Patrick John  Ford 18661866

Patrick John Ford 1866

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I believe that Patrick J. Ford was the son of John Ford and Bridget Thornton, born in Clooneen, Co. Sligo on September 23, 1866 (though other lifetime documents list a combination of these dates and September 28 or 1867).  His gravestone in Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, Erie County, NY shows his birth year as 1866.  

John and Bridget Thornton were married on 24 July 1864.  Bridget was the daugher of Henry Thornton.  John was the son of Patrick Ford.  

Patrick had one sister who was born Mary Ford to the same parents in Clooneen on 13 April 1865.  I was told that Mary would call herself "Ellen" later in life, and also emigrated to the US.  

Patrick emigrated to the United States in August 1888, via Liverpool, landing in 1888 in Philadelphia.   He eventually settled a little further west, settling in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

Patrick declared his intention to become a US citizen in October 1892 in Erie, PA.  The next month, he married Mary Dorothy Schneider in the same city.   

My grandfather, Michael Joseph Ford, was one of seven children born to the couple in Pennsylvania, but the family then moved north to Buffalo, NY where most of them reached adulthood.

On Patrick's naturalization form for citizenship, his date of birth is listed as 28 September 1866 and place of birth is listed as "Calloon, Co, Sligo."  

Patrick died in Buffalo, NY on 17 September 1928.  On the death certificate, his date of birth is listed as 28 September 1867 in Ireland.  His father's name is John Ford of Ireland, and mother's name is "unknown."  

Patrick John Ford 1866 - 1928.jpg (508×719)


Additional Information
Date of Birth 23rd Sep 1866 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 17th Sep 1928
Father (First Name/s and Surname) John Ford
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Bridget Thornton
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Mary Dorothy Schneider
Number of Children 7
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  • May be that we have a connection. In my tree I also have a Bridget (Belinda) Thornton. She was married to my grandmother's brother James Reynolds of Ballynahowna, Dromoire Westt, Parish of Kilmacshalgan, Co Sligo. Jamers and Bridget had 7 children. I have no information on her parents. I have a birth date of 1883 and a death date and location of 19 Jun 1964 at Ballynahowns. Her husband James Reybolds was the fourth child of Michael Reynolds and Bridget (Beezy) Hart. I have visited the area and met a son (since deceased) and grandson of James Reynolds and Bridget (Belinda) Thornton. I also have had contact with a granddaughter. The family informed me that whilst her name was Bridget she preferred to be called Belinda.

    Regards Kevin McKenna (New Zealand)


    Thursday 31st October 2019 09:11PM
  • Hello Kevin, and thank you for writing!  Perhaps we are Thornton "cousins" because I'm told that this surname is quite rare in Ireland.  My great-great grandmother Bridget Thornton would have likely been born in the early 1840's (so a different generation than your Belinda).  But perhaps there is a clue here.  

    I can find no trace of the fate of my Bridget Thornton ... no date of death or place of burial.  I connected with another Ford(e) family in Easkey decades ago and we had a working theory that my Bridget died in childbirth giving life to my great-grandfather, Patrick (born 1866), leaving John Ford to re-marry a woman named Bridget White who is documented on the Easkey- Forde family tree.  But it was strange that there seemed to be no record of her death.    

    Then a few years ago, we compared the DNA from my father, Eugene Ford in the USA, with the patriach of the Forde's in Easkey (another Eugene by coincidence) and found there was NO CONNECTION!  So my brick wall remains very tall as I wonder which other Ford family my great-grandfather Patrick was born from and which one JOHN Ford??  I would love to compare DNA with any of the Thorntons still living in the area, as well as other Ford's outside of Easkey.  Hoping someone will see my posting on this site and be willing to participate in a genetic comparison.  I'm in desperate need of a new clue!

    Also hoping that someone recongizes my great-grandparents' names and knows the oral history that will finally solve my mystery!  I have been searching for this answer for nearly 40 years now!

    By the way, I had never heard of Belinda as a nickname for Bridget -- perhaps my brick wall is due to a nickname that I don't recognize.  Thanks for sharing this!

    How fortunate that you were able to travel to County Sligo and meet relatives!   How long ago were you there? 






    Jackie Ford

    Friday 1st November 2019 01:13AM
  • Good to hear from you Jackie.

    It seems to me very likely we are connected. Dromoe West, Easkey and Ballynahowna are all very close geographically and nit largely populated. My Bridget could even be your Bridget's daughter and may have taken the name of Belinda to distinguish heself grom her mother.  My Bridget and husband James Reynolds are buries in the Easkey Cemetery. 

