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John and Catherina McDonough Kelly are my 2nd great grandparents and I would love to find their parents and siblings in Ireland and a bonus would be to connect with a cousin!  I would appreciate any guidance on where I can further my search.

John and Catherina's children: James born 1862 (in Ireland), Patrick, born 1866, Martin, born 1868, John, born 1869, Mary, born 1870, Bridget, born 1871, Michael, born 1875.  The children, besides James were born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. James' son said our "Kelly's" were from County Kerry Ireland.  But I have not been able to confirm that.

From records I found in the United states:

John's Declaration of Intention, a native of Ireland, born in Ireland and that he is 31 years of age, emigrated to the United States from the Port of Liverpool, England and landed at New York, United states about the 9th of June 1863. I have not been able to find the ship manifest. From the U.S. census records1863 matches as the year of immigration. They settled in Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

I have conflicting dates of birth for John either January 1839, from Census records, and his death certificate states 15 July 1838.  The death certificate list his parents as James Kelly and Marg Haggins/Hagguis or Haggills, I really cannot read the name, both his parents born Ireland. The only informaton I have on Catherina is from Census records that she was born Jan 1836 in Ireland.

What I found searching on ancestry., The National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland. Ireland, Catholic Parish Pegisters, 1655-1915 but not 100% certain this is my family:

Marriage record:  Athenry, Galway, Ireland Diocese Tuam. Marriage 2 Feb 1861, John Kelly and Kate McDonogh, witness' Michael Hefhus and Mary Don...  (Would Catherina list her name as Kate?)

Baptism record :  Athenry, Galway, Ireland Diocese: Tuam. James of John Kelly and Catherine McDonough, born 6 Feb 1862, Baptism 21 Dec 1862. Sponser Tom and Bridget White.

Thank you!  Karen






Sunday 10th January 2021, 03:09AM

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Message Board Replies

  • Karen:

    I don't think your family came from Co. Kerry. Kelly and McDonagh are not surnames usually found in Co. Kerry.

    I believe the records you located in Athenry are likely your family. The parish register for Athenry is badly organized at least in the early part of the 1860s. The Roots Ireland (subscription site) transcribers were also very confused. You can't tell if John and Catherine were married in February 2 1861 or July 2 1861 but I believe the February date is correct. The baptismal date is even more confusing as far as its placement on the register but I lean towards December 21 1861.

    Unfortunately, the Athenry records start very late (1858). I searched for a John Kelly with the parents names you listed but no record came up. I searched for a Catherine McDonagh baptismal record in 1836 in Galway but no record came up.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 10th January 2021, 01:59PM
  • Karen,

    See attached records for the marraige and birth of John and James, respectively. These are from, a paysite (small fee) where the records have been transcribed and you can do a search. I did a search of Kerry records for a marraige of John Kelly and Catherine from 1851 to 1871 and a birth of James Kelly from 1851 to 1871 and could find no records. This gives a bit more credence to the Athenry records, maybe. Yes, Catherine could easily be called Kate. The records will search for both names, as Kate is a commen derivation of Catherine. The Athenry birth records only started in 1858 so you will be unlikely to find birth records for John and Catherine. Even if you did find a birth record outside Athenry, McDonagh and Kelly are very common names in Galway and it would be very difficult to make a link without further evidence. Maybe there are some family around Athenry that would help further.

    Best wishes, Kieran Jordan

    Kieran Jordan, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 10th January 2021, 02:06PM

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  • Karen,

    I typed my reply at the same time as Roger, so didn't see his post! Roger is probably correct, the birth date of James is probably December 1861.

    Best wishes, Kieran

    Kieran Jordan, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 10th January 2021, 02:13PM
  • Roger McDonnell and Kieran Jordan,

    I am sorry but I do not see how to respond to you seperately,  I appreciate both of you taking your valuable time to help me with my search and all of your comments!  Interesting the Athenry records start about 1858, perhaps why I was unable to find additional information. I will keep looking and hopefully I can come across some families in Athenry.

    Kieran, thank you for the transcibed records. I will check into

    Thanks again to both of you!

    Karen Carr




    Thursday 14th January 2021, 11:00PM