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John and Bridget Mack

Very little is known of the elder John Mack. He was born in the early 1800's and died in approximately 1849 near the end of the Potato Famine which struck Ireland.

Because so little information can be found, several members of the family have come to the conclusion that Mack was not the actual name used in Ireland. The second most common name in County Clare was MacNamara. A book titled IRISH FAMILIES by Edward MacLysaght says that the MacNamaras used the abbreviation Mac often with the addition of a K-Mack. An interesting account of the name MacNamara is provided on Page 7.

Bridget Mack was born in 1809 or 1810 in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. She came to the United States shortly after her husband died. However, a search of ships passenger lists for the period 1850 to 1852 did not find the name Bridget Mack. This supports the theory that MacNamara or some other family name was used.

Bridget's three surviving children, Daniel, Thomas, and John arrived in Philadelphia on June 9, 1853 on the sailing ship Mary Pleasant. The ship originated in Liverpool, England and possibly made stops along the coast before sailing across the Atlantic.

The ship's manifest did not list a last name for the three boys. Instead it showed one last name for the adult that was with them. This was Mary Conway, their grandmother, who was listed as age 55 on the passenger list in 1853. The ages given for the three boys agree with the birth dates the family has for each.

It appears that Bridget came to the United States first and then sent for the rest of the family. Bridget's obituary and a photograph are provided elsewhere.

The Pedigree Charts provided show several additional people who are identified here:

Bridget's mother, Mary Conway (maiden name Burke) was married to Michael Conway. Mary's mother was Rose Mary Burke (maiden name O'Connor). Mary's father was known as a "Burke of Noble Birth". His name is shown as Thomas in some of the records for St. Joseph's Cemetery in Preemption, Illinois. Mary had four sisters and they were known together as the five beautiful Burke sisters.

Mary Conway's older sister, Margaret, is also an important ancestor for part of the Mack family. Margaret had two children by her first husband, Joseph Conway. Joseph was a brother to Michael Conway. The two children were Joseph Conway Jr. and Mary Margaret Voris. Joseph Jr. was the grandfather of Virginia Conway (died July 10, 1982) who was known by many members of the Mack family. Mary Margaret settled in western Iowa. Her ancestors made inquiries about their Conway relatives in Mercer County Illinois in 1980 and have since renewed acquaintances. (see the Joseph Conway article.)

When Joseph Conway died, Margaret married John O'Dea. One of their daughters, Katherine O'Dea, came to the United States in 1861 and stayed with her half-brother, Joseph Conway Jr. She was later to marry Daniel Mack, the oldest son of Bridget Mack. Joseph paid for the passage of Katherine, another sister, and two nieces. Joseph Conway's obituary is linked above.

(This information was written by Sister Mary Janela and Paul Mack as an introduction to the printed version of the Mack Family History.)

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