Federal Hill Surnames in the late 1860’s

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Beginning in 1824, a city directory for the city of Providence was published nearly every year. It included the addresses and occupations of heads of households and breadwinners, but not children and wives.Of the nearly 550 surnames recorded on Federal Hill in 1869, 197 of those names were common to the Blackwater River Valley,  encompassing  North County Monaghan and South County Tyrone, as well as the bordering areas of Counties Armagh and Fermanagh.It is not possible to be precise in identifying those who were Irish and those who are not. For example, the names Smith and Thomson were common in the Blackwater Valley and on Federal Hill. Were they from the Blackwater? We can’t know.Of the 747 heads-of-households that seem to be Irish, 590 had names common to the Blackwater Valley community. That is, 79% had names common to the area. It doesn’t mean that they were all from there, but it does suggest an overwhelming presence of folk from the area on the Hill.

Of those folks from the Blackwater, most hailed from the parishes of southern County Tyrone. It is interesting to note that the most common name on Federal Hill in 1869 was also overwhelmingly the most common in the Blackwater River Valley: McKenna.

Including the spellings McCanna and McKanna, there were 100 adults listed with that name in the Providence City Directory of that year. Twenty-nine of them were living on Federal Hill. The next closest names on the Hill in terms of popularity wereMcElroy (22) and Campbell (21), names with strong associations in the Blackwater Valley, as well.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that McKenna was so popular. The Barony of Truagh in North Monaghan and (to some extent) in South Tyrone was, and still is, known as “McKenna Country.” Visitors over the past few centuries made notice of the presence of so many people of that name. In 1835, John O’Donovan visited Truagh and wrote, “If there was a MacKenna (i.e. chief) now, he could call a numerous band of his own name to the field.”[1] Numbers are hard to come by, but it is suggested that in Truagh today, upwards of 50% of the residents are either a McKenna or married to a McKenna. Directly across the border in south County Tyrone, McKennas are even more plentiful.
It leads one to think that perhaps there should be a McKenna chief of Federal Hill today!

[1] C. Eugene Swezey III , The MacKennas of Truagh, (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1993), p. 47.


