Hi C & A,
Here are a few more pieces to add to our puzzle:
My aunt (now in her 80s) went to Ireland about 30 years ago to visit the old towns where our ancestors are from. She was asking around the churches, etc. for any Wilsons, but she was told that most of them had left Ireland in the last century, but even so, she wouldn't find many Catholic ones around. She always found that odd because our family appeared to be good, Irish Catholics. Jane Wilson Fitzpatrick's grandson even became a priest. (Jane's daughter Margaret had 3 children: Mary Jane, Margaret "Maggie," and Arthur "Bud," who was the Passionist Priest. Their dad, Arthur, was a NYC firefighter.)
Jane Wilson Fitzpatrick was a very industrious woman. Her husband, John, was a cabinetmaker in NYC. I have found the location of his shop in NYC records. Jane must have been good with money or a tightwad or both because she began a small lending business, lending money to folks who could not get a loan from a bank. After a few years, they bought their apartment, and then later, purchased the entire apartment building. There are a couple of sisters living in the same building. When my grandfather went to buy his first house, she gave him the money, and so he could pay cash, and then he paid her back over time.
I have often wondered about the Sheffield, England connection. I try not to speculate, because that can lead me down rabbit holes and obscure the real story, but I wondered why someone from England, who was Protestant, would come to Ireland during the height of the famines. Part of my speculation was that Michael Wilson's father was the one who came to Ireland since MJM's letter says that his grandfather came over later. So I thought, "What would bring a young man to Ireland?" In doing research, I saw that a lot of marriages in the civil records were of Irish women to British soldiers. That's when I started considering that the Wilson from England could have been a British soldier who came, fell in love, and stayed. (My husband is military, came to a nearby base, fell in love with me, and stayed!) That is my theory now, that something related to the British military and the occupation of Ireland got him there. A girl made him stay.
I am attaching pictures of the folks I have as told to me by MJM. She said one day she came home from school and found her grandmother Jane, burning all the old pictures in the furnace. MJM was horrified and saved what she could. Jane's excuse was that she didn't want people in the future laughing at how funny they all looked. So these are all we have. The photocopy picture was put together by my uncle Bob, who had a running joke about our "wealthy" Irish ancestors. We did find out later that the photos were taken about 1932 when JW FItzpatrick went back to Ireland to meet his mother's family.
There is one picture of a woman, but MJM didn't remember what sister she was.
Just wondering, are you in the US?