Tag Archives: Tormey

Michael and Margaret Tormey Dolan

Margaret Tormey (sister of John Tormey and sister-in-law of Margaret Cronin Tormey) married Michael Dolan on 16 Jan 1905.

Margaret Tormey’s arrival in the US

Maggie had probably arrived in the US on the Pavonia. The following is probably her passenger arrival record transcript. She traveled in steerage, and had two pieces of luggage with her. I didn’t see any records for Maggie’s brother, John, or her sister, Annie, on that passenger list.

(Interestingly, on of Maggie’s in-laws by a later marriage, John Joseph Cronin, arrived on the Pavonia a month later.)

Margaret Tormey Dolan - arrived in US

Michael Dolan and Margaret Tormey (Tormay)’s marriage record. (Click image — right-click on a PC — to see it larger.)

Maggie and Mike Dolan - marriage MA



Margaret Tormey Dolan - marriage to Michael Dolan

Record: “Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N4HC-NDN : 17 February 2016), Michael J Dolan and Margaret Tormay, 16 Jan 1905; citing , Boston, Massachusetts, United States, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 2,057,623.

Margaret Tormey Bernier – another early photo

This is another early photo of Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier. (Yes, I spelled her middle name incorrectly when I was labeling the scanned pictures.)

My notes say this picture was from around 1919, shortly before Muriel was born, but that doesn’t quite fit with the photo of Margaret supposedly at age 20. (Margaret said her hair was fully white by the time she was 22 years old. If that were true, that other photo would have been around age 20. I’m betting that photo was actually from around age 28 or 30.)

Margaret Tormey Bernier

Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier (1898 – 1972) was the daughter of John Tormey (Co. Meath, Ireland) and Margaret Cronin Tormey (Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Ireland). Margaret Ann’s husband was Napoleon Mark Bernier.

Margaret Cronin Tormey, ca. 1898

This is the only known photo of my great-grandmother, Margaret Cronin Tormey.

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.)

They had at least three children, Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier, Mary Ellen Tormey Sullivan, and James Earnest Tormey. (Also see Tormey Mystery Child photo.)

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

Margaret Cronin Tormey death certificate 1909

Here’s the transcript:

Margaret Cronin Tormey - death 1909


Additional Notes


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.

Tormey Mystery Child

This is a photo my grandmother (Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier) described as a family photo, showing her with her siblings. The problem is… there are four children and we only know about three of them.

Tormey family children - around 1899

When I asked my grandmother about the fourth child, she seemed puzzled. Then said it must have been her cousin, Margaret Cronin Holden. Or, maybe it was her cousin Helen Cronin Kirk, who later lived in Belmont, MA.

I suppose either is possible, but it seems unlikely. Why would they add an extra child in what’s clearly a photo of siblings? (Also, my grandmother sometimes revised history. For example, she insisted that her father died when she was a toddler. He actually survived until after my grandmother had married and my mother — Muriel Bernier [Morey] — was a child.)

My grandmother insisted that she was the youngest child in the photo. I suppose that’s possible, but since she was only two years younger than her sister, Mary Ellen Tormey Sullivan, I’m more inclined to think my grandmother was the toddler standing up.

So, I haven’t a clue who the fourth child really was.

James Earnest Tormey never married and died without issue.

Mary Ellen Tormey Sullivan (Mrs. Charles Sullivan) had children Isabel Sullivan Beagan (spelling?) and Leo Sullivan. Isabel married Jack Beagan (?) and had at least two children. Leo was a fireman (in Belmont, MA) and never married, as far as I know, but he had at least one child. I think the baby’s mother’s name was Gloria, but I never met her, though I recall it as a long-time romance for Leo.

Margaret Bernier and Muriel – 1919


Margaret Tormey Bernier and her daughter, Muriel, in 1919

This photo shows my grandmother, Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier (1898 – 1972) and her baby daughter, Muriel (1919 – 2010).  The photo was probably taken on the front porch of their home in Cambridge… or Somerville, MA. (I need to research that and find out just where their street was actually located.  Most records say Somerville, but my mother said it was actually Cambridge, and — for part of her high school years — she went to school in Cambridge.)

My mother was born at home, and — completely unprepared — my grandfather (Napoleon Mark Bernier) was present during labor and delivery.  He was so shocked by the process, he swore there would be no more children in his household.   And so, my mother was an only child.  (From my grandmother’s description, it wasn’t an easy delivery.)

However, my grandmother’s pregnancy was stressful.  She was one of the only members of her extended family who didn’t come down with the flu, so — despite being “in the family way” — she was the one who took care of those confined to their beds.  And, her father-in-law (Francois Napoleon Bernier) died while my grandmother was pregnant.

As an only child, my mother said she was pampered and given the best of everything.  Since her parents were so young when she was born, it was more as if they were friends than parents.  So, my mother described her childhood as a happy one.

Her mother swore that my mother never did anything wrong, ever.  She never misbehaved, and never had to be punished for anything.

I’m not so sure about that.  Mum talked about running around the neighborhood with a bow & arrows, and… well, not quite terrorizing the kids, but I got the idea that Mum was more of a loner than a joiner.

I’m intrigued by the lace-up boots my grandmother wore in this photo.   I had a pair custom-made when I was in my 20s, not realizing they were similar to my grandmother’s.

And, if I recall the stories correctly, this photo shows my grandmother with her real nose.  The surgery was later, since my mother recalled seeing her mom in bandages, afterward.

Margaret Tormey Bernier – Age 20

Margaret Tormey Bernier, age 20

Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier (1898 – 1972)

This is a photo of my grandmother, Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier.  She was born 3 August 1898 in Somerville, MA, to John Tormey (of Dublin, Ireland) and Margaret Cronin Tormey (of Glenanair, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Ireland).

Margaret was called “Maggie” and she was raised — along with a sister, Mary Ellen, and a brother, James Earnest — by relatives and the nuns, after her mother died (of TB) and her father was hospitalized for several years before his death.

Margaret married Napoleon Mark Bernier, literally “the boy next door.”  They dated when she was in high school, and she always said, “I was the first married and the best married.”

She also like to say that she was related to entertainer Mel Torme. She said he spelled it differently than her dad had, but she either met Mel Torme or someone close to him, and she said his actual ancestry wasn’t French but Irish. Tormey, Tormay, Tornay, Toomey, and Torme are among the many spellings (and misspellings) for the same last name.

In this photo, my grandmother was about 20 years old.  Her hair turned grey early, and was almost fully white by the time she was 25 years old.  Her nose wasn’t her “real” nose. She had a deviated septum and so she had a “nose job” early in her marriage.  My mother remembered seeing her mom with a pile of bandages on her face, after the operation.

Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier died 25 Aug 1972 of heart complications following an intestinal blockage.  She always said that the doctors told her that one side of her heart had never developed completely.  (She also had the tiniest throat I’ve ever seen.  The opening was about the size of a nickel. She had to crush pills and vitamins to swallow them.)

She’s buried with my grandfather and her brother (Jimmy), in Belmont Cemetery, Belmont, MA.