Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tyrone. Trillick, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Brien - Hilliard.

County Tyrone, Trillick
Little, Ancient, Trillick
Trelic Mor -- Three Standing Stones
My Grandmother came from Trillick.  Louisa Lucinda Hilliard Brien.  July 12, 1877-November 2, 1963.  Sometimes the name is given as Louise Lucinda, or Lucinda Louise. She is an enigma; an illegitimate daughter of the area wealthy person, but acknowledged.  But too proud to bend.
She was too proud to develop a lasting relationship with that father, William Brien of Glengeen Lodge, also Trillick. Her mother had worked as part of the household staff at Glengeen.  Upstairs Downstairs right in the family.  Or is there another explanation for Grandma's rejection of Brien.
My great-grandmother, Margaret Hilliard of Main Street, Trillick, was only 13 or 14 and working in Glengeen Lodge when Mr.  Brien asserted his "entitlement."  Yet, he supported her and her child, and followed them both to New York, visiting several times, seeking a connection.
Louise Lucinda Hilliard (Brien) of Trillick, with father, William Brien. Glengeen Lodge, Trillick

Louisa Brien's hand is on Mr. Brien's shoulder here;  but her rejection of him as he followed her and her mother is reflected in letters and documents now being organized by a cousin, all of us interested.
Grandma:  she was proud, had a backbone of iron, and had a childhood of, what, humiliation?  Not necessarily.  Who knows. He sent her to a fine school in Enniskillen, where she did extremely well. He tried to make good, we think. What did Trillick think? Did anyone care?
What was Trillick like for her and her mother, a Hilliard from Main Street;  and for the rest of the Hilliards after Maggie had her baby.  Cultures. Customs. An era also an enigma.
William Brien is listed in 1910 at the Ireland Libraries site for Ulster Towns  Directory, at Glengeen, with a John Brien; see
Glengeen Lodge:  fair use overview of its heritage, from the Trillick website at  But first, the flight of the Earls 1607, out of Lough Swilly, Donegal"

"After the flight of the Earls from Lough Swilly on 4 September, 1607, and the division of their escheated lands, the O'Neill territory here was given the description of the Manor of Stowy and allotted to Sir Mervyn Tuchet in 1611. He passed them to his cousin, Sir Henry Mervyn of Hampshire, who in turn passed them to his son, Captain James Mervyn. He arrived here around 1620, began building a castle which was completed in 1628 and the new town of Trillick was completed in the 1630s. A court was established, a weekly market and a fair on 3 May. The castle was described as one of the best of its kind and was occupied up to the 1800s, being vacant in 1814. It had then passed to General Mervyn Archdale, who built the hunting lodge at Glengeen. The Mervyns were noted parliamentarians, holding the Tyrone seat in Parliament from 1639 to 1747 and Captain Audley Mervyn being Speaker of the Irish Parliament from 1661 to 1666."
Name variations:  Grandma is listed as Lucinda Louise on the second-class passage ticket to New York (Did Mr. Brien pay?). At her time of the crossing, however, she was only 18.   Until her marriage, then, there is a gap of some 8 years. She lists a New York address on her marriage certificate. Next trip to NY, find it.
Mr. Brien did well by his obligations, even though he did not have to. Heprovided an income, and stocks, we understand, for Louisa and her mother, Margaret Hilliard.
Others living with them in New York were a  James Hilliard (died in the flu epidemic, buried in the McConaghy plot, Woodlawn Cemetery, NY, with Grandma and her husband, Robert McClure McConaghy).  Would that be a younger brother of Grandma? born about 1897; and died the same year as her own son Robbie, age 6, in the flu epidemic in NY; and a Frances Hilliard also lived with them; born about 1870.  Frances with es -- a woman?  Sister? Aunt?
Louisa married, Robert McClure McConaghy of Donegal but then in NY, and the income and stocks from Mr. Brien were provided, we understand, on an ongoing basis.  Louisa-Louise supported herself and her five children after the sudden death of her husband, Robert McConaghy, then in his 40's.  Then, then, and then.  Then came the Crash 1929.

 Soon there was nothing. A cousin, Dorothy, is researching more. Any family has an equal number of forebears - and twists, but learning about them is a window into history and gives goads to travel. Good goads.

Four thousand years of history show in Trillick and its areas.  Celts and beyond. See  Trillick was home to family, a high end, and a commoner end; the maternal half, the Hilliards, since emigrated or deceased we think.  The paternal, the William Brien family of Glengeen Lodge, to us "the big house", are apparently still there. But do they know of us? Probably not.

