Hugh O'Hare
Hugh O'Hare

If your name is Burns or O'Hare maybe you can throw some light on the family connections here. Sally O'Hare Amy from Pennslyvania, USA is trying to research her family roots. Her Great Great Grandfather Hugh O'Hare is hinted at as being born in 1800 (or could it be 1797) in Sligo but it's possible that this is incorrect but he married a Hannah Burns from County Down! Their family seemed to have all emigrated to Canada with one dying on the way and another dying in a fire.

As Sally says "I've been researching my family history since 1999 and the one brick wall that I have been unable to overcome is the O'Hare family. Both of my parents and everyone of that generation in my family had died long before I became interested in family history so there has been no one who could answer any questions."

"I've started my research using some notes that were written in the mid-1950s by a cousin. She died in 1956. I never knew of her existence until 1999 when a niece of hers decided to try to find family members. Some of the information in the notes is not correct but much of it seems to be correct."

Hugh O'Hare, probably born about 1800 (in County Sligo according to the notes) married Hannah Burns, born about 1805  (from County Down), emigrated from Ireland to Ontario, Canada. The research I've done on the O'Hare name indicates that it is far more common on the northeast coast of Ireland so I'm not sure why the notes say Sligo.

Hugh and Hannah's first child was born in Ireland but died during the voyage and was buried at sea. The second child died as an infant and is buried in Ontario, Canada. I have found these remaining children:

                Ann, born in 1831

               James B., born in 1837

               Frances, born in 1839

               Hugh Augustine O'Hare, born in 1841.       (I am descended from him.)

               Mary O'Hare, born in 1843

An eighth child, a female,  burned to death playing around a fire.

Sally continues "I know that the family was Roman Catholic. My father always said that my brother was the 7th Hugh and the 4th Hugh Augustine O'Hare in the line. That makes me think that Hugh (born about 1800 in Ireland) may have had both father and grandfather named Hugh. My great-grandfather Hugh Augustine (b. 1841) was literate and I suspect his parents were also both literate. I did find that in 1835 there was a letter addressed to Hugh O'Hare at the Napanee Post Office in Napannee, Ontario. Three notices regarding the letter appeared in the paper that summer.

"Irish records, especially for the Roman Catholics, are very sparse for the time period of the late 1700s and early 1800s. I do not know why they left Ireland, from which port they left, what ship they traveled on, etc.

"Canadian records are also sparse. The first census in Canada was 1851. I found Hannah, James, Frances and Mary on the 1851 census but Hannah was already a widow. I've been able to follow the family line for James B. O'Hare; his line died out with a great grandson in the late 1960s.

"I've also been able to follow Ann O'Hare Malone's line and talked with an elderly descendant named Donna Marie Kotaska. Donna has done genealogy but it was on her father's family and she knew nothing of her great-grandmother Ann. I've had no success finding Frances or Mary."

Sally and her husband visited Ireland in 2005 even calling at PJ O'Hare's Bar in Carlingford but didn't get any leads.

Sally's Great Grandfather, Hugh A. O'Hare born 1841, emigrated from Canada to Pennsylvania in about 1864 -1865. The story is that he was supposed to be a substitute for his brother in the War Between the States (aka the Civil War) but unfortunately for the military,  he had a "slow horse that died along the way." He didn't arrived until the war was just ending.

Sally adds "He ultimately settled in Titusville, Pennsylvania, which is where the discovery of oil occurred in 1859. I remember years ago that my aunt Mary O'Hare once spoke about her grandfather and said that he always had a "twinkle in his eye." When I see the note about his "slow horse" it makes me think there was a twinkle in his eye about that. I find it interesting that a man who had a lifelong love of horses would have selected a "slow horse" that couldn't make the trip to Pennsylvania.

"I am fortunate that he settled in Titusville because the newspapers from Titusville were some of the ones first digitalized for genealogy purposes. I have found references to him and his obituary makes it clear that he was one of the pioneers in the oil industry.

"My father was born in Titusville in 1903. His parents relocated to Corry, Pennsylvania, in 1928, so he settled there when he graduated from medical school. My dad also had that twinkle in his eye. He was known for having the best jokes in town and was an excellent story teller."

If you think you have any information that would help this search let us know here at and we will pass it on.

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