I've taken a side road in my research after banging into a solid wall. I'm really researching Shays but I believe McNiff is a collateral, which could help attack my Shay problem from a different angle. Any help would be appreciated.
My gr-grandfather was Jeremiah Shay/Shea (1857-1937). He lived in Millport, Veteran, Chemung Co NY; Corning; and several places in Pennsylvania before settling in Towanda, Braford Co PA. Every attempt I've made getting him back to his native Ireland (Cork or Kerry) has hit a lack of documentation.
Jeremiah Shay kept a journal, mostly about his job on the S&NY RR. We only have his 1914 journal but it indicates that he, his wife, and daughter (my grandmother) traveled from Towanda to Horseheads on May 29 of that year for the funeral of John McNiff. John fell from the work train and was killed. Since this felt like a family connection I have been digging into John McNiff.
I found his mother-in-law, Elenor [sic] Shay, lived with them for a time. Family history says that my gr-grandfather's mother was named Eleanor.
I've found the family in the census and have, I think, rounded out the children but I find no other reference to Mary (Shay) McNiff or Elenor Shay.
John McNiff was born June 1851, Ireland and arrived in the US about 1868. He married a Maggie in 1875 and had one child, Simon. Maggie died in 1890 and John married Mary Shay (1860-). They had 5 children; 4 girls and 1 boy (Martin).
Is anyone researching the John McNiff family of Horseheads, Chemung Co, NY? My ultimate goal is to prove or disprove Mary Shay McNiff and Jeremiah Shay were siblings.