McAdoo Clan

This McAdoo genealogy blog has been created to share family information. It will be used to record genealogy data as well as to communicate family news.

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Location: Metuchen, New Jersey, United States

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The search for my McClain Ancestors

The search for my McClain ancestors began with the memory of my great grandmother Eliza/ Elizabeth McClain McAdoo.  I have several clear memories of her from when I was a young boy.  I remember meeting her several times at my dad’s Uncle Elmer’s home in Malvern, PA.  I also met her at her daughter, Edna’s apartment on Ridge Ave. in Philadelphia.  I remember her as a small, friendly woman dressed in dark clothes.  I also remember my dad telling me that she had passed away while I was at Rutgers University.

When I began searching for my McAdoo ancestors last year, I learned that my great grandparents were buried in the First Presbyterian Church of Port Kennedy cemetery and that my great grandmother’s maiden name was Eliza McClain.  Ginnie and I visited the cemetery in October, 2004.  We located the grave site and the inscription on the monument read, James McAdoo, 1859-1934 and Elizabeth, his wife, 1865-1954.  There was also a monument on an adjacent plot inscribed, Lena E. McAdoo, 1890-1893, a name I did not recognize.  A short distance away, we discovered two additional monuments.  One was inscribed, William McAdoo, 1834-1903, Sarah J., his wife, 1835-1895, “Resting” and the second monument, William D. McAdoo, Jr. 1865-1889, Mary McAdoo, 1876-1901, “Resting”.  William and Sarah, I soon learned were my great great grandparents.  

The 1900 Federal Census showed James and Eliza living in East Whitehead Township, Chester County.  They had been married 15 years (1885) and by 1900, Eliza had given birth to five children, four of whom were living.  The record showed that she was 37 years old and her birth date was February, 1863.  She was born in Pennsylvania and could read, write, and speak English.  Her parents were both born in Ireland.

The family still lived in East Whitehead Township at the time of the 1910 Census and my great grandmother’s name was recorded as Elizabeth.  Her age was given as 48.  She had been married 26 years and had seven children, six of whom were living.  She had been born in Pennsylvania; however, the census showed that her parents were also born in Pennsylvania.  I believe that entry is incorrect.

The 1920 and 1930 Censuses both show that Elizabeth’s parents were born in Ireland (1920) and Northern Ireland (1930).  The household in 1920 included a brother-in-law, James McClain.  He was 58 (1862) at the time, single, and had been born in Pennsylvania.  This confirmed Elizabeth’s maiden name and provided the name of another McClain relative

I continued searching for Elizabeth’s and James’ parents without success, so I decided to focus my search on James McClain.  In 1880, James was 19 years old and lived with Oram Bleacher and his family in Upper Merion, Montgomery County. The other members of the family were Mary J., age 23, Oram’s wife, a daughter, Mary J., age 4, and a son, John, age 2.  James was listed as a boarder and he was employed at a local iron works.

I learned from the 1910 Census that James was again living with the Bleachers and was listed as Oram’s brother-in-law.  So, it was evident that James and Mary were siblings.  I also found out from the OneWorldTree Service that Mary’s name was actually Mary Jane.  The family was living in Upper Darby Township, Delaware County.  James was single and not working.

In 1900, James was still living in Upper Merion Township.  The Census listed him as the head of household.  There was a family residing with him, but I could not make out the last name.  However, the husband, Robert E, was listed as a brother-in –law and the wife, Clara E, age 25, as James’ sister.  They had three children.

I now know that there were four McClain siblings:  Mary Jane, born about 1857-58; James, born about 1861-62; Elizabeth, born about 1863-65; and Clara, born about 1874.  I have not been able to identify a McClain family in the 1870 Census with Mary Jane, James, and Elizabeth in the same family, so I am unable to determine the names of their parents, my great great grandparents.

There is a possible connection to my great great grandparents in the 1860 Census.  Living in Upper Merion at that time was a McClain family consisting of John McClain, age 30; his wife, Mary Ann, age 25; and a two year old daughter, Mary.  Both John and Mary Ann were born in Ireland and Mary was born in Pennsylvania.  The data fits the information I already know, but without the 1870 Census data, I am not completely certain that I have the correct McClain family, so the search continues.


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