Looking into the eyes of my ancestor – Patrick McTygue!

Patrick McTygue/Tigue born 1838 Shrule, Mayo died 1924 Eddyville, Dawson County, Nebraska.

Patrick McTygue/Tigue born 1838 Shrule, Mayo died 1924 Eddyville, Dawson County, Nebraska.

On December 31st I received a package in the mail from my mother. What a surprise! It was full of “McTygue” family pictures. Most of them I have copies of, but a couple of them were real gems! Thank you Muriel Shea for passing on the photos!

Patrick McTygue, my great-grandfather, was the person who started me on my genealogy journey. Patrick was born in May of 1838 in Shrule, County Mayo. Patrick traveled to America with his family about 1849. The first record I can Patrick in America is the 1860 Census. Patrick is living with his mother and siblings in Killingly, Windham, Connecticut.

I just discovered that Mary O’Connor who Patrick married in 1864 both used the same Post office at West Killingly in Killingly Connecticut. Mary was the daughter of Timothy O’Connor and Mary Kennedy. Mary was born in Rome, New York in 1844.

Patrick fought in the Rhode Island Light Artillery. After the war Patrick and Mary McTygue moved to Wisconsin where their daughter Julia was born in Aug of 1868. It was a member of Julia McTygue’s family who sent the package of photos to my mother. Julia had married Richard Shea.

Patrick’s mother Bridget Tygue née Purcell and brother Michael Tighe remained in Clinton, Rock County Wisconsin. Patrick and Mary were in Saline County Nebraska by 1870.

Patrick and Mary both died before my father was born in 1924, so my dad didn’t have any memories of them.

When we would visit my grandparents on Sunday we had to take a nap after Sunday dinner. I finally figured it out – that was the only way the adults had time to visit!

On one of those Sunday afternoons I found a small piece of paper in the McTygue family bible. On that piece of paper was  a story about Patrick coming to America and fighting in the Civil War. I had to find out more! I did my first genealogy interview! I sat down with my grandfather and asked him about his dad! My first genealogy mistake….I didn’t ask any questions about his mother – Mary McTygue née O’Connor.

My grandfather died in 1964, I was about 12 years old when I did that interview, but I still have that piece of paper over 52 years later! I have learned so much about Patrick and his family. I have found that the family has spelled their surname many different ways: Tigue, Tygue, McTygue and Tighe. Other people have added their variations of our surname: Tygne, McTygur, McTague and more! This is just one of the ways Irish genealogy is so much fun!

It was a real thrill to open a package last week and find a picture of Patrick McTygue! I know of only 3 other photos of Patrick. I have e-mailed a copy of his photo to members of my family.

The last thing I have learned about genealogy….It is so important to share what you know and love with the rest of the family!

Breaking down an Irish Genealogy Brick Wall

Patrick and Mary McTygue about 1920, Eddyville, Dawson County Nebraska.

Patrick and Mary McTygue about 1920, Eddyville, Dawson County Nebraska.


My father has only Irish ancestors, therefore I have some genealogy “brick” walls.  Mary O’Connor McTygue has been one of those brick walls.

I know from her death certificate that her father was Timothy O’Connor, born in Ireland.  Mary’s mother was Mary Kennedy and she was also born in Ireland.  Mary’s death certificate said she was born in Rome, New York.  Mary died in October 1922 a couple of years before my father was born.  Her husband Patrick died a couple of months later in February 1923.  Their son Fred McTygue filled out both death certificates.  Fred was knowledgeable about his father’s information including naming ‘Shrule’ Ireland as where Patrick was born. I have those baptismal records from Shrule County Mayo. Thank you great-uncle Fred for putting that on the death certificate for you father!

Mary O'Connor McTygue's death certificate from 1922

Mary O’Connor McTygue’s death certificate from 1922


I also have a copy of the Certificate of Marriage for Patrick and Mary 10 November 1863. Remember when working with Irish ancestors you have to work with variations of spellings of names.  I have Patrick’s surname spelled a variety of ways. Mary’s name was listed as Connor.  The O’s and Mc’s are added and dropped often.

Patrick McTyuge & Mary O'Connor marriage record.

Patrick McTyuge & Mary O’Connor marriage record.

Facts I have for Mary O’Connor McTygue

1. Names of Parents, Timothy O’Connor and Mary Kennedy

2. Mary was born about May 1844 in New York

3. Mary married Patrick Tiague/McTygue in November 1863 in Moosup, Plainfield, CT

I had tried to find Mary’s family in New York, but Timothy & Mary O’Connor are very common names.

This morning I tried a new approach.  Why not look for the family in Connecticut!  That is where I found the family in the 1860 census.  Timothy & Mary O’Connor and their children:  Jeremiah age 22, Mary age 18 (born in New York), Julia age 14 and Joanna age 13.  The family was living in Brooklyn Windham, Connecticut – their post office was West Killingly. The piece of the puzzle that fit – where was Patrick McTygue in 1860?  Living with his family inKillingly, Windham, Connecticut and his post office was West Killingly.

