Sunday, March 15, 2015

Nancy Rainey of Ireland - 52 Ancestors #11

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is "Luck of the Irish." Do I have a favorite Irish ancestor? Actually, I only have three (possibly four) immigrant ancestors that I believe were born in Ireland.

The one I know most about is the one who lived into the 20th century, mostly from census records, city directories, and her children's death certificates.

Nancy Rainey was born in Ireland sometime between December 1813 (1900 U.S. Census) and 1821 (1860 U.S. Census). I wrote about her in census records here. She married Scottish-born James Freeland before 1850, when her oldest child, my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary was born in Pennsylvania.

Four children followed, all born in Pennsylvania:
William J. Freeland (1852-1918), who worked as a railroad conductor
Anna Claudine Freeland (1854-1952), who worked as a school teacher
Edward C. Freeland (1858-1877), twin
Emma L. Freeland (1858-1893), twin

Her husband, James, died in March 1863.

Her only grandchildren were born to her daughter Mary, who had ten (listed here). Her youngest, twins Edward and Emma, predeceased her, as did her eldest daughter, Mary, who died almost two years before she did (1902). The others didn't marry.

In addition to "Keeping House,"  as she is listed in most census records, she was also listed as a dressmaker in several Pittsburgh City Directories after her husband's death. She never remarried.

Nancy died on December 30, 1903, likely in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she is buried (with many family members) in Union Dale Cemetery. (See her FindAGrave memorial here.)


I did find a passenger list that shows a Nancy Rainey, born about 1817, coming to settle in America, listing the family as coming from England, so I'm not sure that this even applies to her.

Database online. Year: 1832; Microfilm roll: M237_17;
Ship: Friendship; List number: 450; Line: 5, Nancy Rainey.
Detail from above listing

I'm not sure if this is the same Nancy Rainey, but it's an interesting family to explore. Based on the ages, it is certainly possible that William and maybe the older Mary listed here are Nancy's siblings? I can see William Rainey's occupation is Weaver, but I can't read Nancy's occupation.

I am not sure of the location in Ireland of my maternal Irish immigrant ancestors, but since my grandmother's Pittsburgh family were mostly Presbyterian, it's more likely they were from Northern Ireland.


An additional Irish-born maternal ancestor is Samuel Hunter, born in Ireland in 1810 (gravestone), or 1813 (1850 U.S. Census) or 1814 (1860 U.S. Census). I wrote about him in census records here. His son, James Hunter, married Mary Freeland, Nancy's daughter.

Two additional Irish-born ancestors are paternal ancestors:
Jane Hunter, born in 1786, in County Antrim, in Northern Ireland. I wrote about her here. It's very likely that her husband, James McAlpin, was born in County Antrim as well. He is my immigrant McAlpin whom I wrote about here. Though with a name like McAlpin, his ancestry was likely Scottish.

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