Martin & Bridget (Fahey) Hurney [Harney / Herney]

From County Galway to Lowell, Massachusetts (about 1853)

(Continuing research: Relationships to other MA and Chicago, IL Hurneys)

Martin Hurney was born about 1804, likely in Galway. Many references to his wife, Bridget Fahey, cite County Galway as her birthplace, and some of their children were born there, too.

To save a bit of time, the following is the profile I created on Wikitree 

Martin Hurney of Lowell, Massachusetts, was the son of John Hurney and Ann (–?–), husband of Bridget (Fahey) Hurney[1] and father of John (1832-1900), Mary (1836-1919), Sarah (1839-1903), Martin (1840-1874), Ann (1842-1884), Catherine F. (1849-1918) and Frank (about 1852-1890) was born in Ireland as early as 1797 or as late as 1815, according to documents dated from 1855 through 1877.

Martin was probably born in County Galway and certainly lived there for the births of two sons. Irish Tithe Applotment records for 1836 show a Martin Hurney renting land in a townland called Clogh and another townland, Colmanstown, locales belonging to Clonkeen Parish.[2] There’s no way to tell if the records show one man or two with the same name, but the immigrant to Lowell, would have been married and had a child or two to support at the time.

Although he himself never became a US citizen, Martin’s sons, John and Martin, did. On his naturalization record, John stated he was born in County Galway and arrived in Boston on 22 August 1853.[3] His arrival date is consistent with the appearance of the rest of the family in Lowell.

Martin junior earned his citizenship through military service during the Civil War. Military records give his birthplace as Clough / Clogh and Cappalusk, gives a match for the townland in which an older Martin Hurney rented land in 1836.

The Massachusetts 1855 state census for the city of Lowell shows Martin and Bridget (Fahey) Hurney [Herney / Harney] and five of their children, all born in Ireland, except for the youngest. “Frank Herney” was listed as age five (5) or younger, suggesting the family arrived from Ireland after the 1850 federal census (where they are not found) and before this 1855 state enumeration.[4] The Lowell City Directory for 1855 lists Martin Harney, laborer, residing “rear 61 Middle” street.[5]

“Martin Harney” appears in the 1860 federal census as a 55-year-old laborer with $35 in personal property, wife, Bridget, 46, a married daughter, Mary “Rowen,” 23, and Catherine, 14, and Frank, 8. (Living next door are the McCaffrey and Quinn families into which their daughter, Sarah, married.)[6]

In the 1865 state census, Martin is 68 years old, and cannot read or write. Martin senior is a Farm Laborer, son, Martin junior, is in the army, Ann, Catherine, Frank and an Andrew Dooley, 27 years, complete the household members.[7]

Five years later, for the 1870 US Census, Martin is 70 years old and a Laborer, and owns no real estate. The house is still full with Bridget and children, Ann, 25, Kate (Catherine) 23, and Frank, 18, each of them employed in cotton and woolen mills.[8]

Martin died of “Old Age” at 72 years, on 27 January 1877. He resided on Suffolk Street,[9] on the Western Canal and handy to the mills which gave him and his family a living, albeit a hard one.

Martin’s widow, Bridget (Fahey) Hurney lived with various of her children until her own passing in 1893.[10]

The couple and a number of their children are buried in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery on Gorham Street in Lowell where a sizable monument stands briefly commemorating this immigrant family.[11]


  1.; Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915; Lowell, 1877, #100.
  2.; Ireland, Tithe Applotment Books, 1823-1837.
  3.; Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950. Circuit Court, Massachusetts Primary Declarations of Intention, V 11 No 75 Sullivan – V 12 No 44 Dudy, 29 Aug 1856-2 Mar 1857. Original data: Naturalization Records. National Archives at Boston, Waltham, Massachusetts.
  4.; Massachusetts. 1855-1865 Massachusetts State Census [microform]. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Reel Number: 16; Volume Number: 22.
  5. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. Lowell City Directory 1855, page 95.
  6.; 1860 United States Census, Census Place: Lowell Ward 2, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: M653_507; Page: 280; Image: 284; Family History Library Film: 803507.Original data: 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.
  7. Massachusetts, State Census, 1865. Ward: 2, Household number: 305, Reel Number: 17, Volume Number: 20: New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
  8.; Hurney; 1870 US Census. Massachusetts, Middlesex County, City of Lowell, Ward Two; Page 146, House #810, Family #913; Lines 22-28.
  9. Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915. Lowell, 1877, #100.
  10.; Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915. Lowell, MA Deaths, 1893, #2051.
  11.; Find A Grave Memorial# 116331896.