Mystery Monday – Jeremiah Dwyer, county Tipperary to Saint Louis, Missouri

There are a lot of mysteries involving my gg grandfather, Jeremiah Dwyer, and some of them we have actually solved.  The family story was that Jeremiah was a widower with a three-year-old son when he married my gg grandmother Anna Rooney.  They were married in Saint Louis, Missouri, and had a lot of daughters, but only three survived.

It was said that the son’s name was also Jeremiah and that he was born in Ireland.  My grandmother had said that the young Jeremiah went to New Orleans and died there.  That was all that was known.  If Jeremiah had married in Ireland and had a son there, then their arrival to the U.S. would have occurred in the late 1840s.  How much of this was accurate?

We found two marriages in the index of St. Louis Marriages 1804-1876 in the appropriate time frame:
Jeremiah Dwyer                                           Jeremiah Dwyer
Anna McGangain                                           Ann Rooney
03 Aug 1846                                                  19 Oct 1850

For many years we were not sure what to make of these records.  Mary, the oldest daughter of Jeremiah and Anna, was born Aug 1850.   We were pretty sure that Anna’s maiden name was Rooney, but in the family story she was brought to New York City to be raised by an aunt [I’ll write more about Anna in another post].  Could she have gone by the name McGangain?  Another perplexing point was that we couldn’t find any other McGangains anywhere.  We were stumped.

Later I found this 1850 Census for Jeremiah and Anna:

There was the three year old son, named Edward, and a daughter Mary, 3/12 — both were born in Missouri.

Fast-forward to a Friday afternoon.  I was visiting my parents, and my mother and I were able to go to the St. Louis County Library.  There we found microfilm with the marriage of Jeremiah Dwyer and Ann Rooney (and, it really was late afternoon Friday when we found the records!):

According to the marriage record, Jeremiah and Ann Rooney’s marriage took place 27 Sep 1849.  The register where the marriage was filed and recorded by the state, however, gave a different date: 19 Oct 1849 (filed 18 Jan 1850 and recorded 19 Jan 1850).

The date in the index that I had found early on in my search was 19 Oct 1850.  With Mary’s birth 04 Aug 1850, 1849 was obviously correct.  Proof positive to never trust the index!

The marriage record for my gg grandparents also included the names of their parents:  Timothy Dwyer and Mary Ryan (possibly Regan, the handwriting is hard to read); and Patrick Rooney and Elisabeth Young.  My mother and I were so excited; we never imagined that we would find that information!

A witness to the marriage was Bernard Young.  Was he related to Anna Rooney’s mother?

We also found baptisms for Edward and for Mary:

Edward’s mother was Ann McGanagan; Mary’s was Ann Rooney.  So both marriages were for my gg grandfather.  He was a widower with an (approximately) three-year-old son; but the son was born in Missouri and was named Edward.

Sponsors for Edward’s baptism were Franciscus (?) Young and Anna Cecilia McGanagan (possibly?).  Sponsors’ surnames for Jeremiah and Anna Rooney’s children were Dwyer, Young, Burke, Hayden and Hearn.  I have not been able to find any of them or determine their connection.


Jeremiah’s death notice, Nov 1875, in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat called him “a native of county Tipperary, Ireland” and gave his age as 65.  It asked newspapers in New York state and Denver (Col.) to please copy the death notice.  Who might have been in these locations?  Could Edward have been in Denver?  I have not been able to find him in New Orleans or anywhere else after the 1870 Census and an 1870 St. Louis directory.

To recap:

  • Jeremiah was from county Tipperary, born about 1810.  He could have been born later, as census records indicate birth years of 1817 to 1820.
  • His parents were Timothy Dwyer and Mary Ryan or Regan.
  • He was in Saint Louis, Missouri, before Aug 1846 when he married Ann McGanagan (this date is from the marriage index) — their son Edward was born 22 May 1847 and baptized 03 Jun 1847.

Some of my questions are:

  • When did Jeremiah come to the U.S.?
  • Did any family come with him?
  • When did he arrive in Saint Louis?
  • Who was in New York City?  Who was in Denver?

These questions and his early life in Ireland are all a mystery.  I hope someday to find the answers.

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4 thoughts on “Mystery Monday – Jeremiah Dwyer, county Tipperary to Saint Louis, Missouri

  1. Is it possible that the placement of the obit for one or either of the other cities was for his wife’s family? A “hey family, I’m alone and could be destitute soon…thought you ought to know” type thing?

    • Yes, Heather, that’s definitely a possibility. I don’t know anything about Anna’s family who might have stayed in New York. An interesting thing is that Anna’s obituary, about ten years later, asked Boston papers to copy; no mention of New York!

  2. It’s great when you find parents’ names on an official document like that … can open all kinds of doors. I hope you are able to find out more about Jeremiah’s early life …

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