15 January 2015

52 Ancestors: Anna Keating Walsh is one Tough Woman

Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small, has challenged us this week with tough women. She asked “Who is a tough, strong woman in your family tree? Or what woman has been tough to research?” My 2x great grandmother Anna Keating Walsh is indeed a tough woman. 

She is a tough woman to trace and I believe she was a tough woman in her time as well. Anna (everyone past my grandparents get actual names; it is the only way I can keep people straight) was born around 1855 in Ireland. According to my grandmother, she was born in County Mayo.  

My grandmother had told me that Anna had immigrated with her siblings and that she was the youngest Her parents – Patrick and Knapy Penelope Keating - had stayed behind and she settled in Ringtown which is just a stone’s throw from Shenandoah (assuming of course you can throw a bit)! 

She married Michael Walsh and the lived in Shenandoah. The 1910 Census stated Anna had 11 children, with only six living in 1910. I would venture to take an educated guess and say that the other five had either died very young or were stillborn. 

By 1910 Anna was a widow living on Lloyd Street in Shenandoah. I have no clue when exactly or how Michael, her husband, died or even where he is buried.

Sometime after 1910, Anna moved to 218 Marshall Street, Phoenixville. She died there on 23 June 1920, according to her death certificate. She was buried 28 June 1920 at St Mary's Cemetery in Phoenixville. 

Filling in the blanks for Anna, determining when exactly she immigrated, confirming which port she came into and who those other children are, has been tough. However, that is not the only reason Anna is my Tough Woman this week! 

A cousin – two actually, both of my mom’s generation (so Anna is their great grandmother) – recall mention that Anna was a Molly Maguire! 

The Molly Maguires were a secretive group of Irish who fought against the deplorable working conditions of the mines, especially in Pennsylvania. I realize I may never know for sure but you bet I am going to try every angle and hunt down every clue to try and confirm or deny that she was a member. 

I did find documentation of a William Keating involved with the Molly Maguires but I cannot, with certainty, connect him to my Anna. One reference does list William having a sister Catherine and a brother John but no reference to any Anna.  

So my search continues on this tough lady and an even tougher line!


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is a weekly genealogical challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small. Look for my weekly posts each Thursday!
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.