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I’m looking for help finding information on my Stack ancestors. My 3rd great grandparents were Patrick Stack & Catherine (maiden name unknown). We believe Patrick was born around 1820 in Ireland and Catherine around 1833 in Ireland. We know they are in Illinois, USA around 1855-1860. We believe they had at least 4 children in the USA who all became orphans sometime between 1860-1865, probably closer to 1861. Patrick & Catherine disappear from records about this time and it’s unknown what happened to them. There are multiple Patrick & Catherine Stack’s so caution must be used when comparing records & families.I’ve researched the Ireland records available online and haven’t been able to figure out which families they belong to, etc.


Here’s some additional information.


Patrick Stack (Catherine’s husband) - born about 1820 in Ireland. Parents & siblings unknown. In 1960 Patrick’s worked for the railroad when he lived with his family in Dunleith, Jo Daviess County, Illinois, USA (now known as East Dubuque, Illinois). 

Catherine (Patrick Stack’s wife) - born about 1833 in Ireland. Parents & siblings unknown. 

Immigration:  Ireland -> ?- > Ohio -> Illinois -> ??

We don’t know if they met in the USA or somewhere else. 

They had 4 kids that we know of (we believe they’re full siblings). All the kids were orphans at a young age. That might be why the son Patrick (see below) goes by Patrick J. Kelley/Kelly.

Patrick & Catherine Stack’s known children:


Child #1:

Hanora / Hannah Stack, born about 1853 in Ohio

- Hannah put a ad in the Boston Pilot newspaper looking for her parents around 1865ish. She  married John Cook/Koch and we don’t think she had any children. She lived in Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and finally in Chicago. I don’t think she had any children.


Child #2:

Abbie/Abigail/Abagail Stack, born about 1856 in Illinois.

- The 1870 US Federal census shows she lived with an OConnor family in Dubuque County, Iowa when she was about 14 years old. It looks like Thomas & Bridget OConnor were the husband & wife of the household. She eventually moved to Chicago and married Patrick Murrin and had children with him.


Child #3:

Mary Agnes Stack, born about 1858 in Illinois. 

- She was adopted by the Ingram family around the age of 2 or 3. She married Frank or Francis Haas. She moved to Grant County, Wisconsin after she married Frank Haas and had children with him. (Her daughter passed down a story that Mary & her siblings were born in Ireland and their parents died on the boat over from Ireland during the potato famine, and they were separated and adopted by others on the boat. This story hasn’t proved 100% accurate but I’m including it in case it’s helpful.)


Child #4:

Patrick J. Kelley/Kelly, was born about 1861 probably in Illinois.

- He went by Patrick Kelley or Kelly so he may have been adopted by a Kelly family. We believe he married Nettie (maiden name unknown, she was born in Missouri) and had a daughter Rosa V Kelley (also born in Missouri) who married Peter Sobb.


Some other possible surnames that may be connected to them: Barrett or Barret, Quinlan, Quinn, etc. 

I appreciate any help if you can help me figure out Patrick Stack’s family.


Thank you,



Wednesday 23rd Aug 2023, 12:32AM

Message Board Replies

  • Maddie,

    I found your Ancestry tree, and there discovered why you included Ardfert/Kilmoyly and the townland of Lerrig for Patrick's origins. That parish's baptism records began in Mar 1819, but there are many gaps - especially during the early 1820s. That missing persons record for him on your tree, that you didn't include in your post here, mentions he arrived in NY around 1848 on the Unicorn from Ireland. A search of the site under the emigrant tab/passenger lists shows only two sailings of the Unicorn between 1849 & 1850- one arrived 17 July 1849, the other 7 Oct 1850 - both into Philadelphia. These records also have all the passenger's names, but no Patrick Stack or Hannah Quinlan are listed on either manifest. I realize this does not help you solve the puzzle, but only questions the accuracy of that missing persons report. That report must predate the report of him and his wife missing. 




    Wednesday 23rd Aug 2023, 05:58AM
  • Don't know if it's any help but Stack is a name around Castle island and surrounding areas, there are mountains there called the Stacks, and I have been aware of at least one family there of that name it might be worth researching records from that area. 


    Thursday 24th Aug 2023, 05:41AM
  • My fathers family were Stack, and when he met my mum they lived in Churchtown Co Cork. My grandmother ( on mums side) was also a Stack before she married John Jones from Ballyhea near Charlaville Co Cork. So mum and dad were 1st cousins. Both sets of grandparent were born approx 1900. Grand mother Stack was Doyle before marriage. My Stack grandparent were on Jersey during the war and eventually moved to London . 


