The Thomas Kenney and Mary Jane Clements Family of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana: An Analysis of Their Migration from Ireland to Ontario, Canada, Buffalo, New York and on to South Bend, Indiana

The earliest definitive evidence that I have of Thomas Kenney and Mary Jane Clements in the South Bend, Indiana area was the 1860 US Census. In the 1860, they were indexed as the "Kinney family" living in Portage Township with Thos Kinney (37, Cooper born in Ireland), wife Mary (35 born in Ireland), son Geo (15 born in New York), daughter Maria (13 born in New York), Thos (11 born in New York) and James (5 born in Indiana). In 1870, The family was composed of Thomas Kenney (61, ran a Boarding House), wife Mary (45), George (24 yr old single son, grocery clerk born in New York), Thomas (20 yr old single son, Traveling Salesman born in New York), James (13, in school born in Indiana) and their adopted daughter Delana (13) who was born in Canada. Mother Mary's maiden name is noted on the 1880 St Joseph Church Census. There appears to be close ties with the Clements family of Ontario, Canada as their son George J Kenney married Sahanna A Clements, a native of Kincardine, Bruce South, Ontario, Canada on November 29, 1882 back in Ontario, Canada.

Research Observations: There is a Sacred Heart burial record for an Elizabeth Kenney, daughter of Thoma Kenney who died at the age of 9? years on July 3, 1859 who may or may not be their daughter. There was a Sacred Heart Bural record for a Margaritam Hand, the spouse of Thoma Kenney on February 11, 1875. I am not sure which Thomas Kenney this refers to.

The objective of this compilation is to try to establish the earliest possible evidence of this family in the United States through all available resources. I would love to hear from anyone who believes that they may be a descendent of this family so that we can work together to find their origins in Ireland and migration trail to the U.S. This will most definitely be a work in progress and all findings I speculate on would have to be proven for accuracy with Ireland and U.S. marriage records, church baptismal records and death records among other genealogical resources. Please use this information with that caveat in mind so that nothing is assumed and no stones are left unturned to assure it's your family and the connection is accurate.

Special Note: There is a list of lot owners in the Cedar Grove Cemetery Microfilm 1637531 item 3 that indicates that the "Kenney family" owns lot number 158 in Section B and the surname Kenny is listed as having lot 234 as well. There is also a Kenny-Farley plot #217 in section B. I'm not certain that thiese lots are tied to this family but it would be worth pursuing to check it out!

Please contact me if you feel that you are descended from this family or another South Bend, Indiana Irish Family so that we can share information, see if there were common migration trails followed and delve further back into their origins in Ireland!

The following is a brief summary of what I have discovered about their children thus far:

  1. The George J Kenney and Sahanna A Clements Family: George J Kenney (36 born in Buffalo, New York, a grocer and son of Thomas and Mary Jane Kenney), appears to have married Sahanna A Clement (27, born about 1855 in Kincardia, Ontario to Samuel and Elsford Clement) on November 29, 1882 at 464 Clarence Street in Ontario, Canada. I found Sahannah in the 1871 Census of Canada living with her parents Samuel and Elspha Clements in Kincardine, Bruce South, Ontario, Canada with her siblings John, Hamilton, Mary, Sarah, Thomas, Samuel J, Robert and William J. Savannah was 18 born in Ontario with weaver listed as her occupation. When the 1900 US Census was conducted, George J Kenney (age 54, born July 1845 New York) was living with wife Savanna A (46, born April 1854 in Canada, parents born in Ireland) and son George C (16 born November 1883 in Indiana) on E Water Street in South Bend, Indiana, District 0126. George J was a Grocer and son George C a Grocer Clerk. They had been married 17 years with 1 child, 1 living. George J Kenney appears to have died on January 5, 1903 at the age of 56 in South Bend, Indiana and was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Notre Dame. In the 1910 Census, widowed Savanna A (58, Grocery business) is living in Portage Township, South Bend, District 0175 with her son George C Kenney (single 26 yr old Clerk). She had one child with one living. In the South Bend City Directory for 1919 and 1920, Savanna A (widow of George J) is living on 517 E Lasalle Avenue in South Bend. In the WWI Draft Registration card, son George Clement Kenney of 517 E Lasalle (born November 27, 1883) lists his mother Savanna Kenney as his nearest relative. According to the Find a Grave Website, son George C (born November 27, 1883) died April 16, 1922 in South Bend, Indiana and is buried with his father at Cedar Grove Cemetery at Notre Dame.
  2. The Thomas P Kenney and Sira S ? Family: When the 1880 St Joseph Church Census was conducted, son Thomas was listed as 30, married in Hartford, Indiana. The 1880 US Census for Harford, Blackford, Indiana shows Thomas P Kenney, a 30 yr old House Painter and his wife Sira S. The 1900 US Census for Licking Township, Harford City, Blackford County, Indiana reveals a Thomas Kenny (50, born March 1850 in New York), wife Sira S (42 born January 1858 in Indiana) with four children Mary E (born August 1881 Indiana), Charles (17 born February 1883 Indiana), Thomas C (14 born July 1885 in Indiana) and Donald A (9 born August 1890 in Indiana). They had been married 22 years (about 1878?) with 6 children, four living. Thomas was a Painter and Decorator. By the time the 1920 Census is conducted, Thoams P Kenney, wife Sira and sons Thomas C and Lyman was living on 121 Stanton Avenue in Wayne County, Detroit, Michigan. Thomas is still a Decorator Contractor as is son Thomas C. According to the Find A Grave Website, Thomas P Kenney appears to died in 1922 at the age of 72 and is buried in Hartford City Cemetery, Blackford County, Indiana. His wife Sara L (72 yr old widow) is living with their son Thomas C Kenney (45, Salesman,also a widow?) and his son Lyman (20, Truck Driver) in Wayne, Detroit, Michigan in District 306. In 1940, Thomas Kenney (54, Saleman of Mill Supplies) remains in Wayne, Detroit, Michigan with wife Florence (40, born in Missouri), his step son Edwin Meyers (18 born in Michigan) and his mother Lona Kenney (84 yr old widow).