The “Conroy” Family of Lorrha, Tipperary
The purpose of this document is to provide a single source of information, including the location of official source documents, for anyone who believes they may be connected to the Conroy family that originated in Lorrha, Tipperary, Ireland, and who wishes to know the genealogical story, or to add relevant portions of it to their own family story. It is intended as a supplement to the conroylorrha public tree on ancestry.com. Copies of most of the documents cited can be found attached to the conroylorrha tree. The primary focus of the document will be on related branches of the family still carrying the name Conroy. There is no intention of expanding the information to cover all descendants in all related families.
The Conroys of Lorrha consist of two separate Conroy families, one of which emigrated to Blackburn, Lancashire, England in the mid-19th century, and the other of which emigrated to Fall River, Massachusetts, USA (and some members to Canada) at the beginning of the 20th century. A marriage in 1878 produced one particular branch of Conroys that descends from both these families.
This document builds on research carried out by James Francis Conroy (1919 -1997) and reported in his document “The Conroy Family”, dated April 4, 1995. This will be occasionally referred to as “the 1995 document”. His sources were family members on Vancouver Island, B.C., and in Fall River, Mass., and official records in England and Ireland. He also obtained a number of official source documents in England and Ireland to support his research. Since 1995 the development of the Internet has made it possible to locate, view, and download digitized source documents, from locations all around the world, from the comfort of one’s computer desk.
This document adds the names of family members, and relevant dates, not known to James Francis Conroy, and it notes official source documents used. It indicates where there is disagreement with his research, but it does not replace the 1995 document, which includes a number of personal stories not included here. This document deals primarily with the ancestors and relatives of James Francis Conroy (1919 – 1997). Information on living members of the family is withheld in order to respect their privacy.
To the extent possible, the personal stories of members of this Conroy family will be placed in the conroylorrha public family tree on Ancestry.com.
Inevitably, some errors may have occurred, and some gaps remain in the information available. Any relatives descending from the Conroy’s of Lorrha who wish to add information or correct errors may do so through the Ancestry.com website.
A Peter Conroy and Mary Bolan
They were married on the 14th Jan 1843 in the Roman Catholic parish of Borrisokane - documented by a 1994 transcript from the official records, made by the Tipperary North Family Research Centre, now known as the North Tipperary Genealogy Centre (NTGC). This document uses both Boland and Bolan in referring to Mary). Witnesses were William Conroy and Fanny Lindsay. This William Conroy could be a father or a brother to Peter Conroy.
Peter died on the 11th June 1879 at the age of 59, and Mary died on the 30th September 1881 at the age of 61 (certified copies of death records obtained from the Registrar in the district of Blackburn, Lancashire. England). In both cases a daughter, Eliza Roach, is listed as informant, present at the death. These documents state both Peter and Mary were born in 1820. However, the 1861 England Census records Mary as 2 years younger than Peter, which suggests she was born c. 1822.
Peter Conroy and Mary Bolan appear to have had 8 children: Winifred (1844), Maria (1846), Elizabeth (probably 1849), Ellenor (1853), James Michael (1855) Michael (1858), Joseph (1860), and Peter (1863)
Winifred and Maria were born in Lorrha, County Tipperary, Ireland and baptized on 1 Sep 1844 and 30 Jun 1846, respectively. The NTGC has records of their baptisms. From 1861 on the England Census consistently records Elizabeth (or Eliza) as born in Ireland, although the NTGC is unable to find her birth in their records. At some point between 1849 and 1852 the family moved to Blackburn, Lancashire, England. A further 4 children (Ellenor, James Michael, Joseph, and Michael) were recorded in the 1861 census as born in England, presumably in Blackburn. At the time of that census the family was living at 13 Eccles St. in Blackburn.
Although a genealogy correspondent reports that the family was living on George St East in 1871, searches for the family in the 1871 England Census have not been productive.
Winifred is shown as 16 years of age in the 1861 England Census. She died October 17, 1871, as per the cemetery records for St Anne's RC Church, which can be viewed at the Lancashire Records Office on Bow Lane in Preston, Lancashire.
