Family lore states that Thomas was born to a Fitzgerald male (John?) and a Gleeson female (Mary or Honora?) in the town of Ballyowen, Killeedy parish, County Limerick. Thomas' father died when he was still a child, and his mother then married a Shanahan. Thereafter he used the Shanahan surname, and all of his descendants have gone by either Shanahan or Shannahan. He met Johanna McCarthy on a boat and married her on the Isle of Man.
This story comes down verbally from both Dennis Shanahan (son of Thomas, born in Illinois) and Celia Shanahan Hafner (granddaughter of Thomas, daughter of Thomas' son, Charles). There are no online records to be found that support it, although none can be found which contradict it, either.
Thomas and Johanna had the first of their children, Thomas Jr, in Ireland; the second, Ellen, was born in England. All of their subsequent children were born in the USA, either in Michigan (Mary Ann, Johanna, Rachael, Michael J, Katherine/Katie), or in Illinois (Charles/Charlie, James, Dennis). There are online records to substantiate this information, at FamilySearch.com or Ancestry.com. I have added some of these to this profile.
|Date of Birth||1824 (circa)||VIEW SOURCE|
|Date of Death||1st Apr 1892||VIEW SOURCE|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||John Fitzgerald|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Mary or Honora Gleeson|
|Townland born||Ballyowen, Killeedy Parish, County Limerick, Ireland|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Johanna McCarthy||VIEW SOURCE|
|Names of Children||Thomas Shanahan Ellen Shanahan Mary Shanahan Johanna Shanahan Rachael Shanahan Michael J Shanahan Katie Shanahan Charlie Shanahan James Shanahan Dennis Shanahan||VIEW SOURCE|
|Names of Children||Michael J Shanahan||VIEW SOURCE|