I got bored and went on to Genlighten and decided to take a stab at finding a McKee document in Ireland. I had tried this once before with no luck. Well the stars must have been with me, because the researcher found a document exactly where I told him to look. Here's what I had him look for...
Mary Jane McKee's death certificate states that she was born 11 May 1837 Port Norris, Ireland. Port Norris is also called Mount Norris and you'll find that it's also written as one word. This place name is very fluid. It's located in County Armagh, Ireland. I asked the researcher to see if he could find a christening record in one of two Presbyterian churches: Tullyallen or Mountnorris. Here's the document I received.
Mary Jane McKee d/o William C. McKee + Susanna Gilmore
b. 11 May 1837 Port Norris, County Armagh, Ireland
d. 1 Jan 1886 Six-mile Prairie, Randolph County, Illinois, United States
m. 10 May 1859 Randolph County, Illinois
b. ? Dec 1830 County Down, Ireland
d. 6 Dec 1898 Randolph County, Illinois
Mary Jane and Joseph had eight children: William James (1860-1944), Sarah Jane (1861-1909), George Henry (1864-1896), Salena (1867-1896), Mary Margaret (1869-1897), Agnes Minerva (1872-1896), Ada (1878-????), and Joseph Edward (1881-1905).
With this document I think I've placed at least the family of William C. McKee in County Armagh in 1837 just before the McKee family left Ireland for the United States.
The death certificate of William's brother, Robert McKee, states that Robert was born in County Armagh. He was born about 1816 but that doesn't provide much in the way of a real date that a researcher can act on. However, I do have a complete date for William and Robert's youngest brother Alexander McKee (b. 28 Feb 1827) but I don't have a place of birth.
I've asked the researcher to look for a christening for Alexander based on his date of birth and in the church records for Tullyallen and Mountnorris.
In addition to confirming that the family is located in County Armagh in 1827, I'm hoping to finally find out their mother's first name. I'm guessing it's Margaret because a number of the oldest granddaughters are named Margaret. Other contenders are Mary Jane or Mary Agnes.
With their mother's first name, I can pursue a death record at the church. She had to be alive in 1827 to give birth to son Alexander but dead by 1837 when the McKee family comes to the United States. According to notes from a distant relative, she died in 1835. I'm hoping to find out that she's buried in one of the church burial grounds.
Identifying the Church
One problem with the certificate I received for Mary Jane is that I have no way to identify which of the churches is the correct church. Here's what I can read of the signature on the certificate:
Rev. Rob't ___________________
Click here to read a history of the two churches. Based on this history, my best guess as to the Reverend on the certificate is Robert Lyons Porter at Tullyallen Presbyterian Church. He's the Robert who is there at the right time. However, if you look at the certificate, the name doesn't look like his. I'm hoping that if the researcher can find a certificate for Alexander McKee that the signature on that certificate will be clearer.
Further, if I can place the family in Armagh between 1827 and 1837, I should be able to begin to pursue marriage records for the older McKee children (Agnes, Joseph, William, and Robert). Only Jane and Alexander McKee enter the United States in 1837 as unmarried children.
The clock started yesterday because it takes the researcher 7-10 days to respond after I paid the fee. So stay tuned. I might have some interesting McKee news soon.