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First Irish Policeman in Boston was from Leitrim

Below is a very interesting story sent to the Leitrim Society of Boston from Manorhamilton native Rory Flynn. He describes his research on Bernard “Barney” McGinniskin, born in Glenfarne in 1808, who went on to become Boston’s first Irish Policeman.bmcgI would like to share some information that I accidentally stumbled upon, It was all new to me and thought I should share it with you, maybe some of your members are already aware to this story.
I was born and reared in Manorhamilton I left home in 1968 and moved to Dublin then in 1970 I moved to Co. Tipperary where I settled down and now reside.

Last year when trying to trace ancestors, with my sister Noreen, we found a man in the Boston Police who we thought might be a relative of ours. As a result I sent an e-mail to the Boston Police looking for details of this individual. I explained that the man in question was born in Manorhamilton. It turned out that we were chasing down the wrong road and that this man was not in fact any relation of ours.

But it is here that I think my story may be of interest to The Boston Leitrim Society.

In replying to my initial query Margaret Sullivan, Records Center and Archives of the Boston Police gave me details that eliminated my man as being my ancestor but in her reply she stated that she had reason to look up Manorhamilton in relation to origin of one Bernard “Barney” McGinniskin. Margaret told me some of the history of Bernard “Barney” McGinniskin.

Barney McGinniskin was in the Boston Police from 1851 until 1854, what is unique about Barney is that he was the first Irish man to be admitted to the Boston Police Force and most likely the first Irish man to join any Police Force in the United States, it is believed that Boston had the very first properly organised Police Force in the United States.

At that time, in Boston, the Irish were deemed “unacceptable” for various posts including the police but Barney McGinniskin succeeded in being admitted into the local police force. According to Margaret Sullivan he left the force in 1854 after 3 years having being dismissed for political/nativist reasons, McGinniskin was highly respected and eventually ended up as a federal employee.

Margaret Sullivan has carried out research of the history of Bernard McGinniskin and found that he was born 28th May 1808 in Sranagross, Glenfarne, County Leitrim and his wife was Sarah McGowan from Manorhamilton.

Unfortunately all census records in Ireland pre 1901 were destroyed in the Four Courts In Dublin when the building was bombarded and demolished. The earliest records before that are Griffith’s Valuation of 1857, it records Charles and Laurence McGinniskin tenants on 25 acres at Sranagross, Glenfarne, their landlord was Anne Tottenham.

The next record for Sranagross, Glenfarne is the National Census of 1901 it lists a Bryan McGriskin, his wife Rose, son Charles and daughter Mary.

It is possible that the name McGinniskin evolved in some way through wrong records, misspelling or some other means into the name McGriskin. I am aware that there are McGriskin families in the Kiltyclogher and Glenfarne areas.

Barney McGinniskin is a celebrated figure in the Boston Police Department, an award in his name is presented each year and his grave is marked highlighting his role in Boston Police.

According to the profile created of him within the Boston Police it has him originating from “Co. Galway”. I feel that this fact should be corrected and on finding the Boston Leitrim Society I felt that maybe some of your members might be interested in taking a look at Bernard McGinninskin’s records and having them amended

His grave is in St. Augustine Cemetery in South Boston.

There is a Facebook page dedicated to Boston’s First Irish Policeman Bernard “Barney” McGinniskin. It is worth looking at just to see how much he is celebrated. It features photographs of his grave and it can be seen that he had erected a headstone for his wife Sarah (who died before him) daughter of William McGowan, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim.

As I explained I stumbled across this story thanks to Margaret R. Sullivan Record Manager and Archivist of the Boston Police Dept. Margaret has taken a great interest in Bernard McGinniskin and has much more details about him that she is more than willing to share with anyone interested. She says that there is a great deal of inaccurate stories in relation to him including one that on his first day in the Police he marched into the Boston Police Station and announced “I am Barney McGinniskin from the bogs of Ireland”. In her research she found that he was an able, intelligent and astute man far removed from how some depicted him.

I have further details on Bernard, mostly from Margaret Sullivan, and if anyone in your Society is interested I will gladly pass them on.

I just do hope that Bernard McGinniskin’s Leitrim origins can be highlighted.

Thanking You,
Rory Flynn.

(If anyone would like to get in touch with Rory, let us know and we will set that up.)

It's Christmas time!

December 2014 – Meeting Minutes & Updates

The meeting was held on December 2nd, 2014 at Gerard’s Restaurant in Adam’s Village, Dorchester, MA.

