Bridget and Lawrence Meany, c. 1853?
Why This Guess?
1. Only two Coogan sisters, Bridget, the eldest, and Margaret, born in 1827, married and had children before emigrating. Bridget's marriage is recorded in Bagenalstown, County Carlow, at St. Andrew's RC Church. On October 26, 1845, she married Lawrence Meany [listed in the register as Mooney, a variant spelling of the name]. It is unlikely that her impoverished sister Margaret, who remained in County Carlow nearly twenty years after Bridget left for America, visited a photography studio before arriving in New York City.
2. Also, this photo of a married couple bears the logo of a Dublin photography studio on its reverse. Lawrence Meany's family was from West Meath, with Dublin a nearby port city.
3, The apparent difference in ages of the husband and wife parallels the age difference between Lawrence, born 1802-05, and Bridget, born 1822-24.
4. The next photo in this sequence shows the same woman, holding an infant child
. Bridget and Lawrence's older children were born in Ireland, and one of them, Mary Meany, remained in Ireland in Bridget's parents' home until 1867, when she and her uncle Hugh and her grandmother emigrated. Another photo in the collection, one of a young woman, so much resembles the woman in this photo that I would guess it to be a photo of this woman's daughter
, perhaps the elder daughter, Mary Meany.
5. A further reason to think that the figures to the left may be Lawrence and Bridget is a resemblance between the man pictured here and Lawrence and Bridget's youngest son, Michael Meany (born 1864), whose photograph is available in biographies of Michael's son George Meany. (George Meany himself, whose features many Americans recall from his news photos and TV appearances, resembled his mother more closely than his father.)