The Curious Travelings of James Conroy JR

February 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

A little while back Kathy Hammond, a distant cousin and contact on Ancestry.com, emailed me to inform me that she had found an immigration record for James Conroy JR from 1907, and pointed out that this was different from a similar record that I had located listing his arrival in 1904. When I took a look at them I was really puzzled because the two records seemed to be for the same individual, but how could one person travel to the US twice?

When I took a closer look at the 1907 manifest I discovered that James had already been to America once for the duration of one year. If his first arrival was back in 1904 and he then returned to Ireland a year later, that would put him on track for making the return a little later in 1907.

The question that leaps to mind of course is why did he leave the States in the first place? It is unusual for an immigrant to leave America but not unheard of. Henry Byrne travelled from Newton, Massachusetts back home to Queens County, Ireland and then in 1895 made the return trip back to the States accompanied by Ellen and Mary Conroy whom I believe were his cousins. Joseph McKenna, husband of Agnes Conroy, applied for a passport and returned home to Ireland for issues relating to “health”, and then returned to the States as well. I cannot find a passport application for James Conroy, but perhaps if you weren’t yet a citizen you didn’t need a passport, but I’m not sure. I have also considered the possibility that he returned home for a funeral, but I do not know of any Conroy family members who died during that time period, so for now, his reasons will remain a mystery.

Below, the 1904 ship manifest for James Conroy, listing his birthplace as Mountmellick, Queens Co., and listing his sister Ellen of West Newton as a contact.

Immigration record for James Joseph Conroy, showing that he was met by his sister Ellen, who was living in Newton, Massachusetts.

Below, the 1907 ship manifest listing his birthplace as Rosenallis (also listed as Ellen’s birthplace on her immigration record), which is actually more geographically accurate than Mountmellick (see above). Ellen is again listed as his contact, this time at a different address. Also listed is the one year duration of his previous stay in America.

James Conroy, line 8.

pg 2 James Conroy, line 8.

Detail: Curiously it lists “1907 1883 – 1907”. He would have born around 1883, so I find that detail odd in the record.

Detail from 1907 listing James’ last contact in Ireland as his father, James Conroy of Capard, Rosenallis, Queens County.

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§ One Response to The Curious Travelings of James Conroy JR

  • Census Junkie says:

    UPDATE: Turns out there is a reason to James’ travels. He apparently did not like it here in the States when he first arrived so he returned home to Ireland, where he worked on the family farm cutting peat for the turf fires. However, the notorious Irish weather did not cooperate and it rained most of the time, so fed up as he was, he returned to America to give it another chance.

    This story comes from James’ grandson, John Conroy of Worcester.

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