McGrath Genealogy Upperchurch Connections   What's New?
What's New ?
























04-04-24 In this batch of new and updated papers the links will point to the web pages where the papers reside. The reason for this change is two-fold. By linking directly to the document itself visitors to this site will miss seeing the many related papers that are on the same web page. Secondly, by linking to the actual document, when the paper is updated any old direct links would then be broken and would need to be repaired. Linking to the web page eliminates the problems with broken links and makes it easier to update papers periodically.

Moyaliff to Maple Ridge

“McGraths, Ryans and Gleesons in Lewis Co.”

This is the main paper on the page and it has been updated with more info on Walter McGrath, son of Thomas McGrath and Mary Kennedy. There are also more details on Patrick Gleason’s family.

“The Tarpy Families of Martinsburg, NY.”
While working on another paper a large amount of information was developed on the Tarpy families in Martinsburg. These have been placed in this separate document. In the beginning there was just James Tarpy and his newly wed bride, Ellen Gleason, who together had followed a number of other Pompey residents to Maple Ridge in 1860. As the effort to sort out the various Maple Ridge families and the possible connections among them proceeded, the number of Tarpy families began to multiply. All of the Tarpy families, with the exception of James Tarpy, the person who started this line of research, were from the same area of Co. Mayo, Ireland and they arrived in Martinsburg after James Tarpy arrived at Maple Ridge.

“The Trail of James McGrath” and “James McGrath — The DNA Story”
James McGrath and his family have been described in the main paper on this page but his origins and connections to the other McGrath families at Maple Ridge remains a mystery. These two papers describe the continuing search for his origins.

“Thomas McGrath of Moyaliff”
In this paper there is a significant amount of information on the descendants of Thomas McGrath’s daughter Catherine McGrath Smithling. There was too much material to fit easily in the main document. The story of Thomas McGrath of Moyaliff has been written in three waves. His journey from Pompey, NY to Maple Ridge, Martinsburg in Lewis County took form in 2007-2008. Sometime later his son Michael was traced into the Utica area. Thomas’s daughters Catherine and Ellen proved more difficult as is the usual case with women who marry and change their names. By late 2019 Catherine and Ellen were found — it was Ellen’s obituary that was able to tie all the pieces together. Catherine had married into the very large Smithling family.
This paper contains the entire research done on the extensive Smithling family, which would have overwhelmed the primary story in the main Maple Ridge paper mentioned above. Some of the material in this paper has already appeared in the larger paper The McGraths, Ryan and Gleesons of Maple Ridge, Lewis County, New York. It was decided to repeat the material here so that the entire story would be in one place.

“Dunton List” and the “Powlin List.”

Also added to the page are two cemetery lists which contain transcriptions from the gravestones in St. Patrick’s Cemetery at Maple Ridge.

The Families of Cortland and Onondaga Counties

"The Gleason Families"
These families were documented while searching for Gleason connections in the Coming to America — The Early Years paper (not published yet). The plan was to look for family connections, descendants and where possible trace family origins. Although it was determined that none of these Gleasons were connected to the Gleasons of Moyaliff, the document still provides an enormous amount of information on these Gleason families. In some cases it was possible to trace individuals to their origins back in Ireland.

Old Mattydale

"Tracing Nellie Gleason’s Relatives"
The fictitious young Irish ghost, Nellie Gleason, was blended into the real Michael Gleason family for the purpose of writing The Young Ghost Searchers. This Michael Gleason actually died in a shooting incident while in the book he was supposed to have been murdered. This document searches for the actual family after Michael’s death and establishes their connections to other Irish families. Although the Gleason branch of the family hit a brick wall, it was possible to reconstruct the family tree of Michael Gleason’s wife, Sarah O’Connell, and to trace her family back to Co. Clare, Ireland.


The Long Families

"The Descendants of John and Sarah Lynch"
In 2023 two new grandchildren of Frank Lynch and Katherine Long were identified. They were the daughters of the Frank Lynch and Katherine Long’s youngest child: Frank A. Lynch (1920-2012) and his wife Barbara Griffin (1926-2010). These daughters, Betsey and Mary Lynch, were squeezed into their grandparents’ family tree, at the end of this paper. That family tree was from a document whose primary subjects were the Long and McGrath Families. In this paper it was decided to pursue the Lynch side of the family, the grandfather, just to see where that trail would lead.



Old Mattydale, New York

Secrets in an Irish Diary


It’s their senior year in high school and the girl’s pipeline of new mysteries has run dry. In addition, they are beginning to worry about what will happen to their organization Les Mademoiselles after they graduate in June 1966. At her family’s annual reunion in the summer of 1965 Nancy picked up an interest in genealogy after talking with her grandfather’s older sister and her daughter. Her interest in researching her family’s history will show up various times as a minor interest while the girls continue to look for their next mystery.


Nancy’s sister, Shirley, and her friend, Emo, are interested in getting in on the fun. They conduct a campaign throughout much of the book for joining or taking over the Les Mademoiselles organization for the investigation of Mattydale mysteries after the older girls graduate.


Nancy’s interest in her family’s genealogy is what initially pulled her in the direction of going to Ireland. She had to convince Colette and Sam to come with her since she didn’t want to go alone. Her grandfather had inherited a farm back in Ireland from a 2nd cousin, from a branch of the family that hadn’t immigrated. He invited her to stay at the farmhouse on his Irish farm that was located just north of the village of Upperchurch which was close to where the family had emigrated from.


It took Nancy a couple months to convince Colette and Sam to go to Ireland with her. At a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Nibsy Ryan’s Pub on Tipperary Hill in Syracuse she was finally able to win them over. They arrived in Upperchurch in mid-July and settled into the inherited farmhouse formerly belonging to William McGrath III. It didn’t take long before the girls began to sense that there was something amiss with the circumstances surrounding William’s death in March 1965. They hadn’t been able to find a new mystery in Mattydale, but now, here in Ireland, a mystery had found them.


As the girls endeavored to discover more details about the death of William McGrath, their quiet Irish nights were shattered by the screams of a banshee. For those who believe in such creatures the banshee screams foretell the death of someone.