PRESENT – Derek Mawn, Mary McDermott, Noel Murphy, Frank Gallagher, Jim Gallagher, Charlie Mawn, Connie & Mary McEleney, Tommy Byrne, Bridie McDermott, Phil Bohan, Maura Weir and Cathy Mawn

It is very sad to have to announce the Death of John “Jack” Lavalle, husband of Maura (McHugh)  Lavalle. The long time member died unexpectedly on November 21st.  Condolences go out to Maura and her family, RIP Jack.

The Christmas Party is December 14th from 4 to 8 PM at Sons of Italy (Upstairs at the Golden Lion Suite) 120 Quarry St., Quincy, MA. Tickets are $25 pp. and children eat free. Tickets must be purchased in advance- There are NO tickets sold at the door! Tickets may be ordered by calling Cathy Mawn at 617-696-1583 or 617-549-3230 and leaving a message. Kathy and the Irish Americans will be providing the entertainment. Please call to order your tickets by December 5th as we have to have a count for the caterer. Any donations for the in-house raffle at the dance would be gratefully appreciated.

Phil Bohan is trying to arrange to have some new Leitrim Guardian Magazines for sale at the dance. Frank Brady of Manorhamilton was the Guardian’s “Man of the Year.”

Membership for 2015 can be renewed at the Dance. Dues remain $10 pp or $20 per household. You can get the current membership form here – fill it out and give to any of the LSB committee members at the dance or mail it in if you prefer.

The New York Leitrim Society is running a weekend to the Catskills in June, 2015. Jim Gallagher will be providing further information if people would be interested in meeting some old neighbors and new friends from home!

Nominations the LSB Board will take place at the March 6, 2015 meeting.  You must attend in person to nominate and be nominated.

Glenfarne, Co. Leitrim won the top prize in the 2014 Pride of Place Award! The judges were especially impressed with the renovation of the Ballroom of Romance. Up Leitrim!

There will be no meeting per usual for January. The next meeting is February 3, 2015 at 8 PM at Gerard’s Restaurant in Adams Village, Dorchester. ALL ARE WECOME and encouraged to attend.

We are still working out the details of a Trip to Foxwoods in early 2015 and another volunteer opportunity at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

As a reminder, in the event of any news that any member would like to share with all members of the club, please contact 617-696-1583 or 617-549-3230 and leave a message.  You can also email the website directly.

Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and A very Happy New Year!

It's Christmas time!

LSB Christmas Party 2014

It's Christmas time!

Sunday December 14th, 2014 4-8pm

PLEASE NOTE: CHANGE OF VENUE

The Leitrim Society of Boston invites you to our annual Christmas Party at

Sons of Italy (Upstairs at the Golden Lion Suite)
120 Quarry St.
Quincy, MA

PLEASE NOTE: CHANGE OF VENUE

Food, Fun Music and a Visit from Santa!
Come enjoy a great family evening.

Tickets $25 (Children eat free)
* Must be purchased in advance by Dec 5th *

There will be NO tickets sold at the door!

For tickets call Cathy Mawn at 617-696-1583

View Event Listing on Facebook

It's Christmas time!

November 2014 – Meeting Minutes & Updates

The meeting was held on November 4th, 2014 at Gerard’s Restaurant in Adam’s Village, Dorchester, MA.

PRESENT – Derek Mawn, Connie & Mary McEleney, Mary McDermott, Phil Bohan, Jim Gallagher, Maura Weir, Cathal Mawn, Frank & Kathleen Gallagher, Jim Keaney, Charlie Mawn and Cathy Mawn.

The Christmas Party will be held on Sunday December 14th from 4-8 PM at Heritage Hall, 114 Granite Ave., Milton, MA. Please note the new venue. Tickets this year are $25 pp. Children eat for free. The count for the caterer is needed by December 5th. Please call Cathy Mawn for tickets at 617-696-1583. Leave a message and she will return your call. There will be NO tickets sold at the door!

Phil Bohan has agreed to look into obtaining Leitrim Guardians this year.

There will be a Volunteer opportunity at the Food Bank in Jan. or Feb. of 2015. Anyone interested, please contact Mary McDermott (marypmcdermott@hotmail.com) . It was a load of fun last time as well as providing a needed service.

The Spring Dance will be held on April 11, 2015 at Concannon’s Irish Village in Norwood. The Noel Henry Showband will play. Mark your calendars!

Elections will be held in 2015. Nominations will be taken at the March 2015 Meeting.  Get involved- start your political career!

