Where Oh Where did my McCormacks come from?

I must apologize for not posting anything for almost the past month. It has been not because I didn’t want to but that my schedule was pretty taken up with work.

About a month and half ago, I wrote the majority of the below post for an Irish online forum, Your Irish Heritage. I thought I would add to it here.

I imagine a few people remember the old nursery rhyme “Oh Where, oh Where Did My Little Dog Go?” I face a similar problem with “my” McCormacks. I have NO idea on where my McCormacks came from. Were they locals of County Kilkenny? Or were they from somewhere else?

Let me start with what I do know. My great-grandfather, William E. McCormack was born in Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny on 9 Jul 1853[1]. His parents were Michael (M.) McCormack and Catherine Paine/Payne. They were also married in Kilkenny[2]. I don’t know if they were locals or stopped in Kilkenny. I have *NO* birth location or any other location for either Michael or Catherine.

I do have some family stories to go on about Catherine. My dad always told me that he thought the McCormacks came from County Cork. Another story that I heard from another cousin is that Michael and Catherine stopped in Kentucky, where their first daughter Delilia was born, to visit Catherine’s brother. Looking around, I did find a William Payne in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Oddly enough, his wife’s name was also Delilia. To be exact, I found him for three consecutive censuses, the 1850 [3], the 1860 [4] and finally, the 1870 [5]. This William Payne “disappeared” from the Harrodsburg area after that. I did find another William (H.) Payne in the Chicago, IL area in the 1880 [6] and the 1900 [7] censuses. I believe that this William (H.) Payne died in 1904 [8].

After some more searching on Ancestry.com, I did find a naturalization record for a William Payne [9]. The birth year (1813) fits and so does the place of birth, Bandon, County Cork, Ireland. This is all great, but somehow I have to tie both (?) of the William Paynes I have to my great-great-grandmother, Catherine (Payne) McCormack. As I have already shown, there are several facts that support my theory that William and Catherine are brother and sister.

Since I have some documentation stating that Catherine is from Ireland, I looked on Roots Ireland for some supporting records. I did find one, a church baptism record for a Catherine Payne with a baptism date of 5 Aug 1823. That is almost a full year BEFORE the date of birth that I have for her. But that information was given on Catherine’s death certificate by her daughter, “Minnie”. So, I could have some wiggle room there. There is one more dissenting fact on that record from what I have in my records. On the baptism record, the father’s name is given as James Payne. That does not match with what I have of Robert Paine/Payne.

I have looked at Griffith’s Valuation and have found several Michael McCormacks, but I really haven’t pursued it because I don’t have a documented (or otherwise) location for Michael or Catherine prior to the summer of 1853. Also, while I can find the name, Michael McCormack, in the Griffiths Valuation I can NOT tie any of those people to my Michael. FYI, the Griffith’s Valuations for County Kilkenny, where I presumed Michael lived prior to his marriage, were published in 1849-50.

Speaking of Griffith’s Valuation, I noted on the marriage document for Michael and Catherine that one of the two witnesses was a Margaret Payne. I looked at various Irish websites that offer Griffith’s Valuation searches for a Margaret Payne in County Kilkenny. I found one.

What I will try to do in the future is to pursue the William Payne/Chicago lead. I will also try to find any more information on Margaret Payne, the witness to Michael and Catherine’s marriage. I could also try the ‘Valuation Revision Books’ located in Dublin.

Thanks for stopping by and I hoped you learned something!

Footnotes;

1.) Lapeer County, Michigan, Michigan Department of Health, Death Certificate, State File No. 3309 (Local File No. 2), 30 Apr 1943, William E. McCormack, Bureau of Records and Statistics, Lapeer.
2.) “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898,” Michael McCormick, digital image, http://ifhf.rootsireland.ie/.
3.) 1850 United States Federal Census, Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, District #1, Pg. 47 (written) p. 245 (stamped), dwelling #506, family #506, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
4.) 1860 United States Federal Census, Harrodsburg,Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, Pg. 27 (written) p. 711 (stamped), dwelling #191, family #191, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M653, 1438 rolls); Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
5.) 1870 United States Federal Census, Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, Pg. 28 (written), dwelling #192, family #217, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1860; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M593, 1,761 rolls); Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
6.) 1880 United States Federal Census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, E.D. #90, Pg. 34 (written), p. 711 (stamped), house #138, dwelling #223, family #460, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
7.) 1900 United States Federal Census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, Ward #8, E.D. #206, Sheet/Pg. 8 (written), B (stamped), house #302, dwelling #99, family #195, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
8.) “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1939, 1955-1994,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N7W8-NJF : accessed 6 July 2015), William H. Payne, 27 Sep 1904; citing , Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference cn 13653, record number 77, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,239,710.
9.) “United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VXRC-Q6Z : accessed 6 July 2015), William Payne, 1841; citing Maine, NARA microfilm publication M1299 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 101; FHL microfilm 1,429,771.

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