Finns in the USA

I had a comment recently from Scott Brown on my “Finns of County Mayo” blog page. We have exchanged some information and he is descended from Bridget Finn who emigrated from Ireland to the USA in 1901, making her home in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was born in 1881 in the Cloontia, Mayo area along with the rest of her siblings. Three of her sisters also emigrated to Cincinnati, Mary Agnes Finn born 1883, Katherine Finn born 1885 and Ann Finn born 1886. Bridget married Bernard John Gorman in 1908 and Mary Agnes married Patrick Joyce in 1909. Katherine married William P. Lantry and Ann married Charles Ziegler. This picture shows the four Finn sisters in 1955. The Finn name disappeared from Cincinnati because of these marriages.

Back in Ireland their parents were James (Seamus) Finn (1860? – 1932 Cloontia) and Ann (Nancy) Finn (1845 Croyhill -1938 Cloontia), who were married on 13th February 1879. There were four sons besides the four daughters mentioned above. They were Thomas Finn (born 1889 Cloontia), James Finn (1887 – 1969), Patrick Finn (1893 Cloontia to 29th July 1917 Lake Erie) and Matthew Finn (1895 Cloontia to 1901 Cloontia). Patrick arrived at Ellis Island on 25th March 1911 and gained work as a chauffeur. Whilst vacationing, he visited relatives in the Cleveland area and, unfortunately drowned in Lake Erie. James married Marie McGeever (1891-1973) and they had seven children.

One of these children was Thomas Finn (28th April 1919 – 24th July 2019, aged 100) who wrote the paper about the residents of Cloontia featured in my blog page “More on Grandad Finn’s Family”. He married Kathleen Farrell in 1948 and there are four sons and five daughters listed on his obituary notice along with the mention of thirty grandchildren and twenty-seven great grandchildren.

I have a DNA connection to Jess Bazeley of Cincicinnati. Her grandmother, Mary Louise Ziegler (born 1916, Harrison, Ohio), married Fred Bazeley. Mary Louise was the daughter of Charles Ziegler and Ann Finn. Maribeth Samoya, sister of Scott Brown, sent her brother the same information, which he passed on to me. This means I have a connection as a distant cousin with, at least, James Finn (1860?-1932) and his wife Nancy Finn, and all of their offspring in the USA, plus, in all probability, further connections to his family back in Ireland that are yet to be established. James’ father was Patrick Finn, known as ‘Patch’, who was born and raised in Cloontia, County Mayo and who married Dorothy Doherty. 

My great grandfather Luke Finn married my great grandmother Bridget Phillips in the Sacred Heart of Mary (picture above), in the village of Bunninaddan, church on 2nd February 1887. They were the parents of my maternal grandmother Kate Finn (1896-1995). One of the witnesses was Patt Finn, but I know nothing about him. He could be either a brother or other relative of Luke Finn – further research is needed. Their marriage certificate extracted record is below.

I have been in contact, because of another DNA connection, to Michael C. Pecora. He has traced his line back to Ireland, via Thomas Finn (1845 – 16th August 1903, both Kiltycreen), who married Ellen Gorman on 16th December 1865 in the above church. They had a large number of children and I have DNA links to two of them – Matthew Finn (22nd March 1881 Kiltycreen – 18th March 1945 Cook County, Illinois) who married Ann Lynch (born Bury, Lancashire, UK) on 21st May 1936 from the Pasquini tree on Ancestry and Matilda (Tilly) Finn (13th July 1891 Kiltycreen – 14th December 1951 Philadelphia) from Michael C. Pecora’s tree. Tilly married Patrick Scott and is recorded in the 1940 USA census, with six children. Other siblings of Matthew and Tilly, who emigrated to the USA, were Catherine (Kate) Finn (29th January 1870 Kiltycreen – Philadelphia), Mary Anne Finn (14th April 1871 Gurteen, Sligo – 26th September 1916 Philadelphia), Patrick Finn (17th March 1875 Kiltycreen – 6th January 1921 New York), and Emily Finn (18th August 1888 Kiltycreen – New York). All of these need further exploration. The dates and locations in this paragraph are from Michael C. Pecora’s research and the data cannot be verified because it has not been uploaded to Ancestry.

Going back a generation, John Finn (1796 Cloontia – 5th October 1877) married Catherine Kane (1813 – 7th January 1894) in 1823, probably in the Cloontia area). Apart from their sons Thomas (1845-1903) and Patrick (1831? – 1881) mentioned above, a number of other siblings have been suggested where further research is needed. There must be a link to my Finn family, a generation or two back, because of the DNA results I have been able to trace.

I have concentrated this blog page on the Finns who reached Cincinnati, because of the information provided by Scott Brown. I have not provided any further details of the Gormans, Joyces, Lantrys or Zieglers, because this blog is primarily about tracing my family connections, being Finns in this case. Some of my distant cousins related to those in this blog who emigrated to the USA, emigrated to Australia and New Zealand and that is also a further topic for research.

Another amusing fact about Cincinnati. I had a long stopover there on my way back to the UK after the initial flight from Tampa, Florida. At least, I thought, I have briefly visited Ohio, a state I have never set foot in. However, Cincinnati airport is south of the Ohio River in northern Kentucky, so I still have never set foot in Ohio, but as this is my only claim to have ever visited Kentucky, I will just have to settle for that!

UPDATE 24th December 2021: Scott Brown informed me a few days ago that his aunt Colleen Ernst (1939-2021) had just passed away. She was his mother’s only sibling, his mother being Geraldine Brown (1936-2019). Their parents were Henry Samuel Gorman (1909-1966) and Kathryn Foley (1909-1976). Henry was one of the six children arising from the marriage of Bernard John Gorman (1881-1933) and Bridget Finn Gorman (1881-1957). Bridget Finn is the person mentioned at the start of this blog page, who emigrated from Ireland in 1901. Scott sent me this fine photo that follows of the two sisters with their grandparents.