Descendants of Michael Hickey of Ireland and Philadelphia, Pa.

Updated 14 August 2010, as indicated, in italics


     This is a brief summary, in chart form, of the descendants of Michael Hickey, born during the first decade of the 19th century in Ireland, emigrated to the United States probably in the early 1830s, settled for a few years most likely definitely in Newark, N.J., and then removed to Philadelphia, Pa., in the late 1830s. This chart also includes what I've discovered so far about the descendants of Peter Hickey, for reasons discussed below.

     The information in this chart comes from a variety of sources, including census records for Philadelphia, Pa., Gettysburg, Pa., and Louisville, Ky., baptism and marriage records in the Archives of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Death Records and Philadelphia Marriage Records on the familysearchlabs website, newspaper clippings accessed via the genealogybank website, information on the familysearch website, and information from other sources located primarily through google. There is some conflicting evidence in the census records with respect to age and birthplace. In some instances ages were rounded to the nearest multiple of five, a practice that confounds present-day genealogists and other researchers.

     The chart does not include the descendants of Mary J. Hickey and Randolph Weyman Maule, because they are numerous and there is no point in cluttering up the chart with information that can be found elsewhere on this site. To trace those descendants, go to Descendants of Thomas Maule of Salem, Mass. and locate Randolph Weyman Maule in the index of persons.

     To the best of my knowledge, the descendants of Mary J. Hickey are the only surviving descendants of Michael Hickey. It is possible that Sarah Mary Hickey and her husband Charles B. Maguire have present-day descendants. The last record of the family that I can find is in Versailles, Pa., outside Pittsburgh in the early 20th century. It is also possible that William Donald Laurentis had children, though that would be a guess based on a family tree on that does not answer that question but that includes Agnes Hickey. Clearly, as with almost everything on this website, this is a work in progress.

     So why do I think that Peter Hickey is the brother of Michael Hickey? It's not a simple answer, but all sorts of puzzle pieces fit together. The first clue is that according to the baptism records for the children of Peter Hickey and the children of Michael Hickey, they married sisters. Michael married Mary Ann Gibbons and Peter married Margaret Gibbons. These records, for the older children, come from the records of St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Newark, N.J. Another clue is that one One of the witnesses at the wedding of Maurice Hickey to Sarah Dowling is James Hickey. The other is Mary Emma Dowling, who surely is one of Sarah's sisters. But James does not show up as a brother to Maurice or as a son of Michael in any of the census records. That is because according to the baptism records of St. John's in Newark, N.J. he is the son of Peter and Margaret (Gibbons) Hickey, and thus is a cousin to Maurice Hickey. The Philadelphia Death Records record the death of James Hickey on 13 Jan 1907, and report his birth as taking place in 1838 in Newark, N.J. His occupation is given as coach maker. Why is that a clue? The answer to that question is that coach (or carriage) making (and painting) are prevalent occupations in the Michael Hickey family. On the 1860 census, Thomas Hickey, brother of Maurice, is listed as an apprentice coach maker. In the 1870 census Thomas is listed as a coach painter. In the 1880 census, Peter, another brother of Maurice, is listed as a carriage blacksmith. The Philadelphia Death Record for Thomas Hickey, brother of Maurice, lists his occupation as carriage painter. In the 1900 census, Maurice himself is listed as a carriage blacksmith, whereas in earlier census records he is listed as a blacksmith, the same occupation set forth for his father Michael Hickey. Thomas, the SON of Maurice, is listed in the 1900 census as a wood worker at a wagon shop. In a want ad published on 3 Dec 1895, Maurice Hickey writes: "First class carriagesmith wants situation."

     The next clue is that a search of the census records for a James Hickey born in 1838 generates several matching entries. In the 1850 census, in Gettysburg, Pa., is Peter Hickey, his wife Margaret, and their children, including Peter, age 13, born in New Jersey. Though I did not find James in the 1860 census despite finding his mother and youngest sister still in Gettysburg, I find Margaret Hickey along with her children James, Mary, Ella, and Martha at 1814 Stiles St. Margaret died in 1874, according to the Philadelphia Death Records, so on the 1880 census at the Stiles Street address one finds Mary, Ella, Martha, and James. By 1900, James, Mary, and Ellen are at that address. On the 1880 census James is listed as a carriage builder. Is this James the witness at the Hickey-Dowling wedding? Almost certainly. But there's more.

     The "more" includes several bits of information that don't mean very much standing alone, because they are too general. For example, many of the Hickeys, including James, died of consumption. Most were buried in New Cathedral Cemetery. The undertaker who handled most of the burials was Maurice Hayes. But because there are so many people buried in that cemetery, because Hayes surely had a business that served many families in the neighborhood, and because so many people in that era suffered from consumption, these clues, alone, would not be very indicative. To this one could add the impact of Irish naming conventions and examine the names of Michael's children, which would suggest Michael had an older brother named Peter.

