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My name is Ed Kelley from the U.S. (Nebraska). My great-grandfather Patrick Kelley was born in Kilrush in 1824 & went to New York in 1851.  My great-grandmother Bridget Connell was born in County Clare in 1836 & went to New York in 1844.  They met & married in New York in 1858.  Bridget's parents were Tim(?) & Kate Connell or O'Conal & Kate's maiden name was Brew.

I would be very interested in information on Patrick Kelley.  Actually I am planning to visit Kilrush in August-September 2012 & am very much looking forward to seeing the area where my great-grandfater was from.

All the best - Ed


Friday 18th May 2012, 12:09AM

Message Board Replies

  • Hi Ed. Lucky to be going to Kilrush this year!  I wanted to let you know that Kilrush has a wonderful local historical society.  They are very active on Facebook under "Kilrush Local History Group".  I bet if you post there as well you may get some good information.  Also if you have not had a chance to check it out, try the Clare library online.  They have a fabulous amount of genealogy data transcribed.

    I live in the US but my own family is from Kilrush.  A long line of Fennell, Cushen, Comyn, McNamara among others.  My second great grandmother was an O'Connell but we don't have much more than that.  Could be that we are related somewhere way back when.

    You will love Kilrush if you have not been before.  I've been going back and forth since I was about 5.  I love it there.

    Good luck in your research!



    Saturday 19th May 2012, 03:43AM
  • Terry,

    Thank you for the comments. This will be my first visit to Kilrush, looking very much forward to it. Have been doing some research on local sites & plan to see Loop Head Lighthouse, West Clare Railway, Dolphin Center, Killimer-Tarbert Shannon Ferry. Will be staying at Aylevarroo B&B on the river just southeast of Rock Rd. Want to get as familiar as possible with the town, since I may well be the first one returning after my great-grandfather left 161 yrs ago. Thanks also for the links, I hope to gather a good bit of family documentation before going & make some points of contact there to maybe find family links prior to my great-grandfather.  Where in U.S. are you?



    Saturday 19th May 2012, 05:40AM
  • Ed, I am in Seattle, WA. A long way from Kilrush!  I love Seattle but I liked it bettter as a teenager when we lived in New York.  So much easier to get to Ireland.

    Do you know anything about the townlands that your ancestors may have come from?  Wondering if you have any insight at all.  That would help to focus the research, figure out graveyards to check, etc. 

    I know right where you are staying.  It's lovely.  I know you will take a camera to capture memories.  On my last two trips (2010 and 2011), I visited family graveyards in Molougha (out towards the Killimer ferry) and Kilmacduane (just outside Cooraclare) and the headstones and above ground tombs were amazing.  I had never seen them in all my trips.  Guess we did not spend too much time in the graveyard in my youth!

    I can only find 6 Timothy Connell's in Griffith's Valuation in Clare.  This is about 1855.  As opposed to Kellyey's which are 22!  There are only a handful of Brew's. That's why any clue about the townland is important to narrow down where you might be exactly from.  On my dad's side, his family is from a little tiny townland called Caherlevoy but sometimes you find people saying 'we are from Abbeyfeale' because it is the next 'big' city.

    A group of wonderful folks in Kilrush just totally reformed the grounds and graveyards of the Church of Ireland in Kilrush as well.  I was fortunate enough that they have cleared one of my 2nd great grandmother's headstone (flat to the ground).  Even though my family is Catholic there are a number of them buried in this graveyard.

    Let me know if I can help at all.  I've been researching my own family records for ages.



    Saturday 19th May 2012, 06:29AM
  • Ed:  My great-grandfather, Mathias Breen, b. 1833, and his sister Margaret, emigrated in 1851, landing in New York on Aug. 5, 1851, on the Ship Sandusky out of Liverpool.  The Breens were from Kilofin Parish, townlands of  Ballina and Lakyle on the little peninsula that juts out into the Shannon estuary not far east of Kilrush.  Not long after they arrived, they were at the wedding of a Madigan who I am pretty certain was from the same area.  And Margaret later married another of these Madigan brothers.  

    I don't have a passenger list of the Sandusky from that voyage, though I have seen one online somewhere.  But I'm wondering if just by chance your ancestor might have been on the same ship. I know groups of people from the same area sometimes travelled together.  Of course, I'm sure there were a lot of immigrant ships that landed in New York in 1851!  

    The reason I joined the Kilrush Parish site also is that the Breens, according to Griffith's Valuation, were tenants on land owned by a C.M. Vandeleur, esq. who I have found at one time in Kilrush.  In the 1832 Registry of Arms Keepers, the Breens had firearms that they listed as registered with their local magistrate, C.M. Vandeleur of Kilrush.  Later, I have found him living at Kilofin.

    Just thought by chance there might be a connection through being on the same ship!  I very much want to visit the area, but don't have a firm plan at the moment.  I hope you have a great visit!


    Saturday 19th May 2012, 07:12AM
  • Thanks for the reply. I recently found a link through where I could search through images of ny bound passengers per year (1851) in 2 month increments.  One 2 month increment could have up to 800 images.  I recently spent a Saturday morning going through about 100 images.



