The Murdock-McAleese Twisted Limb

From Co. Antrim, Ireland to Pennsylvania, U.S.A. …

Born in the Ballymoney area of Co. Antrim, Ireland on 30 March 1878, she was the eldest of three children, and only daughter; born to Alexander Murdock and Jane Holmes.  Her two siblings were Alexander and Archibald.

At the tender age of seven she was left without a mother; as in the spring of 1885 Jane Holmes Murdoch passed away at the very young age of 30.  Two years later, in the spring of 1887, Alexander remarried; and over the ensuing years he and his 2nd wife Maggie had seven more children.  Little is known about her life between the death of her mother and 1896.

While still a minor, on 23 December 1896; at the Dervock Reformed Presbyterian Church by Licence, Rev. J. Ramsey united her in marriage with Robert McAleese.  Her name was Annie Murdock and she was my 1st cousin 3x removed; which means her father Alexander and my 2nd great grandfather William were siblings.

Annie Murdock & Robert McAleese

Annie & Robert lived at Drumahiskey, Enagh, Co. Antrim, where Robert farmed and Annie raised their children.  Drumahiskey is also the home where they had their eight children.  Two of whom were born and died between 1901 and 1911.

After a year of illness and on 29 January 1926, at the age of seventy seven; Robert passed away from “muscular degeneration of the heart”.  Robert is interred in the Ballymoney Old Church Graveyard.

Robert McAleese

At the age of forty seven Annie was widowed and still had three children living at home.  Her older children had all emigrated to the U.S.A.  It is unclear where Annie lived between the death of husband in 1926, as the farm was sold and the proceeds divided between her and her six living children; and 28 April 1929.  On board the S.S. Albertic departing from Belfast, Annie along with her two youngest children were bound for New York, U.S.A.  Her son John had already emigrated just 3 short months after the death of his father; her entire family was now living in the U.S.A, settling in Pennsylvania.

Annie Murdock McAleese & Family

Many of the family remained connected to their homeland, making numerous trips back across the Atlantic to visit family and friends.  Annie’s eldest son Neal, and my 2nd cousin twice removed; was a name I had heard growing up.  You see Neal and my great grandfather, Thomas Murdock; were not only 1st cousins once removed but very good friends.  Neal was a frequent visitor at 19 Union Street, Ballymoney; often returning in July to march with the Orange Lodge LOL 456.  The Lodge formerly referred to as ““LOL 456 Murdoch/k’s Lodge””.

Murdock & McAleese

On the 26 May 1948 at the age of seventy Annie passed away.  She is interred in the Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Annie Murdock McAleese

There are many more stories and connections to write about this particular Twisted Limb of my family tree.

Copyright (c) (2014) ( All Rights Reserved.


About CJ Murdoch

Looking For "Dead People"! My Journey Back In Time - Tracing my ancestors and researching the counties, cities and towns where they resided. Taking a “Glimpse” into their lives and stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash”! “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning – to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the second with tears, but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.” I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us... I didn't ask enough questions when elderly family were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen! I'm researching many family lines, including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson and Elvin; just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of them, both maternal and paternal lines, originally hailed from Co. Donegal. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and now live in Ottawa, Canada, making frequent trips back home to visit with my family. Of course those visits also include treks to the many burial grounds of my ancestors. My most recent trip back home was during the summer of 2019! Looking forward to August of 2020 when I will return. If you are interested in help tracing your ancestors I’d love to hear from you!
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13 Responses to The Murdock-McAleese Twisted Limb

  1. Annie Murdock McAleese says:

    Very nice… I was born the January after my grandmother passed away and named Annie Murdock McAleese!


    • cjmurdoch says:

      Hi Anne, so glad you liked it! It was Boyd Gray letting me know that he had met you and your husband at the Route Back Home that made me write about Annie. Hope you’re enjoying your trip and it was as successful as you had hoped! 🙂


  2. Liz says:

    Does a Frank McAleese fit in here? He was a relative of my husband’s family, Willie John Moore and his wife Sarah…

    Liked by 1 person

    • CJ Murdoch says:

      Hi Liz, I have two Frank McAleese men in my tree. If you would like to email me a little more information (, I can confirm if it’s the same family. Thanks for your interest in my little blog!


  3. Dave Mc Quilkin says:

    Hello Coleen,
    Really enjoyed reading your blog. Just found it by chance when I was searching for the Holmes family.
    My name is Dave and my Gt Gt Grandmother was a sister to Jane Holmes who married Alexander Murdock in 1877.

    I have names of other siblings which you may already have.
    if you would like to get in touch and maybe we would be able to help each other then please fel free to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very interesting—–Ancestry indicates that Archibald is my Murdock/Murdoch ancestor. Do you know anything about him?? Jean

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So interesting about Albert Colleen. Poor man, wonder if it was an accident, foul play or suicide?? Something you will probably never know, how I wish we could travel back in time!!! I always seem to tend to look back at my ancestors as fascinating lives, but of course they probably were anything but! My mum’s family were Jews from the East End of London and I am sure they had very harsh lives in the slums of Whitechapel in the 1800’s…..not sure why I find it fascinating when really I should think of their struggle’s. When stories such as your come to life, it really does hit home. We are also rather sanitised these days I think by the constant news we receive 24/7 that I think at times we get a bit desensitised even though we know the things that happen to people are awful. So when I see something that happened over 100 years ago for some reason it seems so much more tragic. You certainly are finding so much information. I am still rather stuck at the moment, with just the occasional find, as with your situation, it is hard living in Australia and trying to research English history, even with the great online information available, I wish I could go and sit in some local libraries in London and see what else I could find. Are you planning a trip to Ireland again this year??? Cheers and keep warm, we are sweltering here this summer, constant days above 38 -42C with very many bushfires and sadly a few lives lost and lots of properties including almost a whole town in Western Australia….ahhhh global warming!!! Take care….xxxx Vicki in Adelaide South Australia

    Liked by 1 person

    • CJ Murdoch says:

      Good Morning Vicki thank you for your very thoughtful message. I’m so sorry, but I completely missed it somehow. I’ll never know if Alfred’s death was an accident or not, what a sad and lonely way to die. 😦 Have you thought about taking a subscription to the British Newspaper Archives? You may be surprised what you can find on your family. If often just start a search by the family name or the street they lived on. You can filter by area, newspaper, year, month etc. I’ve discovered things I never would have without it – Alfred’s story is just one of those discoveries. I hope you are well, as always thanks for reading and taking time to respond. Have a fabulous day – today we have freezing rain and some snow. Luckily we’ve had an easy winter this year. Only about 1 1/2 feet of snow on the front lawn, rather than 4-5 feet! 😀 Colleen


  6. Pingback: A First Ballymoney Presbyterian! | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

  7. aoifezion says:

    Hi Colleen. Just stumbled across your post and was interested in your research. My paternal grandfather was John Murdock from Belfast. He came to PA under the sponsorship of his cousin, Neal McAleese. My grandfather was very close to his cousin Neal and his Aunt Annie who later emigrated to PA. “Big Neal” and his wife Esther were still alive when I was little. My grandfather John was the son of Archibald Murdock. I’ve been attempting to research this line but haven’t gotten very far. I appreciate this article and would love to connect.


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