WEEK 3 – 2015: Kate Healy – the toughest woman in my tree

This week’s theme for the 52 Ancestors challenge is “Tough Woman.”  I feel like I have many woman in my family who are considered, “tough”and “strong.” Some I have already written about, including my great, grand aunt, Catherine Logue, who was a World War I nurse.

However, I finally chose my 2nd great grand aunt, Catherine McDonald Healy. Not only did she seem like she was a tough and strong woman, she has also from a tough family to research. And I have hit some brick walls with her life as well.

“Kate” is the sister of my 2nd great grandmother, Bridget McDonald Carney. I knew very, very little about my 2nd great grandmother. She and my 2nd great grandfather, Patrick Carney, seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth after their 3 children were “placed in a home” in Scranton sometime around 1864. The children all became separated after different relatives took the children. According to a family history, that a distant cousin had typewritten back in 1960s, my great grandmother, Margaret Carney, lived first, with an uncle of her father. She later moved to Yonkers, NY to live with her aunt, Kate Haley, who was a sister of Bridget McDonald.

I have been unable to find out what became of Patrick and Bridget Carney after that time. The same family history had lots of names in there, that I used as clues. “The McCaul family from Yonkers also visited us several times. They are our nearest relatives next to the Cones. Mrs. McCaul’s mother, Kate Haley, and Mom’s mother were sisters.” So, I began looking at “Kate Haley” to see if I could find out anything about her that help with learning more about the McDonald family.

I found the “Haley” family living in Yonkers in the 1880 Federal census only a few doors down from where my great grandmother was living with her husband and newborn baby. However, the last name was listed as “Healy.” This made research a little tough, since the last name was either spelled as “Healy,”  “Healey,” or “Haley.” Kate Healy, age 50, was living on Vineyard Avenue with her 8 children. The eldest 5 children were employed by the nearby carpet mill, Alexander Smith & Sons. No husband for Kate was present. Her birthplace was listed as Ireland, however, all of her children were born in England.

I found some of children’s birth and baptism records within England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 on Ancestry.com and Liverpool, England, Catholic Baptisms, 1802-1906 (also available on Ancestry.com). The father was listed as Andrew Healy.

I found a marriage record for Andrew Healey and Catherine McDonald. They were married on January 26, 1857 at St. Nicholas Catholic Chapel in Liverpool. Catherine’s father was listed as “Michael McDonald.”

Andrew and Kate had 8 children: Margaret, James, Ellen, Andrew, Martin, William and Francis. In the 1871 England census, they were living in Northowram, Halifax, England. But, I have been unable to discover what became of Kate’s husband, Andrew. For on September 25, 1872, Catherine Healey arrived in New York on the boat The Holland, which sailed from Liverpool. She came with her 5 youngest children: Ellen, Andrew, Martin, William and Francis. Her 2 eldest children and her husband were not listed on the passenger record.

I can only assume that perhaps Andrew Healy had passed away, leaving Kate with 8 children. So, she decided to start over again with her children in America. Regardless, she had to be one tough lady to make that long trip with all those children in tow. Can you imagine hearing “Are we there yet?  Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” for days and days?

I’m assuming the family settled in Yonkers, so they could get jobs at the carpet mill. Some of the children were employed by the carpet mill in Halifax, England. I found Kate last alive in the 1910 Federal Census. She was living on Ashburton Avenue with her son Francis, and her daughter, Margaret. Her age was listed as 74. I can only assume she died after 1910. However, I have been unable to find out when she died. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is located nearby and I knew from other marriages, baptisms and burials, that the family was affliated with that church. However, they had no funeral record for kate. And the cemetery had no burial information for her either. Although, all of her children are buried there. I have been unable to find any obituary for her either.

I have been hoping to find a death certificate and/or an obituary that might be able to shed more light on her McDonald family. But, as the theme states, she has been “tough” as far as research on her goes.

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