Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ocean Passage

Derry or Londonderry, circa 1913, American Library of Congress

Derry or Londonderry was the closest port for potential emigrants from Ardstraw, County Tyrone, Ireland. It was also the departure port in 1840 for the first of Anna's ancestors to cross the Atlantic Ocean to America.


The Trailblazing Grahams

Graham Passage Chart
James, Jane and Matilda Graham, sisters and brother of Ann Graham Killen (Anna's grandmother) are found among the passengers listed on the Ship Manchester out of Philadelphia, Captain S. E. Forman, weight three hundred and seventy nine tons, bound from Londonderry, Ireland for Philadelphia.

Given their names, ages, the fact they are traveling together and the decade they sailed, this passenger record documents the initial 1840 Atlantic Ocean crossingof Anna's ancestors. The passenger list even tells what they brought with them: 1 chest, 1 barrel, 3 boxes, and 3 sets of bedding.

Finding the ships in which the other Graham siblings took passage to America was more problematic than for the pioneer trio.

Ann Graham Killen, who left Ireland later, is discussed in the Killen Passage Chart in the context of her children's emigration. The rest of the Graham siblings left Ireland in the same decade, during the height of the Potato Famine

Isaac and his wife Sarah were the first. No passenger listing can be found for Isaac and wife Sarah. However, the timing of their passage is pretty definite given the date of their marriage in Ireland and the birth of their oldest child in America.

Typical habitation in steerage on an immigrant ship
I was hoping I had found Mary on an 1848 passenger list: correct age, Irish origin, destination Philadelphia. The fly in the ointment was that she was accompanied by four Graham children, ages 2 to 10. Oops, wrong one. On the chance she had married in Ireland, I also checked under the Forbes name. No luck there either.

Mary's determined year of passage was based on two items; her residence (married to Robert Forbes and living in Philadelphia) in the 1850 Census and the 1844 immigration date she entered in the 1900 Census. Assuming the 1844 date was correct, this placed her on the ship England arriving in New York City in 1844. My only hesitation is that she is listed 5 years younger than her true age. However, given human nature, people are more likely to 'err' toward youth. 

As for Ellen, there is little to go on. The only thing I can say for sure is that she took ship passage before 1850 because she is in the 1850 Census for Philadelphia and living with her sister Matilda.

Killen Family

The children of Ann Graham Killen left Ireland as they became adults following their father's death in 1862. The first to leave was the oldest, and Anna's future mother, Eliza Jane Killen.

Eliza Killen, Anna's future mother and first of the Killen
family to leave for America
Eliza arrived in New York on the ship Constantine in 1865, the immigration year entered in the 1900 census. The entered age of 18 is correct (within a year). The surname entered (Kelim) is spelled incorrectly, but sort of agrees phonetically. New York and Philadelphia are close, with multiple public transportation connections at the close of the Civil War. The 1870 Census shows her resident in Philadelphia working as a servant with the Hildeburn family. 

Sarah appears to have taken passage on the ship France out of Queenstown, Ireland, arriving in 1868. We know for certain that she was in Philadelphia in 1870 given her presence in that census residing with her three spinster aunts; Ellen, Jane and Matilda Graham. The 1868 Castle Garden Immigration Center entry for Sarah Killen is the only realistic possibility in the decade before the 1870 Census.

As illustration of the frustrations of genealogy research, note the different 'immigration year' responses given for Sarah in the four Censuses starting in 1900: 1870,1859,1870,1865. The 'actual' year seems to split the difference.

Killen Passage Chart
Matilda Killen is the single instance found among my ancestors where rare Irish information on the ship’s departing passengers is available. Matilda Killen from Killstroll, Ardstraw (name of the town the Killens are from in Ireland) came over in 1868 (Sailing date: May 19, 1868) on the ship Stadacona (of the McCorkell line) from Londonderry. The ship was engaged by her Philadelphia relatives on April 22, 1868.

On both the Ancestry & Immigrant Ships websites, the Stadacoma passage arrived July 13, 1868 in Philadelphia with only one passenger named Killen on the arrival list. It misnames her as “Martha” Killen, but gives her age correctly as 16 which would put her birth year as 1851. We know the correct first name is Matilda because Matilda is the only passenger with the Killen name listed as leaving Ireland on the ship, and the indicated home town in Ireland is Killstroll in Ardstraw 

Ann (Nancy) Graham Killen's crossing time was a mystery given that the entry for immigration year in the 1900 Census was 'unknown'. As the children emigrated singly as money was saved up for passage, it was logical that she waited until her youngest were older, but before 1880 when she was working as a housekeeper in Philadelphia and 1900 when she shows up in the census in the Philadelphia home of her daughter Margaret.

In April 25, 1874, an Anne Killen age 50, born about 1824 in Ireland is shown as a passenger on the ship California arriving in New York City from Moville, Ireland. Also on the ship was a Sarah Killen, age 56, who may have been a sister-in-law. Both listed their occupation as housekeeper. The Castle Garden immigration center in New York City listed Ann Killen arriving April 24, 1874 on the ship California.
SS Parthia docked in Londonderry. This was ship of passage for John Killen.
In 1874, only Fannie (age 19 and married to John Hamilton), Margaret age 17 and John 15 of Anne's children remained in Ireland.

Based on the 1880 and 1920 Census, it appears Fannie and John Hamilton immigrated to America in 1879 or 1880.  No supporting passenger lists can be found.

As for Margaret and John Killen, in those days, they would have been considered old enough to look out for themselves. They also had possible income from the property in Kilstrule still leased by Robert Killen according to the Griffith Valuation. Perhaps they stayed with Irish relatives (one possibility being revealed later in my research) until sufficient funds had been gathered to pay for ship passage. The listed passenger names, ages, dates for Margaret and John are close enough to provide confidence that they crossed the Atlantic on the ships British Queen and Parthia in 1881 and 1883, respectively.


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