Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fordham University - perhaps the last stop in our arduous, amazing, agonizing college search.

I'm sorry it's been so long since I last posted.  I have been embroiled in motherly duties, helping my daughter wade through oodles of College brochures, facts, figures and websites to find the place she will call home for the next four years.  As a parent, I am supposed to guide her objectively, steer but not interfere, keep my emotional ambivalence with this stage in her life under wraps and insure we can actually foot the bill.  Our oldest is a sophomore in college now and with two more future college students in the wings, that affordability issue is a big one. 
Keating Hall
Fordham University

We've spent the last few weeks trekking from one admitted students day to the next and I'm a little surprised, but happy that Fordham University has made the short list.  We're down to 2 or 3 schools at this point.  I can't say how this will turn out come May 1st, but as you know, our family does have a history at this very old and prestigious institution.

My grandfather, Thomas F. Hennessy (1899-1954) graduated from Fordham University in 1922 after serving on the Students Army Training Corp at Fordham in 1918. 

Thomas won his own scholarship for $100 towards 
tuition and $100 for maintenance in 1921.  He graduated from Fordham Law School in 1925 and served as a member of the Fordham Law School faculty. He is memorialized in 1954 in "The Advocate," a publication of the Alumni Assoc. of Fordham Law School.  After graduating, Thomas went on to serve as a vice chairman of the Westchester County Democratic committee.

Our first visit to Fordham last summer did not go so well.  My daughter, who teeters between being agnostic and atheist, was immediately turned off by this decidedly religious institution as well as a perceived lack of diversity.  She was also intimidated by the stately, looming buildings in spite of their architectural beauty.  Our family heritage was inconsequential to her. No, this was not her kind of school!  

As she continued her search, Fordham's academic offerings and reputation as well as it's proximity to Manhattan drew her back in.  Thus, when they offered her a scholarship, it seemed worthy of another look.  Sure enough, a year later and a whole lot wiser, she found the beauty and history of Fordham inviting and engaging.  I thought all might be lost on my-so-not-into-sports kid when the President devoted much of his speech to Fordham's affiliation with the Yankees, taunting Mets and Red Sox fans.  Yet, when the Father began to talk about Fordham's mission to create graduates who are "bothered" by injustice and the tough questions and issues of our time, it resonated loudly, like the crack of the bat hitting a walk off home run.

1935 Fordham University
 Founded as St. John's College in 1841
The name was changed
to Fordham in 1907
The Law school and
Medical Schools opened in 1905

As for the Catholic tradition of Fordham, she's standing firm on her agnostic-atheist fence.  It could be interesting for her to debate spirituality at Fordham with those infinitely more versed in the subject than I.   Of course I understand her position, having gone through my own period of exploration and I would expect nothing less from her.  She hates it when I tell her that though, feeling it invalidates her position, as if it's just a phase.  And she's right.  This is her journey and whose to say what discoveries she'll make and where she will end up.  But, for the next four years, I wouldn't mind her being in the Bronx, less than an hour away! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Grandma Winnie's Ancestry - Winifred (Cooney) Cox (1868-1956)


Kilkishen Castle, Co. Clare
Winifred Josephine Cooney (my great grandmother) was born on April 11, 1868 in Galway, Ireland and was baptized in Kilkishen, Clare, Ireland.  Winifred was the first child born to Thomas Cooney (1847- ) and Mary Ryan Cooney (1841-abt. 1895).  
She had 4 sisters and three brothers:  Anne  (1869), John (1870), Bridget (1871), Pat (1873), Daniel (1877), Mary (1879), Margaret, 'Maggie' (1882), and Thomas (1886).  Most of her siblings were born in Kilkishen or Ballinabrone, Co. Clare which is where the family lived while Thomas worked as a farmer.  

    Winifred Cooney's marriage record 
    provides the names of her parents as 
    Thomas & Mary Ryan
  • Winifred emigrated to America about 1891,according to family, on the same ship as her future husband, John Cox. She was just 23 years old at the time.  John and Winnie married in 1899 in Massachusetts, settling first in Manhattan, then moving to New Rochelle, NY.  
  • Winifred's sister, Maggie Cooney followed her to America in 1899 and lived with John & Winnie until her marriage to Michael Sullivan after 1905. 

  • To learn more about Winifred's life in America see prior blog entry:  http://hennessycox.blogspot.com/2014/03/john-cox-ii-and-winifred-j-cooney-cox.html

Thomas & Mary Cooney 

Thomas Cooney & Mary Ryan wed in Limerick Ireland on May 26, 1867.  The city of Limerick is on the southern border of Clare Co. and Limberick Co. According to Census records, Thomas was a widower by 1900.  Records show the family living in East Clare and then Killuran in 1900 and 1910.  

Thomas was born in 1847, the son of Patrick Cooney possibly in Scariff, Clare Co.  His mother's name is unknown.  No further information is known about Thomas' family or parents.

Mary (Ryan) Cooney (1841- bef. 1900) 

Mary Ryan was
baptized on July 11,1841 in Ballinakill, Galway Co., Ireland.  Her parents were John Ryan and Mary (Salman) Ryan.  Her sponsors (godparents) were John Keegan and Ellen Salman.

Ballinakill Harbor

Galway County is north of Clare Co. on the West coast of Ireland. 
I have not been able to find any town named Ballinakill that exists today. There are several civil parishes with similar names and there is Ballinakill Harbor located near the city of Letterfrak.  

Three former civil parishes name Ballynakill in Galway Co.:
Ballynakill (Ballynahinch) (Galway)
Ballynakill (Killian) (Galway)
Ballynakill (Leitrim) (Galway)

However, Mary's baptism from the Roman Catholic Church Record, states,  

"Registry book of the baptisms for the United parishes of Ballinakill, Ballyroan, Abyleix & Knockgordegur."  This may be referring to a Catholic parish, not a civil parish.  

At this point, I can not confirm the exact location of Mary's baptism, except that it was in Galway Co., Ireland.  

I have not been able to locate any further information on Mary Ryan's parents or family. Irish census records for the 1800's are very sparse, making it difficult to find ancestors.  You can learn more about this in the prior post: 

I attempted to trace Winifred's sister, Maggie Cooney who was born to Thomas & Mary (Ryan) Cooney in Ireland in 1882 and emigrated to the US in about 1899.  I hoped if I found Maggie Cooney's family, I would be able to learn more information about their parents and ancestors.  

Maggie Cooney is listed on the federal census of 1900 and NYS census of 1905 as living with Winifred and John Cox.


The next census record, I located for the Cox family (1915) indicates Maggie is no longer residing with sister and brother in law. According to family, Maggie married Michael Sullivan and resided in or near the Fordham neighborhood of Bronx, NY.  Several Michael & Mary Sullivan can be found on census records residing in that area, but I have not been able to identify which if any of these pertain to Winifred Cooney's sister.