Honorah Purtell

Honorah Purtell

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Born 20 July 1841 Kilcolman Parish, Co Limerick, Ireland. Died 12 January 1906, Rochester, Monroe Co, New York USA.

Married Patrick CAHILL in Shanagolden 10 February 1856.


  • John F. b 1857 Shanagolden, Ireland.
  • Margaret b 1858 Shanagolden, Ireland.
  • Tim b 1860 Shanagolden, Ireland.
  • Honorah b 1862 Shanagolden, Ireland.
  • Ellen b 1863 Shanagolden, Died 1940 Northampton, Pennsylvania USA. Married Hugh B. McInerney in Pennsylvania 1889.
  • Mary b 1864 Shanagolden, Ireland.
  • Bridget Agnes b 1866, Shanagolden. Died September 1941 Rochester, Monroe Co, New York USA. Married John R. Lambert 1892 Rochester, Monroe Co, New York USA.
  • Timothy b 1867 Shanagolden, Ireland. Died 1892 Limerick, Ireland.
  • Catherine b 1867 Fieghard (near Shanagolden) Co Limerick, Ireland. Married Daniel Hamill. Children born in New York, USA.
  • William b 1870 Shanagolden, Ireland.
  • Patrick b 1871 Shanagolden, Ireland.
  • Anna b 1872  Shanagolden, Ireland. Died 1983 Rochester, Monroe Co, New York USA. Married John Brady in Rochester, Monroe Co, New York in 1913.
  • James b 1873 Shanagolden, Ireland. Married Mary Egan. Children born in Malden City, Massachusetts USA.
  • Patrick b 1873 Shanagolden, Ireland
  • Michael b 1875 Shanagolden, Ireland. Died 1955 Rochester, Monroe Co. New York USA. Married Margaret Brown 1901 Rochester, Monroe Co, New York USA.
  • Timothy b 1877 Shanagolden, Co Limerick, Ireland.
  • Edmund b 1878 Shanagolden, Co Limerick Ireland.
  • Joseph b 1880 Shanagolden, Co Limerick, Ireland. Died November 1955 Rochester, Monroe Co, New York USA. Married Mary Hennelly 1913 Rochester, Monroe Co, New York USA.
Additional Information


  • The date information for Honorah Purtell is extremely unusual.

    The dates given here mean Honorah was married 5 months and 10 days BEFORE the 15th Anniversary of her birth.

    In other words, she was 14 years old when married.

    In many years of genealogical research I have seen Anglican marriages of girls as young as 16 years, but not in Catholic families particularly in mid-19th Century.

    This XO information states she was born in Kilcoman Parish. Does this mean Kilcolman Civil Parish or Kilcolman townland? 

    The information here is unclear.  Did this marriage occur in Shanagolden town, townland, Civil Parish or Catholic Parish?  In which church or chapel?  At what location did this marriage take place?  

    Generally, for girls of Roman Catholic faith in Ireland, marriages were mostly in the Parish of the bride's baptism. 



    Thursday 4th March 2021, 10:47PM
  • Honora had a very difficult life. I have no desire to discuss it on a public board. I would not be at all surpeised if she was indeed married in Ireland at 14. 

    I work on the ASSumption that Honora is the grandaughter of The Widow Purtell in Gortadroma in the Griffith's Valuation. Honorah had gone to the USA with her family, but circumstances she was unable to control took over her life and she was abandoned by her family, returning to Ireland alone. I believe she returned to live with her grandmother, The Widow Purtell. Deceased husband John? 

    In the Griffith's there is one Purtell family - my John, and one Cahill family living in Duncaha. I believe when Honorah returned to Ireland to live with her grandmother in Gortadroma, she was runited with the Cahill family neighbors. . . and married Patrick in Shanagolden. I have no idea which church or chapel they married in. Why does it matter? They were married on 10 Feb 1856. The Patrick Cahill family lived in Shanagolden until their children began moving to New York USA.

    I am aware that Irish brides generally married in the parish of their baptism, but Honora's life was very unusual.

    The Purtells were Roman Catholic and lived in Kilcolman townlands of Gortadroma, Duncaha, Loghill, Moneymohill.

    phacht, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 5th March 2021, 08:30AM
  • Are you aware of the purpose of Griffith's Valuation?  When it was published, and how long it took from Day 1 to completion?  Are you aware of why a person's name was recorded by Griffith? 

    The Griffith's Valuation was NOT a list of all inhabitants, NOT a list of all voters, not a list like modern telephone directory.    Given that there was (just) one John Purtell named in Griffith's Valuation does NOT mean there were no other John Purtell (or the alternative spellings, such as Purtile). 

    In order to be sure this one John Purtell sighted in Griffith's Valuation, is your ancestor, secondary evidence is required.  How do you know there were not 3 other men named John Purtell residing nearby at the same time who were labourers?

    In relation to Honorah, there is no interest or value in revealing her private life, which you should respect.  However, from my reading of your response it appears the scenario you are building is - in simple words -  young girl migrates with parents to USA, is abandoned, returns alone to Ireland, to grandma, then marries a neighbour - all this before her 15th birthday.  

    It's great to have an hypothesis and then find evidence to support the theory. This is standard reseach methodolgy in all the sciences, that also applies to genealogy. Sound investigation methods, rather than having an ASSumption (sic), will yield plausible results.   How did young abandonded Irish girl return from USA to Ireland?  Have you found her name on a passenger list?  Who provided funds for her return? Did she sail alone? Was she sufficiently literate to know how to get back to Ireland? Which port did she disembark? How did she make her way back to grandma's house?   To support your notion (ASSumption), facts and/or plausible information are vital to good research.

    The age of 14 years at marriage is the youngest I have ever seen.

    If Purtell is the one mentioned in Griffiths, for a particular townland location, then it is most unusual that the family would be associated with 4 different townlands in Kilcoman parish.  Normally, the family stays put in the same townland, especially if they were lessees as recorded in Griffith's Valuation.    Successive townland residences recorded with baptisms indicate transient labourers or journeymen.

    You asked: I have no idea which church or chapel they married in. Why does it matter?  This is a good question.  Presuming you've found a corresonding record in the NLI films, these can be used to finetune the location of your ancestors.  With the NLI films is information as to the source (within RC Dicoese) of your selected record. This location allied with the date can be used to pinoint the Chapel or Church where the ceremony took place.  For many of Irish descent, being able to visit that place and stand where our ancestors stood is important. For you, it might not be.  

    There is an excellent free website swilson.info which provides all sorts of treasure - too many to list here.  Specifically, dates and locations of both Church and Chapel, linked to modern maps, are great for planning a tour of your ancesctors' homelands.   In one case I dealth with, the County of Marriage was different to the known county of residence.  Hence there was uncertainty  - right family or wrong family?  The vital question.

    By reference to <swilson.info> the reason emerged.  The small Chapel where the folk lived in a remote area, had been closed by the Church just 1 year before the firstborn child,  As a result, the congregation had to walk a difficult terrain, cross a river and arrive at the closest RC place of worship for marriage or baptism.  In doing so, they were actually in a neighbouring county. As a result the people I was helping could now continue with confidence.

    As a matter of accuracy, 'everything is important in Irish family history'.



    Saturday 6th March 2021, 12:20AM

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