I just returned from a vacation in Ireland where I stopped at the Donegal Ancestry Center and paid a researcher to check records.She said there are very few documents that survived from that period and found only one match -- a William Mealey listed in the 1796 Spinning Wheel List for Raphoe, Co Donegal.This was a census of spinning wheels and William was listed with three.She said he likely had a farm with sheep and his wife and daughters spun wool.
I think this William Mealey was Lawrence’s father for several reasons.
1. Raphoe was Lawrence’s hometown (per the enlistment record for the 6th PA Battalion of Revolutionary War.)It was then and still is a very small town and William was the only Mealey/Maley/etc. by any spelling in County Donegal.
2. In 1796, Lawrence was 40 yrs old, so his father would have been approx. 60 to 70 yrs old since family history is that Lawrence was a younger son.Lawrence lived to be 52 but his children lived to be 78, 80, 90, 76, 53, 50, 73, and 70 … so it's not unreasonable to believe that his father could have lived to be 60-70 yrs old.
3. Lawrence’s first son was named William, which follows the customary naming convention of the 1700s. (1st son after his father) Lawrence’s second son was named Samuel, after wife Agnes’ father (Samuel Harper who d 1775) which is again the custom, so they seemed to be following it.
Of course this is not conclusive proof that Lawrence's father was named William – The researcher could not find any church or civil records to show a definite link or any other family members listed -- but seems to be decent evidence.What do you think?
p.s. In my earlier research I found Manus O'Mealy and Donnagh O'Meally in Co Donegal in the 1665 Hearth Money Roll and in the 1659 Census of Ireland I found O'Mealy listed under the Principal Irish Names sections (no first names listed.) There is no way to be sure of this connection.