    It is difficult to get back very far with Irish ancestors. The Genealogy Centre in Sligo was very helpful to us in tracking our Reynolds ancestors and they supllied some birth, death and marriage certifificates and then told us how to get to Dromore Werst and to ask the Post Office there to direct us to the Reynolds people strill in  the area. Have you tried to contact them.

    Best wishes for your research. Would love to hear is you have any luck. I will let you know if I come across anything.



    Friday 1st November 2019 10:56PM
  • Hi again Kevin ... I have not been fortunate enough to travel to Ireland yet, but am hoping to connect with others in the family through this great organization! 

    If your Bridget had the surname of Thornton, then she could not have been my Bridget's daughter as her father would have been John Ford.  Bridget and John Ford's children were my great-grandfather, Patrick Ford, and his sister, Mary or Ellen Ford.    

    I will definitely keep your information in my files, and hope that we can confirm a cousin connection as our research progresses in the future.  Thank you once again for writing and sharing your thoughts. 








    Jackie Ford

    Saturday 2nd November 2019 01:14AM
  • Thanks Jackie. Of course - they could not be mother and daughter.  - my logical thinking deserted me

    Hope you can get to Sligo sometime. Hope you can make it and have similar experiences to those I enjoyed. You never know what you might discover.

    All I knew when we arrived in Sligo was that my grandmother came from a place called Ballynahowna in Co Sligo. I hadn't been able to find it on an y map. Once we had met up with newly found Irish cousins, thanks to the Genealogy Centre and a Post Office, we got to see the cottage my grandmother grew up in. It was still standing and being used for farm storage.

    We had a similar experience earlier in Co Clare - found close McKenna relatives, the family farm, and  the cottage my grandfather grew up, which was still standing. I understand it has since been restored. We actually arrived in Ogonnelloe on the day the relatives moved out of the newish farm house we were told they lived in - the farm passed out of family hands that dau- as they had sold the farm. The Priest in St Mary's church - not far from the farm - told us this and that a community farewell was being held that very night in the Piper's Inn - just down the hill from the farm. Se we sneaked into the Inn and sat there waiting. Soon people began arriving and then we saw the Priest talking to a couple and pointying to us sitting in a corner. In no ti,me we were surrounded by relativbes all takiling expremely fast wik excitement . A great evceining. We later stayed wfor a few days ith a sister of the farm holder in her and her husband's fishing lodge.

    As I said - you never knoiw

    Best regards, Kevin


    Saturday 2nd November 2019 04:40AM
  • Hello Fellow Researchers!

    I am currently looking at some clues revealed by my father's Y-DNA test results.  My father actually has several Thornton DNA matches, but one is descended from a Thomas Thornton who was born in Donaghpatrick, County Galway on 1 July 1856.  He emigrated to Boston and died there in 1924.  

    My father also matches more closely (on his 67 marker list) several people wiith the surname O'DAIR from County Mayo.  

    Not sure how to interpret these clues yet because I don't have a known connection to either Galway or Mayo, but perhaps others will recognize a common thread with the Fords or Thorntons in Sligo. 

    Thanks in advance to anyone considering my research data and offering advice or information that may help me discover my family's Irish story.  







    Jackie Ford

    Wednesday 6th November 2019 01:50AM

    Hello Jackie, I believe that we have a connection.  Patrick John Forde was born to John Forde and Bridget Thornton 23 September 1866 in Clooneen, County Sligo.  As you correctly state Bridget Thornton died in September 1866, this could very well have been in child birth.  John Forde then married Bridget White in 1866 (he didnt waste any time!), they went on to have 7 children, one of them being my grandmother Mary Forde.  Mary married my grandfather Michael Gillespie and my mother Ellen was the youngest of their 8 chidren, born in Easkey in 1920.  There were numerous Fordes and Gillespies who like Patrick John travelled and settled in the USA, I have knowledge of many of these but would love to hear of how they all spent their lives and whether or not they travelled back to Ireland. Regards, Michael Reynolds


    Michael Reynolds

    Monday 13th April 2020 08:48PM
  • Hi Michael ... we actually have corresponded before (check your emails from October 2010). Unfortunately, you recite the family folklore version that still hasn't been substantiated all these years later, but we all had believed it for a long time. About two years ago, I decided it was high time to take that final step to settle the question. I arranged for DNA analysis of Eugene Forde in Easkey, whom you met along with son, Des. I had corresponded with Eugene, Agnes, Jackie and Des since I was a teenager.

    The science showed why we are never able to find records proving a relationship between "your" John Forde and "my" John Ford (no e) -- there is no DNA match between my father and Eugene and/or Desmond in Easkey/Grange.

    So, the mystery continues. I have never found a civil registration of Bridget (Thornton) Ford's date of death, nor a burial site, though there is a concerted archaeological effort being made recently to map and reclaim abandoned cemeteries in the county.