    Thursday 24th Aug 2023, 12:09PM
  • Patrick Stack Hanora quinlan Boston Pilot ad Searching for Missing Friends- Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in “The Bos.pdf

    Hi Carolyn,

    Originally I didn’t include the Boston Pilot Ad posted by Hanora Quinlan looking for Patrick Stack on here because I still don’t know if it’s connected. The most interesting part is that it mentions Quinlan, and we see that again in Hanora Stack’s ad, and the Stack’s live next to a Quinlan family in Dunleith, Jo Daviess County, Illinois. I wanted to avoid sending someone down a rabbit hole. I also don’t want someone to think their info isn’t relevant because it doesn’t match up 100%. A lot of records I have are second-hand information which can be inaccurate. 

    However, I was able to find a Hanora / Nora or Norry Quinlan that went from Liverpool to NYC on the Unicorn in 1848. I can’t find a Patrick Stack listed but there is a Peter Stock on the same passenger list and his age would roughly line up with the Patrick Stack I’ve been researching. I recently read on an Ireland XO post that Peter and Bartholomew can both be alternative names for Patrick? 

    Here’s the text of the ad posted in the Boston Pilot on 19 Mar 1859:

    OF PATRICK STACK, or Lerrig, parish of Kilmoiley, county Kerry, was a blacksmith by trade, who left home, together with his niece, Hannah Quinlan, in October, 1848, and sailed from Liverpool in the ship "Unicorn," and landed in New York - came to Holyoke and remained there for a few days, went back and worked for some time in the State of New York, and it is now supposed to be in the Western States. If this should meet his eye, or any one knowing him, they would confer a favor by writing to his nephew and niece, Maurice and Hannorah Quinlan, Holyoke, Massachusetts.


    The timeline would match for Patrick & Catherine Stack. We know they had Hanora Stack in Ohio around 1853, the family is in Illinois from 1855-1860. We don’t know when or where Patrick & Catherine met.

    I also know that Patrick Stack worked for the railroad. The ad says her uncle Patrick Stack is a blacksmith by trade. 

    I also found a Lawrence Quinlan in Fond du Lac, WI but the record didn’t help and I couldn’t confirm if it was the same person mentioned in Hanora Stack’s ad.

    I haven’t been able to tie the Quinlan and Stack families together yet. Maybe they were in-laws or something.

    Thanks everyone for your help. 



    Friday 25th Aug 2023, 01:15PM
  • Hi Kerin,

    Thank you for sharing that information. I will keep an eye out for it when reviewing trees. Do you think it’s connected to Patrick Stack in my records above? 


    Friday 25th Aug 2023, 01:20PM
  • Maddie,

    Can you attach the Unicorn's ship manifest showing Peter Stack and Hanora Quinlan arriving to NYC in 1848?



    Friday 25th Aug 2023, 05:46PM
  • Hi Carolyn,

    The USA National Archives lists 369 partial records for passengers arriving on the Unicorn in NYC on 18 Nov 1848, it departed from Liverpool.

    I couldn’t save the entire ship manifest but the link below should allow you to view it. If it doesn’t work, then you just need to choose the Unicorn Nov 1848 ship manifest in the search and leave the name fields blank.

    Display Partial Records

    File unit: Famine Irish Passenger Record Data File (FIPAS), 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851 
    in the Series: Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine, created 1977 - 1989, documenting the period 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851 - Collection CIR (info).

    You searched for: MANIFEST IDENTIFICATION NUMBER = 3192; PASSENGER ARRIVAL DATE = 11/18/1848 sorted by LAST NAME

    You found 369 partial records out of 604,596 total records in this file.,fd&cl_17190=3192&op_17190=null&nfo_17190=N,8,1900&txt_17181=11%2F18%2F1848&op_17181=3&nfo_17181=D,10,1846&sc=17169,17182,17170,17171,17172,17189,17177,17180,17190,17181&rpp=50&sort=17169%20desc&pg=1

    I found two passengers with the last name Quinlan are listed: Jerry Quinlan and Norry Quinlan.

    No one with the last name Stack is listed. If you sort the passengers by last name, there is a Peter Stock whose date of birth would line up with the Patrick Stack I’m researching. 

