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Hello All!

My family and I have been researching our familiy lines for years and one of our brick walls has been our great great grandfather and mother. Recently, with the help of a gentleman on the Mayo Facebook group, we have I think been able to knock down a couple of bricks. I'm just going to lay out some info and see if anyone recognizes naems, dates or places. 

Owen McDonough (McDonagh) b. May 1835 (maybe 34) in the County of Mayo

Married Honora Clarke in January 1863 in the Killedan parish

Immigrated we think in 1865 and it is thought his two sisters followed: Bridget McDonagh and Margaret McDonagh

We know his father's name was Michael McDonagh and we believe his mother's name was Bridget. Recently we found a Michael and Bridget McDonagh who both passed in 1864 within a few days of each other so we are thinking these could be correct because it might explain the children immigating to the US in 1865. The document we found states Michael was born in the townland of Shanaghy which is where we have since located on the Griffiths Valuation, several plots where we think he farmed.

I have been able to find immigration info for Owen, but Honora Clarke has been a total mystery. There are Clarke's listed in Kiltimagh, near the Shanaghy townland but I can't find proof of where to connect them. 

I'm happy to connect with anyone that might have a direction for me to next go :) This is my first time on this board so I will try to post some pictures for reference.

Thank you!

Heather Jennings

Heather Jennings

Monday 19th April 2021, 08:14PM

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Message Board Replies

  • Killedan parish volunteer alerted

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 19th April 2021, 10:56PM
  • Hi, Heather.  The townland of Shanaghy is in the civil parish of Bohola, and you can see more info about it here:

    As you may already know, the boundaries of civil parishes and Catholic parishes are not always the same (nor do they always have the same names), and in the case of Bohola the two have slightly different boundaries.  Shanaghy is near the southern edge of the civil parish, so it might be in the Catholic parish of Killedan.  The parish records in Killedan also go further back, possibly because the church in Bohola was built later, so someone living that close to the boundary might well have married or been baptized in Killedan in the early part of the century, even if living in Bohola parish.  I recommend that you also check the records for the Catholic parish of Swineford, since they go even further back.  I'm fairly certain that some of my ancestors were married there, even though they lived in Killedan, and I've seen references in the Swineford parish register to townlands in nearby parishes.

    I was intrigued by your post, because my grandfather, James Peter Gallagher, grew up in the townland of Carrownteeaun in Killedan parish, which is separated from Shanaghy by just one other townland, Rathslevin, which is also in Bohola civil parish.  The parish boundary is essentially what divides Rathslevin from Carrownteeaun

    My family had relatives on both sides of the parish boundary; mainly Gallagher's, Curraby/Creaby's, and McNicholas's in the last two centuries.  However, one of my grandfather's sisters married a John McDonough,  That was near or right after the end of the 1800's, though, and I'm not sure whether they married in Killedan or after emigrating to NY.  In addition, an Anne McDonagh married one of my distant Gallagher cousins in Killedan in 1867; and a Bridget Clarke married someone who I believe was a distant McAndrew cousin of mine in Killedan in 1868 (the McAndrew's were mainly from a bit further north in the county, but the wedding would normally have taken place in the bride's parish).  There have also been scattered Clarke and McDonagh witnesses and sponsors in marriage and baptismal records for my relatives, so there were obviously connections.

    Have you done DNA testing, because I suspect we may be related in some way (maybe through several family lines)?  If your results are at the GEDMatch site, my kit number there is T780556, if you want to compare results.  If you see a connection, my email address is also there, and we could connect more directly that way.

    Slán go fóill,

    -- Kevin




    Tuesday 20th April 2021, 09:43PM
  • Hello Kevin!

    Thank you so kindly for responding to my message. I am ALWAYS anxious to talk ancestry, genealogy and Ireland with anyone willing :)

    I first went to Gedmatch to see if perhaps we were related and I did not find your kit number is either my list or my mother's list. Bummer!! It could be we are shirt tail relations as they say, but at least for now, nothing direct. Just in case though, here are our numbers: Heather Jennings JT8948354  and mother, Mary McDonough Jennings SP9679627 That way you can check too in case I missed yours.

    Searching for these ancestors is quite something. The only Clarke that I know we are related to is Honora Clarke who married my Owen McDonough in 1863 and then they immigrated to the U.S. (settling in Iowa near where I'm from) in 1865. We do not even know Honora's parents' names. Until recently, I only knew Owen was from County of Mayo, but after some dilligent searching and the help from a message board volunteer, we found that Owen and Honora were married in the Killedan Parish. As mentioned in my last post, we know Owen's father's name was Michael for sure and with the help of that volunteer, we have concluded that they lived in the townland of Shanaghy outside of Kiltimagh. I'm learning the differences of baronies, counties and parishes, but it is a lot to keep track of!! 

