quest to obtain and record information about our family began on
a cool November day in 1965. I was on leave from the
United States Air Force and visiting my parents at their home in
Philadelphia, on route to a tour of duty in the Philippine
Islands. As a child, I had frequently heard my father talk
about the Sunday afternoon walks he and some of his cousins took
to the homes of two of his father's sisters, Aunt Maggie McKenna
Rose Yeakel. Dad's vivid accounts of the visits
conjured up Norman Rockwell like images of these family, fun and
food filled excursions.
Aunt Rose was 75 years old and the last of her generation, I
suggested to Dad that we visit her. Along with my wife
Lee, we made the 15 minute drive to her home which was located
high in the hills of Bala Cynwyd above the west bank of the
Schuylkill River, just outside of Philadelphia.
we arrived, we were greeted by Aunt Rose who was sitting in her
chair on the front porch of her brick home. She had a
blanket over her shoulders and another over her lap. Her
spirits and her mind were as crisp and sharp as the cool
took notes as Aunt Rose talked. She talked about her life
as a young girl in Scotland, about the ocean voyage to America
and about her father. She recalled that her father
Patrick Tinneny had been born on a farm someplace in Ireland. She
said that in his youth he had gone to Greenock, Scotland where
he found work in a sugar refinery. It was in Greenock that
he met and married her mother Margaret Malloy. Margaret
was the daughter of Irish parents who lived in Greenock.
She told of having nine brothers and sisters. Except for a
brother Francis, who died as a child and is buried in Greenock,
all of her brothers and sisters came to America.
remembered that the family lived on Shaw Street in Greenock and
that they were members of Saint Mary's Catholic Parish.
She went on to recount how, in the late 1800s, her father had
made several trips to America (Philadelphia), where he worked as
a laborer and eventually earned enough money to pay for the
passage of his family to America. As a result of these
trips to the States she said that his friends back home in
Greenock nicknamed him "Yankee Pat".
Patrick and Margaret Tinneny.
Rose knew little about her father's family. She remembered
hearing that he was one of 14 children of John Tinneny and
Margaret McAdam. She thought that he was raised on a farm,
possibly in County Limerick, and that his mother had counts and
earls in her family. She remembered hearing that her
father had studied music, the violin, in Heidelburg, Germany and
that a member of her mother's family had invented the paving
process that has come to be known as the Macadam road.
In the course of the many years that have passed since that November
afternoon, I have been able to clarify and to significantly
expand on the limited but very important information provided by
Aunt Rose. That information enabled me to trace and to
learn more about Patrick's descendants here in America.
More exciting, however, was that the information provided the
key which enabled me to open the doors that led to learning
about and reuniting with previously unknown branches of the
family. Reunions with cousins in America, Canada, Ireland,
England, New Zealand, Scotland, and India. For me, the
high points of this effort have been the personal meetings both
here and abroad of members of our family who had been separated
by many generations.
original objective was to publish a family history in book
format, however, I have realized that there are only so many
hours in a lifetime and that perfection can be the enemy of
progress. With that in mind, the advances in technology
and with the assistance of our cousin Lucy Sherwood in England I
have decided that now is the time to begin making the
information that I have gathered broadly available to our family
members and others via publication on the Internet. The greatest
benefit of doing it this way now is that it will allow the
information to be distributed without cost to our family,
whereas the cost of publishing a printed book would be expensive
to the point of precluding some from being able to obtain the
information. Having said that I do intend someday to
do the paper format in some manner.
this effort, although incomplete and ongoing, will motivate and
facilitate others of our family, now and in the future, in
America and abroad, to capture, to document, and to share
additional family history information. Finally, I remain
eager and willing to receive and to disburse that information.