Maggie Langan (1875-1926)

Maggie Langan, the daughter of Mathias Langan and Penelope Byrne was born in the village of Mochara in the Parish of Shrule, County Mayo, Ireland on November 6, 1875. Maggie Langan immigrated to New York City circa 1890 where she married Joseph Walsh on May 14, 1895.

For more information on Maggie Langan after her marriage, click on Joseph Walsh now or go to the bottom of the page.

Maggie Langan, As A Young Woman, Picture I

Courtesy Mary Walsh Herdman and Mike McEneny

Maggie Langan, As A Young Woman, Picture II

On the left, the photo cleaned up a bit and the name and address of the photographer added. On the right, the photo as scanned.

This photo was originally in the possession of Margaret (Maggie) Walsh Petersen, who gave it to Maria Lahiff Pedulla.

Written on the back

"Maggie Langan, my mother "
Also printed on the back
"Bellin and Murphy
318 & 320 Fulton Street

Brooklyn, N.Y.
Duplicates can be had at any time
Photo curtesy of Maria Lahiff Pedulla

Maggie Langan and Joseph Walsh

This is from a color Xerox that belonged to Agnes Goehle Land. I do not know where the original is located.

If you have a copy of the original photo and would like to share it with the web site, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com. Thanks, Maggie

Maggie Langan, 1904

Maria Lahiff Pedulla (the daughter of Agnes Walsh and the grandaughter of Maggie Langan) told me when we visited together in Tucson, Arizona in November, 2002, that this photo originally showed Maggie holding her infant son, Joseph, in her lap. She said the baby was dressed in dark colored "sacramental vestments". Based on Maria's information, I am fairly sure that this was a photo of Maggie and her deceased son, Joseph.

It was a common practice to take a photo of one's deceased child.

If you have a copy of the original photo with Joseph in it and would like to share it with the web site, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com. Thanks, Maggie

Photo curtesy of Clare Walsh Esser

Maggie Langan and Literacy in Ireland

In April 2004, Walsh/Langan descendant, Martin Lahiff Walsh wrote:

"Maggie Walsh' signature was what struck me most. She was no a simple, ignorant wench from Mayo-God-Help-Us, as it was always given when asked."

Schools for the Irish native came to southwest Mayo in the mid 1800s and almost everyone born in the area after that time went to school at least part of the time. Most of the schools that the Irish native attended were run by Christian Brothers or Sisters of Mercy. Both taught in Ballinrobe. Joseph Walsh and his siblings and Maggie Langan and her siblings were all literate.

The 1901 and 1911 censuses and other records indicate that almost everyone of the previous generation could not read and write. Mathias Langan's siblings, Bridget and Pat, was illiterate. I do not know if Mathias Langan was literate; none of the records indicate one way or another. His wife, Nappy Byrne Langan, was illiterate. I do not know if John Walsh was literate; none of the records indicate one way or another. John 's wife, Fanny Feeney, was illiterate. Most of the people in the 1901 census in Ballinrobe who were closely associated with John Walsh were illiterate. However, there is a possibility that John Walsh was literate. He was listed on several records as a steward. My feeling is that that may have necessitated some knowledge of reading and math, if not writing.

Maggie Langan, A Simple Ignorant Wrench?

Maggie was born in a rural area about 15 miles south of Ballinrobe. However, she spend most of her youth in the town of Ballinrobe. In fact, the Langans and the Walshes lived very close to each other in what is/was a small town. They must have know each other in Ballinrobe. My impression is that the Walshes might have been a little better "established". John Walsh was at various times listed as a gardener and steward. There are clear indications from the records that he was closely associated with people who had trades, in particular with a family of masons, the Lardners, who built the parish church. Another couple he was close to were Richard O'Donnell and Ellen Walsh. Richard O'Donnell was the town chimney sweep.

The Langans and related families were farmers and laborers. Mathias Langan's father, Mathias Langan, was listed as a "poor tenant". As was Penelope Byrne Langan's father, Michael Byrne. On the other hand, the Byrne family home in Mohorra was a bigger "cottage" than many in the area and they had a forth share in 64 acres, which doesn't sound like much, but it was more than a lot of people in the area had. There are several other factors that indicate the Langan/Byrnes were in a relatively good position. They didn't immigrate until the 1880/90 which indicates that they were okay where they were until that time. In addition, when they left the whole family immigrated, Mathias, Penelope and all of their children. That was not common. The Walshes were more typical; some of the children emigrated and some remained behind. Another thing that is quite odd about the Langans is that at least two of them returned to Ireland. Ellen, the wife of Martin Langan, returned to Ireland with her two children leaving Martin in the states. Mathias Langan returned to Ireland where he died in his 80s. In addition, Maggie's cousins, Margaret Byrne and Peter Byrne (the children of Thomas Bryne who was Maggie's mother's brother) returned to Ireland on several occasions after their initial emigration. Margaret born in Mocharra in 1875 died in Ireland in 1956.

While many Irish in America pined for the old sod, very few returned.

All in all, Maggie seems to have been a more or less typical Mayo woman of her times. The bulk of the population of Mayo was (and still is) rural. Maggie had the benifit of knowning both the coutyside and town life. She and her family were probably predominantly Irish speakers at home. Most of the adults who lived in Mohorra at the time of the 1901 and 1911 censuses indicated they were Irish/Englsih speakers.

Maggie's schooling would have been in English.

It must have been very strange to go from a small west Irish town to New York City. At least she had the comfort of her parents and siblings and in all likelihood a large number of friends and acquaintances from County Mayo.