    As of right now, we only know of Owen's two sisters, Bridget and Margaret who also immigrated to the US. I have no idea if there were other siblings. We have found a marriage record and a death record for Michael and his wife Bridget that coincide with Shanaghy as well as a death date of 1864, which could be why the children immigrated to the US. 

    My volunteer friend (he lives in the UK and just hopped on started helping with the Irish lingo and navigating a bit to find a few of these new records) instructed me how to look at the Griffith's Valuation. Something I have viewed over the last decade but didn't really understand it. Through that as well, he put together a "possible" family tree of Michael McDonough's siblings....not one thing is verified but it's something to look at least to see if I can line it up so I don't know about any of the McDonoughs/McDonaghs who were left behind in Ireland. The same is true with the Clarkes. Recently, I have connected with someone on 23andme that has the last name of Clarke. Her father was Michael Clarke who immigrated to New York from Kiltimagh, where HIS father Michael J Clarke lived. I'm so hoping that this 2nd-3rd cousin match with her means that perhaps her grandfather Michael J Clarke is a sibling or a cousin of my Honora. Unfortunately, I only find him in the census and the Griffiths valuation, nothing letting me know of his siblings, only his wife and children.

    Anyway, my, I really rambled there!! I have been on a journey for the laste 10 years to break down the Owen McDonough brick wall and it's starting but now Honora is my nemesis! I need to try and find the townland, parish, and barony maps or find one that over laps so I can cross check some names that are familiar in our tree to see if that could help.  I might reach out to see if anyone knows where I could find an overlying map like this! I can find them separately, but nothing overlapping so you could see how close some families were.

    Thanks again for reaching out. I wish we were closer related. I hope to travel to Shanaghy/Kiltimagh next year. I told myself I couldn't go until I knew where Owen was from. I'm so excited and motivated to try and find out as much as I can before that time. If only I could put down my McDonough research to start the Dougherty side.....oh my!


    Take care,


    Heather Jennings

    Thursday 22nd April 2021, 03:38PM
  • Hi Heather!  I compared our results and we are indeed related, though distantly.  When you compare results at GEDMatch, they suggest a minimum longest segment length of 7 cM, but you can set it lower, and I did so.  It turns out that I share nine DNA segments with you, with a longest segment of 5.5 cM.  That one is very near another match segment, though, and both of them indicate a Mayo connection.  I've done "triangulation" of matches with several Gallagher second and third cousins (here and in Ireland), and we've identified a number of match segments which indicate a Mayo connection, and the segments I share with you show such a connection.

    I share a good bit more DNA withh Mary: a total of 52 cM in thirteen segments, and one of them is 6.9 cM in length, just below the default used at GEDMatch.

    So, we're distant cousins, though it's unlikely that a paper trail can connect us.

    When doing research, by the way, you can forget about baronies.  They were never a particularly important poitical division, and are basically irrelevant now.  The names can also get confused with parish names, so just ignore them.  Basically, the important divisions are counties, parishes (civil and religious) and townlands, and keep in mind that parish boundaries sometimes cross county boundaries.


    Friday 23rd April 2021, 07:21PM
  • Oh we are?! Well, heck, I must have it set to a higher minimum since it didn't come up. Glad to hear we're actually cousins because feels like family already :)

    I've researched ancestry a long time and have delved into cross checking DNA results to figure out what side of the family a match might be or in the case of helping a friend find their birth parents, deduce which parent which matches belong to. But, how does one learn as you have shown about the segments and what overlaps and what triangulates? Especially when referencing someone that might be from Mayo or even a closer region or family? I'd love to know how this works.

    Okay, so forget the baronies. Honestly, it's very confusing! Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I'm hoping that I can figure out the townlands around Shanaghy and start searching to see if I can find my brickwall, Honora Clarke McDonough. 



    Heather Jennings

    Saturday 24th April 2021, 08:27PM
  • I have a half dozen second to fourth cousins whose connection to me we've determined already (some share a great-grandparent, some a 2x-great-grandparent, and one of  them a 3x-great-grandparent).  We've identfied a number of DNA segments which some or all of us share, which can then be used to identify a connnection in East Mayo, so when we see another DNA match who shares one or more of those segments with one or more of us, then we know where the connection lies.  If the person shares a significant segment with several of us who are all in one line of the family, we can sometimes figure out the branch of the family where the conecction with that match lies.


    Monday 26th April 2021, 10:07PM