We sought Ellen, wife of Daniel Kelly of Poughkeepsie, NY, in connection to a possible link with our own genealogy.1 By best estimate, she was born in Ireland in 1825 and died about 1913.2a That she was born Berrigan is supported by newly released Roman Catholic Baptismal Records, which held listing for one of her sons.3
Ellen said she arrived in the US in 1859.2b She said so in her very old age. Now, Daniel Kelly was born about 1825 in Ireland, too. He was likely already in Poughkeepsie by 1850, but as a boarder, not providing enough detail for certainty.2c Ellen, as Kelly or Berrigan, was not in the census of that year. The couple, however, appeared in the 1860, with a daughter Mary, attributed to them.2d Mary was reportedly born in New York, in 1852. Therefore, the suggested 1859 arrival more likely happened late 1850, or in 1851.
There are a couple of choices for her arrival as Ellen Berrigan in this earlier timeframe. We selected an excellent fit, knowing there could be others that have not been digitized and that other searchers may claim this one, their own fit: Ellen Berrigan, born about 1826 in Ireland, who was aboard the ship “Shannon” from Liverpool. It arrived in New York on 03 MAR 1851.2e
Ellen was one of six Berrigan aboard: Margaret b. 1791, likely mother to Thomas, Thomas b. 1814, Margaret b. 1821, Ellen b. 1826, John b. 1849 and Mary b. 1851. Our assumption was that either the younger Margaret or Ellen was Thomas’ wife.
PERILS AND PEARLS
The Berrigan family was aboard a ship whose manifest is included in the United States Famine Irish Passenger Index, 1846-1851.2f The Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild allows us to see that the ship’s Master tallied 35 deaths among its 364 passengers. (check notes and sources). That there were also births at sea, conveys urgency in the passenger’s dispatch from their homeland.
It was a sailing of hope with 03 March on the horizon. It was one of despair, past dragging into present, and of grief-struck joy. Our hungry Berrigan group had the most impossible voyage of all. Thomas was among the 35, having perished on the 14th of February. He was only 37; had he fatally sacrificed his own nutrition, for that of his wife and children? Infant Mary was born while at sea. We do not know if father and daughter felt each other’s touch.
DID THIS ELLEN BERRIGAN BECOME MRS. DANIEL KELLY?
If so, then know she is the sole surviving Berrigan passenger to be located, once docked. That might not be surprising given that, in their surmised poor health, more might soon fail, and that whomever was the impoverished widow with babes, would look for a quick remarriage.
We have not found a birth report for Mary Kelly, born 1852, NY, to Daniel and Ellen, but then, neither have we, for most of her younger siblings. Under all these circumstances, it occurs that she could be the child born at sea, easily incorporated as Kelly. On the other hand, the ship’s documents did assign Ireland as that child’s native country, which may have been legal reckoning.
We shall be seeing more of Ellen Kelly as the Poughkeepsie piece of our project moves forward, while keeping this Ellen Berrigan in mind. Please place questions or comments in the Reply Box that is below Notes and Sources.
NOTES and SOURCES
1 This project began in “Double Genealogy: The Adoption Witness by Marilee Wein © 2018 Published by Booklocker.com
2 Sourced at Ancestry.com: US Censuses 1850 -1910, as provided to them by NARA (National Archives and Records Administration). Specifically, for Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York and New York US State Censuses decennial 1865-1915; 2a) Ellen Kelly b. 1825, was on US C1910 but absent NYS C1915 with NY Death Indices available for Ellen Kelly in 1913 and 1914. 2b)1910 for Ellen Kelly 2c)1850 for Daniel Kelly 2d)1860 for Daniel and Ellen Kelly. 2e. New York U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1957, Year 1851: Arrival New York, NY USA Microfilm Serial M237, 1820-1897; Line 13 List Number 179, for six Berrigan persons on the Shannon from Liverpool, arriving 03MAR1851. 2f. United States Famine Irish Passenger Index, 1846-1851. (Thomas’ death is counted in the 35, but his date of death is found in the 2e documentation.) https://www.immigrantships.net/v7/1800v7/shannon18510303.html
3 Sourced at FindMyPast.com: New York Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms registers for John Kelly born 1855 of Daniel Kelly and Ellen Berrigan in Poughkeepsie. Note: Ellen claimed 5 children born, while her lifetime of censuses showed only four. This John born 1855 may have perished as infant, with the next child assuming his name.