Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bobby Needs Our Help

Declan Barron has offered to do some research on Robert De Niro's Irish ancestry in a comment on this post.

Our local paper says Robert believes his family came from Co. Clare. If someone can get more details on Edward I can look it up here in Clare.
We concluded that De Niro's great-grandfather, Dennis O'Reilly, was the son of Edward O'Reilly—a painter in Syracuse, New York, who died July 21, 1900. Edward hadn't yet given up the ghost when the census taker came round in June 1900:
Edward O'Reilley, Head, b. Apr. 1840, widowed, b. Ireland, Painter (House)
Mary B. O'Reilley, Daughter, b. Mar. 1869, b. New York
Catherine O'Reilley, Daughter, b. Apr. 1875, b. New York
It is noted that Edward emigrated in 1855, and was a naturalized citizen.

Here is the family in 1880:
Edward Rielly, 40, b. Ireland, Painter
Margaret Rielly, wife, 37, b. Ireland
Dennis Rielly, son, 14, b. New York
Bridget Rielly, daughter, 12, b. New York
Catherine Rielly, daughter, 5, b. New York
Edward Rielly, son, 1, b. New York
The family appears to have been enumerated twice in 1870. In West Troy, Albany County, New York, I find this household (schedule dated August 11):
Edward O'Riley, 29, Painter, b. Ireland
Ellen O'Riley, 27, b. Ireland
Dennis O'Riley, 4, b. New York
Mary B. O'Riley, 2, b. New York
And I find this household in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York (schedule dated June 17):
Bridget Hall, 60, b. Ireland
Edward W. Hall, 25, Printer, b. Ireland
Patrick F. Hall, 23, Printer, b. Ireland
Ellen Reiley, 27, b. Ireland
Dennis Reiley, 4, b. New York
Mary B. Reily, 2, b. New York
The 1860 census for Syracuse has this Hall family:
Thomas Hall, 50, Shoemaker, b. Tippy, Ireland
Bridget Hall, 48, b. Tippy, Ireland
Edward Hall, 15, b. Tippy, Ireland
Patrick Hall, 13, b. Tippy, Ireland
John Hall, 11, b. Tippy, Ireland
Ellen Hall, 18, Tailoress, b. Tippy, Ireland
(Given that Ellen's name is listed below those of other, younger children, it's possible that she wasn't a daughter of the couple, though it does seem likely. Note that Edward's spouse in 1880 was named "Margaret," possibly a second wife, or perhaps this was Ellen's middle or actual first name.)

De Niro has another pair of Irish immigrants in his ancestry that might also connect him to Clare. Dennis O'Reilly married Mary Burns, whom we identified as a daughter of John and Mary Burns of Syracuse. From the 1900 census, we learn that both John (b. Mar. 1835) and Mary (b. Dec. 1839) had emigrated in 1860, that they married about 1861-62, and that they had a daughter born in "Canada (Eng.)" in 1866. Elsewhere in the census we find that their daughter Mary (De Niro's great-grandmother), was born 1878 in Vermont (later censuses say New York).

So, we can tentatively conclude that De Niro has these four Irish immigrant ancestors: Edward O'Reilly, b. April 1840; Ellen [Margaret?] (Hall) O'Reilly, b. about 1842 in Tipperary; John Burns, b. March 1835; and Mary (???) Burns, b. Dec. 1839. (We could also add to the list Ellen's probable parents, Thomas and Bridget Hall.)

If you want to pry more into Mr. De Niro's past, please do, and post your results below. And if you are Mr. De Niro, I am dreadfully sorry for calling you "Bobby."

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