Maria married Denis O’Brien (1848) in 1870. They had six children: Mary Elizabeth (1872), Cornelius (1873), James (1875), Sarah Ellen (1878), Winifred (1882), and William (1885). In the 1881 Census this family was living at 67 Quarry St. Blackburn, along with Maria’s mother Mary (Bolan) Conroy and Maria’s brother Peter Conroy (1863). An informant states that James and Helen Conroy were listed as the godparents of James (1875) in the records kept by St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Blackburn. These records could be accessed in person at the Lancashire Records Office, Bow Lane, Preston, Lancs. Maria died in 1887 of “pericarditis syncope” (heart failure). In the 1891 Census Denis O’Brien is living at 25 Albion St, Castleton, Rochdale with Mary Elizabeth (known as Cissie), Cornelius (and his daughter Sarah Ellen), Winifred, William, and Ellen Quigley, a sister of Denis, and listed as “housekeeper”. Denis died 25 November 1898 of “tubercular peritonitis aesthenia”. The source for the information on the deaths of Maria and Denis is Maria’s great great granddaughter, living in Northern Scotland in 2011. Maria's daughter Winifred married a James Hague and moved to Edmonton, Alberta in the early 1900's. Winifred's daughters are known to have married Bateman, Boettcher, and Casey.
Eliza (1849) married a John Roach, and appears not to have had children. Eliza seems to have been a stable central figure in the family, taking in her brothers and sisters when they needed help, and witnessing the deaths of her parents. In 1881 she and John Roach were living at 30 Manor Sutton Street, Blackburn, and Eliza’s brother Joseph was living with them. At the 1891 England Census they were living at 13 Myrtle Street, Blackburn along with Joseph and Eliza’s sister Ellen (Conroy) Tracy and her son Peter Tracy and daughter Margaret Mary Tracy. At the time of the 1901 England Census they were still living there, with a Peter Conroy, listed as a brother in law to John Roach, and born c.1862 (presumably Eliza’s brother Peter, born in June 1863).
Ellen (1852) married a Patrick Tracy and had a son Peter (c.1880) and a daughter Margaret Mary (c.1882). In 1881 the family were boarding at 7 Turner St in Blackburn. As already noted, by the time of the 1891 England census Ellen and her children were living with Eliza and John Roach at 13 Myrtle St, Blackburn, and Ellen is recorded as a widow. Living descendants of Peter Tracey are known to be in the Sheffield area in 2011.
A James Conroy (c1856) died in Blackburn in 1878. This may have been James Michael (1857). No other record was found for James Michael after the 1861 Census.
Michael (1858) married Mary Conroy (daughter of Michael Conroy and Bridget Hogan) and, as Grandfather of James Francis Conroy, will be fully covered later in this document.
Joseph (1860) is shown in the 1881 Census living with John and Eliza Roach at 30 Manner Sutton St in Blackburn, with his mother Mary Conroy. He was recorded as 20 years of age. (Mary Conroy died in September of that year). In the 1891 Census Joseph (age 30) was recorded as living at 13 Myrtle St, Blackburn, with Eliza and John Roach (along with Ellen Tracy and her 2 children). A Joseph Conroy of the right age died in Blackburn in 1900.
Peter (1863) appears to have married a Margaret Alice Whalley (1864) in 1885 and to have had 3 children: Mary Jane (1886), James (1887), and Eva Maria (1890). In the 1891 census this family was recorded living at 3 Havelock St in Padiham, Lancs. By the time of the 1901 census Peter was living with John and Eliza Roach at 13 Myrtle St, Blackburn, without his family, and Margaret A. Conroy and her children were living with her father James Whalley, in Padiham, Lancs.
The WW1 service record for James (1887), the son of Peter (1863) shows that he married a widow, Mary Jane (Cissie) Laughton 26 Oct,1909. A more authoritative source, the England and Wales Marriage Index contradicts this, and places the marriage in 1907. The WW1 Service Record lists four children: John Joseph Michael (29 Sep,1906), Rose Ann (30 June,1909), Joseph (25 Feb,1911), and Bridget (2 Oct,1914). It is possible therefore that the son John Joseph Michael went by the name Laughton rather than Conroy. A James Conroy from Padiham, Lancashire, born in 1887 appears alone on the passenger manifest of the SS Samaria, sailing from Liverpool to Boston 23 July 1923. The 1930 US Census records this James Conroy as a boarder at 557 Middle Road in Acushnet Town, Bristol, Mass. The passenger manifest for the SS Devonian lists Mary Conroy (incorrectly transcribed in Ancestry as Conrey) of Padiham, Lancashire, born in 1886, arriving in Boston July 31, 1926. Her contact in the USA is shown as J. Conroy. Neither James nor Mary Jane Conroy appear in the 1940 USA Census. While it is tempting to believe these are James and Mary Jane, son and daughter of Peter and Margaret, descendants of this branch, currently living in England say that they have never heard of James having gone to the USA, even temporarily.