The McGraths of Turraheen - UPDATE

Family connections which were observed in the Griffith’s Valuation records for Turraheen Lower gave rise to this paper. Using the parish and civil records in addition to census records it was possible to generate several connected family trees. These family trees were constructed with the best information that was available at the time and assuming that the families had followed the Irish naming tradition. This process is not perfect and the results need further corroboration. Several members of the Patrick McGrath family of Turraheen immigrated to Australia and Michele Cullen has provided valuable information on her family members from the Australian records. This has allowed the paper to be updated. — LINK

The Phelans of Central New York - UPDATE

The intent of this paper is to cover the descendants of William Francis Phelan who settled in Central New York. The paper takes the form of four sections on five of William’s children: 1. Pierce Phelan (1798-1880), Honora Phelan Lee (1812-1882): 2. James Ambrose Phelan II (1852-1919); 3. John Phelan (1854-1940), and 4. Patrick Phelan (1830-?). Section 1 will be an update of the original The Phelans of Central New York paper, written in 2006. Sections 2-4 contain new material. — LINK

Reconstructing Families From the Records - UPDATE

In compiling the paper Reconstructing Families From the Records, there were many lines to follow as the number of family members grew with each generation. Some lines are easier to follow than others but eventually the search will end due to lack of records, leads, or just a lack of time. In early 2019, the Reconstructing paper was uploaded to the website in the hopes that someone might recognize their own connection to one of the families described in the paper. In August 2022, Seamus McGrath ( of Thurles recognized his family and sent the author an email. Seamus had recognized Patrick McGrath as his grandfather and had some additional questions about the family. The update of this paper shows the records which connect Seamus McGrath to the Matthew McGrath and Margaret Costello family from the original paper. — LINK

The Fate of the Old Wooden School House in Mattydale - NEW

At one time there was a small wooden school house, referred to as District School No. 3, located on what is now East Molloy Road. During the 1920s the area around the old school house had rapidly transitioned from farm land to residential neighborhoods. That surge in growth brought with it a dramatic increase in population which included growing families that needed schools for their children. A new school house was needed and it took the form of a four classroom brick building located just east of the little school house. But what eventually became of the little old school house? According to an old document it had become a residence on one of the nearby streets, according to Gertrude Duplessis’ History of Mattydale. “This early school was moved to Matty Ave. in 1922 and is occupied as a private dwelling.” But on which lot had the old structure been placed? And from there the trail went cold — until now. — LINK

03-21-22 New Papers and an Upgrade

The Descendants of Francis Gray and Anna McGraw - NEW

Anna McGraw Gray was the sister of John J. McGraw of the New York Giants. This was the only sibling of John J. McGraw who had any children and John himself never had any children.

The Philip McGrath Family - NEW

Philip McGrath was descended from the Coolkill McGraths of Moyaliff parish, Co. Tipperary. In the early 1880s the family settled in the town of Geddes, on the west side of Syracuse, NY, where Philip worked as a salt boiler. By 1887 the growing family had moved to Indianapolis, IN.

Denis McGrath and Catherine Quigley - UPGRADE

Denis McGrath came to the US from Ireland in 1858 at the age of 22. The first record of his presence was his marriage to Catherine Quigley in May 1861. According to the 1900 census Catherine came to the US from Ireland in 1860 and there was an 1860 census record of a 25- year-old Catherine Quigley living with a Dobin family in Homer, Cortland County, NY.


Denis enlisted as a private in the 122nd Regiment of N.Y. as August 15, 1862. He received an honorable discharge from the same on June 16, 1865. In May of 1864 Denis was taken as a prisoner of war at the Rapidan River in Virginia during the Battle of the Wilderness and ended up at Andersonville and then Florence, So. Carolina. They moved some of the sickest prisoners to Florence because they feared General Sherman who was well on his way through Atlanta. Denis came home a broken and very sick man and he could never sleep in a bed again and always slept on the floor.



Upperchurch Cemetery Connections

Revised: February 26, 2022

The task of finding Upperchurch area ancestors is complicated by the fact that the church records for that parish only go back to 1829. Researching earlier than that year requires some good luck in the form of gravestone inscriptions or finding an old genealogy at an estate sale. In the case of Upperchurch, it was the gravestone inscriptions that allowed ancestor searches to proceed back into the 18th century in some cases.

This section has been reformatted from the original single large paper into separate smaller papers, each based on one or more present day individuals with connections to ancestors buried in the Upperchurch cemetery. A while ago, a set of gravestone photos and inscriptions were combined into family tree structures. Since 2015, the readily available Parish Registers online has allowed some of those family trees to be further expanded.

            This has also provided opportunities for the creation of four additional papers. These papers made extensive use of the cemetery pictures, transcribed inscriptions and the expanded family trees.



Old Mattydale, New York


The Secret of the Gold Coins

It’s been several years since we’ve checked in on Les Mademoiselles and they are now in their final years of high school. The problems and challenges of grade school, although seemingly insurmountable at the time, have long since become faded memories. The friendships formed during those years have remained strong. The girls continued to solve most of the mysteries that came their way, but there were always some that remained unsolvable, even for these girls.

The Secret of the Gold Coins is an historical fiction story of Les Mademoiselles’ search for the buried silver left behind by the Jesuits when they abandoned their settlement at Fort Sainte Marie de Gannentaha in 1658. Along the way the girls visit old local locations and encounter many old familiar Mattydale characters, both real and fictional, some alive and others not quite alive.

During the summer of 1964, Sam and Colette visited Colette’s family in Cornwall, Ontario. While in Canada they met with some of Colette’s many cousins. One of them was very interested by the fact that the girls were from Mattydale. This cousin had found a relative’s historical research which had led him to believe a group of Jesuits, who had a settlement back in the 1650s on the northeastern shore of Onondaga Lake had buried some church silver near their settlement before returning to Quebec. He didn’t know the exact location, but he knew it had been buried in a hemlock grove a short distance from the settlement.

At first Colette and Sam weren’t interested in looking for the buried silver since that would involve digging — and digging meant getting dirty, which wasn’t very lady-like. The Canadian cousin reminded the girls of a mystery they had solved several years ago. He had read about it in an old newspaper clipping. It involved some gold coins found by Miles Adams on his property in 1863. The cousin thought there was a connection between the coins and the church silver.

          As they thought about it some more, during the long ride back to Mattydale, they began to change their minds. They rationalized that it was a mystery after all and they could always get someone else to do the digging for them. By the time they arrived back home, Colette and Sam had convinced themselves that they needed to take a shot at trying to find the treasure. After all, they thought, what if the silver was actually buried in Mattydale and they never even tried to look for it, and worse yet, someone else discovered it — right in their backyard.



