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Hello from America --

My goal is to locate and connect with living relatives in Ireland.

My maternal great-grandparents both came from Ireland to Boston, Massachusetts, sometime in the late 19th century.

Cornelius J. O’Sullivan (b. 11/7/1869) and Hannah Teresa Donovan (b. 9/24/1867) were both born in Dunmanway.

According to family lore, Hannah’s family were itinerant farm workers, while Cornelius’s family were more settled. The O’Sullivans, it’s said, didn’t approve of their relationship, perhaps because they were of unequal station, we do not know. Cornelius, it’s said, paid to send Hannah to Boston, and he emigrated not long afterward: they were married in Boston and had three children. Sadly, Cornelius died in his mid-30s from stomach cancer.

Here’s what I know about my ancestors in Ireland:

On Feb. 10, 1861, in Dunmanway, Cornelius Sullivan married Jane (“Johanna”) Gorman. Witnesses were Elizabeth Gorman and John Gorman. (The relationship of the two Gormans to the bride is unknown at this time.)  We know of at least four children by their marriage: ANNE (b. 9/17/1865) — Godparents: Peter Mahony and Anne Mahony; MICHAEL (b. 8.5.1867) — Godparents: Patrick Murray and Jane Hickey; CORNELIUS J. (b. 11/7/1869) — Godparents: Thomas Murray and Mary Crowley; and JANE (b. 12/4/1871) — Godparents: Dan Brien and Mary Sullivan.

Parish records in Dunmanway do not record a marriage for my great-grandmother Hannah’s parents, William Donovan and Julia (Collins) Donovan.

There are records, however, indicating that William and Julia had the following children: ELIZA (b. July 1, 1864) — Baptized by Rev. John Hurley, parish priest. Godparents: James Murphy and Mary Mahony; JOHANNA, or “HANNAH” (b. Sept. 24, 1867) — Baptized by Rev. John Hurley, parish priest. Godparents: John Hurley and Margaret Collins; and MARY ELLEN (b. March 15, 1878) — Baptized by Rev. Denis Forrest, C.C. Godparents: Patrick Donovan and Mary Wholey.

Once Hannah was settled in Boston, she paid for her sister Mary Ellen to come to Boston. Mary Ellen arrived in Boston on May 5, 1893.

We do not know when my great-grandfather Cornelius J. O’Sullivan came to Boston, but we do know that once he was here, he found work as a plasterer.

If Cornelius learned his trade from his father or someone else in his family, that may be a clue to finding my relatives. If there are working plasterers in Dunmanway today with the surname O’Sullivan, it may more than a coincidence.

It would mean a great deal to me to connect with living relatives in Ireland, because it not so long ago that my ancestors arrived in America. We would love to re-establish a connection to where we came from.

Tim Lemire

Tuesday 23rd Jan 2018, 12:16AM

Message Board Replies

  • Tim:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    The 1901 census shows Cornelius O'Sullivan, a widower and plasterer, living with four children on Main St.…

     In 1911, Cornelius and his unmarried son Michael were listed as plasterers. Two daughters, Hannah and Clare, were also in the household…

    Suggest you contact the branch library in Dunmanway to see if they are aware of O'Sullivans in town who are or were plasteres. However, since Michael ws unmarried in 1911 and likely died by 1950, you may not find a connection.

    Contact Us:

    Dunmanway Library,
    The Square,
    Co. Cork. 
    P47 DK83

    Tel: 023 88 55411

    Roger McDonnell




    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Tuesday 23rd Jan 2018, 02:07AM
  • Attached Files


    Thank you for your helpful response: I will indeed follow up with the library. For the record, I'm attaching a photo of my great-grandfather Cornelius, which was taken after he arrived in the United States.

