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Hi from Melbourne, Australia.


Four years ago (11-4-2016) I searched for information about William Crowe (1836-1838?) from the Glen, Glennagalligah. With some wonderful assistance from Ireland XO, William’s baptism entry was found.


Entry 1983 of the 1836ParishKillaloeDioceseKillaloeCountyClareCountryIreland states...

First name(s)William, Last name: Crowe, Birth year-Baptism year: 1836, Baptism date? Mar. Glennagalliagh

Father’s first name(s)Tom,  last name: Crowe

Mother’s first name(s) Peggy, Mother’s  last name Donslon ( we think this is possibly O’ Donnell)

Repository: National Library of IrelandNational Library of Ireland link


I have a great deal of information about William’s life in Australia, but nothing about Ireland.


I have come to the conclusion that William’s father, Thomas was from Classagh, which is quite near Upper Kilbane. He possibly moved away and apparently died after his son William was born. No records can be found.


I’m now searching for William’s maternal side, the O’Donnell family of Kilbane or Upper Kilbane, which is in the Parish of Killokennedy and the Barrony of Lower Tulla, 2.5 miles east of Broadford in Co Clare.


I’m particularly looking for information on Margaret Johanna Crowe née O’ Donnell or Johanna Margaret O’Donnell. (I’m not sure which is correct, but William Crowe’s death certificate names her as Johanna O’Donnell.) I believe she died soon after William was born. Before she died, she asked her sister, Sarah to look after William. As I wrote before, I’m unsure what happened to his father, Thomas. William Crowe grew up in Kilbane, “where the church was in O’Briensbridge, near the Shannon River, “ and was educated in Upper Kilbane.


I have found that a Michael and William O’Donnell were living in Kilbane. I’m unsure if they were brothers or father and son, as they were leasing land together, according to Griffith’s Valuation.


I think that William 1793 married Joan Crowe 1793 and had 6 children; Mary 1825 m John Vaughan 1876 and went to the US; William 1825 (US); Sarah 1826 m William Conway 1826 (from Limerick) ( went to Australia); Michael 1827 (US); Margaret 1829; Cornelius 1837 (Australia) m Jane Aldworth 1847. 


However, I can’t find a record for the elusive seventh child, Margaret/Johanna. I presume Margaret/Johanna would have been the eldest child of the family, if her son William was born & baptised in 1836. Perhaps she was born in approx 1820? I’m also interested that there was another child named Margaret 1829 in the family. I believe that it was common to name a subsequent child after a child who had died.


Oral history says that the bailiff seized the O’Donnell’s 7 acre farm so William’s aunt Sarah and William Conway decided to go to Australia. William and his uncle Cornelius Crowe (b.1837) apparently  followed on the next ship for Australia, even though no records can be found.


By the 1901 census there appears to be one family Con and Mary O’Donnell, their family of young children and their aunt?, Mary (widow) aged 72. 


Any assistance would be much appreciated.


Kind regards 



Robert Horwood

Wednesday 29th Jul 2020, 09:21AM

Message Board Replies

  • Dear Robert:

    Unfortunately, if Johannah/Margaret was born even in 1820 (or earlier) the records for Killaloe parish as well as for Broadford parish do not go back that far.  Broadford's records start in 1844 and they have been transcribed through the Clare Library website as well as being digitised online through the National Library of Ireland website. 

    I know of a local historian in the Broadford area and I will ask him about the O'Donnell family of Kilbane.  I will reply back to you on this thread.

    All the best,



    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Thursday 30th Jul 2020, 10:38AM
  • Hi again Robert:  

    The local historian in that area has come back to me with this:


    There were a number of  both O'Donnell and Crowe families in the area. If memory serves me well, there is a good article on an O'Donnell man\family who emigrated to America in The Banner book issued by the Claremen's association in New York, published circa 1966. The information regarding evictions corresponds with a series of famine time evictions in the Kilbane area. Unfortunately the names of those evicted were not recorded.

    You might check with Peter Beirne at the Local Studies Centre in Ennis who might have access or a copy of the article.  His email address is:

    If Peter doesn't have it, he will know where you can access it.

    Good luck and stay safe!


    All the best,


    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Thursday 30th Jul 2020, 11:52AM
  • Hi Rob, I am also in Melbourne and would be happy to share any information with you.

    My gg grandfather was William O'Donnell who married a Bridget ?. The children I know of are Michael, William and Mary who married a Vaughan.