B Michael Conroy and Bridget Hogan
They were married in Lorrha, Co. Tipperary, Ireland 26 Nov 1858, and their first child Mary (Grandmother of James Francis Conroy) was born 13 Nov 1859. The 1994 NTGC transcript records Michael Conry for the purpose of marriage, but records him as Conroy in referring to the birth of their children. Witnesses to the marriage were Michael Conry (possibly Michael’s father?) and Margaret Hogan (perhaps Bridget’s mother or sister?).
Birth records have not been found for either Michael or Bridget.
Michael’s death certificate states he was 67 years old when he died in 1889, which would place his birth c.1822. (Note: An NTGC record was found for a Michael Conry, born in July 1838, in Terryglass, son of Thomas Conroy and Bridget Barrett. However, this appears to be another Michael Conroy, living in Lorrha in the same time period, but married to Catherine Donohoe. It is worth taking note of this other Conroy family, living in or near Lorrha, but unrelated as far as we know. The "Ireland Catholic Parish Registers 1655-1915" records the baptisms of the following children of Michael Conroy and Catherine Donohoe of Lorrha Dorrha: Mary Jan.1861, Julia Aug. 1863, Michael July 1865, Patrick Aug. 1867, and Peter Apr. 1870)
Bridget Hogan Conroy died May 26, 1924 and is buried in St Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River, Mass in Plat 12, grave 461. There is no visible marker in 2016. The cemetery records state her age as 81, which would place her birth in 1843. Bridget provided her age as 47 on immigration to the US, suggesting she was born in 1844. In the 1900 US Census she states that she was born in April, 1846. Using the birth month provided to the 1900 USA Census, and the age recorded at her death, we will assume she was born in April, 1843. This date would mean she was 16 years and 7 months old when her first child Mary was born.
The 1995 document states that Michael and Bridget had 15 children, possibly 16. The 1994 NTGC transcript records ten children with accompanying baptism dates (Mary, 13 Nov 1859; Winifred, 2 Jun 1861; James, 21 Jun 1863; Peter, 22 Oct 1865; Bridget, 25 May 1867; Eliza, 25 Dec 1868; Joseph, 2 Feb 1877; Dennis 12 Jun 1879; James, 15 Aug 1880; and Michael, 6 April 1882), all baptized in Lorrha. The name James appearing twice, we can presume that the first James died early.
James Francis Conroy (1919 -1997) visited Fall River Mass. in 1993 and received from Michael P. Conroy (1917 - 2007), the son of James Francis Conroy (1880 - 1951), a hand-written list of Michael and Bridget’s children, including the year of marriage, the surname of spouse where applicable, and the year of death where applicable. (The 1995 document refers to this list as having originally been given to Michael Conroy by Tom Conroy, the son of Dennis A. Conroy). This list adds Theresa (1872), Delia (1874), Isabel (1875) and John (1878 –1919). A cryptic note added by James Francis Conroy (1919 – 1997) suggests that “Peter 1865, Bridget 1867, James-Michael and Delia?” (sic) may have died in Ireland in 1872. This is erroneous, and was corrected by the discovery of the NTGC Terryglass death records mentioned below. Leaving aside the cryptic note, this lists adds 4 more children for a total of 14 children.
A family tree chart prepared with the 1995 document shows a Bridget (without a birth date) who was known as Delia. This Bridget/Delia is clearly the same one referred to on the 1993 hand written list. It seems likely therefore that the earlier Bridget did not survive and that the later Bridget preferred the name Delia.
This was borne out when a search for the first James in the NTGC records revealed that Michael and Bridget lost 4 children to “scarlatina” during the month of September 1872. These included James, Peter, Bridget and a Michael (1870) not included on either list.
