Summary of Known Information about Dorgan and Toomey Families

Source Material on Dorgan and Toomey families:

Life of Christ book (belonged to Hannah Dorgan, later Hannah Toomey)

Photo Album (Photos are largely unidentified. Probably Hannah's family. Possibly her husband's)

Loose Photos (Photos are unidentified. Some have place names where photos were taken. Likely Dorgan photos. Possibly Toomey.)

Hannah and Con Toomey Headstone

Con Toomey Death Certificate

Con Toomey in Iowa Census

Loretta Toomey Barthell

There isn't much that is known for certain about the Dorgan and Toomey branches of our families. Loretta Toomey Barthell, wife of Walter H. Barthell, was the daughter of Cornelius "Con" Toomey and Hannah Louise Dorgan Toomey. Cornelius Toomey and Hannah Dorgan Toomey immigrated to the United States separately, probably both from Ireland.

Census data from 1910 tells us that Cornelius Toomey, age 65, resided in New Hampton, Iowa along with his wife Hannah L. Toomey, age 63, and daughter Mary L. Toomey, age 28. It provides an immigration year of 1873 for him coming from Ireland. His occupation at the time of census was laborer, street work. The 1910 census also states that Hannah L. Toomey immigrated from Ireland in 1870 and that Mary L. Toomey, born in Iowa, was employed as a telephone operator. Cornelius and Loretta were married 33 years at this point, and she is noted as being the mother of two children, only one of whom was still living in 1910. In this census all three are noted as being able to read and write. 1910 is the last census record available for Cornelius and Hannah Toomey of New Hampton, Iowa.

Census data from 1900 tells us that Con Toomey resided in New Hampton, Iowa along with his wife Hannah Toomey and daughter Loretta Toomey. It provides a birthdate for each: Con Toomey, age 53, was born April of 1847, Hannah Toomey, age 56, was born April of 1844, and Loretta Toomey, age 21, was born February of 1879. The years of birth differ somewhat from the 1910 census. Especially noteworthy is that Hannah appears older than Con in this entry whereas he appears older in the 1910 census.

According to the the 1900 census Con immigrated from Ireland in 1873, had been in the United States 27 years and was naturalized. He was a farmer who rented his farm, and he was unable to read or write. Hannah Toomey immigrated in 1865 from Ireland, had been in the United States 35 years and was able to read and write. She is noted as being the mother of two living children, only one of whom is included on this census. Loretta Toomey was also able to read and write. Con and Hannah were married 25 years at this point.

Two possible explanations seem likely for how to to explain the discrepancies between birth years and immigration years on the two censuses. It is almost certain there are not two nearly identical families living in New Hampton, Iowa at the same time, so it may be that mistakes on the part of the census taker account for the differences, or that the Toomeys accidentally or purposefully misled the census taker.

A religious book remains in the family since the time of Hannah Toomey and it gives her maiden name of Dorgan. A date of 1869 on the book appears to be a printing date as the copyright date is many years earlier. "Hannah Dorgan" is imprinted in gold letters on the cover. (The Life of Jesus Christ, D. & J. Sadlier & Co., 31 Barclay Street, New York). Inside in two places are the handwritten names, "Hannah Louise Toomey, New Hampton, Iowa" and "Mrs. Hannah Toomey, New Hampton, Iowa." Hannah's still having her maiden name around 1869 is consistent with an approximate marriage year of 1875.

A photo album with few labels and little other identifying information presumably belonged to Hannah Louise Dorgan Toomey. It probably contains photos of Dorgan relatives and possibly Toomey relatives and friends as well. Family lore tells that Loretta Toomey's marriage to Walter H. Barthell resulted in a rift between the two families as the Toomeys were Catholic and the Barthells Masons. Once married, Loretta, her husband, and later her child Jeane Barthell had little contact with Cornelius and Hannah Toomey. In fact Jeane Barthell had no contact with grandparents on either side of her family.

From locations of some of the older photos which were taken in and near Boston, Massachusetts, particulary New Bedford, Massachusetts, it seems logical that Hannah Dorgan or Cornelius Toomey lived there for some time after immigrating to the United States and before moving to New Hampton, Iowa. It is unknown when and where Cornelius and Hannah met. It is also unknown whether they immigrated alone or with parents, sibling, and other relatives. It seems most likely that more than one Dorgan relative immigrated to the United States together and possibly moved to Iowa together as several Dorgans appear on census records as early as 1870 in New Hampton, Iowa.

An 1870 Massachusetts census shows two Hannah Dorgans of approximately the same age, one living in Boston and the other in New Bedford. Both are entered as domestic servants and enumerated among the household of other families.

Additional information comes from the Iowa GenWeb site about Saint Joseph's Cemetery in New Hampton Township. (Saint Joseph's Cemetery in New Hampton Township is also known as Calvary. It is located on North Pleasant Hill Avenue in New Hampton east of Highway 63.) The cemetery was canvassed by WPA workers between 1935 and 1943. This record is included: Cornelius Toomey, 1848 Ireland to 12-13-1915 Dubuque, Ia. his res. and Hannah Toomey, 1849 to 1911. This information fits better with the ages from the 1910 census.

Where can additional information on Dorgan and Toomey surnames be found? Here are a couple of interesting websites.

Dorgan Family Registry

Dorgan Family Genealogy Forum

Dorgan Family Info

Toomey Family Genealogy Forum