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Updated September 4, 2004

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I descended from Joseph A. McKee who was born in Ireland in 1860. He married Eliza Taggart, also born in Ireland in 1861. Joseph came to America in 1880. Eliza came over in 1882. In the 1900 census it said they had been married 19 yrs., so they must have married in Ireland before he came to America. In 1880 Joseph was living with his mother, Jane (47 yrs. old and a widow), his brother William, and his sisters, Theresa, Alice, Catherine, and Ann. All the children except the last two daughters were born in Ireland. In 1880, Joseph was working for the Long Island Rail Road as a switchman, and William was a train conductor for a railroad. By 1882, Joseph had moved up to fireman on the trains. By the 1900 census, he was listed as an engineer. They had Joseph A. McKee, born April 1884 and died July 8, 1953; John Francis McKee b Nov. 25, 1882, d. Jan. 12, 1952,in Manhattan; m. Beatrice Mae Johnston. John was custodian at the U.S. Post Office, probably in Brooklyn; James McKee, worked for the "Long Island Star"; Hugh McKee, may have worked for City Hall; William, Anna, Lillian & Mary Mckee. Mary married an O'Connor & had one son, Eddie. Anna may have died of pnuemonia, but was still living at home in 1910. Eliza died sometime between the 1900 and 1910 census. According to the 1910 census, Joseph may have been married twice...widower both times.

Beatrice's parents were John "Harold" Johnston and Mary Ellen Catherwood Johnston. Harold came from Ireland, and Mary Ellen was born either in Brooklyn or in the Bronx. He drove a hanson cab. They had Beatrice, b. ca 1892, died April 24, 1938 at age 46, following a 5 year illness; Harold, Ione and Rosemary. Young Harold was supposedly killed in WWI. Joseph D. Johnston is buried in Calvary Cemetery beside his sister, Beatrice, and her husband John. He was married, possibly to an Anne Werner? His tombstone is inscribed: In memory of my beloved husband Joseph D. Johnston born May 24, 1883, Died June 3, 1919 May his soul RIP. Young Harold may have been studying for the priesthood. In the 1920 census Mary Ellen was living at 597 E. 3rd St. Brooklyn. Living with her were a single son, single daughter, her daughter Beatrice & her husband and baby son (my dad). There was also a boarder, James Costello. Herman Rosenstein, his wife, 3 sons, 1 daughter were living in one half of the house.

John Francis McKee and Beatrice Mae Johnston had John Francis Jr., born April 10, 1919 in Brooklyn, died December 11, 1959 in L.I.C.; Rose, Ann, (deceased), Beatrice, Catherine and Mary,(deceased). John Jr. was my dad. My dad married Freda M. Earl on Dec. 11, 1945. He died on December 11, 1959 (their 14th anniversary).

One family story involved one of my dad's aunts, who was a nun, trying to teach his little sister, Rose to say the Hail Mary. Unfortunately she was easily distracted, and at the time she was "learning" to say it, dad was chasing his chickens around in the yard. At the same time, one of her sisters fell down the steps. Instead of saying it the right way, she said it, "Hail Mary full of grace, fell down the steps and broke her face. Holy Mary Mother of God, chased the chickens through the yard."

Family Photos
  • John F. McKee Sr. and John F. McKee Jr. (15 KB)
    This is my grandpa McKee with my dad. Two very handsome looking men!!!
  • Another newspaper article about Sr. Bernadette (61 KB)
    Here is another newspaper article about Sr. Bernadette. The 2 articles, plus her picture (also in one of the newspaper articles) were sent to me by Sr. Rita from the Sisters of Mercy. This was truly a wonderful windfall for me. Most amateur genealogists can search for a lifetime and never find anything this wonderful! Thanks to Sr. Rita, I now know where my great grandpa was born! I remember seeing the photo when I was a child visiting my Aunt Rose, but I cannot recall the articles themselves. I know my aunt always said Sr. Bernadette used to make chocolate crosses for her neices and nephew at Easter time, too.
  • My parents (7 KB)
    This is a picture of my parents, John and Freda, around the time of their wedding December 11, 1945.
  • Another picture of Grandpa McKee (13 KB)
    This is another photo of Grandpa John F. McKee. I was in some doubt for awhile as to who he was, until my cousin, Penny set me straight.
  • Joseph McKee Sr. (15 KB)
    My great grandpa, John Sr.'s dad
  • My grampa and my great aunt (19 KB)
    This was Sister Rose Mary and John Francis McKee Sr., taken probably outside St. Joseph's Home For Girls in Brooklyn. Not sure what year it was taken though.
  • My great grandma (20 KB)
    This is Eliza Taggert McKee, wife of Joseph McKee
  • John Francis McKee, Sr. in his Navy uniform (14 KB)
    This is my grampa, John Francis McKee, Sr. in his Navy uniform. He served during WWI.
  • My Great Grandpa (15 KB)
    This is Harold Johnston, my great grandpa
  • John & Beatrice McKee (15 KB)
    These were my grandparents, John Francis McKee, Sr., and his wife, Beatrice Johnston McKee. This was probably taken in Brooklyn, maybe around the the early 1920's? My dad was born in 1919 and he was the oldest. According to dad's birth certificate, they lived I think on 3rd street in Brooklyn.
  • My great grandma (22 KB)
    This is Mary Ellen Catherwood Johnston, wife of Harold Johnston.
  • My grandma (15 KB)
    This is Beatrice Mae Johnston McKee, married to John Francis McKee Sr.
  • Ione Johnston (Sr. M. Bernadette) (22 KB)
    This was my dad's maternal aunt, Ione Johnston (later became Sr. M. Bernadette). She was a Sr. of Mercy. At one point, after joining the convent, she had a horrible accident with an ironer. Both hands were caught in it while it was extremely hot. She could not free them, and nobody found her for several hours. She lost both hands as a result, but afterwards learned to do ceramics, including painting them! She even raised money to help the convent by setting up a crafts bazaar! Amazing woman!
  • This is my dad when he was a little boy. (14 KB)
    This was John Jr. when he was little. Wasn't he a cute little kid?
  • Newspaper article about Sr. Bernadette (Ione ) (142 KB)
    Here is the first newspaper article about my great aunt, Sr. Bernadette (Ione Johnston).
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