Just a note to let you know I found this forum by using a "spelling" of my own maiden name that I found used in a letter from a family friend back in the early 1900's.
I have been searching for years for info on my gr grandfather, Robert McIlvenna, born abt 1833, Ireland, and his wife Ellen, born abt 1835, Ireland, maiden unknown, who came from Ireland (Province of Ulster is all I know) about 1865(obit).By 1870 they are found in the census of Cleveland, Constantia, Oswego Co, NY with their children, John, born Ireland 1860 and Rose(anna) born NY 1866/7.
I have found this name spelled in many different ways up to 1885 when my grandfather, John, came of age and it became McIlvenna and stayed that way to date.At least by those of us who own it!
Something to remember:Our immigrant ancesters from Ireland were mostly poor farmers and many did not read or write.It was, therefore, incumbent upon our immigration people to spell the name the way it SOUNDED.The same is true for census records, deeds, wills, etc.And the sound would be different from official to official.And so, in many cases, the individual immigrant was stuck with it!
These are the spellings, in my families case, that I've found:McIlvanie, McIlvaney, McIlvene, McAveney, McElveny, McAveny, McIlvennan and even Mucklemanen!
Good luck with your search and don't be afraid to "shop around" with those spellings.I never thought I'd find a McAveney board!