genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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Our American Cousins

My great great grandparents emigrated with some of their family from their homeland in Ireland to America. Not much is yet known about this line of Spence's but hopefully contact will eventually be made with these long lost cousins.

John Spence emigrated from Burt, Donegal in Ireland and married Annie Sandeman in Muthill, Scotland in December 1903.  Research currently shows that he might have been the only one of their 9 children to come over. 

To start at the beginning, William Spence and Margaret McElhinney, both born in the early 1840's, married in May 1861 in the village of Newtowncunningham in the east of Donegal.  I have found 8 children, all born in the parish of Fahan on the shores of Loch Swilly.  However, on the 1910 census it says they had 12 children, of which 7 were still living :

William 1863 - no trace of him but possible emigration to Canada is unconfirmed.

David 1865 - believe he married and his family remained in Ireland (Findrum, Donegal)

Alexander 1866 - the first to emigrate ?

John 1868 - SCOTLAND (see photo left)

Margaret 1870 - there is evidence that she may have died in 1870.

Andrew 1873 - I have contacted someone on Genes Reunited on a possible Irish connection. 

Robert 1875

James 1877 

Minnie 1879

From American census and immigration records it seems that Alexander was the first to arrive as he was said to living at 53 Eastern Avenue, Indianapolis before the arrival of James.  He was certainly on the 1900 US Census aged 34, married for 7 years to a lady from Indiana, Anna.  They had one child aged 6.  The Census says he emigrated in 1885, which would make him just 19 years old.  What made him leave his parents and family in Ireland at such a young age ?  I haven't found any record of the ship he travelled on or confirmation of the year.  By 1910 they have moved to 249 Eastern Avenue, and he is still there in 1917.

Records show that on 12th June 1905, James arrived on the ship, Columbia from the port of Londonderry.  He was described as a labourer.  He settles a few houses down the road from James, at 33 Eastern Avenue.  On the 1914 directory, he is living with Alexander and Robert at 249 Eastern Avenue. 

Although I haven't traced the date of arrival, or the ship, census records show that Robert also arrived in 1905.  On the 1914 directory, he is living with Alexander and James at 249 Eastern Avenue. 

The following year, on 17th April 1906, parents, William and Margaret arrive on the ship, Columbia, with newly married Minnie and her husband, William J. Molloy.  Both William and Margaret were 65 years old which must have been quite an age to uproot and move away from your homeland.  William was described as in farming.  From looking at the US Census and the Indianapolis Directory records, he died between 1910 and 1914.  Margaret died sometime before 1930.

They all settled in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana.  Robert is on all census between 1910 and 1940 and worked as a car repairer, somehow connected to the steam railroad industry.  He married a lady called Hazel in the 1930's.  Similarly, James was described as a car repairer on the census.

I have found out most about Minnie.  Having married William Molloy in Ireland and emigrated to Indiana with him in 1906, they are together on all US census between 1910 and 1940.  They have two children aged 6 months and 2 years on the 1910 census :

Margaret Molloy - she was born about 1908 soon after they arrived in America.  On the 1930 and 1940 census she is a typist.

Thomas Molloy - he was born in 1910.  On the 1930 census he is described as an "electrician, steam railroad".  By 1940, he is married to Eloise and they have two children, William (born 1937) and Gloria (born 1935).  I am trying to contact someone on Ancestry who may be related to Gloria.

Watch this space for updates ....






Linked toJohn Spence

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