    Tim Lemire

    Thursday 25th Jan 2018, 12:02PM
  • Tim:

    Great picture! You may want to add Cornelius' story and picture to our XO Chronicles site…


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 26th Jan 2018, 04:38PM
  • Tim: I have an extensive tree in which all of the surnames you mention are present. Heaps of families from the Dunmanway parish, where my gg grandparents, and many other relatives resided prior to their exodus in the thick of the famine. I am a Collins and have traced back to mid 1700's in Dunmanway. Were there records to be had prior to that, I suspect they'd show their existence in that area of West Cork for countless decades before 1800. My ancestors, and many, many others from the Dunmanway region made the voyage to North America (Ontario,Canada) and settled primarily in the counties of Middlesex, Elgin and Kent. Those in my tree, most of which are related by marriages over the centuries, include these:   Breen, Collins, Coughlin, Coveney, Crowley, Deasy, Daly, Donovan, Grace, Hooley/Whooley, Hurley, Leary/O'Leary, Mahoney, Maloney, Manning, McCarthy, Murphy, O'Brien/Brien, Regan, Ronan, Sullivan/O'Sullivan and Sweeney. All of these families co-existed and lived near and among each other after their arrivals in Canada, primarily 1840's-1870's. My educated guess is many of their forefathers had left Ireland in the 1823-1825 voyages under the settlement program established primarily by Peter Robinson. Many of the same surnames I have given were among the Peter Robinson Settlers to Canada, and likely they encouraged their families to follow suit. I have linked several of the PR Settlers to my ancestors, their friends and kin.

    My research spans over twenty years, and my main tree now comprises over 22,000 individuals, of which I suspect 80% or more are comprised of these people and their descendants, in Ireland, Canada and many states of the US.  My paternity is 100% Irish, in a proven unbroken line to Dunmanway, circa 1750. My primary goal has always been to link to descedants of my family who didn't leave Ireland and still inhabit the lands of West Cork. However, even with DNA testing that can't be taken much further now, I have unhappily not attained my goal. The gap of physical distance and time over the last 170 years has proven too wide to close. But, I keep pluggin away, hoping someday this refugee descendant will find my lost tribe. You'd think with my name, Michael Collins, I'd catch a break but it hasn't happened yet.

    If you are interested in sharing information, shoot me a reply here and/or send me your email address. I live in Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo County, California. The nearby hills I have run, hiked and walked for years are named the Irish Hills, for good reason. They evoke those of the fabulous hills throughout West Cork, as do the nearby hidden coves along the coast here. My email address:

    All the best:

    Miceal O'Coileain


    Michael Collins

    Monday 7th Jan 2019, 01:49AM
  • Here are some early photos of my ancestors, post emigration. I have none, of course, from their days in Ireland. Any I have are primarily from Canada and the late 1880's+ in California where my great grandfather, Michael Thomas Collins (1853-1935), settled after leaving Canada, where he was born. He arrived and made his life in Los Angeles, CA when he was barely 18 years old. With hard work and thriftiness he was a saloon owner by age 26, in the heart of the downtown center of Los Angeles!

    Michael Collins

    Monday 7th Jan 2019, 02:03AM
  • Michael, I am searching for my Toam Mahony family in Dunmanway. My great-great-grandmother, Julia Collins, was the mother of my great-grandfather in 1826, but she did not marry the father, Michael Mahony. I have DNA matches with some people who carry the Collins name (including a Michael). I was just wondering if you had participated in DNA testing as that could be an additional tool. I find Ancestry has by far the largest data base for getting matches. In addition, you can upload your results to other sites, but you can't upload other sites to Ancestry.  You probably know all of this, but just in case you didn't ..................... Jan


    Thursday 8th Aug 2019, 02:01PM
  • Jan: I believe you and I have exchanged emails in the past about our common Dunmanway ancestry. If you would, please reply to my email address, as I would like to catch up, and share any information gathered over the years since we last communicated. I am today posting again, to both the Fanlobbus and Drimoleague sections, hoping to reach someone in West Cork with any connections to the many families I have been researching for the past 25+ years. Look for that as I address the DNA testing I have done (y-DNA 111 markers, atDNA and Big-Y).

    I hope to hear from you.

    All the best, Michael Collins


    Michael Collins

    Saturday 14th Sep 2019, 06:36PM
  • As noted in an earlier post. I too have a Donovan connection, My Great grandmother, Mary Donvan was the daughter of Timothy and Mary/Margaret Neal, natives of Clashnacrona, Dunmanway, Cork.


    Saturday 28th Mar 2020, 05:35PM

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