MICHAEL FRANCIS KEMEDY
October 20, 1901 - May 31, 1992
On October 20, 1901, Thomas Kemedy and his wife, Honoria Mulroy, welcomed their son, Michael Francis Kemedy at their home in Castelbar, County Mayo, Ireland. Thomas and Honoria had already welcomed two prior children, Patrick and Bridget, though Patrick died only a few weeks after his birth.
The family, who at this point in time was already switching between the names Kemedy and Kimidy (more on that later...), were poor farmers, living in what was considered a third class house that had only 2 (front) windows and somewhere between 2 and 4 rooms. The walls of their home were made of either stone, brick or concrete and the roof consisted of a perishable material of either thatching or wood.
Michael spent his entire youth in Ireland, though his life was turned upside down at a rather young age. His mother, Honoria, died one hour after giving birth to her and Thomas' 6th child (a daughter, named Norah), on December 1, 1908. Michael was 7. Norah died 8 days later from convulsions, so in a span of just over a week, Thomas lost both his wife and newborn daughter. There's no doubting how devastating that must have been for him and his children.
Irish law at the time was such that single father's were not considered fit enough to raise children without a wife, so although Thomas somehow managed to hold onto the children until at least 1911, at some point after that, all the children went into orphanages. Michael went to live with the Christian Brothers while his sisters went to live in another home. After the 1911 Irish Census, the paper trail for Thomas completely ends, so from a genealogical perspective, he vanished into thin air. There are theories that he may have gone to England for work, but there's nothing to corroborate that story.
At the age of 25, Michael decided to leave Ireland and come to the United States. Until recently, all that we knew about his immigration was what is on an old home movie. When asked about where he went, Michael said to his son-in-law, John Grabowski, that, "I got on a train and went to Pennsylvania," and that he was traveling with, "some guy from home." The mystery of when and where was one that stumped me for years, until about a year ago when I finally located the passenger list. I now know that Michael obtained his Immigration Visa (#17436) on October 21, 1926. Ten days later, on October 31, 1926, he left from Cobh (County Cork) and arrived in New York on November 8th. He traveled aboard the S.S. Baltec and stated that he was headed to stay with his cousin, who he listed as "Mr. P. Maloney", who was living at 608 8th Main Street in Parsons, Pennsylvania. There's nothing to show who the "some guy from home" was that he may have been traveling with.
At some point between his arrival in the US and 1930, Michael made his way back to New Jersey, specifically Newark, where he married his wife, Margaret Veronica Cafferty, on April 19, 1930. Six months and ten days after their marriage, they welcomed their first child, Eugene Michael Kimidy. Michael was employed as a baker—a skill he learned while living with the Christian Brothers—at the Dugan Brothers Bakery in Newark.
Following Eugene's birth, he and Margaret had 4 additional children: James Thomas KENNEDY, Mary Patricia KEMEDY and Veronica Norah KENNEDY. With all the confusion on the spelling of the name, Michael and Margaret legally changed the name to KIMIDY on August 15, 1955 so that all 6 of them could be known by the same name.
Michael and Margaret watched each of their children marry and have children of their own, although they did experience the ultimate tragedy for any parent when their oldest child, Eugene, passed away from Lung Cancer in 1974, the day before his 44th birthday. I've been told that Michael and Margaret were never the same after losing Gene. 4 1/2 years after Gene's death, Margaret passed away after having a stroke.
Michael lived a long, healthy life and passed away on May 31, 1992 at the age of 90. At the time of his death, he was survived by 3 children, 12 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. He was laid to rest next to his wife in Saint Gertrude's Cemetery in Colonia, New Jersey.