Genealogical and Historical Research Service in County Louth, Ireland - Joe Biden ancestors


Dividing Line

Joe  Biden  (former USA  Vice  President)
and  his  Irish Finnegan  Ancestors

continued 08:-
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US Civil War etc. Records.

There were a number of emigrants who left the small Riverstown Village area of Cooley Parish in County Louth, settled around Ovid in Seneca County, New York, and fought in the Civil War. Among them were members of the following families.

Michael Woods and Anne Malone.
The village of Ovid.

   1860 US  Census - Michael Woods

In the 1860 US Census, above, in the Village of Ovid were Michael Woods, his wife Anne and some of their children stated to be born in Ireland.

          On the Cooley Parish Register Michael Woods and Anne Malone married 5 February 1839.  The baptism entries of children found were:-

Peter baptised 28 December 1839, Riverstown
Arthur (not located around 3 June 1844 - but, as stated above, part of the register appears to be missing)
Anne baptised 24 February 1847, Riverstown;
Mary baptised 13 May 1849, Riverstown.

          Since the next son John was stated to be born about 1853 in Seneca County then the family emigrated sometime between 1849 and 1853.
          In the 1870 US Census Michael Woods, age 57 years, a tailor and labourer, his wife Ann, age 54 years, and son John, age 16 years, were still residing in Ovid. But in November 1879 Michael Woods, a tailor of Ovid, died of consumption.

          Could above Michael Woods be the witness to the marriage, in 1839, of Owen Finnegan?.

          From a US Record of Soldiers and Officers, in the Military Service, Peter and Arthur Woods joined the Union army (148th Infantry Regiment) during the US Civil War. Both lived in Ovid, Seneca County, New York.

          Peter was listed as born 29 December 1839, in Ireland, and parents as Michael Woods, a tailor, and Ann Malone. He joined the 29 August 1862 and later was promoted to 1st. Lieutenant.
In the 1915 census Peter Woods was still residing in Ovid Village. He may have died about 1920.

          Arthur joined the same day, 26 December 1863, as Stephen Finnegan although in a different regiment. The former's date of birth was listed as 3 June 1844, in Ireland, and parents Michael Woods, a tailor, and Ann Malone and the latter as born 22? May 1843, in Ireland, and parents as Owen Finnegan, a shoe maker, and Jane Boyle.

          The daughter Mary Woods had married a James Donley about June 1868, and lived in Covert, Seneca County, but died about 6 months later.

The other daughter Anne/Annie Woods married a Thomas O'Hanlon, a boiler maker and had family. They lived in Bristol St., Utica, New York and maybe the same family that was listed in a trade directory as manufacturers of steam boilers.  There is an Family Tree on for this family which shows her husband Thomas O'Hanlon was also born about 1844 in Ireland  the son of Thomas O'Hanlon and Catherine Malone.

The baptism entries of children of a Thomas Hanlon/O'Hanlon and Catherine Malone found, in Cooley parish, were:-

Felix Hanlon, 14 November 1823, Castlecarragh;
Rose Hanlon, 3 April 1825, Riverstown;
Mary Hanlon, 1 May 1829, Riverstown;
John Hanlon, 21 October 1831, Riverstown;
Margt O'Hanlon, 8 July 1834, Riverstown;
Loughlin O'Hanlon, baptised 16 March 1837, Riverstown and
Thomas O'Hanlon stated born about 1844 (but this part of Baptism Register is missing).

          Again it is likely some of the above Hanlon/O'Hanlon boys fought in the US Civil War. Mustered out were a Felix Hanlon born in Ireland about 1821 and also a John Hanlon born in Ireland that enlisted in Ovid and Romulus. Felix maybe the farmer listed, in the 1900 Census, as residing in Ovid.

William McCann and Mary Finnegan.
From the same military record, as above, was listed 25 December 1863 in the 164th Infantry Regiment, John McCann of Ovid, born 1838 in Ireland, the son of  William McCann, a labourer, and Mary Finnegan. He enlisted the day before Arthur Woods and Stephen Finnegan who also joined the same regiment.

          John was stated to be killed instantly at Cole Harbor on 3 June 1864. This was the same day as Michael Finnegan of Ovid died (see headstone inscription above in Ovid Cemetery).

          There was a family of a William McCann and Mary Finnegan in Cooley and Lordship Parishes. William McCann and Mary Finnegan, of Riverfoot married 2 July 1835 in Cooley Parish. Only baptism entry of one child found born in the 1830s. But other children were born later:-

James McCann baptised 25 April 1839 in Lordship Parish;
Bridget McCann baptised 21 January 1844 in Lordship Parish
Thos McCann baptised 13 June 1848 in Lordship Parish;
Michl McCann baptised 4 September 1850 in Lordship Parish and
Elizabeth McCann baptised 17 March 1853 in Lordship Parish

However, as already stated, the Lordship Parish Registers only commenced in 1838 so maybe John McCann was born in late 1837.

