John O'Rourke Who Arrived in 1899

When my grandfather William O'Rourke emigrated from Ireland in 1899, he was accompanied by a John O'Rourke age 37. He was a single man who said he was from Ballintur Townland, County Down, as was my grandfather. John had been in the United States before, and had been a citizen for six years. He was headed to his brother's home on Detroit St, and William evidently was going there with him. A note scribbled between John and William's names could be "cousin." Here are the images of their passenger manifest:

Passenger manifest of the HMS Majestic, from Liverpool June 14, 1899, left

Passenger manifest of the HMS Majestic, from Liverpool June 14, 1899, left

Passenger manifest of the HMS Majestic, from Liverpool June 14, 1899, right

Passenger manifest of the HMS Majestic, from Liverpool June 14, 1899, right

For the longest time, I didn't think that this was actually William's cousin, John, because John is with his siblings in Ballintur on the 1911 Census. After looking at things further though, I think it might be him.

John' manifest said that he was a US citizen, and there is a naturalization record for a John O'Rourke who became a citizen on October 26, 1893. He was living in Newburgh and his witness was Michael McGreal of 2430 Elmo. This puts him in the neighborhood where my grandfather eventually settled.

John's declaration of intention, filed April 4, 1891, said he arrived in the United States in June 1884. There is indeed a John Rourke, passenger on the SS Baltic, which landed in New York on June 14 of that year.

There are numerous listings for a John O'Rourke in the Newburgh area of Cleveland in the City Directories from 1885 to 1899, including one at 2430 Elmo. The Directories also include listings for both a John and James O'Rourke boarding at the same location a few years, and for a James O'Rourke at 1626 Harvard in 1895. My grandfather William boarded at that address in 1900. These given names are common, but the coincidence of them all being in Newburgh, some at familiar addresses, might be enough to identify them as one family.

John's father Edward's will, dated March 6, 1894, does not mention his sons James or John. Neither of them are in Ballintur in 1901, but John is there with his brothers and sisters in 1911. Had he been to the US and back? I don't know. I looked at for a UK incoming passenger record for him between 1898 and 1899, and again between 1901 and 1911, but didn't find any. As with most records, that doesn't mean it isn't there.

For now, until proven otherwise, I am going to assume that John O'Rourke, son of Edward Rourke and Rose Fagan, was the man with William O'Rourke when William emigrated. The hunt for John O'Rourke might be over.

For the details about John, James, and William O'Rourke, including their City Directory listings, see the Trees > Ohio Families section of this site.


The image of the question mark comes from Valerie Everett at and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Most of the information here is about my family or my wife’s, or about families with ties to Cleveland, Ohio, or the area near Rostrevor and Kilkeel in County Down, Ireland. There are also some unrelated families included that I came across. Whatever the case, I hope the material is helpful in your own efforts.
-- Ed Hamilton