How it all started
This is the gravestone of my Gtgrandfather Patrick Rooney.He is buried at Moston Cemetery in Manchester,England.
It was 2004 and after the death of my aunt Mary, who was a keen genealogist, that my father and I decided to trace our families history on the Rooney side of the family. My aunt had traced her own ancestors back many generations, in the day when there were no computers or internet. She traveled all over the country and posted hundreds of letters and traced her English ancestors roots to Lincolnshire and Suffolk.We decided it was time to trace our Irish Rooney's.
My dads father ‘James Terrence Rooney’ never spoke much about his father Patrick and the only things we did know is that he was born in County Monaghan in 1869, and rumor had it that he was born in a post office.
The first thing we did was to send off for his marriage certificate. He married my great grandmother Mary Elisabeth Nugent in 1900.
When the marriage certificate arrived we were able to see that Patrick’s father was also called Patrick Rooney, so with this information we contacted a researcher and asked him to look for a birth record in County Monaghan of a Patrick Rooney son of Patrick born in 1869.
Two weeks later he contacted us to say that after checking four years either side on 1869 there was only one possible match, this was a Patrick Rooney of Derryartry, County Monaghan, born to Patrick Rooney and Ellen McKenna.
This was great news for us, his birth certificate can be seen below.
We managed to track down my Gtgrandfathers birth certificate and this got our search off to a flying start.
Armed with this new information I contacted a researcher called Dr. Robert Somerville-Woodward, and asked him to find out more about my family, he came back with a lengthy report and told me the following.
‘The results of our research have been mixed. Patrick Rooney’s Baptismal Record was eventually located in the Roman Catholic Parish of Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh. This parish corresponds to that portion of the Civil Parish of Clones, which is nominally situated in Fermanagh and not Monaghan. Patrick Rooney and Ellen or Helena McKenna married in the Roman Catholic Parish of Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh, in January 1864.
At the time of their marriage, Patrick Rooney was residing in the townland of Eshnadarragh in the Civil Parish of Clones, Co. Fermanagh and so were his parents, James and Bridget Rooney. Patrick Rooney and Ellen McKenna’s marriage took place in January 1864, the first month of Civil Registration in Ireland, and the marriage was not civilly registered. Between 1864 and 1877, the Baptismal Records of four children that issued from the marriage of Patrick Rooney and Ellen McKenna were located in the Parish Registers for the Roman Catholic Parish of Roslea, Co. Fermanagh.
The address given for the Rooney family in at the time of the children’s baptisms was Derryartnag. We have been unable to establish any townland address by this name in either Co. Fermanagh or Co. Monaghan after 1837, although the townland name did exist at the time of the Tithe Applotment Returns for Clones parish.
So after reading this part of his report we now knew that Patrick’s parents were Patrick Rooney and Ellen McKenna and that his grandparents were James Rooney and Bridget Rooney. From his report we also found out that my great grandfather also had the following siblings who were all baptized at St Tierneys’s church in Roslea, Co Fermanagh.
Born on 25th November, Baptized on 26th November 1865, James the son of Patrick Rooney and Elenora McKenna of Derryartnag. Bernard Rooney and Bridget McKenna stood as John’s sponsors.
Born on 11th August, Baptized on 12th August 1867, Mary, the daughter of Patrick Rooney and Ellen McKenna of Derryartnag. Francis and Mary McKenna stood as Mary’s sponsors.
Born on 22nd May, Baptized on 23rd May 1869, Patrick, the son of Patrick Rooney and Helena McKenna of Derryartnag. Thomas Rooney and Anne McKenna stood as Patrick’s sponsors.
Born on 6th October, Baptized on 8th October 1872, Bridget, the daughter of Patrick Rooney and Ellen McKenna of Derryartnag. Thomas Rooney and Catherine McKenna stood as Bridget’s sponsors.
Born on 8th February, Baptized on 10th February 1874, Catherine, the daughter of Patrick Rooney and Ellen McKenna of Derryartnag. Patrick Rooney and Elizabeth McKenna stood as Catherine's sponsors
All this new information was great news and my next step was to try and see if any of the Rooney’s still lived in Fermanagh or Monaghan. My good friend Gerry Rice of Lisnaskea managed to get local phone directories and give me the addresses of about two dozen Rooney families still living in the area and I proceeded to write letters to each of them. I explained that my ancestors originated from Eshnadarragh and Derryartry and waited for some replies to arrive.After receiving several letters from people who were not connected, I received a letter from Tom McGuire of Derryartry in County Monaghan.
The letter from Tom turned out to be an amazing breakthrough.In the letter he explained that as a child he grew up with the Rooney’s of Derryartry, his father, Schoolteacher Master Tom McGuire lived in an adjoining farmhouse, he told me that the Rooney siblings all lived together and none of them ever got married. When they all died it was Tom who had a gravestone erected in their memory at St Tierney’s.
All these Rooney’s were the children of James Rooney and Kate Quigley.
James was the oldest child of Patrick Rooney & Ellen McKenna and was the brother to my great grandfather Patrick. From a copy of my 2xgrandfathers will, we see that he died in 1899 and left the farm at Derryartry to James his eldest son
Around the time of his death Patrick came over to England to settle in Manchester, maybe Patrick was not happy at his brother inheriting the farm and came over to England to make a fresh start?
So to recap.After getting the researchers report and after the letter from Tom, we were able to establish the following branches of our new family tree.
Descendants of James Rooney
1 James Rooney 1794 - 1871
.. +Bridget Rooney 1803 - 1887
........ 2 Patrick Rooney 1828 - 1899
............ +Ellen McKenna 1834 - 1909
................... 3 James Rooney 1865 - 1918
....................... +Kate Quigley 1875 - 1943
................... 3 Mary Rooney 1867 -
................... 3 Patrick John Rooney 1869 - 1936
....................... +Mary Bertha Vost 1874 - 1900
................... *2nd Wife of Patrick John Rooney:
....................... +Mary Elizabeth Nugent 1877 - 1937
................... 3 Bridget Rooney 1871 - 1895
................... 3 Catherine Rooney 1874 -