     Yet the most telling clue comes from the census records. When I found the Hickeys on the 1860 census, indexed under Kickey, I also discovered that living with them was a Jno. Givens (indexed as Gwens), age 50, born in Ireland, a wheelwright, and a Mary Givens (indexed as Gwens), age 70, born in Ireland. At this point I figured they might be boarders, or they might be family. When I finally worked my way to the 1850 census entry for Peter and Margaret Hickey as I searched for James Hickey, I discovered that living in their home was a John Gibbons, age 37, born in Ireland, a wheel maker, and Mary Gibbons, age 64, born in Ireland. Surely the census enumerator misheard the surname, because Givens and Gibbons are so close in pronunciation that soundex indices treat them as the same word. Of course, is the name actually Givens or Gibbons? I don't yet know. Now I do. It is Gibbons. One other point deserves mention. Peter Hickey's occupation on the 1850 census is wheel maker. It is important to consider that a carriage smith or carriage builder must make or cause someone to make wheels. Surely there is a family relationship between Peter Hickey and Michael Hickey, and between them and the Givens/Gibbons individuals. Indeed there is! The easiest guess is that John Gibbons/Givens is a son of Mary Gibbons/Givens. The tougher question is whether Mary Gibbons/Givens is the mother of Peter's wife Margaret, the mother of Michael's wife Mary Ann, or perhaps the married sister of both Peter and Michael. Why does this matter? Any clue as to the surname of Michael's wife Mary Ann would help in tracing back the Hickey ancestry of the Randolph Weyman Maule descendants. Considering the ages of these individuals, the Mary Gibbons who shows up on the census almost certainly is the mother of Mary Ann, Margaret, and John Gibbons. Her maiden name and the first name of her husband remain unknown.

     Here is some more information that may cause someone reading this to remember or recognize someone or something that would become yet another clue with which I could work. Although I have been unable to find an immigration record for Michael Hickey or his wife Mary Ann, I did find an immigration record for Peter Hickey, age 28, and Margaret Hickey, age 26, arriving in New York on the Hector on 29 July 1834. The best guess is that this is the Peter who ended up in Gettysburg, after a few years in Newark where his two oldest children were born and where Michael Hickey's four oldest children presumably were born. By 1840 Peter was in Gettsyburg (indexed as Peter Heckey) and Michael was in Mulberry Ward in Philadelphia, where he also is enumerated in 1850. Also, though I have found some Philadelphia Death Records that might match Michael Hickey and Mary Ann Hickey, because there are other people of that name who died during the second half of the 19th century at ages that could fit, I've not yet definitively concluded that I know the dates of their deaths. It would help if there were some way to pinpoint their birth years, which the census records do not do. More research is underway on this and some related questions.

     It is easy to speculate that the appearance of "Francis" as an often-used name for Hickey children, including Margaret Francis (so spelled), suggests that the SURNAME of someone in the immediate Hickey ancestry was Francis. Rampant speculation would be required to make much at this point of a familysearch entry telling us that Michael Hickie b c 1804 m 1829 Cloyne Diocese, Cork, Ireland, Mary Anne Browning, b c 1808 Cloyne Diocese, Cork, Ireland. Even if the guessed age for Mary Anne were incorrect and matched the census entries, and even if the spelling of Hickie and Mary Anne were ignored, there's absolutely nothing to connect this marriage to Michael and Mary Ann Hickey of Philadelphia. At least not yet. Nor will there be, as it is now known that Michael married Mary Ann Gibbons.

     The baptism records at St. John's in Newark, N.J. also include children of John Hickey and Mary Walsh. These children are: Thomas Martin Hickey, b 7 May 1839, chr 19 May 1839, Andrew Hickey, b 26 Jan 1841 bap 24 Jan 1841, Teresa Catharine Hickey b 1 Feb 1842 chr 6 Mar 1842, Catharine Hickey b 25 May 1846 chr 27 May 1846, and Sophia Hickey b 6 Jan 1849 chr 14 Jan 1849. The records also include the baptism of Daniel Hickey, b 22 Mar 1845, chr 22 Mar 1845, son of Daniel Hickey and Susan Sweeny. Among the sponsors at the baptisms are Andrew (or Alexander) Hickey and Charles Hickey. According to the 1850 census, John Hickey was born in 1810 in Ireland and was a currier, his wife Mary was born in 1809, in Ireland, and their children were Charles age 15, born in New York, a trunk maker, Edward age 12, born in New York, Thomas, age 11, born in New Jersey, Sophia age 1, born in New Jersey, born in New Jersey, Maria age 5, born in New Jersey; with them is Bartholomew Leo age 25, born in Ireland, also a currier. In the 1860 census, the family is still in Newark, with the following ages: John 52, Mary 52, Charles P. 25, Edward M. 22, Thomas M. 21, Maria E., 16, Sophia A. 11, and Lucy 8. Whether and how these individuals are related to Michael and Peter Hickey has yet to be determined.

     So here is a chart of the Michael Hickey and Peter Hickey families:

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Page last modified: 27 Aug 2009
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