James Hoy was born in the County Louth, Ireland about 1794 and came to America in the first wave of Irish Immigrants in the early 1830s during the Tithe War period. Available records and DNA matches make it likely that he was born in the small townland of Newragh which is in the parish of Darver and is about 8 miles southwest of the county town Dundalk. The map of Louth is shown and is about 25 miles from top to bottom. Dundalk is in the yellow part and Newragh in the tan.

He drowned while working on the Lehigh Canal at the Glendon lock in 1862

  • He arrived in New York City on April 20, 1830.
  • He was in Newark, New Jersey by February 9, 1834.
  • He was married to Margaret Phelan in Saint John's Parish, Newark NJ on April 30, 1834.
  • The couple had three children in Newark before moving to Easton, Pennsylvania in 1845.
  • They had three more children in Easton before Margaret died in 1859 and James followed her in 1862.

James Hoy

Margaret Phelan

James Hoy was born about 1794 in County Louth, Ireland. He arrived in New York on April 20, 1830 on the ship Gardiner and lived in Newark, New Jersey.

Margaret Phelan was born about 1810 in northern County Kilkenny, Ireland, near Castlecomer.

County Louth 19th Century Map
Sloinne Ó hEochaidh - The Family of Hoy of the Dál Fiatach

Ulster

The Irish surname Hoy arose in the ancient kingdom of Ulster, which took its name from the Irish name Uladh, pronounced Ully or Ulla, but the meaning of which is lost. "This is indeed an actual, verified, historic, no-doubt-about-it royal dynasty." - from IrishTribes.com.

Read about the archaeology of the ancient Ulster capital at Emain Macha or Navan Fort

Click here to hear Hoy pronounced in Irish

Ancient Writings

Ireland has the oldest written language in Europe after Greek and Latin, and we still have numerous poems, histories and Annals as well as the famous epics. All of these have information about the very old Sloinne Ó hEochaidh (Family of O'Hoey). The Annals are a set of historical comments kept yearly in various monasteries from soon after the time of Saint Patrick or about 500 AD. Most of this literature was destroyed by the English and we have incomplete versions of much of it, but there is still a very large body of work left which allows scholars to piece together the old histories.

The first thing that modern historians did after about 1970, was to recognize that the popular histories called 'The Book of Invasions' - Lebor Gabála Érenn, was a work of fiction, created by the two O'Neill dynasties to justify their domination of Ireland. The past 40 years of research and modern archeology has revealed a much different world to us, and the Sloinne Ó hEochaidh is prominent in it.

Dál Fiatach

The Dál Fiatach were the principal tribe (Tuath in Irish) in ancient Ulster and were located in the eastern part of County Down. They provided the majority of kings of Ulster from at least the time of Christ. The name meant the 'Share of Fiatach' after a king called Fiatach Finn or Fiatach the Fair, who died about 50 AD. Scholars are not sure that Fiatach was a real person or an ancestor that was made up later by his descendants who were the main line of the kings of Ulster until 1200 AD.

In any case, the ancestry of the kings of Ulster is traced back from 1200 AD, through the time of Saint Patrick, and back to Fiatach. Fiatach's own line is traced back to the Gods, the last two of which are called 'Old' the son of 'Too Old' and would have lived around 350 BC which is a time of important archaeological discoveries in Ulster. Fiatach is listed as Fiatach Finn mac Dáire or the son of Dáire which may be the ancestor god of the Dál Fiatach because the name is shown on Ptolemy's map of Ireland in eastern County Down. This pedigree is generally believed to be reliable from the time of Saint Patrick, although there is much literature about earlier kings. The reason that the time of Saint Patrick is accepted is because he lived and died among the Dál Fiatach kings and is buried in their old capital of Downpatrick in eastern County Down.

Read more about the Dál Fiatach here.

The Ulaidh in general and the Dál Fiatach in particular arose in the last centuries BC when the La Téne culture was spreading in the northern part of Ireland. There are clear connections between the Ulaidh, La Téne, and M222 (M222 is described below).