          In Griffith's Valuation, published in 1854, there was a William McCann occupying a house and a small garden in Mountbagnal Townland. Riverfoot was at the south east of that townland along Dundalk Bay and with the Castletown River, that separated the townlands of Mountbagnal and Castlecarragh, on the east.  By the first Valuation Office Revision Book, about 1860, William McCann was no longer listed for this area.
          In the 1870 US Census for the Town of Ovid there was a William McCanne, a farmer, born about 1806 in Ireland, his wife Mary born about 1816 in Ireland and a son Michael McCanne stated to be born about 1851 in Ireland.


Mathew Donnelly (Donley) and Ellen Toner.
James Donley of Covert, Seneca County, enlisted 31 August 1864 in the 148th Infantry Regiment. He was married, born about 1844 in Ireland, the son of Mathew Donley, a labourer, and Ellen Toner.
          There was a Mathew Donnelly and Ellen Toner, in Castletown Cooley Townland, who married 27 April 1836 in Cooley Parish.
Only one baptism entry of a child found in that parish:-
Margaret baptised 17 September 1840, Castletown, Cooley.
But, as stated, part of the register, around the mid 1840s, appears to be missing.


Bernard Feehan and Margaret Carroll.
John Feighan of Ovid, enlisted 25 August 1864 in the 148th Infantry Regiment. He was stated to be born 15 April 1846 in Ireland, the son of Bernhard Feighan, a farmer, and Margaret Caroll.
A Bernard Feehan and Margaret Carroll married in Cooley Parish on 6 September 1839.
The baptism entries of children of above found, in Cooley parish, were:-

James baptised 16 July 1840, Rathcor;
Elener baptised 5 March 1843, Rathcor.

The Baptism entry of John around 15 April 1846 was not located.


Andrew McArdle and Mary Donnelly.
Peter McArdle of Ovid, enlisted, 20 January 1864 in the 164th Infantry Regiment. He was married and stated to be born 23 January 1824, in Ireland, the son of Andrew McArdle, a labourer, and Mary Donley.
          There was an Andrew McArdle and Mary Donnelly in Cooley Parish.
Children listed on the Baptism Register included:-

Margaret baptised 12 January 1813, Riverstown;
Ann, baptised 15 April 1819, Castlecarragh;
? baptised 15 December 1821, Castlecarragh (per digital index, page torn);
Peter baptised 31 January 1824, [Riverstown?];
Sally? baptised 6? May 1826, Ballug?.


James McGee and Margaret McKeown.
A James McGee of Ovid enlisted in the 160th Infantry Regiment on 31 August 1862. He was the head of the family, a labourer, and his wife? was Margaret McKone. He was born in Ireland on 29 September 1820. The military record stated he was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Creek on 19 October 1864 and died in Newtown Hospital, on 20 October 1864, of his wounds.
          In Cooley Parish there was a James Magee and Margaret McKeown residing in the Riverstown area. Baptism entries of children included:-

Bridget baptised 2 August 1842, Riverstown (one of sponsors was a George Finegan);
Patrick? baptised 7 February 1847, Castlecarragh (mother listed as 'Mary McKeown).


Michael Toner, a mason, and Mary Donnely.
John Toner of Ovid enlisted 31 August 1864 in the 9th New York Artillery Regiment. He was stated to be born 25 January 1845 in Seneca Falls the son of Michael Toner, a mason, and Mary Donley.
          There was a Michael Toner and Mary Donnelly in Castletown-Cooley Townland.
A child, to above, baptised, there, was:-
Margaret baptised 29 July 1839, Castletown.
So family emigrated between 1839 and 1845.

          A Michael Toner of Ovid, the above?, enlisted 18 December 1863 in the 148th Infantry Regiment, born 29 September 1802 in Ireland, the son of Hugh Toner, a labourer, and Ellen Donely.
          The Parish registers for Cooley Parish only commenced in 1811 but after that date there are two baptism entries of children to a Hugh Toner and Ellen Donnelly:-

Patt baptised 24 December 1813?, Castletown, Cooley;
Jane baptised 3 July 1821, Castletown, Cooley.



          As seen from above, on Michael Toner, these US records may provide information on an Irish person's date of birth and names of parents that may not be available in Ireland. In addition the occupation of the father of the soldier can be listed. Again this latter information, in a number of instances prior to 1864 when civil birth registration began, may not be found in records in Ireland.

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© MP McConnon, MC Research, Seabank, Castlebellingham, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland.
(Original uploaded 20 January 2009). Last update 03 January 2022.