I am excited to have been allowed, with the approval of the connected family in the USA, to share with you some research done on the US family line of Thomas Francis McTear b 1849 Ireland by his descendant Thomas Francis ‘Tommy’ McTear III b 1942 – d 2012.
Below is a introduction piece sent to me by John McTear:
“The companion letter addressed to me in July, 1991 was authored by Thomas (Tommy) McTear and summarizes the extensive research he had done on the McTear and McKeown families. He had spent much time in the north of Ireland researching church and local community records tracing the lineage of both families.
One family myth of uncertain origin was the name McTear was changed when our great-grandfather arrived in the US. Tommy’s research proved that to be wrong.
When we were kids, he was Tommy and I was Johnny. That’s why I refer to him as Tommy in this letter.
His research is condensed in the letter along with his humorous and slightly irreverent, commentary. His style of writing reflects the general norms of speech among several generations of McTear’s in the United States. We are a boisterous and irreverent lot for the most part.
Tommy’s grandfather (Thomas) and my grandfather (John) are the first generation born in the US. Brothers Thomas and John married sisters, Margaret and Martha McKeown. Each settled in Philadelphia and are the patriarchs of the McTear clan in Philadelphia.
Thomas settled on 2nd St. in Philadelphia and was in the real estate business. John settled on 8th St. and worked an accountant. The families were close and the cousins spent much time together while growing up.
Tommy is the oldest grandson of Thomas and has an older sister, Mary. I am the oldest grandson of John.
I have found other families named McTear, as I’ve traveled around the US, who were likely not related. There were McTear’s in San Diego CA I located during a business trip in 1970. I wrote to them but they never replied.
There have been at least two almost famous black athletes named McTear over the past 50 years. Solomon McTear was a black boxer from Chicago who was a sparring partner for Mohammed Ali. Another was an almost world-class sprinter from Florida named Houston McTear. Some from my father’s generation believed the name was appropriated from real estate signs in Philadelphia since McTear’s have been in real estate from the first quarter of the 20th century. Nobody knows for sure.
When Tommy sent me his letter, he was hoping I would try to continue research in the genealogical records of the Mormon Church since I was living in the Salt Lake City area. Sadly, I never did.
I left the Philadelphia area in 1974 and may have been the first of this clan to have done so. I moved frequently and with no email or Facebook to rely on, lost contact with almost all the cousins and their families. I occasionally find relatives on FB but I don’t know if anyone has continued with a family tree beyond Tommy’s research.
Over the years, there have been several McTear descendants from different generations query about family history. When they do, I send them Tommy’s letter.
Tommy’s work is a treasure. His letter reveals his humor along with his extensive and serious research. His widow, Nancy has agreed to allow his letter to be posted and published on web sites. We want to be sure the work is attributed to Tommy.
By clicking on the below, you will be able to read for yourselves the research done by Tommy McTear
Above are the US Naturalization Papers of Thomas Francis McTear
30 Aug 1887
Naturally I have been looking at Tom’s research to see if I could add anymore to this US McTear line. Hopefully you will have read Tom’s work and spotted that he mentions two other children for Thomas and Mary Jane (nee Black) McTear. The family had originally thought these two children may have been born out of wedlock, possibly in Ireland, before the family emigrated to the USA. I have since come across two documents which show that both Mary and Joseph were actually born and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Joseph McTear was born in Philadelphia on the 19 March 1878 and is recorded in the 1880 Census for the family, he died aged 8 on the 23rd December 1886 and was buried on the 31st December as recorded in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-1999. How sad this must have been for the family with his death occurring just before Christmas.
Mary McTear was also born (in between census records, possibly why she was missed in Tom’s research) in Philadelphia in abt May 1885 and died aged 13 months on 09 July 1886 and her burial was on the 11 July 1886, again this has been sourced in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-1999.
How sad to have had two young children pass away so close in the same year, it must have been a really hard time for the family.