Condolences are extended to Anna McAuliffe and her family on the Death of her husband Dan.

Anyone interested in a trip to the Foxwoods in 2015, there will be info at the Christmas Dance.

The next meeting will be December 2nd at 8PM at Gerard’s  Restaurant  in Dorchester. ALL ARE WELCOME!

October 2014 – Meeting Minutes & Updates

The meeting was held on October 7th, 2014 at Gerard’s Restaurant in Adam’s Village, Dorchester, MA.

PRESENT – Derek Mawn, Mary McDermott, Bridie McDermott,  Connie & Mary McEleney,
Jim Gallagher, Charlie Mawn, Jimmy Keaney, Cathal Mawn, Phil Bohan, Jack Maguire, Frank & Kathleen Gallagher, Maura Weir, Theresa Wilson, & Cathy Mawn.

The Christmas Party will be held on Sunday December 14th from 4 to 8 PM. The Christmas Party will be held at Heritage Hall, 114 Granite Ave, Milton, MA.  Tickets will be $25 with children free.  Please contact Cathy Mawn to reserve tickets (phone 617-696-1583 please leave a message and we will get back to you).  No tickets will be available on the day of the party.

If anyone has items to donate to the raffle at the Christmas Party, please mention when reserving your tickets.

We are planning for another volunteering event at the Greater Boston Food Bank for January or February.  Please email marypmcdermott@hotmail.com if you are interested and we can select a date that works for all.

We are looking to update the website with photos from Leitrim Society events throughout the years.  If you have photos you’d like to share, please email them to leitrimsocietyofboston.com or mail copies to Leitrim Society of Boston PO Box 204, Milton MA 02186.

The LSB has made a donation to the Irish Pastoral Centre’s annual Gala and will be taking out a half page Ad in the Gala’s booklet.

Next meeting will be Tuesday November 4th at 8 pm at Gerard’s Restaurant in Dorchester’s Adams Village.

 

September 2014 – Meeting Minutes & Updates

The meeting was held on September 2nd, 2014 at Gerard’s Restaurant in Adam’s Village, Dorchester, MA.

PRESENT – Derek Mawn, Mary McDermott, Bridie McDermott, Charlie Mawn, Jimmy Keaney, Cathal Mawn, Noel Murphy & Cathy Mawn.

The Christmas Party will be held on Sunday December 14th from 4 to 8 PM. The Christmas Party will be held at Heritage Hall, 114 Granite Ave, Milton, MA.

Due to their deaths, condolences are extended to the families of  long-time member  Tom Keaney  and Eddie “Ned” Fitzgerald, brother –in-law of Jack Maguire.

We are planning for another volunteering event at the Greater Boston Food Bank around the holidays.  Please email marypmcdermott@hotmail.com if you are interested and we can select a date that works for all.

We are looking to update the website with photos from Leitrim Society events throughout the years.  If you have photos you’d like to share, please email them to leitrimsocietyofboston.com or mail copies to Leitrim Society of Boston PO Box 204, Milton MA 02186.

The next meeting will be Tuesday October 7th at 8 pm at Gerard’s Restaurant in Dorchester’s Adams Village. ALL ARE WELCOME!

Leitrim Famine Book Launch

A Chairde,

The Friends of County Leitrim Committee is pleased to announce the publication of a revealing new book on the Great Famine in Leitrim:

‘The Dead Buried by the Dying’ The Great Famine in Leitrim (Merrion Press) by Dr. Gerard MacAtasney.

On Sunday September 7th, the book will be launched by Dr. Maureen Murphy of Hofstra University at The Manhattan Room located at Rosie O’Grady’s 800 7th Avenue, second floor. The event will commence at 5 pm and will conclude at 9 pm. A light buffet will be served and the committee respectfully request that anyone attending call 917-751-8154 or 914-693-8888 in advance to facilitate the food service. Professor Murphy was the Director of the Great Irish Famine Curriculum Project for the New York State Department of Education.

Dr. Gerard MacAtasney is the acclaimed author of Sean Mac Diarmada: Mind of the Revolution (2004), The Other Famine – The 1822 Crisis in County Leitrim (2010), Tom Clarke: Life, Liberty, Revolution (2012), and The Plantation of Leitrim, 1585 to 1670 (2013). MacAtasney’s new work brings previously untapped information into the public domain through exhaustive research in official government papers, parish registers and estate records. The book depicts the impact of the famine throughout the county as thousands starved to death. As comprehensive as they are compelling, MacAtasney’s findings are contained within the most detailed account of the famine at local level yet to be written. Dr. Gerard MacAtasney will speak about the famine in Leitrim and will be available to answer questions and sign books.