Mary O’Connor McTygue moved with her husband after the Civil War to Wisconsin and by 1870 they had one daughter Julia and they had made their way to Nebraska.

Mary Kennedy O’Connor born about 1804 Ireland- found in 1875 Rhode Island Census, is listed as the Mother-in-law and Widowed. No further records.

Jeremiah O’Connor – born 1838 in New York found in 1860 census living with his parents, and 1875 New York Census living with his sister Julia and her husband Adelbert Trask in Providence, Rhode Island.

Julia O’Connor Trask born about 1846 New York. Married Adelbert Trask.  Adelbert Trask is found on Find-A-Grave (1845-1880)They have three daughters: Elizabeth Mary Trask born 1869, Julia Bell Trask born 1874 and Johanna Trask born 1879.  No record of May after 1880.

Johanna/Joanna O’Connor born about 1847 in New York.  Found in 1860 and 1870 Census and in the 1875 Rhode Island Census.  No record after 1875.

Timothy O’Connor’s family uses Connor as a surname.  I need more time to research to see if Jeremiah O’Connor served in the Civil War. I need to research Adelbert Trask and his Civil War Record.


My first genealogy interview was with Francis Patrick McTygue

My grandfather Frank McTygue.

My grandfather Frank McTygue.

I found this photo this morning on my desk.  My goal this year is to work on scanning my family photos.  This is my grandfather who we all called Granddad.  In about 1962 one Sunday I found a little piece of paper in my grandparents bible.

Patrick McTygue bio

This small piece of paper intrigued me.  I was about 12 years old and this story about Patrick McTygue being born in County Mayo and fighting in the Civil War changed my life.  I had to sit down with a small tablet and ask my grandfather questions about his dad!  I still have that piece of paper!  My love of family and history evolved into what is now known as genealogy.  I just had a spiral notebook that I kept track of the family.

I find the stories and the photos bring my family history to life.  I have been to Ireland and walked the streets of Shrule County Mayo where Patrick McTygue immigrated from about 1850.  I have photos of Patrick and his brother Michael.  These brothers spell their last names differently.  “Bridget Tygue” is on their mother’s headstone in Clinton Wisconsin.  Michael is buried in the same cemetery as his mother and his headstone reads”Michael Tighe”.  Patrick left Clinton Wisconsin about 1870 and moved to Nebraska. Patrick is buried in Eddyville Nebraska and his headstone reads “Patrick McTygue”.

This is one of the reasons that I love genealogy – each document, photo and story add make the picture of my ancestors more complete.

Francis Patrick McTygue born 28 March 1886 and died 4 Oct 1964.  Frank married Mary Veronica “Vera” Neville 19 Nov 1913 when he was 27 years old.  They had nine children: John Patrick, Anna Marie, Catherine Elizabeth, Loretta Laverne, Patricia Ann, Francis Bernard, Robert Emmett, James Edward and Michael Joseph.

Thank you granddad for sitting down with me and telling me about your family!  It has been a wonderful journey!

Saving a Family Story!

Margaret Noon Tighe


I found a letter from Joan Tighe Clayton that contained a story about her grandmother, Margaret Noon Tighe.  I was able to identify a photo of Joan’s grandmother that was given to my great-grandfather Patrick McTygue about 1870.  My father had the tin-types and didn’t know who they were. I asked if I could take them and try to figure out who they were.  I was able to discover who everyone was because I collect family photos and I keep track of all of the families.

Here is the story from a 1996 Christmas letter from Joan —

“Another highlight of my Irish days was a list to the Famine Museum in Strokestown, County Roscommon.  This is the community from which my Grandmother, Margaret Noon Tighe, and her family came at the time of the Great Irish Potato Famine.  Many of  the Irish families in the farm area around Clinton, Wisconsin (where my father was raised) appear to have their origins in that Strokestown Community during the Famine era.  On the wall in the museum was an article from The Freeman’s Journal of April 29, 1848 in which was published a list of tenants from the Pakenham-Mahon estate which now houses the museum.  A number of the names on that list are the same as those in the Clinton area I mentioned above.  The museum has the best collection of Famine Records and the Museum director was kind enough to give me a copy of The Freeman’s Journal article for my files.  President Mary Robinson dedicated the Strokestown Museum in 1884.  The 150th Anniversary of the Commencement of the Famine was in 1995 but those who are familiar with the horrors of that time will know that the family lasted for a number of years thereafter.”

Margaret Noon was born in May of 1839 and came to America with her parents.  Margaret married Michael Tygue 27 Feb 1859 and they were the parents of eight children. About 1905 the family changed the spelling of their surname from Tygue to Tighe. Margaret Tighe died in Clinton, Rock County Wisconsin 24 Sept 1918.

I do not know if the Clinton Tighe family had a copy of her photo.  Patrick McTygue moved from Wisconsin to Nebraska about 1870 and the family must have given him the photos when he left.