John Lahiff (Lahive, Flahy) 1842

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John Lahiff of The Burren, County Clare

John Lahiff was born in County Clare on June 15, 1842 near Magheraweeleen. His father was John Flahy or Lahiff and his mother was Bridget Rohan or Royanne. Little is known about his childhood but that he had several siblings including Margaret, Thomas and Honora.

In 1864, John was living in Magheraweeleen and working as a Herd. He met and married Eliza Fitzgerald, the daughter of a Herd in Poulawack, County Clare on April 3, 1864 in the Roman Catholic Church at Carron. Almost immediately they left Ireland to go to Australia where their first two children were born: Bridget in March of 1865 in Melbourne, Australia and Catherine Kate born in 1866 on shipboard in Australian waters.

They returned to Ireland by late1866. John continued his occupation as a Herd in the Burren taking up residence in Kilcorny, County Clare. His next two children were males, Thomas and Patrick, and both were baptized in St Columba Catholic Church in Carron.

Following the birth of Patrick, John and Eliza, together with John’s mother Bridget and their four children, immigrated to America on the City of Antwerp, arriving in July of 1872. Their plan was to join some of John’s siblings in Providence, Rhode Island. Upon their arrival they passed through immigration at Castle Garden and the two younger children were separated briefly from them, perhaps due to illness.  

Eventually they were able to continue on to Rhode Island but not long after arriving, baby Patrick died from Meningitis. Eliza was heartbroken but already pregnant with their fifth child. They settled into Providence living at 6 Jessamine Street and John worked as a laborer using his skills of laying rock and brick. Mary Ellen was born in June of 1873 and when she was a year old, the family left John's mother Bridget with his brother Thomas and sisters Honora and Margaret, and returned with his family to Ireland.

By 1875, they were once again living in the Burren at Kilcorney where John took up his former occupation as Herd. His son Peter was born in April of 1875 and baptized at St Columba’s in Carron. His next four children were all born in the Burren at Ballydoora and baptized at Carron: Honora in November of 1878, Michael John in June of 1881, William Francis in September of 1882, and James Joseph in April of 1888.

When James was a year old, John once again crossed the sea to America arriving in June of 1889 in time for the birth of his first grandson, Cecil M. Stone (Kate’s Son). John located work in Newport, Rhode Island and then returned for his family in Ireland.  He brought all of them back through immigration at New York in April of 1891. They resided at 2 Carey in Newport and 2 Lucas also at Newport for many years. 

John became a US citizen in 1896 just prior to his wife Eliza’s death in 1899. His son William lived with him, working in a local tavern.  Not much later, William and Thomas moved to NYC to seek their fortunes.  John lived out the remainder of his life near his children Michael, Mary Ellen, and Bridget. 

On the 1st of May 1919 John passed away and was buried at St Columba Cemetery in Newport beside his beloved wife. 

He never would know that his son, Bill Lahiff, would go on to own a famous tavern to the Broadway Stars named “Lahiff’s Tavern”.  Nor would he know that his grandaughters would grow up to become famous actresses on Broadway in NYC. One of them, Ann Veronica Lahiff (aka Nancy Carroll) was the first female to sing in a "talkie" movie and was nominated for one of the first Best Actress Oscars for her performance in the 1930 movie, The Devil's Holiday.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 15th Jun 1842 (circa) VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 1st May 1919 VIEW SOURCE
Father (First Name/s and Surname) John Lahiff  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Bridget Ronayne (Ronan)  


  • It's a great story. It seems that John was a great globe trotter, first to Australia, back and then to the States, And then backwards and forwards.

    Just a small problem. The emigration on the City of Antwerp 1872.....  Seems that the names and ages don't quite match up. For example: John is recorded as being 20 years of age, that would make him born in 1852, Bridget (susposedly his daughter) is recorded as being 7. So John was 13 when she was born, and had already got married and gone to Australia.

    Eliza is recorded as a spinster (not married) and 18 years of age. So she was 11 when Bridget was born..........

    If we accept that he sometimes used the name Flahy, then Ancestry has a marriage to Eliza Fitzgerald in Ballyvaughan (not Carron) on the 30 April 1864 (not 3 April 1864). The Carron version does not show up on although that may not be complete.




    Saturday 28th March 2020, 05:09PM
  • I agree he ages not match up, but that is a common problem even on census. They didn’t pay attention to such things and usually didn’t even know their birthdates. I am highly confident this record is John and his family. After arriving, they went to Providence, Rhode Island. The young child Patrick became ill with spinal meningitis and died. I obtained his death record. They remain in Providence until Mary Ellen is born and then travel back to County Clare where they lived in the Burren until the late 1880's and had several more children. I have documented the births of all the remaining children. The births I have not been able to document are his oldest two daughters who said they were born in Australia. I have DNA connected to some Fitzgerald's there and am working on a theory based on some ship records that after their marriage in April 1864, Eliza went first to Australia with her brother. John followed a couple months later. I believe if the record is him that he arrived in Dec 1864 and Bridget is born March 1865.  Bridget always claimed her birth date as March 17, 1865. Catherine the next child and my great grandmother was said to have been born in 1866 on Australian waters, I believe on their return to Ireland. From that point I can trace them living in the Burren, John as a herd and Thomas and Patrick are born and baptized in the Carron chapel. I have these records. They then go (on the City of Antwerp) along with an older Bridget Lahiff (I believe his mother) and the children Bridget, Catherine Kate, Thomas and Patrick. As stated above, soon after their arrival they go to Providence and Patrick dies.  Mary Ellen is born in Providence Rhode Island (documented and and they return to Ireland. Why, I do not know but their remaining children are all born and baptized in Carran church. They return to America and live in Newport. I have seen their house and visited their graves there.  I agree with you that such travel was unusual, and I do not envy their lives but they were hearty and strong and their children grew up to do some amazing things  





    Tuesday 14th April 2020, 01:34AM
  • The actual marriage date was the 30 of April not 3. That was a typo on my part. 
    I have their marriage record which states they were married in the Carron Chapel. The civil record was done in Ballyvaughan. Carron was close to where the Lahiff's and Fitzgerald families lived as herders. 


    Tuesday 14th April 2020, 01:40AM

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