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James MEHIGAN, Elizabeth SULLIVAN, Ann O’Reilly/O’Rilley mystery
Posted by: Michelle M. Roy (ID *****4186) Date: January 18, 2009 at 09:01:52
  of 180

My great-grandfather, John Thomas MEHIGAN was born in Littlehampton, Sussex, England on January 19, 1893. After immigration to America, he lists on his Social Security Number Application that his parents were James MEHIGAN and Ann O’RILLEY. Reviewing both 1891 & 1901 England censuses, I was able to identify his probable siblings.

From Isle of Wight vitals, it appears as though the first two children to James MEHIGAN were through a first wife, Elizabeth SULLIVAN, who then is listed in Isle of Wight vitals as dying in 1886 at age 25. Then all of a sudden the next Mehigan child in that area (I believe Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England), Margaret Ann MEHIGAN, is born in 1888 to a mother with the maiden name of O’REILLY (first name of Ann is confirmed on 1891 & 1901 England censuses which confirms John Thomas MEHIGAN’s statement that his mother is Ann O’RILLEY). They then moved to Littlehampton, Sussex, England.

The mystery is (if the above is correct) the first son to James MEHIGAN, Daniel Timothy MEHIGAN lists in his WWI Draft Registration (after being naturalized in USA) in about 1917 that his nearest relative is “Elizabeth Mehigan, at 20 Kings Terrace, Portsmouth, England”, but his sister, Gertrude N. MEHIGAN lists her mother (in a 1918 Royal Navy record as a telephone clerk) as “Annie MEHIGAN, 20 King’s Terrace, Southsea, England.” Is it a coincidence that his natural mother’s name is “Elizabeth” (Sullivan, then Mehigan) and perhaps Ann’s given name is actually “Elizabeth”? This WWI Draft appears to be completed by Daniel himself, at age 35, and perhaps it is a slight factual error on his behalf. But I would like to get opinions on this one.

More information is needed on Ann (O’REILLY/O’RILLEY) MEHIGAN who was born in 1864 in Ireland (and appears to die in Portsmouth, England in 1924). Was her full name Elizabeth Ann O’REILLY? I am not finding a marriage record for Ann & James in about 1887 in probably England. The James MEHIGAN children were all born in England, but he was listed as being born on May 24, 1853 in either Ringsakiddy, Cork, Ireland (on his Naval records)or Queenstown, Cork, Ireland (from an unsourced internet file).

A marriage record for Ann O’REILLY to James MEHIGAN or simply (ha ha!) Ann’s birth family/lineage would serve clues to her full name and origin.

Any guidance on this would be greatly appreciated!

Michelle M. Roy

For reference, my working file lists the following finds:
After researching the Isle of Wight Historical Center in England website, at ( ), found the following vital records:
       a. Marriage Record. Bride & Groom: MEHIGAN, James & SULLIVAN, Elizabeth; Date: 1882; Place: Register Office, Nonconformist or RC Church; Reference: RO27/100.
       b. Birth Record. MEHIGAN, Daniel Timothy; Approximate Date of Birth: 1883; Other Surname(s): SULLIVAN; District: Calbourne; Reference: Ca16/E405.
       c. Birth Record. MEHIGAN, James Joseph; Approximate Date of Birth: 1884; Other Surname(s): SULLIVAN; District: Calbourne; Reference: Ca17/E143.
       d. Death Record. MEHIGAN, Elizabeth; Approximate Date of Death: 1886; Age: 25; District: Calbourne; Reference: Ca8/E436. Please note that there is also a birth record for a George Stanistlaw MEHIGAN in 1886, with another surname as SULLIVAN (as the others). But I do not find a death record for him, nor is he on 1891 England census with the family, so I can only speculate that maybe this child was born to James Mehigan and Elizabeth Sullivan.
       e. Birth Record. MEHIGAN, Margaret Ann; Approximate Date of Death: 1888; Other Surname(s): OREILLY; District: Calbourne; Reference: Ca18/E440.

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