Surname Saturday – Mahoney Clan

Mahoney1This photograph from 1951 shows Thomas Mahoney (1931-2002) with his arms around his wife, Sheila Joyce Lewis Mahoney, and also his mother, Mary Dorothy Zielinski Mahoney (1906-1985). On the far left, family friend and honorary auntie, Lilly Flaherty Bannon (1895-1976) sits. I always remembered Lilly’s name because she had lily white hair. All of these folks had family ties to Harrison, Hudson County, NJ, and lots of Irish roots. Mary Zielinski Mahoney married Peter Patrick Mahoney (1904-1951) on 28 November 1928 in Harrison, NJ. Thomas Mahoney also had a twin, Peter Mahoney, Jr. (1931-2000). This picture was taken a few months after Peter Mahoney, Sr., died. After his death the Thomas Mahoney family moved from Harrison to Lyndhurst, Bergen County, NJ.

Mahoney2This photo shows Mary Zielinski Mahoney with her niece, Margaret Doran Sikora (and son), and Lilly Bannon. My sister and I remembered Mary Mahoney as a very sweet auntie, who was much loved by her sister-in-law Mary Mahoney Doran. As children my siblings and I always called our elders by some such title, and never by their first name. We can remember going to see Mary where she worked in the pharmacy at the West Hudson Hospital in Kearny, NJ. A few years back one of the Mahoney neighbors and I corresponded, and she remembered Mary as the cleanest housekeeper of anyone in her neighborhood of Harrison, and an extremely nice and kind woman. Her back yard was filled with beautiful flowers. The Mahoney family lived above Al’s Tavern at that time. Mary would sit outside with her mom, with other neighbors, and they would speak Polish, whenever the kids came around. They would all bring out folding chairs to sit on and sit under a shady tree on Jersey Street. Sounds a lot like our family with the switching to Polish when the children start listening!  Peter Mahoney would nod and say hello to the ladies gathered out on the stoop of the apartment house, and head down with the other men to one of the local pubs.

Mahoney3This third photo shows more of the family with Mary “Mamie” Mahoney Doran second on the left next to Lilly Bannon visting at the Mirota farm house in Readington Twp, NJ. Mamie was Peter Mahoney’s only sister.  Peter was the only brother to have children to carry on the grand old Mahoney name.

“The surname Mahony comes from the old Irish ‘O’Mathghamhna’ (modern spelling O’Mathúna), meaning ‘bear’. The native Gaelic O’Mathghamhna sept was located in the Province of Munster, in Counties Cork and Kerry in particular, and it is in these counties that the majority of descendants can still be found.”

 For more about the surname Mahoney, O’Mahoney, Mahony, etc., here is a link for The O Mahoney Society.

One of our goals my sister and I have set is to find out more about the Irish homeland of our Mahoney clan. Our family seems to think they came from County Cork, or the city of Dublin, before emigrating to the United States around 1880. The 1910 Federal Census for Harrison, Hudson County, NJ shows our Mahoney family this way:

1910 Federal Census, NJ, Hudson County, Harrison, Ward-1, ED: 35 , John Street.
Date Census Taken:  26 April 1910.
John Mahoney, 49, Head, M1, Married 17 years, Birthplace Self: Ire-Irish, Father: Ire-Irish, Mother: Ire-Irish, Speaks English, Immigration: 1879, Laborer Steel works, can read and write, rents home.
Mary Mahoney, 42, Wife, M1, Married 17 years, 7 children, 4 living. Birthplace Self: Ire-English, Father: Ire-English, Mother: Ire-English, Speaks English, Immigration: 1880, Occupation: Wash woman, can read and write English.
John Mahoney, 16, son, born New York, Occupation: Laborer Charcoal Co.
Mary Mahoney, 15, daughter, Occupation: Winder Thread co.
Tim Mahoney, 12, son, Attends school.
Peter Mahoney, 6, son, Attends school.

In the 1900 Census, Peter Mahoney was already attending school, most likely at Holy Cross Catholic School in Harrison. His father, John Mahoney, was born in Ireland and had at least one brother named Michael. Peter’s mother, Mary Carter Mahoney, was also born in Ireland, but we think they met each other in New York. Peter was born in Harrison, NJ, but his older siblings had been born in Brooklyn, NY. Peter died very suddenly of a heart attack and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, NJ where most of this Irish family was interred. His parents, John and Mary Mahoney, and brothers were interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in East Orange.

Peter Patrick Mahoney’s obituary was published in the Newark Evening News, Thursday, June 28, 1951:

“Mahoney, Peter P., Suddenly, on June 27, 1951, residence 109 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, N.J. Beloved husband of Mary (nee Zielinski) and devoted father of Peter Jr., and Thomas, and brother of Mrs. Bernard Doran of Newark. Relatives, friends and employees of Otis Elevator Co., are invited to attend the funeral from the Bert M. Fay Funeral Home, 332 Harrison Avenue, Harrison on Saturday, June 30 at 8:15 A.M. High Mass of requiem in Holy Cross Church at 9:00 A.M. Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.”

Mahoney grave marker at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Mahoney grave marker at Holy Cross Cemetery.


Surname Saturday is a blogging prompt suggested by GeneaBloggers. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And remember, everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

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