Re-organization of the web site - Link

            The initial organization of this web site was based on assumptions about the directions in which the genealogy research was expected to proceed. Over the many years since the launch of in 2006 significant additional research has been conducted and it has led into areas that had not been anticipated. A consequence of this success is an array of research that doesn’t fit neatly into the original structure of the web site. Therefore the homepage and several of the next level web pages have been re-organized for improved navigation.

           Although the reorganized home page will aid in the navigation of the web site it is not the final answer. An efficient procedure for finding material on this site is to use a browser and limit the search to the domain Many of the documents found on this site have a title and an appended date which indicates the date of creation or revision. When searching for a document titled as such don’t include the date in the search string because there might be a more current version of the document on the site, which has replaced the earlier version.

William Ryan and Margaret Kane -

on the Alanson McGraw web page.

            The William Ryan family was discovered to have lived in the same sub-townland as the Alanson (Lanty) McGraw back in Ireland: Prisoon, Foilduff, Abington parish. The families were later neighbors in the Clifton Springs area. William’s son Patrick later took over the Alanson McGraw property on the west side of Clifton Springs. Recently, new information has described the possibility of additional Ryan family members who settled in the area.

Update and re-organization of the paper:

“The McGraths, Ryan and Gleesons of Maple Ridge, Lewis County, New York.” 

             After being revised and updated over some 15 years this initially short paper had become very long and was in need of a table of contents. This has allowed a clearer distinction to be made among the many families described in this paper.


Connecting Across the Penal Times


          The purpose of this page is to provide a home for the collection of papers on this site which describe the challenge of tracing families back across the Penal Times. At present all the papers concern the McGrath families of Ireland, although other families could be added in the future. Making progress across the Penal Times depends greatly on luck and on the ability to assemble small bits of information to create larger pictures. The raw material comes from many sources such as gravestone inscriptions, estate records, obscure law suits, wills, and assorted genealogical records.

          In the case of the McGrath families there is an advantage in the existence of considerable pre-Penal Times records. These exist in the form of family genealogies and pedigrees and the results of the Civil Survey of 1654-56. Therefore the push through the Penal Times, in the case of the McGraths, has the benefit of multiple target ancestors on the other side.         

The Magrath and McCraith Families - 10-11-20 - NEW

Ballynaclogh Magrath Family - 10-01-20 - NEW


The McGrath - Long Trilogy

          The major new document here is Reaching Across the Penal Times. All of the remaining documents are either background papers or material that proved too long or introduced too much detail into the main story. These materials were spun off as related but separate documents. 

          Reaching Across the Penal Times is the last book in a trilogy about the McGrath and Long families which began with The Long and McGrath Families and was then followed by The Neighbors in Ireland.


Reaching Across the Penal Times

          The McGrath and Long families, who were neighbors in Central New York, have been traced back to Moyaliff and Holycross parishes of Co. Tipperary in a previous paper, The Long and McGrath Families. They were also found to be neighbors in Ireland where they were also neighbors to the Fanning and Tuohy families. A subsequent paper, The Neighbors in Ireland, studied these four families over a period of time that included the Great Famine. The ancestral homesteads of these families were located and in some cases  present day descendants of these families were identified.

          The present document is focused on the McGrath and Long family records in Ireland which were successfully used to document connections among these families. The goal of this paper has been expanded from establishing connections among families in the early 19th century to also finding connections across the Penal Times into the 17th century.

In January 2017, I received a copy of the entire McGrath - Fanning collection of family papers that Marvin Minton found in a picture he had purchased in the late 1990s at an estate sale in New Orleans. This Fanning family provides focus on connections among the Long, McGrath, Tuohy, Purcell and Ryan families in the townland of Grange, in Holycross civil parish. These papers provided insight into the life of the Patrick McGrath family in New Orleans during the Civil War and contained communications with relatives back in Ireland. The papers also allowed Patrick McGrath’s family tree to be pushed back two more generations, and across the Penal Times.

The results of this research showed that the McGraths could be grouped into two families in Moyaliff and another McGrath family in neighboring Coolkill. It was possible to sort the Long families into a Raheen group and a Lisnagrough-Glenreagh group. The fact that these three townlands are contiguous suggests that the Long families have a common ancestor further back in time.

The Civil Survey of 1654-56 is a source of possible ancestors for the people living in the Moyaliff and Coolkill areas in the mid-1850s. The analysis of the survey produced three groups of McGraths. One group was in the barony of Owney and Arra, another was in Iffey and Offay barony and Miler Magrath’s family were located primarily in Upper Ormond barony. The descendants of Miler Magrath were selected as the most likely group to examine for these possible ancestors. A number of individuals were selected from this group and were analyzed in detail as the most likely ancestor candidates.


The McGrath Families of Pallashill

          The paper is structured around three pedigrees. The first is Michael McGrath and Bridget Ryan. While Michael had a Pallashill connection, Bridget came from Glenreagh, Holycross parish. The second and third pedigrees have a connection through a pair of McGrath siblings from Pallashill who married individuals from Moyaliff parish. The Thomas Ryan of the second pedigree is descended from John Long and Mary Magrath of Lisnagrough. Thomas Ryan and Ellen McGrath remained in Coolbawn while Ellen’s family was from Pallashill.

            The third pedigree (Matthew McGrath and Johanna McGrath) contains Ellen’s brother Matthew who married Johanna McGrath from Drombane, Moyaliff parish. Matthew’s family traces back to Pallashill while Johanna traces her family back to Philip Magrath and Winifred Ryan of Coolkill, Moyaliff. 


Additional Papers on McGrath - Long Trilogy Page

·         Longs and McGraths in Old Holycross Cemetery         

·         The McGrath - Fanning Papers         

·         Guide to the Magrath Land Holdings - 1641         

·         Establishing Ancient Links 

·         Descendants of Michael McGrath of Moyaliff

·         The Pedigree of Miler Magrath

Click here for a summary of the Additional Papers



“Family Connections in Co. Tipp” - page

Paper Title: The McGrath and Harty Families of Cooleen and Knockakelly 02-08-20

This report was initiated during research for McGraths in the civil records when a cluster of McGrath families in Coleen and Knockakelly (Glenkeen parish, Co. Tipperary) was discovered. A descendant of a McGrath family of Cooleen, who is still occupying the family Cooleen land, provided the links which traced his Cooleen McGrath family down to the present day.