Surnames

The Irish were the first people in northern Europe to adopt surnames. Originally, only the families of the kings, poets, and abbots took surnames which began in the 10th and 11th centuries. Irish society was based upon three generations. You could not move up in society yourself. Only if your family kept the new status for three generations, could you grandchildren move up. So it was with surnames. You chose the name of your grandfather. This meant that Ua (which meant grandson) and then á was prefixed to your grandfather's name. In the 12th century another form became popular; it was 'mac moccu' which meant 'son of the son of'. This was shortened to Mac, but still meant grandson.

So, after the king of Uladh named Eochaidh (earlier Eochu and pronounced ockey or owey) died in 1004 fighting the O'Neill, his family, who were the main line of the Uladh kings, took his name as their family name or Sloinne in Irish, and became the Ó hEochaidh. This was written O'Hoy in the 17th century and Hoy later. It is written as Hoey in Ireland today because the Irish pronounce it as almost two syllables.

Eochaidh comes from the old Irish name for a horse Ecchu, which is cognate with the Latin equs for horse. Eochaidh means 'steed like' and was a popular names among the kings because Ireland was a horse society.

Annals of Ireland

The various Irish Annals first mention the new surname in 1015 and the last mention is in 1208. In 1200, a combination of Normans, O'Neills, and under-kingdoms finally destroyed the Dál Fiatach and their royal line, the Sloinne Ó hEochaidh. After that, the family is lost to history and the O’Neills became kings of Ulster.

Here is a listing of all of the entries for the family from the Irish Annals.

Map showing the relationship of Down, Louth and Armagh
Genetic Genealogy

In recent years, the new science of Genetic Genealogy has been developed which applies DNA analysis to Genealogy. This measures the changes between parts of the Y-chromosome and how it affects people's descendants. The Y-chromosome is unique to the male line, as are surnames. The female line is also studied, but from a different area of the cell called the mitochondria but is not as useful for Genetic Genealogy since there are fewer changes to track.

There are two kinds of analysis called STR and SNP.

STR was the first developed and the less accurate. The changes occur very often which leads to a lot of uncertainty. It is now just used to locate distant relatives within a couple of hundred years. An early STR analysis from 2006 is shown in the graphic below.

SNP was developed later and is much more definite. The changes occur seldom and are very rarely repeated. This is not useful for finding cousins (as of now) but is very useful in tracking the movements of peoples and tribes going back hundreds or thousands of years.

The Hoy family has an SNP called M222

Some background on the history of M222 can be found here.

The major breakthrough for Irish Genetic Genealogy was a paper by Brian McEvoy of Trinity College, Dublin published in 2006. In it he discovered an STR signature that was very prominent from the northwest section of Ireland over to the southwest of Scotland. There were about 65 Irish surnames studied in the paper, and the Haugheys and Dunleavys were included. Haughey is the spelling of Hoy found primarily in Donegal where some Ó hEochaidh migrated to after 1200 under the protection of the Cenél Chonaill. MacDunveavy was a part of the Hoy family, so they are of interest to us. Both the Haugheys and Dunleavys are almost entirely found in the far southwest of Donegal on the Glencolmcille peninsula.

Later Dr. David Wilson discovered the SNP associated with McEvoy's STR signature which was called M222. Two Easton Hoys have been tested and we are M222. Dr. Wilson and Iain Kennedy of Scotland lead work which lead to the discovery that we are 4 levels below M222 and are S679. The Haugheys and Dunleavys in McEvoys paper who are M222 are shown below with their STR data. Fourteen of the nineteen Haugheys in the study were M222 and five of the twelve Dunleavys were. The Easton Hoys match the men in this table very well.

Fuller and more current information on the Hoy DNA testing and S679 can be found here.

McEvoy 2006 - M222 signature
Map of 1890 County Down