Mystery Monday – Anna Rooney, county Clare to Saint Louis, Missouri

Last Monday I wrote about the mystery of my gg grandfather Jeremiah Dwyer‘s early life in county Tipperary and his immigration to the U.S.  This week it’s his wife’s turn.  Anna Rooney was born in county Clare about 1823.  Her immigration to the U.S. and her early life in New York City is a mystery, as is how and when she moved to Saint Louis.

The first documented evidence we have of Anna is her marriage to Jeremiah Dwyer in Saint Louis, Missouri, on 27 Sep 1849 at Saint Francis Xavier Church.  Her parents’ names are given:  Patrick Rooney and Elisabeth Young.

As I wrote last week, Jeremiah was a widower with a three-year-old son when he married Anna.  Anna and Jeremiah had seven daughters but only three lived past early childhood.  There may be clues in the sponsors for the children but as of today I haven’t been able to learn any more about them. Their surnames were Dwyer, Young, Burke, Hayden and Hearn.

Most of what we know about Anna and Jeremiah comes from one of their granddaughters, Celia.  Quite a bit is in a letter she wrote to her cousin, my grandmother, in 1962.  Anna lived with Celia’s family for several years before she died, and they had the photograph of Anna above.   My grandmother’s mother, Laura, died when my grandmother was only four years old so she did not remember any stories about her grandparents.

Here is a portion of Celia’s letter:

Our grandfather came from Tipperary.  My mother said he was a very religious man and very good to them.  Our grandmother came from County Clare.  Her father’s name was Rooney, and her mother’s name was Young.  I gathered that the Youngs were well off.  Our grandmother was a twin and her mother and the other baby died when she was born.  She was raised for a few years by her mother’s people, but as they were not Catholics, her father took her to his sister in New York City–where she was raised.  How they both got to St. Louis, I don’t know.

I also do not know if Anna’s father stayed in the U.S. — and I don’t know the name of his sister.  Jeremiah’s death notice in 1875 requested that New York state newspapers copy the notice so it is possible that Anna still had relatives there.  At her death in 1887, only Boston newspapers were requested to copy the notice.

I have not been able to find any information about the Rooneys on passenger lists.  I don’t know what part of county Clare they might have been from.  So Anna and her father Patrick Rooney’s journey to the U.S. remains a mystery.  If anyone has any suggestions as to how to solve the mystery, please comment here or e-mail me at


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