Saturday 30 November 2013

Sibling Saturday ~ Mary Wynne, a woman of many names
Mary Wynne 1860-1934
Mary Wynne was born on 24 May 1860 at 23 Thomas Street, Dublin, the daughter of John Wynne and Bridget Hynes. She was an elder sister to my great-grandfather, Patrick Wynne. 

On 31 May 1885, Mary married Michael Finegan, in St Andrew’s church, Westland Row, Dublin.  Michael worked as a ‘range setter’ or stone mason and Mary as a dressmaker.  They had two sons born in Dublin, John James in October 1886 and Francis (Frank) Edward O’Brien Finnegan in April 1889.

This was the last mention of the family found in the Irish records, but it was known that they had left Ireland for Colorado Springs, so I started to search for them there. The surname Finegan has many variants, including Finnigan and Finnegan, all of them used by Michael and Mary at different times.  It was the name change to Finley though, that was most unexpected.  

It seems that Michael had already left for the U.S. when his second son was born. The Colorado Springs city directory recorded M. Finnigan living at Cascade House in 1890. Nearly three years later, on 18 March 1892, Mary Finnigan and baby Frank arrived at Ellis Island, on route for Colorado. The 1900 U.S. federal census finds them all living in Colorado Springs, now with four sons; Joseph was born in Colorado Springs in April 1895 and Gerald in May 1898. They remained there until about 1903. In 1904, the Colorado Springs city directory helpfully advises that the family moved to Pueblo City, Colorado.
Mary Agnes (Wynne) Finley
It was shortly after moving to Pueblo that the Finnigan family changed their name to Finley, a surname of seemingly Scottish origin. Mary also adopted the second name, Agnes. Perhaps they met with anti-Irish prejudice in Pueblo and the name change was an effort to appear more ‘American’.  In the 1910 census, Michael, Mary and three of their children, John, Joseph and Gerald, were living in Peublo, under the surname Finley.

Sadly, after thirty years of marriage, it seems Michael and Mary separated, shortly before Michael’s death. The city directories clearly show them living apart. Michael reverted to using the surname Finnigan, but Mary and the boys kept the name Finley, Presumably the name change was more Mary’s idea. Michael was working as a janitor at the Saving Heart Church, when he died of heart issues on 20 April 1917.

Mary married Charles W. Walker on 6 January 1920 in Colorado. Charles was an American, born in Missouri and worked as a carpenter. Mary, having disappeared from the city directories for ten years, was back living in Pueblo by 1930, without Charles, and had reverted to using the name Finley. However her death, at St Mary’s in Pueblo on New Year's Day in 1934, was registered under the name Mary Agnes Walker. A widow, she died of Myocarditis/Pericarditis and was buried in Roselawn Cemetery, Pueblo, Colorado on 3 January 1934.

These lovely photos of Mary were kindly sent to me by Mary’s great-granddaughter and my newly found third cousin.  Thank you, Phyllis!

Sources: Birth, marriage and death registrations; U.S. census records and Colorado city directories, available on request.

© 2013 Black Raven Genealogy


  1. The name change is interesting. Good research.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  2. Thanks Theresa, it was great to finally track them down, especially as I also found a new living cousin.


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