This Michael (1870) brings the total number of children to 15. This corresponds with Bridget's statement as to the number of her children, recorded in the 1900 US Census.
The discrepancy between the two lists pointed to a clear gap between the years 1868 and 1877 in the 1994 NTGC list. The discovery of death records for James, Peter, Bridget and Michael revealed that although Lorrha appears on their documents as the “address”, during that period the NTGC recorded Terryglass (the parish/district) as the location for search purposes. Searching under Terryglass records, birth records were found for Michael (1870), Teresa (1872), Bridget (1873) Isabella (1875) and Joseph (1877). (Note: in my examination of NTGC records I found Conroy, Conry, and even in the case of Isabella, Connery, used for the family name.)
A very early document prepared by James Francis Conroy after his visit to Lorrha when stationed in Britain during World War II, speaks of a John, born in 1870, who died early and is buried in Lorrha. The 1995 family tree chart includes this John with the note “died young”. My own examination of NTGC records revealed only one John Conroy born in Lorrha in 1870, but to Michael Conroy and Kate Donohoe. Having found no John born to Michael and Bridget until John (1878), I have deleted this earlier child from the family tree.
The 1995 document indicates that Michael died in Ireland circa 1885. Searching under Terryglass, a death record was found in the NTGC records for Michael Conroy of Lorrha who died in 1889. A note reads “cause of death – paralysis – 6 years – uncertified – no med att.”
Presumably after Michael died in 1889, Bridget moved with the family. The 1995 notes say that she moved first to Lancashire, England. This would probably be to Blackburn since her oldest daughter Mary was already living there, having married Michael Conroy (son of Peter Conroy and Mary Bolan) in Blackburn in 1878. No record of Bridget and her family living in Blackburn was found, likely because she moved to the USA in July 1891 – before the 1891 England Census. A grandson of Michael J. Conroy (1882) reports that his grandfather told the story of how Bridget gathered up the children after Michael’s death, and walked with them to Queenstown (now Cobh) to get on a boat. On later reflection this grandson now believes it is more likely they walked only to the nearest railhead, perhaps Limerick. He believes they sailed directly from Queenstown to Boston on the S.S. Cephalonia. As the Cephalonia also docked in Liverpool, we cannot be sure about Bridget’s route to the USA,. The family memory is more compelling than the 1995 notes, but on the other hand, when questioned about this detail, Muriel (Pat) McGurn, one of Bridget's grand daughters, told the writer she had not heard the story of the family leaving Ireland, and thought they came to the USA from England.
The Boston Passenger Lists 1820-1943 show that Bridget Conroy age 47, accompanied by an Isabella Conroy age 34 (described as a "wife"), Joseph age 13, John age 11, Joseph age 9, and Michael age 6, immigrated to the USA, 6 Jul 1891, arriving in Boston from Liverpool, on board the S.S. Cephalonia. (The Cunard records show the Cephalonia arriving in Boston July 4 1891, which accords better with the earlier James Francis Conroy’s memory - reported in the 1995 document and by other family members. He spoke of seeing July 4th fireworks, and believing at the time that they were in honour of the family's arrival in the USA). The fact that Bridget was accompanied by another woman named Isabella Conroy makes it uncertain which children were Bridget's and which may have been Isabella's. The names and ages of the children present additional questions. James Francis was born in Aug 1880 and is known to have told members of the family that he was 11 years old when he arrived in the USA on the 4th of July, 1891. John would have been 13, and Joseph 14. Michael would have been 9 years old.
At the time of the 1900 US Census Bridget reported that Isabel, John, Dennis, James and Michael all immigrated with her in 1891. At that time she recorded her birth date as April 1846, which takes 2 years off the age given at the time of immigration and would make her only 13 and a half years old when her first child Mary was born. Bridget lists Isabel as being born in May 1877 and therefore being 23 years old.
Further research has revealed (as per the Boston Passenger Lists 1820-1943) that Eliza (Lizzie) age 16, and Theresa age 11 preceded Bridget to the USA by six years, arriving in Boston 27 April 1885 on the S.S. Bothnia.