“Family Connections in Co. Tipp” - page

Paper Title: McGrath-Dwyer-Ryan Families 02-08-20

            A previous version of this paper (04-28-17) has been updated in relation to the McGrath family of Knockakelly which is described in the McGrath and Harty report above. Descendants of this Knockakelly McGrath family settled in Syracuse, NY, in the 1870s.


“The Ryan Family of Fenner, Madison Co., NY” - page

Paper Title: James Ryan and Bridget Hayes of Upperchurch 02-06-20

Major Update - Records from the Irish parish registers which showed where James and Bridget’s children had been baptized were integrated into this paper. The Ryan family took the sacraments at Borrisoleigh while residing in the townland of Rusheen, Glenkeen parish even though they associated themselves with the nearby village of Upperchurch. Long standing questions about a list of baptism records compiled by family member Mary Ryan Kennedy in Onondaga and Madison County, NY were finally answered. Why had she collected records belonging to these particular families? They turned out to have been neighbors or friends back in Ireland. In this document more records were compiled for the persons on Mary Ryan Kennedy’s list and in some cases the persons were linked to specific townlands back in Ireland. Several families on her list had already been the subjects of separate reports since the earlier version of this paper had been completed (01-27-08).

 Note: These documents can also be found by searching for the paper title on Google and restricting the search to the domain. Don’t include the date in the paper’s title to avoid problems locating the paper after possible updates.


The North Side McGraw Families

     There were two McGraw families living in Syracuse, on 1st North Street, in the 1880s who both had connections back to Loughorna, Knigh parish, Co. Tipperary. Descendants of these original families are still living in the Syracuse area.


Link: North Side McGraws


The Young Ghost Searchers

           A new Mattydale historical novel has been published by myself and Colette Smolinski. In the fall of 1959, three young girls join together to help rid Mattydale of its dullness by investigating mysteries in their small hamlet on the north side of Syracuse, NY. After solving several mysteries their attention was drawn to the Salina Free Library. What began as a school project led to their discovery that the building was haunted by a small ghost and that led to a murder mystery back in 1872. And of course the girls took a crack at solving that mystery, too, even if it brought them to the attention of a Dark Stranger who was eerily interested in their progress.


Link: The Young Ghost Searchers



The McGrath Families of Clogher and Clonoulty

The following papers have been researched, written, and revised over the past few years with two having been previously published on the site. All six papers have been revised and updated using parish and civil records combined with land and census records. The common thread among these papers is that all the families have a connection to Clogher and/or Clonoulty civil parishes.

One of the goals in writing these papers was to find any connections among the families described in the six papers, either familial or geographic. An effort was also made to extend the various family histories as far back into the past as possible. The descriptions listed below are roughly in the chronological order in which the papers were first conceived.


Link: The McGrath Families of Clogher and Clonoulty



The Coonans of Roscrea

The research papers and notes of Robert J. Conan, Jr., Ph.D., which have been published on the web site, have provided the motivation for this set of papers. The latest volume in what has evolved into a trilogy is now available The Coonans of Roscrea. A goal of the trilogy has been to summarize and update Conan’s research and to connect with the present day descendants. At the same time every effort was made to search for connections among the families described by Conan and to stretch the family lines as far back into the past as possible.


Link: The Coonan Trilogy



The Civil Records

The civil registration of Catholic births, marriages and deaths were required beginning in 1864. These records through about 1920 are available on line at  The birth and marriage records of the McGrath and Long families in the Thurles and Cashel registration districts were extracted from the civil records. The results are presented in a series of four papers: McGrath in Thurles and Cashel; Long in Thurles and Cashel. Each paper has its own table of contents so that it’s possible to easily navigate these data intense papers. The primary areas of interest are the civil parishes of Upperchurch, Moyaliff and Holycross but it was decided to use a larger net and to transcribe all the McGrath and Long birth and marriage records in both of the above registration districts.


Link: The Civil Records



The Scrapbook and Diaries of Paul B. Conan, Sr.

In the 1940s Paul Bernard Conan Sr. was a teenager living in Syracuse, NY.  He lived with his brother Robert J. Conan, Jr. (Bob) and his Irish Catholic parents, Helen and Robert Conan Sr.  Paul attended Most Holy Rosary school and graduated in 1947.  Paul kept a diary and wrote in it every day, beginning as a 15-year-old sophomore on January 1st, 1945, and continuing through May 6th, 1946, in which he mentioned several World War II related events.

He also kept a scrapbook from about 1938 through 1957, which included his 1939 Lone Ranger membership card, his 1942 Boy Scouts ID card, his 1945 Learner’s Permit to drive, report cards, and family photos among other mementos. 

Paul’s scrapbook and diary entries provide an interesting look at the daily routine and activities in the life of a teenage boy living in 1940s Syracuse, mentioning the names of more than 120 people living in Syracuse.


Link: 1945-49



The Upperchurch Coonan Families

This paper connects the research of the late Robert J. Conan, Jr., (1924-2002), concerning Coonan families from the Upperchurch area, with their descendants. In the late 60s and early 70s Robert Conan made multiple trips to Ireland where he sought out and interviewed as many Coonan descendants as he could find. During the last year, through the efforts of Robert Conan’s nephew, Paul B. Conan, Jr., his research papers and the notes, upon which those papers are based, have been published on the web site as part of the Conan Archive Project. Among Robert’s original material are the hand written notes which he produced contemporaneously with those Ireland interviews. After several months of exchanging information with Philip Coonan of Co. Laois, and his cousins Tom Carroll and Pat Donnelly, the possible connection of several Coonan lines to a common Coonan ancestor in the Upperchurch area has begun to take shape. The diagram below illustrates the descents of several Coonan/Conan individuals who have contributed to the research for this paper. The dotted lines at the top of the diagram signify the possible existence of a common Coonan ancestor.


Link: Upperchurch Coonans



The Diaries of Robert Conan, Jr.

