McGrath Genealogy Upperchurch Connections   What's New?
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Copyright © 2006 - Michael F. McGraw

McGrath Genealogy

Upperchurch Connections
  What's New?










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.



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