The Challenge by Paul Conan, Jr.


Dr. Robert James Conan was a unique individual with a brilliant mind and many passions.  His lifelong friends in Syracuse N.Y. described him as a "Renaissance Man" but to me he was Uncle Bob.  He was exceptional not only in his career as a Physical Chemistry professor and Chairman of the Chemistry Department at LeMoyne College, but also as a genealogist, pianist, and music composer.  His collecting interests included ancient roman coins, historical signed documents, historical Irish books, Classical Music records, and Classical sheet music.

Bob Conan's greatest passion was Irish genealogy, and he amassed a vast amount of information from his numerous trips to Ireland and his research in central New York, especially Pompey.  Bob never married or had children, so when he died in 2002 his property passed to his brother (my father) Paul Sr., and then to my mother in 2013.  Fortunately all of his genealogy research has been preserved and stored in dozens of boxes and 3-ring binders.  To honor his life's work, my goal is to scan all his research and make it available to those who are interested.

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.  

These boxes and 3-ring binders also contain Irish maps showing where Irish relatives lived, letters from Irish people of County Tipperary, Bob's notes from his Irish record searches, family trees, family photos, cemetery records, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and even Bob's diaries.  There are binders full of worksheets where Bob was trying to figure out family connections within Ireland in the 1800s.  I also have Bob's two laptops from the 1990s which have not yet been opened or searched.  

This is a long-term project, but hopefully the results will be useful to those seeking information about their relatives in the Upperchurch-area as well as in Pompey, N.Y.  


The Conan Archival Project
From Upperchurch, Co. Tipperary to Pompey, Onondaga Co., NY

McGrath Genealogy

Upperchurch Connections


What's New?


The Conan Family of Foilagoule









Robert J. Conan, Jr., Ph.D.

(1924 - 2002)


Jerry Coonan's peat bog in 1999 in Gortnagowna, Templederry parish, Co. Tipperary

Left to right: Paul Conan, Jr., Paul Conan, Sr., Jerry Coonan, and Bob Conan, Jr.

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.



Dr. Robert J. Conan -

Formula for Success















The Conan Family of Foilagoule

The Coonan Trilogy


Michael F. McGraw, Ph.D.

The Conan Family with Charts and Maps


Robert J. Conan, Jr., Ph.D.







Irish Books Owned and Irish Records Consulted


Early Conan Family Trees


Bob's Letters from Irish Priests (10 letters)


Bob's Letters from Irish People (5 people)


Bob's Interviews with Irish People


Conan Time Line


Annotated Conan maps


Ancient Map and Old Genealogy


Irish in Pompey, NY; Order of Arrival from Ireland


Upperchurch and Other Catholic Parish Records


Griffith - A Couple Annotated Maps and GV Copies


Irish Records from Kilbarron and Thurles


Bob's Notes from Elphin Census Circa 1750


Tithe, Griffiths, O'Hart, Irish Phone Nums, Dublin Castle


Xerox Copies of Books


A Few Census Snippets


Copies of Irish Passenger Lists - Part 1


Copies of Irish Passenger Lists - Part 2



Parish Registers - Coonan Families and Neighbors




















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. 

1949    1950


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 Learnerís Permit to drive, report cards, and family photos among other mementos. 

Paulís 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.




The Music Collection of Robert J. Conan

          In the 1940s and 1950s Bob began buying Classical Music records and Classical sheet music. He would listen to his records and play his sheet music almost every day and he continued to collect music recordings throughout his life and never threw anything out. When he died on November 8th, 2002 at the age of 78 he had amassed a huge assemblage of music.

           This document contains a 200+ page inventory of Bobís music collection, and it must have taken him a long time to organize, alphabetize, and type it. This checklist was discovered after he passed away. As of August 2018, Bobís enormous record and sheet music collection still exists and is being stored in boxes. It was Bobís hope that his collection would find a good home in a music library or university, or with a passionate collector who enjoys classical music and other recordings as much as he did. Hopefully a suitable home will be found.


The New York State History Book Collection of Robert J. Conan

           Bob determined that in order to efficiently continue his research he needed his own copy of these books. That decision began his quest to build his own personal library. Bob became a regular visitor to several small bookstores in central New York, and an occasional visitor to bookstores in New York City. He let the employees know what kind of books he was looking for, and they would contact him if they found one. His New York State book collection contains 40 books published between 1800 and 1900, and 37 books between 1901 and 2000.

           The purpose of the index contained on the following pages is to document the part of Bobís book collection that pertains to New York State and Onondaga County.






Copyright © 2006 - Michael F. McGraw

McGrath Genealogy

Upperchurch Connections
  What's New?



   The Conan Family of Foilagoule