Dr. Robert Conan wrote in his diary every day in 1949.  In it he comments on his many interactions with faculty, students, and friends, and his transition from being a Ph.D. candidate in New York City to becoming an assistant professor at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York.  The highlight of his day was playing a small organ in his apartment and listening to classical music, which gave him great joy and inspiration.  Bob also mentions the daily struggles he faced while compiling research for his Ph.D., including fatigue, melancholy, loneliness, and inadequate sleep. 


Link: Diary 1949



Jerry Conan's General Store, Pompey, NY

“For 50 years or more Jerry was on the front porch, or the ‘stoop,’ or platform, as you will, to welcome all to Pompey. Jerry and his general store were symbols of the village life that is passing. The store changed and Jerry Conan grew a bit gray, but the atmosphere was just the same from the bicycle days, yes, even from old horse and buggy days, to these times of streamlined cars that now whiz just beyond the corner along Route 20, or snarl their gears when the light changes to green."

    Sunday, June 28, 1941, Syracuse Herald-American, Syracuse, NY

Link: Jerry Conan's General Store


The Pompey House and Other Stories

While pulling together a web page for Jerry Conan’s General store, to incorporate some new pictures and architectural drawings of the store, I began to notice some more connections. Jerry Conan was the postmaster of Pompey and his 1st cousin, Thomas Mahar, was the mail carrier and also the Pompey stage coach driver. This led to a connection with the Jamesville plank road, the Pompey House hotel in Syracuse, and to one of its more well-known proprietors named Frank Jewell. One of Jewell’s early employers, after he arrived in Syracuse, was Jacob Crouse, a wealthy businessman, and a boulder with his name on it that became a moving tourist attraction and billboard in 1904. There was also a possible Pompey House connection with a strange character named Lew Smith and then that led to a really strange roadhouse on the Jamesville plank road, also run by Smith, called the Strawberry Mansion.


Link: The Pompey House and Other Stories



Robert Conan's  Research  

             Robert Conan laid the groundwork for connecting the many Coonan/Conan family descendants in Ireland. During the process Conan became aware that many of the families in the Upperchurch area of Co. Tipperary had settled in the Pompey and Fabius areas of Onondaga County, NY during the famine and in the years immediately thereafter. In the 1880s, as the children of the original Irish settlers were moving off the farms and into the nearby cities, many moved to Tipperary Hill in the town of Geddes on the west side of Syracuse, NY. During the 1880s the folks back in Upperchurch were aware of Tipperary Hill and many more came over to the US and settled on Tipperary Hill in the latter decades of the 19th century.

The challenge of The Conan Archival Project is the sheer scope and the time required to go through the boxes and organize everything, scan each page, and then combine the pages into specific subjects.  The contents include letters from Irish priests in Upperchurch, County Tipperary and baptismal records.  During his many trips to Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s, Bob became friends with several Upperchurch-area priests and was allowed rare access to transcribe church records from the old, fragile, hand written parish registers.  

This is a long-term project that is being carried out by his nephew Paul Conan. Hopefully the results will be useful to those seeking information about their relatives in the Upperchurch-area as well as in Pompey, N.Y.  

Link to Conan Archive Project


The Thomas Maher Connections





The Connors and O’Brien Families

The Connors family had been living in the townland of Fantane, Glenkeen parish, Co. Tipperary, located about 8 km north of the village of Upperchurch. Thomas Connors came to the US with his mother Mary Ryan Connors Maher, his step-father Cornelius Maher and his half-sister Bridget Maher in 1851.


The Roger Ryan Family of Cuyler

The Roger Ryan family was from the townland of Ballyboy, Upperchurch parish, Co. Tipperary. Ballyboy is located about 2 km southeast of the village of Upperchurch along the north side of the Angelsey Road (R503). Roger Ryan and Mary Ryan were married at Upperchurch on February 23, 1832. According to various records they had at least 9 children all of whom were born in Ireland.


The O’Donnell Families

The Thomas and Mary Maher family came to the attention of the author from a family genealogy document titled “Descendants of Thomas Maher.” The trail of this family picks up in 1859 in Pompey, NY. The Thomas and Mary O’Donnell Maher family is one of 10 O’Donnell families in the document.


The Conan Family of Foilagoule, Moyaliff, Co. Tipperary

Jerry and Winifred Walsh Conan survived the Great Irish Famine on their small five acre farm in the townland of Foilagoule, in Moyaliff parish, Co. Tipperary, located 3 km southwest of the village of Upperchurch. As the famine came to an end various members of his family decided to emigrate from Ireland to America. Five of their six known children would leave Ireland in the next decade and they all settled in the Pompey area of Onondaga County in Central New York State.


The Descendants of Thomas Maher

Cornelius Maher married Mary Ryan Connors in Ireland in 1845 and they had two children in Ireland and a final child in Pompey in 1853. Mary had a history in Ireland and it was possible to find records of both of her marriages and the baptisms of her children. It was also possible to find the Connors/Maher land holding in the townland of Fantane, Glenkeen parish, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Thomas Maher (b. 1824) found his future wife, Mary O’Donnell in Pompey, NY and left no trace in the Irish records. The children of Thomas Maher and Mary O’Donnell were found in the Pompey census records. John Maher married Mary Coonan in Ireland, all their children were born after they settled in Pompey, NY in 1850.  She was followed by her brothers James in 1852, John in 1855 and sister Honora by 1863. The children of John Maher and Mary Coonan were found in the US census records.



The Alanson McGraw Family

The townland of Foilduff is in Abington civil parish Co. Tipperary. In the townland of Foilduff there is a small region in the northern part of the townland called Prison (a sub-townland). Lanty McGraw and William Ryan were both connected to that small sub-townland back in the 1840s and later they both wound up in Clifton Springs, Ontario Co., NY.


Lanty started in Truxton, Cortland Co. in 1850. He went to Fabius, Onondaga Co., NY by 1855 and went to Hopewell, Ontario Co. by 1860. The family wound up in Manchester (Clifton Springs) by 1865. Tom’s Ryans didn’t appear in the 1865 census so they must have arrived shortly thereafter since Patrick married Bridget Hayes in 1868 in Clifton Springs. I still don’t know why Lanty went to Clifton Springs but it appears that Tom Ryan’s Ryans went there following an old neighbor from back in Ireland.


William Ryan and his family came to the US in 1862 and by 1870 they were living in the town of Manchester, Ontario Co. For most of their time in Clifton Springs Patrick Ryan, William’s son, lived north of the village of Clifton Springs in an area called Bunker Hill. Lanty and his family lived on West Hill Road just west of the village. After Lanty died in 1893 Patrick Ryan had moved into Lanty’s old house by 1895.

