1. Margaret Carney Cone – #52Ancestors

Margaret Carney Cone, her sister, Mary Carney O'Mara. Some of Mary's daughters standing behind them.

Margaret Carney Cone, her sister, Mary Carney O’Mara. Some of Mary’s daughters standing behind them.

I am not the first genealogist in my family. It turns out my great grandmother had to do some digging in order to find her sister.

Margaret “Maggie” Carney, was born April 2, 1859 in Scranton, PA to Patrick and Bridget (McDonald) Carney. Her younger siblings, Mary Ann and James Patrick, were born in 1863 and 1864, respectively.

Shortly after James birth, it was said that the parents became unable to care for the children, and they were placed in a home, called the Scranton Asylum. It is not known what became of their parents after this time.

Margaret was taken from the home by an uncle of her father shortly afterwards. The baby, James, was taken by a cousin of their mother. Margaret and James were fortunate enough to have grown up near each other and knew each other. However, Mary was taken from a family not related, and lived in nearby Wyoming County. She did not have any contact with her siblings at all while growing up.

Margaret eventually moved to Yonkers, New York to live with her aunt. She met Patrick Cone while living there, and married him on April 12, 1879. Patrick and Margaret had 10 children. They also moved to Philadelphia, where Patrick had a job working at the Dobson Carpet Mill. Patrick died of a brain tumor September 15, 1912.

Margaret had tried searching for her lost sister for years. After Patrick’s death, the need to find her grew stronger. She had discovered that Mary had been taken by a Joly family and went to live with them in Wyoming County. At the suggestion of a cousin, Margaret placed an ad in the local paper in that area, The Wyoming Democrat. The ad ran on October 31, 1924.

The ad that helped Margaret Carney Cone find her sister, Mary, after 40 years of being apart.

The ad that helped Margaret Carney Cone find her sister, Mary, after 40 years of being apart.

It turns out that Mary was living in Wyoming County on a farm in Stowell. She was married to John O’Mara and had 16 children. Mary’s husband, John, was the one who spotted the ad in the paper. After an exchange of letters, Margaret went to meet Mary in Stowell. After almost 40 years of diligent searching, Margaret was finally reunited with her lost sister.

They were able to visit each other several times a year, with their families for many years afterwards. Margaret died August 27, 1944 in Philadelphia. Mary died January 5, 1955 in Stowell. However, their spirit of learning more about the family still lives on.


  1. My, they certainly had big families back then. That makes geneology a challenge – to try to follow the various family members. Thanks, Patti!

  2. Hi! I am not sure if you ever look at this blog anymore. My name is Megan and I am a distant cousin. Margaret Carney is my 3rd great grandmother. I even have the O’Mara history packet! My mom started the family geneology stuf mhen i was little. I have dabbled myself over the years. My brother is starting to look into our geneology now so i am going over my existing notes. I came across your blig and its wonderful! I have read about a few family members already. I have written their names over so many times in different charts. It was nice to learn more about them. I cannot wait to share with my brother. If you ever want to contact me my email is gannon8215@gmail.com

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