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Martin McNamara and Ellen Foley

Does anyone know anything about the parents or siblings of Martin McNamara and Ellen Foley who are from Clare, Ireland. They immigrated to Canada in 1852 but we know nothing about their roots or ancestors in Ireland? Martin McNamara was born on March 1, 1811, in Kilkee, Clare, Ireland. He had four sons and five daughters with Ellen "Biddy" Foley between 1836 and 1858. He died on February 28, 1877, in Eganville, Ontario, Canada, at the age of 65, and was buried there.

Patrick was born on March 17, 1836.

Mary was born in 1837 in Kilkee, Clare, Ireland.

Bridget was born on July 4, 1840, in Clare, Ireland.

John was born on June 13, 1844, in Ireland

Michael was born in 1846 in Tulla, Clare, Ireland.

Hanorah was born on April 4, 1847, in Clare, Ireland.

The McNamara Family immigrated to Canada and lived in Renfrew, Ontario, Canada, in 1852.


Thank you!


Cathy Quinn

Monday 22nd January 2018, 04:18PM

Message Board Replies

  • Dear Cathy:  Thank you for your post to the Ireland Reaching Out  message board and welcome to the site!  We have a very active group of volunteers in Kilkee so I won’t answer for them but will refer this post to them.  

    However, I was curious about the Tulla reference that you have for Martin McNamara and Ellen (Biddy) Foley.  I see references to the parents for baptisms, but don’t see a Michael for 1846.  If you send me the source, I will try to help you with that.

    The Kilkee volunteers should be able to assist you and will reply to this post in the next two weeks or so.  If you have any further questions or would like to contact me, please email me at:  

    Thank you for your interest in Ireland Reaching Out and the very best of luck with your research!

    Kind regards,  



    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 11:16AM
  • Martin McNamara and Ellen Foley had four children recorded in the surviving baptismal registers (dating back to 1836) of Kilkee Catholic parish (which was split in 1855 into Doonbeg parish and a smaller Kilkee parish):
    Bridget (27 Aug 1837), Mary (Dec 1840), John (May 1842) and Honor (Mar 1844).
    The original registers have not been microfilmed and you would need to consult them in the parish office in Kilkee to see in what part of the parish this family lived.

    The original Kilkee Catholic parish comprised the civil parishes of Kilfearagh and Killard.

    The period between the last record of the family in Ireland and the first record of the family in Canada coincides with the height of the Great Famine, so it would be worth checking for a Martin McNamara (or variant spelling) in the relevant enclosures at
    A Google search for the exact spelling does not find him.

    I have once or twice come across "Tulla" written where I expected to find "Tullaher", one of the townlands in Killard civil parish.

    I am not surprised to see St. Patrick's Day chosen as a birthdate by an Irishman anywhere in the world, but it is interesting to see the USA's Independence Day chosen by an immigrant to Canada who was baptised on 27 August and undoubtedly born within a few days of that!

    The various books on the earlier settlers of what is now Ontario written or published by D. W. McCuaig and/or his wife Carol Bennett and/or their company Juniper Books Ltd. may have helpful information, for example "Founding Families of Admaston, Horton & Renfew Village" and "Valley Irish".

    They frequently quote Millie Gravelle (daughter of Margaret O'Gorman) and Father Joseph Gravelle, who may have been her brother.  Millie compiled a genealogy of the O'Gorman family in 1945.  Father Joseph was a "well known priest and genealogist of the Upper Ottawa Valley", who in 1967 wrote an article for D. W. McCuaig of the Renfrew Advance, "in which he described the family of Daniel O'Gorman and his wife, Mary Foley of County Clare".

