Ray McKenna, from Providence, Rhode Island, as you may not be aware is a 'Doogan'
McKenna and as far as we can be sure is a 6th cousin of Bried McQuaid, Knockafubble,
which as you know makes him a 6th cousin of numerous Doogan McKennas originally from
Dernalosset. The surname Doogan became extinct at the beginning of the last century
and were it not for a conversation with Mickey (Paddy Peter) McKenna, who remembered
digging a grave for the last of that line in Ballyoisin, there would have no link
back to this family.
Ray, who was a lecturer in history, took up the challenge of finding out more about
his ancestor and in doing so discovered yet another exodus of emigrants from Errigal
Truagh and the neighbourhood of the Clogher Valley region around this same time (famine
period). Bishop Hughes' relatives and the American visit of Bishop James Donnelly,
are all part of the broader pool of sources which Ray has accessed to piece together
a study of those early emigrants who form part of our local history.
On Thursday, April 6th after the AGM of the Clogher Historical Society in St. Macartan's
College, Ray told the story of the emigration of a huge number of families from the
North Monaghan/South Tyrone areas and painted a very vivid picture of life for the
emigrants in their new home in Providence, Rhode Island. Some never arrived because
of the problems of travel, some struggled to survive and a number of them became
very rich and were instrumental in attracting more families to join them and gain
employment. He gives many examples of some of the hardships which they endured in
pursuing a new way of life in their new adopted land and detailed his own ancestry
from his great great grandfather. It is a fascinating story and the names of the
families who went out to Providence are those of families still living here in Monaghan.
Above is Ray with the new President of the Clogher Historical Society, Frank McHugh.
On Right Ray is pictured with some of the 'Doogan' McKennas.