Wednesday, June 25, 2014

52 Ancestors #27: Kent County (Ontario) Moynahan Ancestors

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year's Challenge: "Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

A really important part of my Moynahan family history takes place in Kent County, Ontario so I decided to add the Kent County branch of the OGS to my Ontario Genealogical Society membership today.

Kent County, Ontario 1885
I know so very little about Denis Moynahan's sons Matthew, Timothy and Patrick who moved from Essex County to Kent County in the 1860s. I have always believed that these brothers could be in one of the family photographs that I have never been able to identify.

Photo: Tilbury Main St 1887
Tilbury Moynahan ancestors: Matthew, Timothy and Patrick
In 1981, when I was just beginning my genealogical research (and long before the internet), I wrote letters to all the "Moynahans" in the Tilbury phone book in the hope that I could learn more about this branch of my family tree.

Bernice (Neveux) Moynahan (wife of Alfred) responded (Feb. 16, 1988) and Jerry Moynahan responded (Feb. 15, 1988)
Jerry Moynahan's letter of Feb 15, 1988
I feel so grateful for this lucky connection. One of the true gifts of doing family research is meeting branches of your family tree that you never knew about. Jerry and Aldeen were that kind of gift! Such a joy to have met them both.

We shared family history information (his grandfather was Timothy Moynahan - 1847-1929). Jerry and his beloved life partner Aldeen attended one of our Moynahan family reunions in Tecumseh, Ontario. 

Jerry and Aldeen are pictured below at the Moynahan reunion in Tecumseh, Ontario (with my two children circa 1996)

Jerrry and Aldeen Moynahan
attending the Moynahan Annual Reunion Tecumseh, Ontario
Sadly Aldeen and Jerry have both passed now. I am eternally grateful for having met them and their friendship.

Maple Leaf Cemetery, Tilbury

I visited the home of Jerry and Aldeen in Tilbury where Jerry gifted me with a birdhouse made by his own hands (pictured below). 
Birdhouse made by Jerry Moynahan
With Jerry's passing and other life events, my research on the Tilbury Moynahan's waned. I managed to connect again through with relatives. Here is what I know and have learned so far.

The two Moynahan brothers (Matthew and Timothy) married two sisters (Catherine and Julie Ann Carr). 

Patrick never married and he was living with his father Denis (who died in 1885) according to the 1881 census for Tilbury East. Poor Patrick died as a result of being hit by a train in 1909 while working for the Windsor Gas Co.

The Comber Herald Oct 7 1909
!881 Census: Tilbury East


  1. I am suddenly so glad to have been cursed with insomnia tonight so as to have stumbled upon this blog. I am the descendant of Jeremiah and Mary Moynahan's daughter Catherine. These are my family's stories you're sharing too! I'd heard bits and pieces but your research is fantastic. Is there a way I can get in touch with you so we can connect more over our shared ancestry? And might you ever do a post on Jeremiah's career as a wheelsman on the Detroit railroad ferry Lansdowne? (I grew up hearing the story but have never been able to find documentation of it.)

  2. Caitlin: I made a new blogpost about another Jeremiah that I have records on.

    Is this the same Jeremiah in your family tree?

  3. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that Jeremiah, though he's probably a relation. The Jeremiah Moynahan I know of lived from 1837-1922 but stayed in Maidstone, I believe. He married Mary Brennan and their daughter Catherine married Edward Lennon. All of them are buried at St. Mary's in Maidstone, Ontario. If Catherine's brother John is your grandfather, then we are second cousins once removed!

    My grandmother had done a lot of research on this side of the family and told me lots of stories but so much has been lost. I'm trying to research and document what I can and I'd love to compare notes or work together on things.

    I was also tickled to see that you did a post on Nellie Moynahan. I'd heard stories of her as well. Haven't had time to read through all of them yet, but I look forward to it.!

  4. Also, please look for a message from me on Facebook.

  5. Wow!! This is great! I have a great photo of the Lennons given to me by another relative from the Finn family in Windsor!

    You can read my Moynahan / Brennan page at this link
    (and see a picture of Catherine)

    How wonderful Caitlin. If you would like to correspond my name is cindiforeman and you can add that to (at) (I am being cryptic here because of spam bots) and we can correspond offline