Bridget McCartan—Kilkeel to Cleveland

As mentioned in her husband's article, John Mcavoy—Rostrevor to Cleveland, I was pretty sure that Bridget McCartan was from the Rostrevor - Kilkeel area of County Down, but I couldn't prove it using only her records. What made the difference in her case was her death notice. It called her the aunt of Michael White and the late Thomas Fearon. That clinched it as far as the locality was concerned, but I had to work backward from Michael and Thomas to finally find everyone in Ireland. More on that in a minute.

When John McAvoy died in 1916, Bridget must have moved in with her sister Mary McCartan at 8801 Walker Avenue. They are there on the 1920 Census. But by 1921 when Bridget married Michael Downs, she was back at 9536 Meech Avenue. The landlord must have liked her as a tenant.

Michael had three children remaining from his first marriage to Bessie Perdew in Youngstown: Beatrice, Paul, and William. His first child Amy, named after Bessie's maternal grandmother, died in 1910, and Bessie herself died in Youngstown in January 1919. (For more information about Michael's son Paul see Paul Downs, 1922, Newburgh, Cleveland.)

Michael and Bridget Downs remained on Meech, Michael dying there in 1936, and Bridget still there with her stepsons in 1940. By 1945 she was back again with her sister Mary on Walker Avenue, when Mary died. Bridget herself died at that address in 1958. She and Michael Downs had no children together.

Michael White

I don't remember exactly how I went about researching Michael White. He was living at 9536 Meech Avenue, the home of his aunt Bridget (McCartan) Mcavoy Sands, when he married Agnes McIntyre in 1939. His death notice mentioned that he was the cousin of Thomas Ferron and Bridget's step-children. Neither gave me his parents' names, though, or his exact place of birth. I think at that point I just went for broke and looked for him in the Kilkeel birth register.

And he was there, born June 17, 1909, in Lisnacree, the son of Thomas White and Maggie McAlinden. Neither was named McCartan, though, so how could Michael be Bridget's nephew? I went back another generation and found that Thomas White was the son of Michael White and Rose McCartan. Rose, Bridget, and four siblings are on the baptism records in Kilkeel parish. So Bridget was technically the great aunt of Michael, not his aunt. Michael White died in 1964; he and Agnes McIntyre had no children.

Thomas Fearon

What about Thomas Fearon, who was also mentioned as Bridget McCartan's nephew? If you are still with me, here goes. Michael White's father Thomas had a sister named Catherine. Catherine married John Fearon in Newry on September 28, 1893. They had a number of children including Thomas, born June 4, 1899, who came to Cleveland and married Mary Driscoll. Thomas died in 1957; he and Mary had at least one child, a daughter.

As a bonus, the research helped clear up the four Patrick Fearons in Kilbroney on Griffith's Valuation. Thomas' father John was living in Ballinran Townland in 1901 and had a sister Bessie and an aunt Mary McGivern in his household. Working backward it turned out that John was the youngest son of Patrick Fearon and Bridget McGivern of Ballinran. Three of his brothers, William, Thomas and Daniel left for Cleveland and John took over the family's land when his mother died in 1891. See Thomas, William, and Daniel Feran—Killowen to Cleveland.

Sources and details for all these families are in the Trees > Ohio Families section of this site.