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II am seeking any information of the Mooney family of Kilmacdaugh who left early during the Great Famine. My Mooney family arrived in New York via Ellis Island aboard the ship Fidelia. It seems they found little comfort here in the States and the time of the 1850 Census the family was scattered to the four winds.  While my 4th Great Grandfather eventually found employment in Cincinnatti, Ohio, his brother Michael Mooney followed the lure of gold and made his way to Amador City, California. While there was no pot of gold awaiting him, he wisely opened a saloon (pub) on the main  street of town. Luck was not with him. His business burned to the ground three times! Each time the town's people urged him to rebuild in stone due to the frequency of wild fire. Each time he opted to rebuild in wood as it was plentiful and far cheaper. When Micheal, his widow sold out to the German baker nextdoor whose name was Henry Koehler. The building still stands and is now an antiques shop.  Micheal Mooney was a good Roman Catholic and thus was burried a little further south in the Sutter Creek Catholic Cemetary. His grave stone reads " Micheal G. Mooney born Sept 29 , 1837 Died Oct 8,1886  Native of the Panshal, Parish of (unreadable) Kilmacdaugh, Co. Galway, Ireland. This is my best clue in tracing the family back to Irish soil! As my own 4th Great Grandfather's burial records state only that he was born in Co. Galway. 

My Questions are:

  • Where was Panshal?
  • Where should I look for records of baptism? ( Gort, Tuam?)

Thank you for any hint no matter how small it might seem to you! An Early Happy and Blessed St. Patrick's day to you all! IRELAND FOREVER!

Mary Beth

Friday 15th March 2019, 08:58PM

Message Board Replies

  • A chara Mary Beth,

    The Civil Parish where your Mooney ancestors came from was called Kilmacduagh. The Catholic Parish located in this Civil Parish was known as Kilmacduagh & Kiltartan, and also known as Gort. The National Library of Ireland lists the Catholic Parish under the name of Gort. See:

    Unfortunately, the Gort Catholic baptisms only go back to 30 June 1848, while marriages for Gort commence on 6 December 1853, according to the National Library of Ireland. This means there will not be a baptism record available for your 4th great grandfather or his brother Michael. By 1848 the Mooney family may have been on their way to America, or may have already settled in America.

    I could not find a location in the Kilmacduagh Civil Parish called Panshal, or any alternate spelling of the name. I looked for the name of this townland at the online IreAtlas. To see the names of the townlands located in the Kilmacduagh Civil Parish, go to the IreAtlas link at:

    The townlands are listed alphabetically. You’ll see “Gort T.” in the IreAtlas, which stands for Gort Town.

    The name of the Catholic Church in Gort is St. Coleman’s, and according to a Wikipedia article, St. Coleman’s was dedicated on 6 September 1829. See the Wikipedia entry at:,_Gort

    I don’t know if the parish registers for St. Coleman’s had existed from the year 1829 but were later unreadable because of age, or if they just weren’t compiled by the clergy until the late 1840s and early 1850s, but it’s possible that your Mooney ancestors were married and baptized in St. Coleman’s. You can view the location of the church on a Google Map of Gort at:

    For a Google Street View of the church, go to:

    I also found an Ordnance Survey Map of Gort from the 1837 to 1841 time period, showing the location of the “R.C. Chapel,” which would be St. Coleman’s Catholic Church. This map is in color and is from the GeoHive website. See the map at:

    Also May Beth, your ancestors would not have sailed into Ellis Island when they arrived in New York in the 1840s. They would have disembarked on New York docks. This was well before Ellis Island opened in 1892, or before Castle Garden, also in New York City, became an immigration center in 1855. See the following:

    Sorry for the bad news about the baptism records. I know how disappointing this is as I’ve been looking for the birthplace of my great grandfather in County Cavan since 1988, and still haven’t found out where in Cavan he was from.

    Best Wishes for St. Patrick’s Day.

    Dave Boylan


    Saturday 16th March 2019, 08:59PM