Richard Cunningham, probably Kilkeel to Cleveland

While working on the article Mary Raimer of Newburgh, Cleveland, I noticed that Mary's cousin Bertha Raimer married a Cunningham. That got my attention, since my great grandmother's maiden name was Cunningham, and they lived in the same part of Cleveland as the Raimers. As it turned out, Bertha's daughter married one of my second cousins. But let's begin at the beginning.

Richard Cunningham was born May 4, 1858, in Northern Ireland, 1,2 and arrived in the United States on December 16, 1879, aboart the SS Gallia which sailed from Liverpool.3 In 1880 he was rooming at 2054 Marble, in the Newburgh neighborhood of Cleveland. Also rooming at the same address was a Matt Sloane, age 38.4

About now, bells should go off and red flags should go up. We've got a guy named Cunningham, from Northern Ireland, living in Newburgh, along with someone named Sloane. Where else could he be from but ...? And in 1882, Richard married ... Ellen McKeon, daughter of William McKeon and Ellen Herron.5 Are the Killowen and Kilkeel names starting to add up or what?

Oh, I forgot to say that on his naturalization papers, Richard said he was born in Ireland in the village of "Moren".1 Since there isn't any place in Ireland named Moren, and since Kilkeel was in the barony of Mourne, and since we have more South Down names in his associates and family than I knew existed, I think we can guess that he came from Kilkeel.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a baptism record for Richard, although the Kilkeel parish records are included in the Catholic Parish Registers at the National Library of Ireland. The closest I came was a Richard Cunningham, baptized October 19, 1857, son of Patrick Cunningham and Rosy McKay of Ballygowen. Assuming that people usually get at least the month of their birth correct, I don't think this is him. I'm starting to rethink even that assumption though, after the family I'm working on now, but that's a story for another day.

Getting back to Richard Cunningham, he and Ellen McKeon had seven children, including William A, who married Bertha Raimer. William and Bertha's daughter Mary Ellen Cunningham married my second cousin Martin Stringer. They were almost a generation older than I am and have died, but they had a large family and—since an interest in family history runs in the Rodgers family—at least one of their children will probably be interested in learning more about the Cunninghams and Raimers.

A brief list of sources is below. The complete information and a lot more on the family can be found in the Ohio Families tree on this site.


  1. His naturalization papers.
  2. His daughter Mary's 1930 Census.
  3. Manifest of the SS Gallia.
  4. 1880 John Graham household.
  5. 1900 Richard Cunningham household.
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