Link: Alanson McGraw


The Long Family

This family has been promoted to it own web page with the addition of a new paper. The Lawrence Long Farms in Onondaga Co., NY

Link: The Long Family



The Conan Family of Foilagoule

A search begun in 2010 to uncover the source of information found on Wikipedia about the large number of former Upperchurch, Co. Tipperary residents who had settled in the Tipperary Hill section of Syracuse, Onondaga Co., NY led to the Conan family. Then it led to their old homestead in Foilgoule, Uppperchurch and finally to several connections between the Conan and McGraw families in Onondaga County, NY.




The Patrick and Julia McDonald Family

“In 1843, Patrick McDonald I, with his wife and family, left Castle Olivar [Castleoliver - MFM] in the County of Limerick and sailed on the Ruth of Scarberry, a sailing vessel, to come to the U.S.A. The captain’s name was William Newham and the voyage took sixty-six days. The ship was destined for New York but the storms drove the ship north and so they came in the St. Lawrence River. They journeyed past Quebec into Lake Ontario and finally to the Port of Oswego. The canal had been completed so they went from Oswego to New York City to get their instructions. They were to go to Solon, New York to a family by the name of Leo. Their journey continued upstate on the canal to Syracuse where they engaged a Negro teamster with a lumber wagon and a team of black horses. They went down through Onondaga Valley to Cortland and finally arrived at Solon. The cost of the trip was $15.00. During this trip, sometimes it was necessary to give the teamster a quart, this was kept at a minimum. They reached Solon after haying in August, 1843.”
By the late Father Lawrence Sheehan (d. 1993) whose great grandparents were Patrick and Julia McDonald.



The Lee Families of Central New York

This paper describes four Lee families who settled in Central New York during the mid-19th century. They had come to America from the counties of Limerick, Cork and Tipperary in Ireland in search of new lives. The format consists of a detailed family tree for each family that shows the family birth order and contains vital statistics for each member. These are followed by church records, census records, interesting obituaries and any other family information that could be found.

Updated Link


Upperchurch Ryan Cousins Connected


Well documented paper trails with an assist from DNA testing results succeed in sorting out and connecting five Ryan related cousins. They are descended from ancestors in the Upperchurch area in the heart of Ryan country in Co. Tipperary. Four persons are 3rd or 4th cousins relative to one Ryan ancestor and all five are 5th or 6th cousins relative to an even more distant common ancestor.


The link below leads to several documents, which describe the family connections of these newly connected cousins via well documented family trees. The last document describes all the descendants of the common ancestors: John Ryan and Ellen Kennedy.  


Hyperlink to “Family Connections” page -


9/2/2017 Maple Ridge Update


The family of Thomas McGrath and Mary Kennedy has been expanded. Living descendants were found living in the Syracuse and Utica, NY areas. The baptism records in Ireland were found for the family of John McGrath and Honora Cunningham and the family analysis has been updated. Link 


6/22/2017 Co. Tipperary Family Connections


This is the latest installment in an effort to highlight the connections of active genealogy researchers with their ancestors in Upperchurch and the adjoining parishes. In most of these documents a larger body of research has been summarized to clearly describe the descents of these researchers. It is hoped that other persons searching for their roots might find a connection among these papers. Where they are available, the DNA Kit numbers have been provided to aid in verifying any suspected connections.  


McGrath - Ryan of Upperchurch 

Upperchurch Cemetery Ryan Connections



Co. Tipperary Family Connections


Family records have begun to be connected through the assistance of other researchers. The current state of those efforts are found at the link below. They will be updated as new information becomes available. Link


In the majority of the cases a much larger and more detailed amount of information has been summarize. The purpose here is to reduce the amount of information and to emphasize the family connections, their residences and whether they emigrated (and to where) or remained in Ireland. The results of this approach usually consists of one or more family tree structures containing a large amount of condensed information and some descriptive explanations in between.


If you find any connections to your families in any of these documents or if you only suspect a connection don’t hesitate to contact myself or one of the researchers mentioned in the report.


4/1/2017 Families In Ireland


A research project presently underway is tracing the McGrath, Long, Fanning, and Tuohy families of the Moyaliff and Holycross area back further in time and possibly through the Penal Times of the 1700s. The documents at the link below describe two previous research projects concerning these same families.


The information on the associated Family Records pages is an important resource for this project, enabling the achievement of its research goals. These family records were originally destined for the Appendix of a new document but they proved too numerous. Placing them on the web site not only reduced the size of the document it also improved their access and usability.



1/9/2017 Finding the Old Family Homestead


The ancestral cottage has often been considered the Holy Grail of genealogists researching ancestors in Ireland. There are many old cottages, from the famine era and beyond, that still dot the Irish countryside. The years of neglect have exacted a toll on many, others have been reduced to use for storage and some have been demolished. Occasionally there is a pleasant surprise awaiting the intrepid researcher when the cottage has been maintained and is presently occupied, perhaps even by a relative.




Old Mattydale, New York


Moving Molloy's Money

The main part of this historical novel covers the period between the fall of 1925 and late summer of 1927, which was an interesting time in the history of Mattydale. Many farms in the area were turning into residential developments and this caused the population to explode. Two fictitious individuals, Charlie Amidon and Clyde Fuller, were grafted onto real families. This story follows their activities as they relieve one of the local citizens of some money and then make subsequent efforts to hide that money until they can reclaim it and then leave town.


The novel itself is available at


A special section of the Old Mattydale site provides background information on the events and locations mentioned in the book.



5/1/15 Old Mattydale, New York


The 1912 Tornado

On Sunday, September 15th, at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the tornado touched down near Long Branch on the western end of Onondaga Lake. This was just west of the Village of Liverpool, which is located on the north shore. The tornado moved towards the northeast from Long Branch to Bear Road and then turned southeast to Pitcher Hill, where the largest number of houses and barns were destroyed, and then on to Collamer. Link


There are some fairly good pictures and many interviews with the people who had lived through the tornado, including lengthy interviews with brothers Peter and William Michaels. The latter Michaels brother had been outside, on the way to his barn, when the tornado struck his farm on the old Cicero Plank Road, across from Trolley Stop #4. He had been knocked down several times until he finally gave up and just hung on to the ground, waiting for the tornado to pass.