Brady M** Doran T* Haney McCarron TM*/** Moan TM**
Branigan M** Dorsey Hannaway A McCarthy F Monahan TM**
Burke MT*/** Dowd M** Harrington McCarty T Moore M**
Burns AM** Downey M** Harris M** McCausland T(McCaslin) Morriarity
Callahan M** Douglas M** Hart M** McClaren T Morris TM**
Campbell T* Doyle TA * Healey T McConnell TM*/** Morrisey
Cannon T Driscoll Hennessey McCormick TM*/** Mullen TM **
Carey T* Drugan M** Henry TMA** McCrorken Mulligan M**
Cain* Duffy TM ** Hickey M** McCullen TM** Mulvaney M**
Duggan TM*/**T(Dugan) Hines McCusker TMA*/** Mulvey M**
Carney TM** Dunn M** Hogan McDermott TM*/** Murphy TMF**
Carr T* Durfee Holland TM ** McDevitt Murray TMF**
Carroll TM*/** Eagan Hopkins T McDonald TM* Neely
Case Eagers Horigan McDonough T Nelson TM*/**
Cassidy TM */** Fallon Horton McElheney M** O’Brien TM*/**
Cavannaugh M** Falls T * Hughes TMAF*/** McElroy TM */** O’Connor M**
Clark TMF */** Falvey Jackson M** McEvey T O’Donnell  MF**
Fanning M** Johnson TM** McFadden TM*/** O’Merra
Collins TM */** Farley M** Johnston M** McGail O’Neil TM*/**
Conley TM */** Farrell MTF */** Kane TM** McGee MTF*/** O’Reilly M**
Conlin T(Conlan)M** Farnum Kavanagh M** McGetrick Owens M **
Connelly TM** Feeney M** Keenan TM** McGill M** Phillips M**
Connery M** Finn M** Kelley TM */** McGinley TM*/** Powers
Conniss Finnerty Kelly TM */ ** McGinn TMF*/** Quinn TM */**
Connor M** Fitzgerald M** Kennedy TM ** McGinnis M** Ragan
Connors TM** Fitzpatrick M ** Keough McGirr T Rawson
Conway TM */** Flaherty Larkin M ** McGlone M** Reardon
Corbett M** Flanagan TM*/** Leary M** McGough MA** Reynolds  M**
Corcoran Flint Lee M** McGovern TM** Rice TM**
Corey Flood M** Lennon M ** McGowan M** Riley F
Cormack M** Flynn M** Logan M** McGrath TM ** Roberts  M**
Corrigan MTF */** Foley M** Loughlin T */**M (Laughlin) McGraw Robinson MA**
Cosgrove M** Foye M** Loughran MT */** McGuiness M** Roe M**
Costello M** Gainer Lynch TM** McGuire MTF */** Rogers TM*/**
Cox TM*/** Gallagher TMF ** Lyons M** McHenry M** Rooney M **
Coyle TM */** Galvin Macklin M** McCanna TMF*/** Ryan TM**
Coyne M** Garlan MT** MageeT(McGee)M** McKanna TM Sally T
Crosby TM** Garrity M Maguire TMF** McKenna TM*/**AF Scallon T
Crossley Geraghty M** Mahaney M(Mahoney) McKeon  M** Scullen T
Crowley Gibson M** Mahar McKnight MA** Seery
Cullen TM** Gillan TM** Mahoney ** McLaughlin TM** Shea
Cullinan Gillen M** Markey M ** McMagh T Slavin T
Cummings M** Gilligan Martin TMF ** McManus TMF */** Smith TM */**
Cummiskey M** Gillrane McAleer TM** McMarr Sullivan  M**
Cuniff Glavey McAlmeel McMaugh T Swift MF**
Curley M** Goff T(Gough)MA** McAloan F McMurray MF** Tague T(Teague)
Curran T** Gologher T(Gallagher) McAnally TM ** McNally TM ** Tally
Curry M** Golrick McAnanley T McNanley T Thompson M**
Dailey TM** Goodwin TM*/** McAntee McNiff Thomson M**
Darcey M** Gordon M** McAnulty McNulty MT */** Tierney TMFA **
Degan M** Gorman MT */** McAtee MT ** McPhillips M ** Trainer TM*/**
Delaney M** Gormley TM** McAvey McQuade TM */** Trainor TM */**
Dennin Gorton McAvoy T McSoley T Trimble T*
Dennis Goulding McBride M** McSorley Turbot MT**
Devlin TM*/** Greene MF ** McCabe M** McVey T Walls
Doherty TM* Grimley McCaffrey MTF** McVicker TM */** Welch
Donahue T(Donahoe)** Hackett TM*/** McCahey M** McWilliams T
Donaldson M** Haley McCann MT */**  Mead
Donley TM* Hamilton TM ** McCanna TMF */**  Meegan M */**
Donnelly TMA*/** Handy M** McCarren MF** Mellen T*
 Miner TM**
T = County Tyrone names found on Rhode Island grave stones, Old Stone Bank records &/or naturalization records.
M = County Monaghan names found on Rhode Island grave stones, Old Stone Bank records &/or naturalization records.
A = County Armagh names found on Rhode Island grave stones, Old Stone Bank records &/or naturalization records.
F = County Fermanagh names found on Rhode Island grave stones, Old Stone Bank records &/or naturalization records.
* Tyrone surnames mid-nineteenth century.
** Monaghan surnames mid-nineteenth century.


  1. Margaret Hoffman said:

    Looking for any evidence of a Hannah McBride born in 1854 in Rhode Island. Interested in parentage as James McBride and ????

    August 9, 2018
    • federalhillirish said:

      Hi Margaret,
      Are you using ancestry.com? There was an Ann McBride born in 1858 in Providence and whose parents are listed as Francis and Margaret (no maiden name). I can suggest strongly that the McBride family came from the borderland of countries Tyrone and Monaghan (Clogher/Truagh). There were possibly more McBrides in RI at the time, but I haven’t come across them. All that I have found come from the two counties. That is where a third to a half of all Providence famine Irish originated, and most of them came from cross-border families.
      In a 2001 survey of surnames in County Monaghan, 138 voters registered with the surname McBride and they are evenly distributed throughout the county. I do not have a similar study from Tyrone.
      Do you live in or near RI? You may find more specific info by checking the original documents. There is a lot of material in RI to see.
      Best of luck.

      August 9, 2018

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