    Saturday 19th May 2012, 06:54PM
  • Terry,

    I was aware of parishes, but not townlands, which sounds helpful.  I think I need a little more info.  What I have now is my great grandfather's name & town(from handwritten copy of obit). I have some cousins whose Mom did a pretty good job of collecting family info, and they have sent me some photos, plus the obit. If I can get a wedding date for Patrick & Bridget, then I can check with NY marriage record archives for that year to see if it gives me anything useful.  Just yesterday, I got my grandfather's death certificate, hoping the listing of his parents name & birthplace might help, but only thing listed was that they were dead. No help there.

    I tried getting great grandfather death certificate, but nothing turned up, even though I had more info on him than Bridget, yet I got death certificate for her, which resulted in getting the name Brew for her mother's maiden name. Possible reason for no luck on Patrick death certificate is that NE started tracking deaths in 1904, and he died in 1906, so system may not have been running very smoothly yet by then.

    I did check out Kilrush Local History Group & saw the cleanup work they had done on local graveyards, very nice.  I also check out the Clare Champion online newspaper from time to time.

    How long have you been in Seattle? I used to live in western Montana and got as far as Spokane & Grand Coulee Dam once or twice.

    Thanks again for your help & encouragement.



    Saturday 19th May 2012, 07:12PM
  • Ed, can you send me a larger size of the photo to my personal email?  I think it loaded pretty tiny so I cannot read any of the details. 

    I also remembered to send you this link for discussion on townlands:

    Right now I should have it filtered on Clare and then the larger parish area of Kilrush.  You'll see the list of various townlands.  For example, our family farms were in Ballykett, Tullabrack, and Molougha.  The other farm in Brisla is the parish of Kilmacduane.  If we could just figure out how to narrow down yours, a whole new set of options will open up.



    Saturday 19th May 2012, 09:57PM
  • I had to check back to recall, but I first found my Breen ancestor from Clare in an index of NY passengers in a book in the IGSI library (Irish Genealogical Society Intl.) in St. Paul, MN.  I'm from Portland, OR but I was visiting there doing the basic groundwork on this ancestor because that's where he settled after immigration, had his family and eventually died. 

    The biggest problem with passenger list indexes is that they usually give you TOO MANY people with the correct name, but in this case you know NY and 1851, so that narrows down the number of Patrick Kellys.  I'd use one of the indexes (google on immigrant passenger lists or use and list every Patrick Kelly that came through NY in 1851 for starters.  One of those should be your ancestor.  Sometimes to narrow it down you have to recognize who they were travelling with, which you may not know, but it's a start.  That was why I asked about this topic.  Just thought this was another person from the same part of Clare who arrived in NY in the same year.

    One of the BEST resources is the Clare Library Online Genealgoy section at:

    Among other things in there you can search the various census substitutes for Kellys and if you find the right one, you'll have the townland, parish, barony, etc. all figured out.  

    The earliest one is the Freeholders List of 1821, which lists BOTH landowners AND tenants.  In your case you'd be looking for his father (all these lists give only head of household's name unfortunately).  Then you have a number of TIthe Applotment Lists from the 1830s, and Griffith's Valuation of about 1854, which will even give you a map of exactly where the land plot was.  The trick was for me, and probably for you, is that my Mathias Breen was a boy living with his father until he emigrated, so he never appears on these lists.  But fortunately I knew his father's name, and discovered in this process that Mathias was named for his grandfather (which was the rule for first born sons) who lived on the adjacent townland.

    There's a whole bunch of other useful stuff in that Clare Library genealogy section, including lists of gravestones in local parish cemeteries.  That, in my case, was how I clinched that this "other" Mathias I was turning up was in fact my great-grandfather's grandfather!  After that, with the help of a local lady over there who's also researching her relation to Breens, I got parish church records, which are very spotty and incomplete but confirmed a few suspicions that had formed.

    I think the Clare Library stuff is exceptionally helpful and I'd try to go through as much as I could before making a visit if I were you.  You may make a real breakthrough and pinpoint exactly where the Kellys lived, like I did with the Breens.

    Good luck to you, and be sure to post on here a report of your visit after you get back!  



    Saturday 19th May 2012, 11:23PM
  • Wow, that's alot to absorb, thanks for sending.  I did locate some King County of Brooklyn, NY records that show Patrick Kelley as getting citizenship March 23, 1851.  So he would have sailed over sometime before that, obviously.  I'll look through the stuff you sent when I have a little time and let you know where I'm at with it.

    Thanks again.



    Sunday 20th May 2012, 01:48AM
  • Just wanted to touch base with you, as I had not been on in awhile. Was wondering if you had thought any more about when to visit Kilrush.  Be sure to plan a visit when you can.  I arrived in Kilrush yesterday and am here now.  Trying to do a bit of family research and to visit some of the local sites.  I can say it is a fabulous little town, very clean & open with friendly people and the scenery is amazingly beautiful.  I skipped a few rocks into the River Shannon just this morning.

    Hope alll is well, take care.



    Thursday 30th August 2012, 03:37PM