    Note also that my great-grandfather never had an "e" at the end of his surname, and none of the civil records I have identified for him, his sister Mary or his father John spelled Ford with the extra letter either. It seems odd that John Ford would adopt the extra letter only upon marrying Bridget White/Whyte. Do you have a civil marriage for them?

    I wonder if you have had a DNA test done at FamilyTreeDNA? or MyHeritage? These produce the most reputable results. The only other slim possibility is that some non-paternal event/adoption is part of the story.

    My thanks for your message; it is good to see that you are still continuing your research and I'm sure I'll see your future discoveries as part of Des' online group.


    Jackie Ford

    Tuesday 14th April 2020 02:12AM
  • Hi again Kevin Mckenna! I wonder if you have done a DNA test and which company?  I manage my family kits on both FamilyTreeDNA and My Heritage.  Perhaps we can prove a connection if we show up as matches on the autosomal/FamilyFinder test?   


    Hope all is well with you,




    Jackie Ford

    Tuesday 13th July 2021 06:35PM
  • Hello Jackie
    Yes I have done a DNA with My Heritage.
    We are doing fine here in NZ thanks.
    All the best


    Thursday 15th July 2021 03:38AM
  • Hello Kevin, 

    Very happy to hear from you and know that all is well there!  

    I searched matches for myself and my father on My Heritage and (sadly) I don't see your name.  I actually see many others with your surname from Ireland among our matches, but not you!  Is your account public for purposes of matching?  Are you aware of cousins who have tested besides yourself? 

    Sorry for so many questions!  

    Take care,

    Jackie Ford

    Friday 23rd July 2021 11:54PM
  • Hi Jackie
    No. I do not know of any Sl;igo, linked cousins who have done a DNA test. Guess the puzzle remains a puzzle.

    All the nest



    Saturday 31st July 2021 11:15PM
  • Kevin,


    I don't have information on the Ford Family but I do have information on Thornton's family.  Bridget (b.1845) in Clooneen, Dromore West, Sligo Ireland was my Great-grandfather John's (b.1855) older sister.  The father was Henry Thornton (1807-1902).  It seems that Henry was quite a character.  There are numerous entries for Ireland, Petty Session Court Registers mostly regarding  him refusing to pay for his sheep wandering on to a neighbors property and trampling the neighbors crops with Henry refusing to pay damages it seems.  Anyway this is all in  There is an excellent family tree compiled by Dodd-Cassidy.  My Great-grandfather John (b.1855) married Sarah Keveney in Ireland then migrated to the U.S. in 1886 and settled in Erie, Pa.  John was a sewer contractor.  He died young in 1909 at 54.  None of my family had any recollection of him but did of Sarah (Ma).  The family home was on 114 Myrtle St in Ere.  It's still there but extensively renovated.  I saw a reference to Patrick having lived at 112 Myrtle St in Erie.  I'm investigating.  That property was purchased by Pennsylvania Electric Co. (Penelec) before I was born and used for a transformer yard so whatever houses were there are long gone.  I've known of John for sometime and that my family was from Sligo but never able to make the connection to recently.

    Christopher Thornton 

    Christopher P Thornton

    Sunday 13th February 2022 08:50PM
  • Hi Christopher, 

    I am so very glad to receive your message!  I recently confirmed a DNA match with a gentleman descended from the Thornton family of Clooneen (his surname is O'Reilly), so it appears that we three are related!  I have been trying to overcome this brick wall for decades, and perhaps you hold the answer!  As you have read here, I am the great-grandaughter of Patrick Ford - originally of Erie, PA, and then Buffalo, NY.  But I  have never been able to confirm any information about his mother Bridget Thornton Ford, although I assumed she was the daugher of Henry Thornton based on the marriage record. Do you have any other information about her?  She just vanishes - no civil death registrationn or burial information anywhere to be found!  There was a rumor among Fords living today in Sligo that she died in childbirth or very young, but I cannot find a record of it.  And those Fords in Easkey, Sligo are not a DNA match to my father.  

    My paternal grandmother used to tell me that the Ford's had Irish relations also living in that area of Erie, but again, I could not confirm the connection.  It seems that was your ancestor, John.  I grew up in the Buffalo, NY area and visited Erie several times for research.  

    I hope we can compare notes and unravel this mystery!  I woudl be very grateful for the help! 

    Have you taken a DNA test with any online companies yet?  

    I look forward to hearing from you again soon, 

    Jackie (Ford) Budell; USA   















    Jackie Ford

    Sunday 13th February 2022 09:09PM
  • Hi Christopher & Jackie

    My great-great-grandmother was Anne Thornton, the sister of Henry Thornton (~1807-1902) of Clooneen. I have only recently been able to confirm her maiden surname as it was recorded in an earlier family history but wasn't documented anywhere, but I was lucky enough to get a number of small DNA matches with reliable trees that all linked back to Henry Thornton. Anne married Owen Keveny of Castletown, Easkey and their daughter Margaret married John Dodd of Riverstown. Their son Eugene was my grandfather.