Thanks to Robert Steingraber, there are also 13 new photographs of the damage at Long Branch and the area to its south. These have not been published before.


12/25/14 Old Mattydale, New York


Mattydale Landmarks

Landmarks are everywhere, you just need to know where to look and to understand what it is that you are looking at. This list contains the descriptions of landmarks that are still is existence and some that are long gone. Link.


Mattydale Mysteries

As I have tried to uncover and re-discover the history of Mattydale it has been possible in some cases to figure out why events happened as they did or why things look like they do or why buildings and streets are located where they are - but not always. Unanswered questions and mysteries still remain. Here's a chance for some audience participation if anyone wants to get in on this game and help find some of the missing pieces. Link.


The Cicero Stage Coach

On Monday, August 31, 1908, in the center of what would become Mattydale, there existed a collection of various modes of transportation that would not coexist for much longer. The electric Trolley had just inaugurated its service from Syracuse to Oneida Lake on the previous day. On the plank road were the farm vehicles, for which it was intended, and on a daily basis the farmers were battling the growing presence of the automobile, or "machines," as they were called then. Still holding its own was a relic from the past - The Cicero Stage Coach. The oldest operating stage coach in the country was running every weekday on what would be the last plank road in the county and perhaps in the whole country. Link



Old Mattydale, New York


The Roadhouses on the Old Plank Roads

In the beginning, when a roadhouse first opened, there was sometimes an air of excitement. In the early days there was more of a sporting flavor to the activities. There would be hunting and sometimes fishing depending on the location. Fighters from out of town would stay at a roadhouse while training for an upcoming fight in the area. In the 1890s a bicycle craze spread across the country and there were bike races along the plank road that added to the sporting nature of the roadhouse activities.


After they had been opened a year or two, the local opinion changed. The roadhouses were now places of evil and dens of iniquity that were frequented by a certain low class of person. The owners, or the persons renting those facilities, were arrested occasionally for violations of the excise laws; there would be occasional fights and more than a few arrests for running a disorderly house.


It was only in retrospect, after a roadhouse had been closed for a while, or had been destroyed by fire, that those initial romantic thoughts began to re-emerge. Reflecting back, it was easier to overlook their faults, and to remember the “good old days.” Over the years all the old roadhouses slowly disappeared. Fire destroyed some of them and a few were then rebuilt on the same locations only to be destroyed by fire a second time. Most yielded to progress, their location was needed for other purposes. Link


7/23/14 Old Mattydale, New York


Mattydale Riot

It had been a quiet morning when Sgt. Martin Dillion, at the North Syracuse NY State Trooper office, received a call from Oran M. Woodward, one of the contractors, who was working on the newly opened Kirsch Tract. There was a riot under way in Mattydale and Dillon and his men needed to respond. This Mattydale riot was unique. It had been caused by a person who wasn’t even there, Vernon W. Harl. Link



Old Mattydale, New York


Mattydale's "John Dillinger"

The calm April afternoon in Mattydale was interrupted in 1934 by a raid on an illegal still at 116 Brookfield Road. It turned out that the culprits were also bank robbers hiding out from Georgia authorities. One of them, Lonnie Parish, fancied himself as "Dillinger the second." Link


7/17/14 Old Mattydale, New York


The Old Settlers of the Town of Salina

This new section on the Old Mattydale web site is devoted to Salina Lots 3, 8, 18 & 19, which covers all of Mattydale and a little more. The ownership of land on those four lots is described, beginning with the original Revolutionary soldiers who were awarded lots in the Military Tract for their service during the Revolutionary War. Land records, maps and overlays are used to show how the land was subdivided until some characteristic patterns began to emerge and then stabilized. This occurred in about 1840-1850.


 From that point going forward, 18 individual families were followed and each has their own dedicated web page in the Old Settlers section. The individual web pages cover their: Connection to Mattydale, Where they came from; Where did they settle; Family Connections; History of their Mattydale property and some Notable Facts or Events in which they were involved.


Each family page also has a link to that family’s genealogy with family trees and census records. A second link is to the land records involving that family including a list of all the transactions. A subset of the transactions are summarized with the legal description of the property given and where possible a lot map with a boundary overlay is included.  


The Old Settlers Link  



Old Truxton Pictures

Thanks to the generosity of Bill and Joanne Casey a large number of pictures from the early years of the 20th century in Truxton, Cortland County, have been made available. I have added some descriptions and history to many of the pictures. Click here

6/13/14 Old Mattydale, New York

Thanks to the help of Roger Baker the video descriptions have been enlarged. More of the dates have been nailed down and Roger was able identify some individuals recognizable in the videos.

Syracuse Businesses and Industries

This is a series of 14 full page articles from the Syracuse Journal in the summer of 1934. It may not belong in Mattydale per se but everyone in Mattydale has shopped at these stores or purchased items from these industries. It was just a case of looking for one thing and finding another.


3/22/14 Old Mattydale, New York

The second half of the videos have been processed. There are 67 of them in total ranging from 11 seconds to 4-1/2 minutes.


3/15/14 Old Mattydale, New York

The first half of the videos have been processed. There are 34 of them ranging from 11 seconds to 4-1/2 minutes.



Old Mattydale, New York 


I have added some new material to the Old Mattydale site


Plank Road Visit to Toronto


The Story of the Double Underpass


The Plank Road and the Mattydale Triangle


Jamaicans & POWs


And a couple miscellaneous items.


12/14/13 Old Mattydale, New York

Irish Road Bowling - American Style

It always seemed to be more prevalent in the springtime that most of the boys would come to school toting their bags of marbles. The marbles that made the trip to school were always very carefully selected. Everyone wanted to show off their best marbles but at the same time there was the ever present risk that Sister Mary WhateverHerNameWas would spot you with them in class. Then she would confiscate them and add them to her vast and growing collection.....Link



The Stack Family


The Stack Family

This page was added on my Mother's 90th birthday.

       Jean Marie Stack McGraw (1923-2005) 


There are two new document linked to this page.


A revised version of the Stack Camp on Oneida Lake

A second is The Stack Houses in Syracuse, NY


11/4/13 Old Mattydale, New York

The Arrival of Frank Matty

Frank Matty’s original interest in Salina property (1900) was for providing a place to house and train his stable of race horses. He added to his land holdings and started raising hogs when his friend Sim Dunfee arranged for four wagon loads of free city garbage per day to be delivered to those farms.

