We believe that our Joseph McKee is the Joseph McKee born in Armagh in Northern Ireland in April of 1833 and baptised on 9 April 1988 to parents Denis McKee and Margaret Quin6. He had two younger sisters Eliza (1836) and Alice (1842).
It was in Northern Ireland in Ballyheridan in the county of Armagh that he married Margaret Gorman2 at the age of 22. They were married in the Roman Catholic church.
Joseph was a farm labourer, which is likely why they were in Armagh. In Armagh has about 6,000 acres of Bramley apples, producing 40,000 tonnes5. As with most townlands, Ballyheridan is small at just over ½ square mile (327 acres, 0 roods, 20 perches).
Joseph and Margaret had eight children, spaced approximately two years apart. Elizabeth (1859), Mary (1860), William James (1862), Margaret, called Maggie (1865), Joseph (1867), Sarah Anne (1870), Patrick (1872) and John (1875). All of the children were born in Ballyheridan.
Mary and Sarah Anne married and remained in Armagh. However, many of the other children followed the work to Glasgow. Almost 29% of all Irish immigrants settled in Glasgow during this period. It is said that the Irish Catholics went wherever physical strength was needed. They worked in the coal mines, dock work and labouring of all kinds4. This was certainly true of the McKees as William was a chemical worker, Joseph a mine work and Maggie’s husband Jacob a shop man.
Joseph, however, remained in Ballyheridan working as a labourer. Perhaps it was because he was a valued labourer. Often farm labourers were extremely skilled at their jobs and very valued.
He did not, however, live a long life. Jospeh died at Ballyheridan at the age of 46 from a fever that had lasted 13 days1.
1Deaths (CR) Ireland. Ballyheridan, Armagh, Armagh. 02 February 1882. MCKEE, Joseph. https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/images/deaths_returns/deaths_1882/06416/4842588.pdf : accessed November 2019.
2Marriages (NCR) Ireland. Ballyheridan, Armagh. 18 February 1858. MCKEE, Joseph and GORMAN, Margaret. https://registers.nli.ie/pages/vtls000632474_088 : accessed 2019.
4https://www.johngraycentre.org/about/archives/brief-history-emigration-immigration-scotland-research-guide-2/ : accessed 7 February 2020.
5https://www.ireland.com/en-ca/destinations/northern-ireland/county-armagh/?ds_c=TI_CA_EN_PRO_BMM_All+Island_NA_NI_NA_NA_NA_ACP_Northern-Ireland&ds_ag=NI%7CArmagh&ds_k=%2Barmagh+%2Bireland&gclid=Cj0KCQiAsvTxBRDkARIsAH4W_j886qrpqW0WZ9EzZvLsFBD_2myLMSZ98bsqMl4bdU6MIrhGZ01aOaMaAsfkEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds : accessed 7 February 2020.
6Baptisms (PR) Ireland. Armagh, Armagh. 09 April 1833. MCKEE, Joseph. https://registers.nli.ie/registers/vtls000632472#page/122/mode/1up: accessed May 2020.