Maggie clearly had a good eye for beauty and a good hand at sewing. Go to Lillie Walsh O'Neil and look at the exquisite communion dress of Lillie Walsh.

See Mohorra families

Mayo God Help Us

Martin Lahiff, Maggie's grandson said Maggie was often referred to as a simple, ignorant, wench from Mayo-God-Help-Us.

It has been said that when you asked a Mayo man or woman where they came from they replied "Mayo-God-Help-Us." The phrase is puzzling, its origin and meaning unclear. Some say it was because Mayo was hardest hit during the Great Famine. Others say it was because the Mayo landlords were the the most oppressive.

See Mayo God Help Us


The census records indicate that Maggie immigrated between 1889 and 1891 (so between 14 and 16 years of age). She left Ireland before the train arrived in Ballinrobe (1892) so the first part of her journey was on foot - probably either south through Galway or north to take the train from Claremorris. The most likely port of debarkation was Queenstown. Two older brothers, Pat and Martin, emigrated around the same time. However there are no indexed immigration records currently available which show a combination of Pat and/or Martin and/or Maggie (Margaret). There are two potential records for Maggie:

  1. Maggie Langan, age 15, from Co. Mayo Ireland, to New York, on the Etruria, April 1890, from Queenstown.
  2. Maggie Langan age 16, from Tuam to New York on the City of Berlin, April 18, 1891, from Queenstown
Unfortunately, neither record contains enough information to make certain that either one is our Maggie. What the records do point out is that in both cases the young women do not appear to be traveling with someone that they knew from home. The people listed around them were from other counties. These young women were typical of many who left Ireland. How amazing to leave your family and set off on foot across Ireland and then on a ship across the ocean to a strange land - how courageous!

It is also entirely likely that she used the name Margaret at the time of her immigration.

Maggie or Margaret

She used the name Maggie:

  1. Marriage in 1895

  2. Birth of William in 1897

  3. 1900 census

  4. Birth of Isabelle in 1901

  5. Birth of Joseph in 1902

  6. Baptism of Charles in 1904

  7. Birth of Joseph in 1910

  8. Birth of George in 1913

She used the name Margaret:
  1. Birth of Margaret daughter Margaret in 1899

  2. Baptism of Joseph in 1902

  3. Birth and baptism of Ellen in 1906

  4. Birth of Agnes in 1908

  5. Baptism of Joseph in 1910

  6. Baptism of George in 1913

  7. Declaration of Intention of Joseph in 1913

  8. Naturalization of Joseph in 1918

  9. 1905 Census

  10. 1910 Census

  11. 1920 census

  12. Death certificate in 1926

Maggie Land Blanck

I am the great granddaughter of Maggie (Margaret) Langan Walsh. My grandmother was Maggie's daughter Isabelle born in 1901. My mother was Isabelle's oldest daughter Agnes born in 1922.

I was given the name Marguerite (a French or German version of Margaret) ostensibly after my father's mother who was actually named Meta. I cannot find any record of her having ever used the name Marguerite.

Isabelle had a sister named Margaret who was known as "Aunt Maggie". Isabelle also had a daughter and a granddaughter named Margaret who were both called Peggie. Although the younger Peggie sometimes used Maggie as an adult.

The family lore goes that when I was a baby my father called me Maggie to tease my mother. Part of the story was that he also teased her that her grandmother smoked a pipe. My father was not a person who generally teased anyone so I do not know why he would have called me Maggie to tease my mother. The pipe smoking part struck me as is pretty humorous when I was a child, but, in fact, many Irish women smoked a pipe. Since my mother's grandmother died when my mother was only four years old and therefore many years before she met my father it is hard to know why my father would have had any information about my great grandmother's smoking habits.

My father did love to sing old songs. And I do remember him singing "When You and I were Young, Maggie". In fact, for years I thought this song was about me.

I was called Marguerite until I was about three when I absolutely refused to answer to anything but Maggie.

However, like my ancestor Maggie (Margaret) Langan Walsh I use both names - Marguerite on official documents and Maggie for everything else.

Marriage and Children

See Joseph Walsh

Death of Maggie Langan Walsh

Margaret Walsh died on December 4, 1926.

Her death certificate listed: Margaret Walsh, 119 East 89th Street, tenement, married, date of birth, November 5, 1875, age, 51 years and 1 month, housewife, born Ireland, in US 34 years, father's name, Mathew Langan, born in Ireland, mother's name, Margaret* Langan, born in Ireland, date of death, December 4, 1926, cause of death, chronic myocarditis, contributory, chronic parenchymatous nephritis**, duration 5 years, last see by attending physician, December 4, 10:30 P.M.

She was buried in Calvary Cemetery on December 7, 1926.

Notes: *Margaret's mother was Penelope AKA Nappy, not Margaret. **parenchymatous nephritis = kidney disease involving inflammation of the kidney.

Maggie Langan Walsh

Taken from the post mortum photo with her children. See Photos of the children of Joseph Walsh and Maggie Langan

Date of photo unknown.

For additional information on Penelope Byrne and her family, go to Penelope Byrne
For additional information on Mathias Langan, go to Mathias Langan
To see copies of some of the original Langan documents, go to Langan Documents
To see photos of Mochara, go to Photos of Mochara
For information on the village of Mochara, go to Mochara
The Langans immigrated to New York City in the 1890s. For more inforamation go to The Langans in New York City
Maggie Langan married Joseph Walsh in New York City on May 14, 1895. For more information go to Maggie and Joseph Walsh