Winnifred (1861) also appears to have preceded Bridget. According to the Massachusetts Marriage Records, 1840-1915, she married a Michael Reynolds in Fall River on the 16th of May,1888. The Massachusetts Death Records 1841-1915 record her death in Fall River, 19 March, 1889, listing the cause of death as "capillary bronchitis". The Death Records also cite two children named Reynolds with parents Winnie and Michael "still born" that same day. According to the notes obtained from Michael Conroy in 1993, the daughter Winnifred (1861) married a man named Reynolds in 1888, and had a son named Martin, and a set of twins. No other record has been found for Martin, and the recorded dates for the marriage and death make it seem unlikely that there was a son Martin in addition to the 2 still born twins.
The Passenger List for the Cephalonia does not mention Isabel who would have been 26 years old, Delia who would have been 18 years old, nor Dennis, who would have been 12 years old, all three of whom are known to have immigrated to the USA with the family.
The June 1900 USA Census has Bridget Conroy and five children living at 133 Pearl Street in Fall River, Mass. Birth dates are recorded as Bridget: Apr 1846, Isabel: May 1877, John: June 1878, Dennis: June 1880, James: Aug 1881, and Michael: June 1882. The 1900 census also reveals that Theresa M Conroy, described as a cousin and employed as a housekeeper was living with Thomas (70) and Ellen Larkin (68). Her brother Joseph Conroy is listed living there too, but no details are provided as to his age or occupation.
The oldest child, Mary (1859) married Michael Conroy (1858) – the son of Peter Conroy and Mary Bolan, in Blackburn, 22 May, 1878, and stayed in England when the family emigrated to the USA. A copy of the marriage certificate is attached to the conroylorrha public tree on Ancestry.com. She later immigrated to Fall River, USA with Michael and her family. The Massachussetts Passenger and Crew Lists 1820-1963 show them arriving in Boston August 22, 1912 on the S.S. Arabic.
James (1863), Peter (1865), Bridget (1867), and Michael (1870) all died in Ireland in September 1872 of “scarlatina”. A copy of the death record for James has been downloaded from the Irish Family History Foundation and is attached to the conroylorrha public tree on Ancestry.com. This death record references the deaths of all four children.
Eliza (1868) entered St Xavier Convent in Providence, Rhode Island on 21 June 1895, taking the name Sister Mary Hilary. She died 6 Mar 1955. Given the tragic death of 4 siblings, 3 younger and 1 older - while sparing her, it seems reasonable to speculate that this influenced her decision to pursue a religious life.
Teresa (1872) married W. Sullivan 24 November, 1902 (Massachusetts Marriage Records 1840-1915). The 1930 USA Census has Theresa M. Sullivan living with her husband William C. Sullivan at 248 Mower St. Worcester, Mass. with their children Arthur F. (1909), Kathleen L. (1913), and Ruth M. (1914).
Bridget/Delia (1874) is reported to have married Joseph Paré 4 June,1900. The 1910 USA Census has Delia Paré and her husband Joseph Paré living at 40 Whipple St, Fall River with children Joseph (1902) Francis M. (1903), Mildred (1904), and Eileen (1910). The 1930 USA Census has the family living at 252 Mower St. Worcester, Mass (next door to her sister Teresa) with the three younger children.
Isabella (1875) married Mike Foley 20 June, 1904, (Massachusetts Marriage Records 1840-1915) and lived in Fall River, Mass. She is recorded in the 1910 USA Census married to Michael D. Foley (1881) and having a daughter Mary Gwen Foley (1907). At the time of that census Bridget Conroy and her youngest son Michael were also living with the Foleys. Gwen Foley married Paul McArdle, and in about 1941 had a daughter named Myrene.
Joseph (1877) was reported in the 1993 notes to have died in 1903. The Massachusetts Death Records 1841-1915 confirm this and a copy is attached to the conroylorrha public tree.
John (1878) is reported in Michael Conroy’s 1993 notes to have lived until 1919. In the 1900 USA Census he was recorded living with his mother Bridget in Fall River. The Massachusetts Death Index 1901-1980 records the death of a John Conroy in Fall River.
Dennis (1879) was reported in the 1993 notes to have married in 1901 and to have had a son named Tom. The Massachusetts Marriage Records have him marrying Catherine McCarthy 5 February, 1902. The 1930 USA Census has him living in Fall River, Mass., married to Catherine S. McCarthy and with 3 children: Michael T. (1903), Mary Hillary (1905), and Catherine G. (1909). In 1910 and 1920 the USA Census records the oldest child as Thomas M.