    Michael O'D born c 1827 married Mary Corcoran born c 1829 and died 1910. They were married on 25 Feb 1845 at Kilbane.

    Known children:

    Johanna O’Donnell baptised Nov 1845 (listed as Johanah) residence given as W. Kilbane. Mother listed as Corcohan. Broadford Baptisms register, Co Clare. Died 21 April 1907 aged 60 at Yambuk and buried at Yambuk. Arrived c 1865 aged 18.

    Married James Gleeson on 21 May 1868 at Belfast RC Church. Johanna’s parents listed as Michael O'Donnell & Mary Corcoran and James’ as James Gleeson & Mary Carroll. Johanna’s occupation listed as Servant and James’ as Farmer age 25. James was born c 1843 born Tipperary and died age 70 on 7 November 1911. According to his death certificate, arrived approx. 1861 age 20. Dates are per Yambuk Cemetery Transcription

    Children were Mary Thompson b c 1870 died 6 April 1901, Michael, Cornelius d 10 March 1891, Sarah b c 1874 died 6 July 1899, James b c 1876 died 29 May 1907, William b c 1878 died 17 September 1895, Daniel, John, Bridget

    Mary O'Donnell b: 27 December 1850, baptised 17 March 1851, at Kilbane, Co Clare. Died Sister Ipens Hospital Warrnambool 20 February 1951, buried at Yambuk, Victoria. Arrived c 1870 age 20. From Western District Families, they reported she arrived in Australia with her parents in about 1870.  It seems from Margaret's marriage certificate their father may have come to Australia but did his wife, Mary? Or did she return to Ireland as she is listed on the 1901 census with her son Cornelius.  

    Married 1. Michael Ryan on 20 May 1884 at St Mary's RC West Melbourne Occupations Mary 30 Lady, Michael 28 Cab Driver born Co Clare.  Mary’s parents listed as Michael O'Donnell & Mary Corcoran and Michael’s Michael Ryan and Mary Keogh.  One son William.  Michael was born approx. 1854, Co Clare and died 13 December 1886 age 32. Arrived approx. 1878 aged 24

    Married 2. Michael Gleeson on 27 April 1890 at St Mary's RC West Melbourne Occupations Mary 35 Lady & Michael Farmer 55.  Mary’s parents listed as Michael O'Donnell & Mary Corcoran and Michael’s as James Gleeson & Mary Carroll.  Son Michael born 21 August 1892 at Yambuk.  Mary Eileen b 1861 died at 16 days.  Michael snr born approx. 1831 in Tipperary, died 29 March 1910, aged 79. Arrived approx. 1854 age 23

    Michael Gleeson was a widower whose wife, Johanna, died in a bushfire at Yambuk in 1888.

    Note:  James and Michael Gleeson were brothers so I assume that is how Mary O’Donnell met Michael.

    Margaret O’Donnell b: c 1851 Co Clare. Died 3 July 1929 age 78 at Nazareth House, Ballarat. Buried Ballarat.  Arrived c 1864 age 13 (according to death Certificate in Australia for 65 Years.) Dates are conflicting. If married in 1870 age 21 then born c 1849. No baptism record found as yet.

    Married 1. Michael O’Brien on 12 May 1870 at Belfast RC Church. Margaret’s occupation listed as servant. Michael’s as Farmer age 29. Margaret’s parents listed as Michael O'Donnell & Mary Corcoran. Michael’s parents as Michael O’Brien and Mary Moloney. Michael born Co Clare about 1841. Michael died 29 January 1876 aged 35. Arrived approx. 1859 aged 18. On the marriage certificate it states written consent was given by the father of the bride.

    Married 2. Roger Lane on 14 June 1877 Belfast RC Church. Margaret’s occupation Lady age 27 Roger as Farmer age 30. Margaret’s parents listed as Michael O'Donnell & Mary Corcoran. Roger’s as Thomas Ryan and Ellen Maloney from Co Clare. Roger (on death cert spelt Rodger) born approx. 1840 died 23 June 1926 age 65 buried Koroit. Arrived approx. 1860 age 20. They had no children.

    William O’Donnell (my g-grandfather) was baptised 1 Jan 1854 Co Clare. Died 5 September 1909, aged 55 and was buried at Tower Hill (on his death certificate his mother is listed as Mary Corker).  Arrived c 1874 age 20. Married Mary Hayes (b 13 July 1861 Mount Macedon) on 17 June 1885 at St Mary’s RC West Melbourne. Two living children Edward Francis (Frank) b 1886, d 1927 and Michael William (listed as William on the death certificate) b 1887, d 1984.