Dr. Gerard MacAtasney will feature at a number of other events in the Tri-State area over the same weekend:

On Saturday September 6th the book will be launched in Connecticut. The event will take place in The Playwright Irish Pub and Restaurant, 1232 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, Conn 06517. Tel: 203 287 2401. The event will commence at 7pm and will conclude at 10pm. Dr. MacAtasney will be available to sign books at this event. The Playwright Pub is renowned in Connecticut for his good food and high quality beverages.

On Monday September 8th Dr. Gerard MacAtasney will speak about the famine in Leitrim at the Rambling House, 4292 Katonah Avenue, Bronx, NY between 7pm and 10pm. He will also speak about Sean MacDiarmada and Thomas Clarke. Books will be available for purchase at this event.

On Saturday September 6th, The Brooklyn Irish American Parade Committee and Our Lady of Knock Division #9 LAOH will hold their annual Irish Heritage Trail and Irish Patriots Day at Greenwood Cemetery following 12 o’clock mass in Greenwood’s chapel. The Minerva on Battle Hill in Greenwood cemetery was donated by Leitrim native Charles Higgins to commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn. Dr. Gerard MacAtasney will give a brief oration at the Higgins Mausoleum. For information on this event call (718) 499 9482 or visit www.brooklynpatricksparade.com

The book makes an ideal gift for people with Leitrim connections as well as for the history enthusiast. Donations towards defraying the cost of the launch will be gratefully accepted by the committee. Checks should be made payable to Gerard MacAtasney.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Committee: Joe McManus, Bernadette Dunleavy, Thomas Maguire, Anthony Flynn, Cathy Mitchell Miceli.

May 2014 – Meeting Minutes & Updates

The meeting was held on May 6th, 2014 at Gerard’s Restaurant in Adam’s Village, Dorchester, MA.

PRESENT – Derek Mawn, Jim Keaney, Mary McDermott, Theresa Wilson, Phil Bohan, Charlie Mawn, Mary and Connie McEleney, Jack Maguire, & Maura Weir.

The Volunteer Event at the Greater Boston Food Bank was a success!!  We had 7 Leitrim society members attend and with the assistance of another volunteer team, we sorted over 6000 lbs of food.  We will put together another event in the fall and will send additional information out in September.

The board voted to make a $100 donation to the IPC/IIC Collaborated Coalition for Suicide Prevention:

The Dóchas Suicide Prevention Coalition is a network established by the Massachusetts Irish community, local organizations and non-profits that offer education, support and referrals to assist members of the community who struggle with suicidal thoughts and to assist people who have been affected or bereaved by suicide. Their aim is to support and encourage a community led approach for the prevention of suicide and self-harm in Massachusetts, especially in the Greater Boston Area.

We have started to plan for the Annual Christmas Party in December and will provide details as they become finalized.

Deepest sympathy extended to the family of Ellen Fay, who lost her courageous battle with cancer on May 2, 2014.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

It was decided that a meeting in June would not be necessary and it was voted to cancel this meeting.  Have a safe, happy and healthy summer!

The next meeting will be held on September 2nd, 2014 at Gerard’s Restaurant in Adam’s Corner.  ALL ARE WELCOME!

LSB help out at the Greater Boston Food Bank

On Saturday, April 26th, our LSB team joined forces with the BeantoIMG_1662wn Cats (University of Arizona Alumni Boston) for a very rewarding afternoon at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

The food bank is a top class facility opened in 2009 with the aid of generouIMG_1663s city based sponsors. Upon arrival at the warehouse, we had a briefing on the activities and services provided by the food bank, followed by a guide on procedures for our assigned tasks of the afternoon on inspecting, sorting, and packing food and grocery products.

Our role as a group, was to inspect frozen food supplies (donated by various corporations such as Stop and Shop and other grocery stores), sort by food type – beef, pork, poultry etc. and package into boxes of 35lb approx., ready for distribution to worthy causes in the Greater Boston area.IMG_1666

The pallets of frozen food kept coming but we kept knocking them down until our shift was over! At the end of the day we sorted through, and packaged:
* 6405lbs of food, 98% of which was salvageable
* which provided for 5230 meals
* averaging 402 meals per volunteer!

We had a great time today and are eager to volunteer again for this wonderful cause.

We’d love to sign up more members and friends of the Leitrim Society of Boston for our next trip to help the troopers at the food bank, stay tuned…!

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