Samuel McKenna (1802-1875)

New - April 2021 - Discovery of the Samuel McKenna Family - Hugh McKenna's Brother and Parents

In the 1800's, Thomas McKenna (1844-1910) wrote letters to his cousin John McKenna (1833-1904) who emigrated from Ireland in the 1860's and lived in Rio, Wisconsin. In 1894, John responded to Thomas in a letter that relayed some key information about his family. For example, he told us his birthday (19 December 1833). He also told us the names of two of his sisters, Mary and Nancy. Nancy's married name was Wilson, but this was her 2nd marriage, as her 1st husband had passed away. We also learned that his sister Mary had died in June 1893.

In April 2021, Elaine McKenna Allred discovered a copy of the 1894 letter in a bin of family history records she had received from her parents, Gib and Almeda McKenna. Her parents had the letter but didn't have access to records that could help them learn more about their family. With current technology and records, however, we have been able to discover much about John's family. We discovered John's wife and children, Mary's husband and children and both of Nancy's husbands and her children. In addition to Mary and Nancy, John had a brother James who died in Wisconsin in 1865 and a sister Jane who married Richard McNanie in 1854 and stayed in Ireland.

The greatest insight we gained from John's letter was that his parents names were Samuel and Nancy McKenna. For the first time we learned that Hugh McKenna, Thomas' father, had a brother. And when Samuel was married to his 2nd wife in Wisconsin, we learned that his and Hugh's parents names were Hugh and Sarah (Hooray!!!)

We also learned that Jane and Mary were married in Ireland before they emigrated and that they were married in the Presbyterian Meeting House in Minterburn. The marriage records revealed that they lived in the townland of Mullintor in the Civil Parish of Aghaloo in County Tyrone.

As of February 2022, we have been able to document about 100 descendants of Samuel and Nancy McKenna in and (L119-GR2).

Fortunately, the Presbyterian Church records in Minterburn include Baptisms, 1829-1950; marriages, 1819-22 and 1830-1911. (MIC1P/ 26; MIC1P/460). These records will be of key interest as we seek to understand more about Samuel's family.

It is very possible that Hugh and other family members may have also lived in Aghaloo Civil Parish in County Tyrone. Since Hugh's family attended the Church of Ireland, the following records will also be of keen interest as we access them at Public Records of Northern Ireland (PRONI):

C.I. Aghaloo or Caledon (Armagh diocese) - Baptisms, 1791-5 and 1801-76; marriages, 1792-5 and 1800-45; burials, 1792-5 and 1800-1939; confirmation lists, 1840-72 MIC583/25-6; MIC1/326; D2602/1.

C.I. Brantry (Armagh diocese) - [Formed out of Aghaloo, Carnteel and Clonfeacle parishes] Baptisms, 1844-71; burials, 1846-82; confirmation list,1873. MIC583/24