James Francis (1880) married Lucy G. McGee 4 June,1906 (Massachusetts Marriage Records) The 1910 USA Census has them living at 26 Pearl St in Pawtucket City, Rhode Island with children Lucy (1908) and Isabelle E (1910). The 1930 USA Census shows them living in Fall River with 7 children: Lucy (1908), Ramona (1912), Henry (1916), Michael P. (1917), Dorothy (1920), Muriel (1922), and Eileen (1924). A 2007 obituary for Michael P. adds a brother James (since determined to have died at age 2), a sister Belle - presumably Isabelle (1910), and a sister Pat (Muriel was known as Pat, for Patricia). James and Lucy therefore had a total of 8 children, one of whom died early. James Francis Conroy died in Fall River, in 1951.
Michael J. Conroy (1882 - 1953) married Mary Rochford (1882 – 1942) (known as Minnie) 12 June, 1912, and had a son Thomas Hillary (named in honour of Sister Mary Hilary). The 1930 USA Census records Michael and Mary Conroy, with a son Thomas H Conroy (1914), living in Fall River, Mass. Thomas H. Conroy married Lillian Veronica Patten (1912 - 2005) and they had one son and three daughters who are all still living. Thomas H. Conroy died 15 March 1986, in Vineyard Haven, Mass.
The grandson of Michael J. Conroy (1882) mentioned above also reports that his grandfather said that Bridget was to have been met on arrival in Boston by a cousin named Larkin, who did not show up. Information provided in 2011 by Pat Hough in Lorrha, who is a keeper of the local history, is that a James Larkin from Lorrha came to the USA in 1851, and that his brother Patrick followed him in 1857, along with two sisters named Mary and Julia Hogan. Patrick subsequently married Mary, and James married Julia. It seems likely then that the "cousin" relationship with this Larkin family is through the Hogans. Public family trees on Ancestry.com record Patrick and James Larkin and their wives Mary and Julia Hogan, living in Illinois, but originating from Burgesbeg, Tipperary.
C Michael Conroy and Mary Conroy
Michael Conroy (1858), the son of Peter Conroy and Mary Bolan was born in Blackburn, Lancs. England and married Mary Conroy (1859), the daughter of Michael Conroy and Bridget Hogan, in Blackburn on the 22nd of May 1878. Given the two families origins in or near Lorrha, the question arises whether Michael and Mary might have been already related in some way. Michael and Mary lived in the Blackburn area and all of their 10 children were born in Lancashire, except Vincent who was born in Lorrha while his mother was visiting the old family home.
These children were: Elizabeth (1891), Mary Winifred (1882), Joseph (1885), Peter (1886), Vincent (1889), Theresa (1894), Agnes (1896), Lucy (1899), Wilfred (1904), and Elizabeth (1906).
Michael was a weaver, and he and Mary appear to have moved frequently, although probably never far from Blackburn. The 1881 England Census has them living at 54 Birtle Dean in Birtle Cum Bamford. The 1891 Census records them as living in Irwell Vale with daughter Mary (1882) and sons Peter (1886) and Vincent (1889). The 1901 Census shows them at 25 Alma Row in the village of Gregson Lane with Mary Winifred, Peter, Vincent, Theresa (1894), Agnes (1896), and Lucy (1899). The 1911 Census has them living at 69 Victoria Lane in Castleton, Lancs. with all their children, except that the entry for Peter has been crossed out. Peter's service record is available (copy in conroylorrha) and shows that he joined the British Navy in 1904, and was discharged in August 1910 in order to join the Canadian Navy. The Canadian 1911 census records Peter Conroy as a stoker, stationed at Esquimalt Naval Base.
Among the records collected by James Francis Conroy (1919) were baptism certificates, transcribed by St Gabriel’s church in Castleton, Rochdale, Lancs, for Peter, baptized 1 Jan 1887, and for Joseph, baptized 9 May 1885. Prior to Peter, Mary and Michael therefore had a boy named Joseph, who did not survive to the 1891 census. The 1995 document states that Joseph was born 3 May, 1885.
