James O'Rourke was born Jul 7, 1894, presumably at home in Ballintur Townland, Kilbroney, County Down, the son of Francis Rourke and Sarah Brennan. In 1901 he and his parents were living with his grandparents James Rourke and Mary Hughes in house 18 in Ballintur. I believe this family occupied parcels 1A, 1Ba, 1C,and 1Da in the townland.
Before we get back to Michael O'Rourke's family, we need to say a few words about the family of his wife, Mary McNally. It looks to me like Mary McNally was born in the fourth quarter of 1876 in the Stockton Registration District of Durham, England, and was baptized in Pontop, Durham, England, on February 11, 1877.
Besides the children we mentioned in the last article, Michael Rourke and Alice Cunningham had two other sons and another daughter listed in the Kilbroney Church Records. they are ...
Henry Sands was born October 18, 1867 most likely in Ballincurry Townland, south of Rostrevor, County Down.1 He was the third son of Daniel Sands and Susan Sloan.
While looking through some other O'Rourkes in Cleveland, I came across first James then Henry O'Rourke and filed them in the "mysteries waiting to be solved" category. As soon as I started working on them I realized they were father and son. Here is a brief account of both of them.
While we are still at one degree of separation from the O'Rourkes and Rodgers families, let's spend a few minutes on James Murney. James was born 31 Aug 1878 in Ballinran, County Down, Ireland. His family, and those of his uncles who remained in Ireland, are on the transcription of the 1901 Census of Ballincurry.
On 9 Jun 1900, James O'Rourke, son of John Rourke and Ellen Rodgers, arrived in the United States aboard the HMS Campania, which had left from Liverpool. He was on the way to his brother William's home on Harvard St. in Cleveland.
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.
John Rourke of Ballintur Townland, County Down, Ireland was baptized on January 19, 1827, likely at Killowen Chapel. He was the son of James Roarke and Nancy Colgan. The sponsors at his baptism were Patrick Doran and Mary Colgan. John's sister Margaret had been baptized in 1822 and his brother Edward in 1824.
Matthew Sloan was born 27 Apr 1879, in Ballincurry Townland, Kilbroney Parish, County Down, Ireland, the son of James and Mary (Brennan) Sloan. He was baptized the same day with John Fearon and Kate Brennan as godparents.
Just because a man's name is O'Rourke doesn't mean he is from Killowen, County Down. But if he is living on the East side of Cleveland in the early 1900′s, and has an aunt named Mrs Farron, you start to get "suspicious." So it went with this man, whom I came across while working on my own O'Rourkes.
So far in this series, we have discussed some young men who left Killowen for Cleveland, but this time we will consider a young woman, Rose Sloan, from the same area.
Michael Rourke and Alice Cunningham of Killowen, County Down, Ireland, had at least seven children. Three of their daughters emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio. Let's discuss them first, since we have referred to them earlier in this series of articles.
As I mentioned in an earlier article, when you see the names Michael O'Rourke and Mrs. Thomas Feran in the same household in Cleveland, you start to think of Killowen emigrants.
In the merry month of June 1899, William Rourke salutes his father dear, kisses his darling mother, and heads on down the rocky road to America, never to return. Soon after leaving his home in Ballintur Killowen, County Down—and probably on the crossing to Liverpool—William re-instates the O' in front of the Anglicized version of his name.
William Rogers was born about 1790, probably not in Killowen, possibly in Kilkeel, and almost certainly in Ireland. He and his wife Elizabeth Murphy have three children listed on the baptism records of Kilbroney Parish
In this, as it turns out rather long, article, we are going to start in 1901 and walk ourselves back through the Ballintur records, looking only at the Rourke families, trying to trace each family back as far as we can.
Below are the Rourke families listed in the Valuation Revision Books, 1864 to 1933, in County Down, Barony of Iveagh Upper-Upper Half, Parish of Kilbroney, Union of Kilkeel, Electoral Division of Killowen, Townland of Ballintur
My sister called my atttention to the fact that our O'Rourke family rented 16 acres of Ballintur in 1864, according to Griffith's Valuation. This was a parcel twice as big as almost everyone else. I decided to take a closer look at the land records.
My aunt Theresa "Tiny" O'Rourke, went back to Killowen about 1960 to visit her relatives, presumably her aunt Elizabeth. When Tiny returned she said that the O'Rourke property "ran down to the Irish Sea.