, 1849. If I have the correct Michael Collins, he might have immigrated with his sister 26 year old sister Anna and a 16 year old brother Henry. According to the 1870 census, the Collins family had first lived in Massachusetts where their first 2 children were born starting in 1858. Michael Collins in 1861 was in New York State from his veteran’s pension. By 1863 they were living in Marathon, New York, where my great grandmother was born. Michael was wounded in his right leg during the war. He served in Company B of the New York Regiment until June 7, 1865.

Michael lived in Olean, New York and worked as a stone mason. I believe he had a marble shop on Main Street in Allegany, New York in 1887 that was burned down in a fire that destroyed several buildings. From the newspaper clipping he was insured for the value by Abrams and Sons and W. H. Mandeville and Co. The best I can guess on Michael’s death is between 1892 and 1898. The last record I have of his wife Mary was a write up in the newspaper in 1884 when she had a dispute with a neighbor over her chickens.

I would eventually determine that their daughter, my great grandmother, would lie about her real age up to the day she died. Even the birth year on her headstone is not correct.


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