Margaret Ellen Merigan was born in approx. December, 1831 or 1832 in Cashel Parish, County Longford, Ireland. (She always celebrated her birthday in the month of December and has a baptismal record on 14 January, 1833 in Cashel Parish, viliage of Loughan) She is next found on the ships register, for the Dewitt Clinton sailing ship, as "Marj. Merigan, traveling from Liverpool to New York, arriving on 20 June 1849. Since this was in the middle of the Irish famine, it is likely that she (& perhaps her family) decided that leaving Ireland was possibly the only choice she had at that terrible time. And traveling alone for many weeks on a sailing ship across the Atlantic Ocean, must have required a lot of bravery, on her part. Although her ship's register "age" conflicts a little with her baptismal record, she was traveling alone and listed with several another female "servants", and it is not unreasonable she "fibbed" about her age. Her reported age in several other census records (including the August 1850 census, where she reported her age as "20") varies by a few years. She was reported as traveling as a "servant" on the ship's register & is found in the 1850 US Census as living with a family in Hackensack, New Jersey. So it is reasonable to assume she was working off her indentured travel as a servant of that family for several years after landing in New York City.
The next records I have for Margaret Merigan are a marriage record in 1858, and the 1860 Census record in Quincy, Illinois USA, where she lived for a short period. These records show she started a family with another Irishman, James Edward Powers (who family lore says was born in County Waterford, Ireland, on 21 July 1839). I have immigration records for James & John Powers, who immigrated to Boston, Mass. USA, landing together on 6 Jul 1854. John was listed on the ships register as age 15 and James was listed as age 14. James & Margaret Powers lived and raised a large family in a small town named Leaf River, Illinois, for the next 50 years. I continue to seek Irish or USA data for John Powers, James' brother, likely born ~mid-1838.
Margaret's 1922 obituary, states that she was the "dear sister of James Finn". We have significant documents, as well as family lore and family stories from Margaret's grand-daughter that say her maiden name was "Merigan". Margaret's daughter & grand-daughter, were also named "Margaret Ellen", in Irish tradition. Margaret's grand-daughter was my grand-mother and I heard many of these stories 1st hand. I continue to look for any evidence for the nearby birth of a James Finn (or Flynn) in Cashel Parish, County Longford, Ireland. To have contact with Margaret and her family in 1922 (and be mistaken in her obituary in this way, written by Margaret & James' 1st child, a daughter), this "James Finn" seems to have been a very close family friend, possibly immigrating from Ireland during the same timeframe that Margaret did. Because James Finn is a relatively common name, I have been unable to substiate any evidence attributable to this James Finn in Ireland or the USA and would appreciate any info others may have about him!