    Patrick O’Donnell from Find my Past baptised 29 April 1859 in Upper Kilbane in the Parish of Broadford, Killokennedy – transcript and copy of register in file and died 1932.. Mother listed as Conoran. From Find My Past he married Ellen Long 1865 - 1947. I believe after Patrick's death she emigrated to the US where various children had emigrated. This information has not been verified by me except for Patrick's birth.

    Thomas Edward O'Donnell

    (1898 - 1960) Born in Scariff, County Clare, Ireland on 17 Aug 1898 to Patrick O'Donnell and Ellen Long. Thomas Edward O'Donnell had 4 children. He passed away on 31 12 1960 in Detroit Michigan.


    Thomas Patrick O'donnell 1926 - 1989, Charles James O'donnell 1924 - 2004. Nancy Ellen Odonnell 1936 - 2004. Thomas Edward O'donnell 1898 - 1960

    Nothing further known.

    Cornelius O’Donnell baptised 6 April 1860 (From Findmypast) in Upper Kilbane Killokennedy. According to the 1901 and 1911 Census of Kilbane, Cornelius stayed in Ireland with his wife, Margaret, and children Michael b 1892, James b 1894, Cornelius b1895, Mary b 1896, Patrick b 1898, John b 1901, Thomas b 1904, Delia b 1906. His mother Mary is listed on the 1901 census.

    According to the 1901 and 1911 Census of Kilbane, Cornelius stayed in Ireland with his wife Margaret and Children Michael b 1892, James b 1894, Cornelius b 1895, Mary b 1896, Patrick b 1898, John b 1901, Thomas b 1904, Delia b 1906.  James is not listed on the 1911 census.  His mother Mary is listed as living with him on the 1901 Census.

    Bridget O’Donnell baptised 13 September 1863. Nothing further known.


    Monday 7th Dec 2020, 01:30AM
  • Hi Rob. You may have already checked this out but William Crowe is listed in the Australian Dictionary of Biography - details below.  My email is

    Crowe, William (1837–1931)

    by John Warhurst

    This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

    William Crowe (1837?-1931), farmer, was born at The Glen, County Clare, Ireland, son of Thomas Crowe, farmer, and his wife Margaret, née O'Donnell. He was educated at the near-by town of Upper Kilbane, where he grew up with his maternal grandparents; he was still young when first his mother and later his father died.

    Following the example of his uncle, Crowe migrated to Australia in 1855. After first landing in Adelaide, he sailed to the Western District of Victoria, and disembarked at Belfast (Port Fairy), before moving further east to Koroit where land was more easily available. Within two years he had purchased his first land—a single acre (0.4 ha). On 20 April 1863 at Belfast Catholic Church, he married Catherine Aldworth, Irish-born daughter of a Koroit farmer; they had nine sons and four daughters.

    Crowe was an energetic and successful farmer. The Victorian gold rushes had raised the prices of primary produce, especially potatoes, and he travelled long distances in a dray to fields near Stawell and Ararat to market his crops. At a time when traditional methods were being displaced, he was noted for his innovative approach to agriculture, a skill inherited by his son Robert. He was reputedly the first in the district to introduce aids such as reapers and binders, milking machines, potato diggers and windmills. Several of his own inventions, including a system of water-cooling, were also used on his property. He was a keen businessman, remembered as hard but fair; in order to employ workers who would not need overseeing, he was said to have offered his employees five shillings per week above the going rate.

    Crowe had a long career in local government. After the proclamation of the Borough of Koroit on 7 October 1870, he stood for election and was successful in November as one of nine new councillors elected from fourteen candidates, polling the second highest number of votes. He served until August 1910, with only one twelve-month break, and was mayor six times between 1878 and 1903. From all accounts he was a popular mayor. He was a founder of the Koroit Agriculture Society and of the town's butter factory. He supported a number of sporting clubs, and was a successful greyhound owner. There is no evidence of an interest in politics at the parliamentary level, although he agitated for the continuation of the railway to Koroit after it had reached Warrnambool in 1890. A Catholic, Crowe was a strong supporter of his church's charitable organizations. Aged 93, he died at Koroit on 3 January 1931 and was buried in Tower Hill cemetery. He was predeceased by his wife and two sons.


    Saturday 26th Dec 2020, 01:16AM

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