    For example, in Valley Irish by Carol Bennett and D. W. McCuaig (Juniper Books, Renfrew, 1983, ISBN 0-919137-07-5) on page 77, the late Fr. Joseph Gravelle is quoted as writing that "John O'Gorman ... was married twice.  His second wife had the same name as his mother, Mary Foley, and his sister-in-law, Ellen Foley, married Martin McNamara.  In this branch, we find Father Martin McNamara, formerly of Barry's Bay; Father Kevin McNamara, OMI, Ottawa; Father Clarence McHugh of Sault Ste. Marie; Father Vincent McHugh of Elliot Lake and their brother, Father Joseph McHugh of Killarney, Ont."

    There are various Gorman references in the catalogue at
    which may mention their Foley and McNamara relatives, including this one:
    "The O'Gorman Family of County Clare, Ireland", [Edited by Allan O'Gorman of Victoria, British Columbia] (Dublin: 1966). Contains Canadian descendants of Daniel O'Gorman (b. 1740) of Tarman, County Clare, Ireland, whose sons John O'Gorman (1765-1851) and Thomas O'Gorman (1786-1879) came to Canada in 1835 and 1840 respectively and settled in Renfrew County, Ontario.

    A few people with Foley ancestors from West Clare have uploaded their DNA data to and there are 16 instances of Foley ancestry in the Clare Roots project at

    Do you have a GEDmatch kit number?

    Best wishes

    Paddy Waldron
    Volunteer parish administrator
    Moyarta, co. Clare
    Ireland Reaching Out

    Paddy Waldron

    Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 01:21PM
  • Hello Cathy.  I am a decendant from Martin and Ellen McNamara as well.

    The information you posted - I don't have.

    Would you please connect and perhaps we can swap information.

    Thanks, Dan.


    Thursday 15th March 2018, 06:06PM
  • Thank you Paddy. 

    Robert McNamara Gedmatch M100831

    Anne McNamara A149485

    I will join the Clare Roots project. Can you tell me Gedmatch #s for other Foley descendents.


    Dan - are you the one who organized the McNamara family Reunion in Eganville many years ago? Would like to swap info. You can reach me at

    Cathy Quinn

    Thursday 5th April 2018, 08:07PM
  • Can I e-mail you at the address under which those kits are registered?

    Paddy Waldron

    Saturday 7th April 2018, 01:48PM
  • Paddy - yes, you can email me there.



    Cathy Quinn

    Sunday 8th April 2018, 02:05AM
  • I should have mentioned that the late Thomas R. Foley and his wife Harriet E. Foley née Fealy have published a book on Thomas's ancestors called `The Foleys from County Clare, Ireland'

      publisher = {Rager Printing},
      year = {1994},
      address = {Franklin, OH},

    It mentions other Foley families who lived nearby but concentrates on Thomas's known relatives.

    Paddy Waldron

    Monday 9th April 2018, 12:12AM
  • Hi Cathy

    Did you receive my e-mail of 9 April last?

    I just noticed that you recently added another of your DNA samples to, where it matches some of mine.

    The McNamara project at
    was in danger of disappearing thanks to GDPR and the ensuing shutdown of, so I have volunteered to take over as administrator (but am still in negotiation with FTDNA about the public display of my real e-mail address to all internet users, which I argue is prohibited by GDPR and FTDNA argues is forced by GDPR!).

    The McNamaras stick to traditional first names, so using middle names to distinguish your kits in the project from other namesakes would be very helpful to the administrator!

    It looks like your McNamaras are from the L1336 haplogroup, although they have close autosomal matches, clearly not through the male line, with descendants of other Kilkee Macnamaras, who are confirmed to be from the L226 haplogroup.

    Paddy Waldron

    Saturday 3rd November 2018, 11:34AM
  • Greetings from Canada:

    Martin & Ellen were my great great grandparents. Trying to keep track in obtaining family information is definitely a challenge. This is a far back as far as information is

    concerned.  Any help will be much appreciated.

    With many thanks,

    John McNamara

    Peterborough, ON, Canada


    Friday 19th April 2019, 03:29AM
  • A son of Martin McNamara and Ellen Foley has been added to the Ancestor Database at

    Paddy Waldron

    Monday 21st September 2020, 05:59AM