Main Street, Trillick, Tyrone, Ireland

The Hilliards had lived on Main Street, I understand. Margaret, a daughter, at 13 went to work at the big house, Glengeen Lodge.  At 14, she had a baby by William Brien, then 38. With all that, he acknowledged them both, and supported both, even following them to New York maintaining contacts.  At her marriage, my grandmother, Louisa Lucinda, here listed as Louise, named the surname as Brien. Was she adopted by then? But Margaret would not marry, and probably he was not in a position to do so anyway, not from Glengeen.

On her steamship ticket, I believe Louisa was Lucinda Louisa Hilliard Brien.

Family, Trillick, Ireland.

Thanks to this family, and we do have their name, for a welcome, and afternoon tea at their farm. A wedding was pending: we wish them all happiness.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Donegal. St Johnston. Mc and Mac. Family Roots

Donegal County

St. Johnstone
St. Johnstone, St Johnston, and Strabane, Donegal. Strabane straddles Donegal and Tyrone, Donegal in the Republic, Tyrone in Northern Ireland. These areas are the roots place of my grandparents, Robert McClure McConaghy, who married Louise (Louisa) Lucinda Hilliard (Brien) once they were both in the United States, and older than many newlyweds - she was 26, he was 28.
We found past folk among rainbows in Donegal.  There are McConaghy clergy, Protestant, going back to the 1800's there.  This vehicle stops for rainbows.

  St. Johnston, Ireland, County Donegal

If you have Irish roots, you are lucky in that Irish tax money was expended to hire people to digitize graveyard and church records.

 The towns have record books, and there are computerized records for getting information in advance: births, deaths, marriages, burials, even immigration; at least back to the beginning of the record books. See http://www.

Or, go into archives for obituaries.  Here the the obituary for the Rev. Joseph McConaghy, died 1875, at FN 1

All on the net. See
Mc and Mac.

We tried to find every residence name or place that is mentioned in old family papers. Mc or Mac - they apparently have the same roots. see  See also
The Mc or Mac does not necessarily differentiate between Scots and Irish, or Protestant or Catholic.
 The oldest Irish were known as "Scotties" - they went across the water and settled in Scotland, rather than the other way around.  They went back and forth for thousands of years. Find the Scotti among the oldest groups at  For details, see the Manageable Timeline here.

Robert McClure McConaghy, NJ, 1922 or so, with daughters, Dorothy and Marjorie

Midsummer Night's Dreamlike - with somebody's backyard brownie camera.


FN 1  Newspaper clipping, pasted into a Session Book at the Saint Johnston Presbyterian Church 1876

"Death of the Rev. Joseph McConaghy

On the last day of the past year the Rev. Joseph McConaghy died at his residence Dundee, St. Johnston and thus another able and zealous member of the olden band of ministers has passed away.  He was born at Greenhills near Raphoe in the year 1811 so that at his death he was in his 65th year.  His preliminary education was received at the Raphoe Royal School afterwards studying under Rev. Mr. Fullerton, Rector of Stranorlar.  Amongst his school fellows at Raphoe was Isaac Butt, Esq. M.P.  On entering the University of Glasgow the celebrated Sir Daniel Sandford became his instructor and in the list of his fellow students was the late Dr. Norman M'Leod, Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen, also editor of "Good Words", and the present Primate of all England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Tait.  Another of his fellow students was the deceased Dr. Edward Dill, author of Ireland's "Curse and Cure", etc.

He entered the Divinity Hall under the famous Dr. Stevenson M'Gill and after completing his Divinity course was licenced by the Irish Presbyterian Church and ordained in the congregation of St Johnston on 16th day of December 1834.

Thus for the long period of 42 years he was a hard-working efficient minister highly beloved and esteemed, not only by the members of his own congregation, but by all classes and creeds who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.   Like his friend and brother minister, the late Dr. John Wray of Convoy, he had a wonderful knowledge of most diseases to which the human frame is subject and turning this knowledge to account, he was enabled to alleviate much pain and suffering throughout the entire neighborhood.

It is consequently no hyperbole to affirm that a character so distinguished, obliging and pious can be badly spared amongst us.  Nor is it by any means wonderful when as in his case, the golden bowl broke, and the silver cord  snapped, many, very many, real mourners were going about the streets."

Rainbow, St. Johnstone, Donegal, Ireland

Here is the same rainbow - just wouldn't fade away- right there in Donegal itself, it is. And pot of gold.