    My DNA is on Ancestry and all the other sites and my GEDmatch number is A110197. My tree is Dodd-Cassidy on Ancestry and I also use FamilySearch to document collateral lines.



    Tuesday 15th February 2022 08:33AM
  • Hi Jackie & Jean,

    I haven't done a DNA test yet.  That is something I will look into.   Jackie I'm sorry to say that I don't have any additional infomation on Bridget Thornton Ford.  It does seem as though she just vanished.  No death dates to be found.  It does seem odd for that time and place to have just 2 children Patrick and Mary so the idea of her dying young is plausible.  Our family lore doesn't seem to go back that far with her brother John Thornton (My Great-grandfather) dying relatively young at 54 in 1909.  Usually it was just said that John was Sarah's husband born in Ireland and was a contractor.  I never knew that he had siblings until just recently finding the Dodd-Cassidy Family Tree in  I've had a similar experience as you with John's wife (my Great-grandmother) Sarah Kaveney Thornton.  There's information in the U.S. but I have not been able to trace her roots in Ireland at all. 


    Jean.  I just have to saythat your Dodd-Cassidy Family Tree is awesome!  Very detailed. I found it to be very helpful.  It's interesting that Anne married Owen Keveny.  As I mentioned I've been looking for information on my Great-grandmother Sarak Kaveney Thornton's life in Ireland.  No connection it seems butthe Kaveney name has been spelled a numbe rof different ways which doesn't help.  But anyway, it's inspired me to do my own family tree in Ancestory. 



    Christopher P Thornton

    Tuesday 15th February 2022 09:34PM
  • Hello Jean and Christopher, 

    Great to hear from you both!  I've spent decades (on and off) trying to break down this brick wall, and it's very encouraging to hear others making progress - especially when it involves my collateral relatives!  I do believe that DNA testing is a very powerful tool, and hope that Chris will give it a try. Like Jean, me and my father's results are on several sites (FamilyTreeDNA, My Heritage, Living DNA and GedMatch).  I have tried searching for Dodd and Cassidy, and don't see a match.  I also don't see a match on GedMatch, though perhaps our most common ancestor is too far back to register on the list? 

    Sounds each of us is committed to the research, so I am optimistic.  The details about John in Erie, Pa are amazing - and fit the story that my grandmother told me decades ago that there were Irish family living there.  As a young bride in the 1930's, Grandma went with my Grandpa Ford to visit family in Erie.  I always wondered why my g-g-grandfather, Patrick John Ford, chose to live in Erie, PA of all places - now I believe that his Uncle John Thornton (who emigrated 2 years earlier) encouraged him to go there.  I wonder if John's newspaper obituary would offer any other clues for us?  Do either of you have a copy from 1909?  

    Chris - were you raised in Erie or live there now?  or close by? 

    And Jean, you live in Ireland, is that correct?  

    I do have a DNA match with a man descended from this Thornton family who now lives in Dublin - his surname is O'Reilly.  Do you match him on MyHeritage? 

    Again, my sincere thanks to you both!


    Jackie Ford Budell 










    Jackie Ford

    Tuesday 15th February 2022 11:27PM
  • Jackie,


    I was raised in Erie on Short St. right around the corner from 114 Myrtle St.  Lived there until about 25.  I've lived in Cleveland, Ohio for many years.  Don't get back to Erie often as most of the family has passed.   I don't have John's obit.  I do have his death notice but not much help.  I must have looked for the obit at the time but never found it.  

    Christopher P Thornton

    Wednesday 23rd February 2022 08:26PM
  • Thanks for the added information, Christopher!  May I ask if John's death notice lists any other names of family that had passed or survived him? I considered ordering a copy from the newspaper, but would appreciate a copy if you already have it.  

    I know I'd never be so lucky as to have it mention a sister Bridget from Sligo, but any clue is still a clue!  

    Take care,





    Jackie Ford

    Wednesday 23rd February 2022 08:33PM
  • I'm not able to attach the actual scanned notice. It's from the "Erie Daily Times" November 11, 1909.   The Erie County Public Library in Erie has the film.  


    Obituary Services – Erie County Public Library  


    It says...

    THORNTON--In this City.  Thursday 
    Nov. 11, 1909. John Thornton Age 51 years. 10 Months.
    Funeral from the family residence 114 Myrtle street. Time of funeral
     to be announced later.




    Christopher P Thornton

    Thursday 24th February 2022 06:40PM

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