Among the certified copies of birth records obtained by James Francis Conroy is a birth certificate for a child named Elizabeth, born to Michael and Mary Conroy, 21 Sep 1891 in the Registration district of Burnley, Lancashire. As this child does not appear in the 1901 England Census, and as another child was born and named Elizabeth in 1905, it can be assumed that this Elizabeth died at an early age.
The passenger manifest for the S.S. Ultonia records a Winifred Conroy (age 20), accompanied by her sister Agnes (age 10) departing Liverpool July 7, 1903 and arriving in Boston July 18. Their passage was paid by their grandmother. They are recorded as travelling to 133 Pearl St., Fall River to join their uncle, Thomas Larkin. Although Bridget Conroy (their grandmother) had lived at 133 Pearl St in 1900, she was living with Mike and Isabel Foley, at 303 Whipple St. by 1910.
But contradicting this, the passenger manifest for the S.S. Franconia has Mary Winifred (age 28) and Teresa (age 17) boarding 31 October, 1911 in Liverpool and sailing to Boston, arriving 9 Nov 1911. (Note: Their names are also listed on the manifest of the S.S Franconia sailing about 3 weeks earlier, but are crossed out). According to the 1995 document they were sent ahead to prepare for the family’s emigration the following year. The ship manifest lists the family address in England as 69 Victoria Lane, Castleton, Lancs. The 1995 document says that on arrival in Fall River they stayed with Mike and Isabel Foley.
This contradiction of the Ultonia records is supported by the 1911 English Census, which has Mary Winifred and Agnes still living with the family in Castleton, and by the record below of Agnes travelling to Boston with the family in 1912. Perhaps Winifred and Agnes visited the USA in 1903 and returned to England. This seems unlikely, but there is a record of a Winifred Conroy (age 22) accompanied by an Agnes Conroy (age 6) sailing from New York to Liverpool on the S.S. Cedric in December 1904. Winfred is listed as "wife" and Agnes as "child"
On 13 Aug 1912 Michael and Mary boarded the S.S Arabic in Liverpool and sailed for Boston, accompanied by Agnes, Lucy, Wilfred (1904) and Lizzie (1906). They arrived in Boston 22 Aug 1912. Their previous address in England is shown as Oakland Terrace, Castleton, and their destination as Fall River, Mass. Michael appears to have left Fall River and Bridget after the 1920 US Census and to have gone to live with his son Peter in Victoria, B.C. Vincent stated that he never saw his father and older brother again after leaving Fall River in 1912. Michael died in Victoria, 21 October, 1923, from injuries received after being hit by a street car. He is buried in the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, B.C. Canada.
Mary Conroy died in Fall River 17 May, 1929, and is buried in St Patrick's Cemetery, Fall River.
Mary Winifred (1882), known in the family as Aunt Winnie, never married and remained in Fall River, Mass until her death on 4 May 1963. She and Aunt Elizabeth periodically visited Vincent Conroy and his family in Ste Anne de Bellevue. She is buried in St Patrick's Cemetery together with her youngest sister Elizabeth.
Peter (1886) did not accompany the family in the move to Fall River, having joined the Royal Navy in 1904 at the age of 18. The 1995 document states that by 1910 Peter had joined the Royal Canadian Navy and was stationed in Esquimalt, British Columbia (confirmed by his Royal Navy service record and by the 1911 Canadian Census - as indicated above). Peter married Louisa Victoria Shivers, circa 1914, and had three children, Winifred (1915), Lily (1916) and Kay (1925). Serving on board the Canadian submarine CC2 during WW1, Peter was in Halifax harbour at the time of the 1916 explosion that killed 1600 people. Peter died 23 July 1953, in British Columbia.
Vincent (1889) also did not accompany the family. The 1995 document says that after completing his military service Vincent moved to Fall River ahead of the family and stayed with his great uncle James Francis Conroy (1880 – 1951). He was recorded as still living with the family in the 1911 English Census. The 1995 document says that, following differences with his father, Vincent left Fall River in 1912 and immigrated on his own to Sainte Anne De Bellevue, Quebec, Canada. No document referring to his immigration to Canada was found, but there is a record of a Vincent Conroy, of Ste Anne’s (i.e. Ste Anne De Bellevue, Que) crossing the Canada /USA border in March 1914, on his way to Fall River, Mass. Family stories differ, but at the start of WW1 Vincent joined either a Canadian regiment, or a regiment in England in which he had served before the war, but then, wishing to get into action sooner, deserted and reenlisted in England, December 30, 1914, in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, under the assumed name John O’Connor. The service record for this John O'Connor has been obtained, and the register number reads 736 (s). He was wounded (right arm) 25 June, 1915 at Gallipoli, and wounded again (left arm amputated) 13 November, 1916 in the final stages of the Battle of the Somme, during the 63rd(Naval Division) advance on Beaucourt, along the Ancre river. His real identity was discovered after his second injury and he was invalided back to Canada in 1917. Several family members report having seen a letter signed by King George V pardoning him for his desertion. This letter is no longer in the possession of the family. One of Vincent's daughters believes he may have burned it.
