The O'Connells are an ancient family in the Barony of
Iveraagh. It is true that they are quite
The surname O'Connell, according to the authority of Irish
writers, came from Conal Gabhr, an ancient Prince of the royal line of Heber,
son of Milesius, from whom the districts of KUPper and Lower Connelloc,
The O'Connells were not a powerful sept in the Middle Ages, but they were hereditary constables of Ballycarbery Castle, the westernmost stronghold of their overlord, McCarthy Mor, Gaelic Lord of Desmond (south Munster.)
Jeffrey O'Connell, born in the 1500s and dying 25 APR 1635, is the first "high sheriff" or constable whom we know by name.
In 1560, the O'Connells were forced by the Cromwellian
government to dismantle and abandon Ballycarbery, the ruins of which can still
be seen two miles west of Cahirciveen.
On leaving Ballycarbery, Jeffrey's second son, Daniel MacGeoffrey
O'Connell, settled at Tarmons near
Captain John, son of Daniel MacGeoffrey, raised a company of
foot soldiers for the service of James II.
He joined this company, with that of his cousin Col. Maurice
O'Connell. He served at the siege of
Aughrim. He returned to
This John married Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Conway
We have some information regarding four of the above mentioned 22 children. Daughter Eileen, for instance, married Art O'Leary. She was a poet and had written a famous lament for her husband.
Son Muiris (or Maurice) "Hunting Cap" had no family so Derrynane was inherited by his nephew Daniel. Another son, Count Daniel, was a General in the French Army.
A third son of Daniel (Donal Mor) and Mary (Maire ni Dhuibh) was Morgan. Morgan is best known for being the father of Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator. But he provided additional trials for the genealogist, as well. He fathered six daughters and three sons.
His daughter Ellen married a cousin, Daniel O'Connell of
I do believe we are related to these Ancient O'Connells and there are oodles of more information regarding them -- but just exactly through which individual in the prolific group, we do not know.
We do know that in December of 1820 or possibly 1830, one of
the offspring of these O'Connells struck out for himself, boarded a ship, and
set sail for
Out of Ireland
The Irish famine struck in the autumn of 1845 forcing
millions of Irish to migrate to
Chuck and Dianne O'Connell visited
Upon return, we sent an inquiry to
Sure enough, in July, we received a note from Henry J.
How good to hear from you. I believe you are in touch with the right O'Connells. We have been wondering about you but could not find any leads to make a connection.
Daniel and Mary were my grandparents. Their children were John, Ella, Alice, Henry, and George. Henry was my father. I will send you a continuation of the family tree later.
The only information
we would have on John I is that he landed in New Orleans on 25 DEC 1820; stayed
there some years before coming up the river to St. Louis and later to Dubuque and Bankston. Most of the O'Connells came from
Hoping to hear from you and happy to be of any further help, I remain,
Henry J. O'Connell
In 1989, we were visited in
The 1820 arrival date seems quite early: John would have just turned 13 years of age
the day before arriving in
John stayed in
John Sr. was careless about reporting his age accurately. In 1850, for instance, he says he is 35 (making his birth year approximately 1815.) When he died, however, his heirs tell the church he was born 24 DEC 1807. Being a solid Catholic boy, it is probably that John was more accurate with the church than with the government.
John Sr. was a successful farmer. By October 1850, he and his son have accumulated $1,500 worth of real estate. John's wife, Margaret (Sweeney) O'Connell had died in January of 1850. The 35-year-old woman died in labor "after a ten day illness," according to the mortality schedule. We don't have a record of the child's name. We assume both mother and baby died together.
At the time of the 1850 census, countless families with
distinctly Irish names lived in the
In 1850, a Timothy O'Connell was 44 years old. His family was all born in
Daniel O'Connell and his wife Bridget were both 60 years
old. They and their 16-year-old son Daniel
had lived in the state for eight years.
All three were born in
William O'Connell and his wife Hannora, both 35 years old,
were the parents of Daniel, 5, and Bridget, 2 (grandchildren of Daniel and
Bridget, age 60, above?). William had
been in the state for 10 years and Hannora for 15. William and Hannora were born in
The state of
We don't know that these families are related -- that of
Timothy, William, Daniel, and our John -- but common sense, aided by the
similarities in the names of their children, says that they might be. It was common practice for one member of a
family to migrate to
By 1860, the clan had steadily added to their possessions. John is listed with $2,400 worth of property; Timothy with $3,000; William with $1,000; and old Daniel with about $400. By 1870, the ledger reports $8,000 for John and $500 for Daniel. Timothy and William are not listed: Timothy having died in 1863 and William probably retired.
William died two years later in 1872.
By 1880, now listed as 74 (making his birth year 1806), our John is again widowed. He is living with his younger son, Daniel, 26, his daughter-in-law Mary, 23, and their children John, 2, and Ellen, nearly a year old.
In 1880, Daniel and Mary and the children are living on the farm belonging to Grandpa. Much more information can be found regarding the relationship between Old John and his sons John Jr. and Daniel.
Looking for clues to the origins of the family, we checked
out the records of the St. Clement Catholic Cemetery,
That was until we received the following e-mail,
Dianne. I saw your postings concerning the
John and Margaret (Sweeney) O’Connell were the parents of:
1. John Jr.2, born JAN 1846.
John and Ellen (Regan) O’Connell were the parents of: