This is the only known photo of my great-grandmother, Margaret Cronin Tormey.
Margaret was born in Glenanare, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Ireland on 1 July 1866. Her parents were Michael Cronin (1830 – 1910? originally of Co. Cork) and Ellen Roche (1833 – 1901, dau. of John Roche and Hanora Conners).
Around 1894, she married John Tormey (son of James Tormey and Ann Barrett, of Co. Meath, Ireland).
According to some stories, that wasn’t his real surname, and he was on the run from the British, so he’d fled to America. That story doesn’t seem to have much credibility.
John had at least two sisters in America, Annie and Maggie, who may have lived near Boston, MA, possibly Jamaica Plain. (According to stories, at least one of them had a goiter scar on her neck and wore a little ribbon to conceal the scar.)
One or both sisters were alive in the early 1920s, but one or both may have died from coal gas, later.
Early in Margaret and John’s marriage, he had a drinking problem. His daughter, Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier, later claimed that he’d “fallen into a ditch, broke his leg, and died.” (In fact, he went to Bridgewater State Hospital where he was housed with many other indigent Irish immigrants, and died in the mid-to-late 1920s.)
Margaret Cronin Tormey took in laundry and worked part-time for the James family near Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA (USA). Her aunt, Hanora T Cronin (1868 – 1955) was a maid in that household.
Since Margaret Cronin Tormey often took her children to work with her, Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier (one of the children) had many stories about playing in the backyard at the James’ house. She had several happy memories about William and Henry James, as well.
After Margaret Cronin Tormey’s death, her wedding ring remained in the family. I have it, and I wear it almost every day.
Margaret Cronin Tormey’s Siblings
Margaret Cronin Tormey’s Irish-born siblings included the following, all of whom emigrated to America, as far as I know:
- Dennis “Dinny” Cronin (Unknown-1935), was a police officer around Tewksbury, MA. No known issue.
- Mary Cronin (1864-Unknown), no other information.
- Hanora “Aunt Nora” T Cronin (1868-1955), never married, died without issue. Wonderfully eccentric woman.
- John “Uncle John” Joseph Cronin (2 Oct 1870-1948) arrived in August 1889, aboard the ship Pavonia, which had sailed from Queenstown, Ireland. John married Sarah “Aunt Sarah” Louise Green (1869 – 1911), had at least 8 children including Helen Cronin Kirk of Belmont, MA, Timothy Stephen Cronin (married Dorothy Steele and had 16 children), and Michael Francis “Frank” Cronin who married Margaret Coveney.
- Michael Cronin (1872-1932), married Katherine Hunt, had at least one child, Timothy “Big Ted” Cronin (1904-1984) who worked at Beacon Hill (Boston) for the MA State legal system, as did his attorney son, also called Ted.
- Timothy Cronin (1876-1945), married Honor Quinn (1880-1958), had at least two children including Margaret Cronin Holden (of RI) and Mary Cronin Kelly (Arlington, MA).
- James “Jamie” Cronin (1878-1904), never married and died without issue.
Margaret Cronin Tormey’s death record
Here’s the transcript:
For more about the Cronin family, see Ancestry.com’s records. (However, remember that these kinds of names — including the Cronin surname — are popular in Ireland, USA, Australia, and throughout the diaspora. The names are easy to confuse with one another.)
Also, let me know if you find any errors in my records. It’s so easy to make a mistake, I’m happy to change anything that’s not right.