The military service record for John O'Connor leaves no doubt that Vincent Conroy fought in the Royal Marine Light Infantry under the name John O'Connor, and was wounded as described above. It has so far not been possible to find a record of his initial enlistment, either in Canada or in England. The pardon from King George V would be very unusual, and has also so far not been possible to corroborate. It has to be noted in connection with this that the Canadian government issued a General Amnesty for all deserters from Canadian forces, in 1919. This appears to lessen the chance that a pardon was issued for desertion from a Canadian unit. If he enlisted in England with a unit in which he had prior service we would have to look for a reserve unit, as there was no compulsory service in England prior to 1916. The Curator of the Royal Marine Museum told the author that he has never seen a written pardon. He stated that wounded soldiers were issued a disability certificate which included King George's signature, and suggests this may have been what the family remembers.
One other circumstance that could have a bearing on this story is that, due to the enormous casualties experienced, the British Army's initial height requirement of 5' 8'' was progressively reduced over the course of 1914. The requirement was lowered to 5' 3'' in November. Vincent was 5' 3 1/2'' and enlisted in the RMLI December 30, 1914. If this requirement was enforced, it would mean that Vincent might have had difficulty enlisting in any unit prior to November, 1914.
After his war service Vincent Conroy married Catherine Goulding, also of Ste Anne De Bellevue, 19 February 1919. As Catherine had no immediate family the wedding took place in Fall River, Mass, at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. Vincent and Catherine had four children, James Francis (1919), Dorothy (1921), Hilda (1924), and Doris (1926).
Theresa (1894) married Thomas Flynn and had 6 children: Thomas (1919) Alfred, Leo, Mary (1922), Theresa, and Wilfred. At the time of the 1920 USA Census she and Thomas (1884) were living at 151 Snell St in Fall River, and their son Thomas was 6 months old. At the time of the 1930 USA Census there was a Thomas Flynn, of the right age, living alone in Fall River, and recorded as divorced. The street address is not shown. James Francis Conroy reported that Theresa had a second marriage (presumably before the 1930 census) to a man named Gaubin (Gauvin?) and had 3 more children: Jacqueline, Maureen and Patricia. James Francis Conroy stated that he didn’t remember his Aunt Theresa, and his family tree chart refers to her husband as “Gaubin”. As I found records only of a Theresa M Gauvin born in England in December 1894, and who died in Fall River in 1987, I am assuming her name to have been Gauvin. The names of all Theresa’s children (other than Thomas) were obtained from the 1995 document, as no census records were found for Theresa Gauvin and her family.
Agnes (1896) married Roland Levesque (1903) and had 3 children : Eunice (1925), Joseph (1927) and Roy. The 1930 USA Census shows them living at 95 John St. in Fall River with Eunice and Joseph. The name Roy appears on James Francis Conroy’s family tree chart, but spaced a bit below Eunice and Joseph. If there was a Roy, he was evidently born after 1930.
Lucy (1898) married Thomas Carr (1897) and had 5 children: Arlene (1921), Louis (1923), Vincent (1925), Margaret (1928), and Mary (1930). The family remained in Fall River, and Lucy died 23 Nov 1993, not long after James Francis Conroy (1919) visited Fall River for the last time.
Wilfred (1904) never married. It is said that Catherine Conroy (neé Goulding) referred to Wilfred as the black sheep of the family, inclined to wander rather than to settle down.
Elizabeth (1905) also never married, and she lived her life in Fall River with Aunt Winnie. She died in 1965, two years after Winnie and they are buried together in St Patrick's Cemetery, Fall River, Mass.
7 July, 2016