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Monday, August 26, 2013

Family: James Madden

New York State Census - Albany page 49 Eastern District 7th Ward  
28 Jun 1855

1815/1824 Ireland - 1894 Albany NY

James Madden was born about 1818 in Ireland. Or maybe his birth year is 1824, or 1815.  Pick a record and get a different date.  The 1855 NY census lists his age as 33 (1822).  The 1875 NY census says 60 (1815).  This concurs with the 1860 and 1880 US census which list his age respectively as 45 and 65, but the 1870 census says 52 (1818).  James' death certificate (18 May 1894) gives his age as 76 which agrees with the 1818 birth date.  Complicating the issue is his Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen. Filed in 1854 it lists his age as 30 giving a birth year of 1824.

The declaration gives us further information, stating that he sailed from Limerick and that the had been living in Limerick.  This is in conflict with family tradition that states he was from County Clare.

There are multiple possibilites.....

First it is possible that the Declaration is not for our James Madden.  The information is scanty even if the timing is logical.  There might have been another James Madden arriving in Albany between 1850 and 1855.

There is one record for a James Madden sailing from Limerick.  James Madden age 30 on Lady Peel from Limerick to NY 10/17/1850.  This adds another birth year (1820).  This most likely is the immigration of the person who filed the Declaration of Intention in 1854, but the birth years are off by four years.  Is it my James??

When was James born and where in Ireland was he from?  Calling Great-Great Grandpa....please give me a hint!!

Clare and Limerick both border the Shannon River.  James' wife Anna was a Fitzsimmons and the largest concentration of Fitzsimmons families are found in Limerick, but they are very close to the river, leaving the possibility open that James is from Clare.

Unfortunately, I have not found christening or marriage records for the emigrating James in either county.  Compounding the commonness of his name is the fact that his father's name is equally common and the only name we have for the wife of the first ancestor is Mary.

Adding to the confusion is the search for the immigration of Anna Fitzsimmons Madden.  I found a very promising record for an Anna Madden sailing on the Vandalia from Liverpool in September 1851.  I liked this record because she was sailing with William (age 4) and Catherine and Patrick Fitzsimmons. [Willie Madden is listed on his parents tombstone, but found in no US records] However, in examining the complete passenger list we also find James Madden on the page before her entry.  This might still work, but that would mean that the Declaration of Intention found that states he sailed from Limerick might not he his.  Or, did the ship originate in Liverpool and stop in Limerick to pick up additional passengers.  Records are not comprehensive.  If James did not board in Limerick, we are back at square one as he could be from anywhere!

Oh, I love research!!!!

All that said, I'm still looking.  The US and NY census records found are for the right James Madden, and the death certificate is certainly his, but the ships records and Declaration might not be. Somewhere there is a linking record, a tie to Irish records....I keep searching.

James, Anna and their children Willie, Marie and Margaret are buried (or memorialized) in St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands, Albany, NY.

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