    Attached is info for a Norry Quinlan and  Peter Stock, both are listed as passengers on the Unicorn that arrived in NYC on 18 Nov 1848.

    In the NARA database of Irish famine immigrant arrivals, there are many Patrick Stack’s listed. It’s also possible he wasn’t recorded coming into the US, he came in a year outside the NARA Irish Immigrant famine archive years, or he came to Canada first. My guess is he Patrick Stack was in the USA by 1850. We know he was in Illinois by 1855, and his daughter Hanora Stack was born in Ohio approximately 1853.

    Thanks again,



    Saturday 26th Aug 2023, 02:24PM
  • Maddie,

    Thanks for the link to the 1848 Unicorn manifest....I used site...guess they don't have all the records. You mentioned the names Peter & Patrick maybe used interchangeably...I've never encountered that, but maybe Patrick changed his name for the journey across the sea. Interesting is that both Peter and Norry listed spinners as their occupations.

    The two "missing persons" articles taken together are does the 1859 one from the Boston Globe work if his son Patrick was born in 1861? I think that the later one from 1865 is probably the best one to follow a lead on. Quite a mystery of what became of Patrick and Catherine! I wouldn't think that they'd abandon their four children, and if they died, there would most likely not be a missing persons ad.

    Good luck!



    Saturday 26th Aug 2023, 07:01PM
  • Hi Carolyn,

    Patrick Stack worked for the railroad and my understanding is that it was typical for Irish immigrants in the USA to move around a lot and be away from family for a long time, I think that’s part of the reason the Boston Pilot ads were used like they were.

    The 1859 Boston Pilot Ad says that Patrick Stack was on the East Coast and then is *supposed to be* in the Western States. Ohio and Illinois would both be Western States. 

    Here’s a timeline with the quinlan info added:

    Approx. 1820 - Patrick Stack was born in Ireland

    Approx. 1833 - Catherine (Patrick Stack’s wife) was born in Ireland. 

    1848 - The “Unicorn” lands in NYC on 18 Nov 1848. Norry Quinlan and Peter Stock are listed as passengers. (This is probably connected to Hanora Quinlan’s Boston Pilot Ad posted in 1859.)

    Approx. 1853 - Hanora Stack is born to Patrick and Catherine Stack in Ohio.

    Approx. 1855 - Patrick, Catherine & Hanora Stack are living in Dunleith, Jo Daviess County, Illinois.

    Approx. 1856 - Abbie Stack is born to Patrick & Catherine Stack in Illinois. 

    1858 - Mary Agnes Stack is born to Patrick & Catherine Stack in Illinois. 

    1859 - Hanora Quinlan puts an ad in the Boston Pilot looking for Patrick Stack. She says he is supposed to be in the “Western States”. She is on the East Coast. 

    1860 - Patrick, Catherine, Hanora, Abbie, Mary Stack are living in Dunleith, Jo Daviess County, Illinois, USA. Patrick Stack works for the railroad. 

    Approx. 1861 - Patrick J Kelley is born to Patrick & Catherine Stack in Illinois. 

    Approx. 1862/1863 - Per the Boston Pilot ad posted by Hanora Stack, Patrick & Catherine Stack are in a different part of Illinois. This part of Illinois had a new railroad being built.

    1865 - Hanora Stack posts an ad in the Boston Pilot looking for her parents. She mentions they were supposed to be in a different part of Illinois 2-3 years ago.

    I am still learning about the railroad workers but it seems like they could have gone away while working on a certain section of it. This was during the time the railroads were expanding. There also were a lot of diseases at that time. It’s very possible the parents left their children either with the intent of returning or they left and didn’t plan to return. My understanding is this isn’t out of the question for that time period.

    Thank you again for taking the time to review this. I hope someone will come across this and recognize it as their ancestor or maybe have more info. Fingers crossed. :) 


    Sunday 27th Aug 2023, 12:55AM
  • Attached Files


    Have you seen this 1850 US census record of a Patrick Stack and Catherine Stack living in Ohio? Note there are two younger Stacks living with them, and the youngest one had some sort of disability...seen on the Ancestry transcription. IF this is your family, it might give you some clues...




    Sunday 27th Aug 2023, 04:49AM
  • Yes, a genealogist I worked with included it in her report as a possible connection. The ages and locations align. I tried researching John Stack and James Stack but it was difficult because those are also common names. 


    Monday 28th Aug 2023, 04:22AM

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