When Frank Matty eventually moved to his Salina farm, in about 1914, he didn’t go there with a vision of founding a community or starting a  residential development.  Link


9/7/13 Lanty McGraw - An Early Settler of Kenyon Hollow

Lanty purchased the land for $4272 with a mortgage that was due on April 1, 1857 by a payment of $3660. The mortgage was held by the previous owners of the land, Albert Skeel and his wife Mary Ann, of Fabius. On March 13, 1858 Lanty sold the property for $500 and the mortgage was conveyed to Seneca Smith, the new owner. Smith was already a land owner in the area. Smith’s original homestead, located about a ¼ mile north of Lanty’s property, is today the Community House of Highland Forest Park. Link


9/7/13 The Building of the Legend - Frank Matty's Birthday Parties

Starting in 1930 and in every subsequent year through 1938, one of the Syracuse newspapers, usually the Herald, would run an annual article on Frank Matty, on or near his birthday. They are reproduced here for historical purposes with the addition of comments and corrections to avoid the further propagation of the distorted history found in these articles. Matty, like any very active public figure, had his fans and his enemies. While his detractors might be overly harsh in their comments, Matty’s fans, which included some of the newspapers of the day, had a tendency to over inflate his motivations and accomplishments. As he aged, his memory began to fade and as a result, dates and sometimes events suffered in accuracy. The comments added after the articles, in this document, are meant to straighten out these inaccuracies in dates, locations and events.Link


6/15/13 Old Mattydale, New York

This web site has been constructed in an attempt to gather together whatever Mattydale history can still be found - before it disappears forever. Although the name Mattydale didn’t appear until 1922, this label will be used through out to refer to that piece of land on the Cicero Plank road just a mile or two past the city line. Link



The Neighbors in Ireland, by Michael F. McGraw and Clare Tuohy

The Neighbors in Ireland opens a window that covers the Famine period in selected townlands of Moyaliff and Holycross parishes of Co. Tipperary. Most of the townlands studied are adjacent and their relatively small size allows the area to be truly described as a neighborhood. The Irish homesteads of the main families of Long, Fanning, Tuohy and McGrath were identified and described in detail.  

The Field, House, Tenure and Cancelled Books, researched by one of the authors (Tuohy), contained a wealth of new source material. The analysis of that material provided a unique view into the lives of these ancestors during the Great Famine and as they were emerging from the famine. The information contained in the House Books was unique and priceless. They contained an inventory of every structure, on each farm, in every townland along with the dimensions of each structure, the materials of construction and their state of maintenance. It is possible to use the Griffith Valuation maps, with the information in the House Books, to develop a mental picture of these buildings. That is about as close as one is going to get to having a photograph of the ancestral homestead from that time period. 

This document was the result of a trans-Atlantic collaboration between Clare Tuohy, a Dublin, Ireland based researcher, who is descended from William Tuohy of Grange, Holycross parish, and myself, based in Austin, TX, who is descended from Michael McGrath of Moyaliff in Moyaliff parish.





Web Hosting

This site was down for a little over 24 hours during Oct 27-28. That was the final agonizing day of an eleven-day ordeal, transferring the site from one web hosting company to another. The detailed saga can be read here. The names have not been changed because there were no innocents to protect. If you have never transferred a web site, then you will have been warned. If you have transferred a web site, then you should be able to relate. If you are about to transfer a web site, then BEWARE.

10/27/11 The paper The Long and McGrath Families - Neighbors on Both Sides of the Ocean was updated - again

The paper The Long and McGrath Families - Neighbors on Both Sides of the Ocean was updated. A related paper about Thomas Long's lease back in Ireland was added: Thomas Long Land Lease.



A number of letters from Ireland have come into my possession. Doug Currie was kind enough to send me letters his mother, Agnes McGraw Currie, had received over the years from Mary Alice Hennity and her mother Martha Rooney Cunningham. I scanned them into a PDF document and added some background material. The link to the letters is on the The McGraw Family of Truxton page.




Two new papers have been added. The Rooney's of County Down and The Long and McGrath Families - Neighbors on Both Sides of the Ocean.


The Rooney paper is an updated version of an earlier paper. This paper resolves several family mysteries and traces the Rooneys back to the family homestead in Tullyframe, Co. Kilkeel, Co. Down.  A mystery child was also discovered whose existence had not been found in any of the family stories.


The Long & McGrath paper builds more connections between the families from the Holycross-Moyaliff area of Co. Tipperary and Central New York.



The paper, The Ryan Family in Ireland and America has been added to the Lewis County page. The author, Father Thomas E. Buckley, S. J., has graciously agreed to share his work with visitors to this site. In this paper Father Buckley presents the results of research into his Gleason and Ryan ancestors from the Moyaliff area of Co. Tipperary. He covers their years at Maple Ridge, in Lewis Co., and their eventual relocation to the West coast.




The number of individuals from the Upperchurch area that settled in the Central New York region has grown to 62 individuals representing 27 families.


The First Arrivals - Table showing the order of the arrivals


The Upperchurch Families - More detailed information on the individuals and their families.


The Ghosts of Glown - An extra Philip and Margaret Ryan family from the Upperchurch area were shown not to have existed at all.




The McGrath, Ryans and Gleasons of Maple Ridge have finally been straightened out. A migration of over a dozen persons went from Pompey, Onondaga Co. NY to Maple Ridge, Lewis Co between the end of 1858 and Aug. 1860.


McGraths, Ryans and Gleasons in Lewis Co. (PDF)  UPDATED




After 10 months of searching and writing, the story of the of the search for my ggg-grandfather, Michael McGrath is "complete." Along the way I was able to link together the families of Maple Ridge, Lewis Co, NY and those in Onondaga Co., NY.


The story comes in two parts. The Short Story describes the search, the Maple Ridge Migration and the new Upperchurch families that were found.


The McGrath Family from Moyaliff Parish, County Tipperary. is the longer version and goes into more detail on Michael McGrath's family and the search for Michael himself.




Tipperary Surname Distribution maps added




Organization and structure of the site finalized and implemented. Site launched. See Welcome page


The Phelans of Central New York added.

The Roger Ryan Family of Cuyler, New York added