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My great grandparents, John Connolly and Mary Donovan were natives of County Cork.

I don't know where John originated but Mary was from Clashnacrona, Dunmanway. She was the daughter of Timothy Donovan and Mary/Margaret Neal and was born about 1838.

John was the son of Daniel Connolly and Johanna Daly.

John and Mary were married in New York City in 1861. My grandmother, Mary Elisabeth Connolly, was born there a year later.

John Garrah


Saturday 28th Mar 2020, 06:51PM

Message Board Replies

  • Hello John,

    I found the baptism transcription for Mary Donovan at the Find My Past (FMP) website, showing she was baptized in the Dunmanway Catholic Parish on 2 March 1838. Her parents are, as you noted, Timothy Donovan and Mary “Neil.” Her residence is transcribed as “Clashna?” This of course refers to Clashnacrona, which you have as her place of birth. You’ll have to register with the FMP website to access the transcription link which is below. Registration is free. You can view the transcription for Mary’s baptism at:

    Attached to the transcription is another link that will take you to copies of the original Dunmanway Catholic Parish registers held by the National Library of Ireland. I accessed her baptism in the registers. The baptism can be found at the National Library of Ireland link at:

    There are two facing pages of the baptism register. Mary’s baptism is on the right-hand page, 2nd entry below the March 1838 subheading. You can enlarge the page by means of round icons in the upper center/ right of the screen. The icons are white with green backgrounds. You can also access the full-screen function by clicking on the last icon on the right with the two arrows pointing northeast and southwest.

    The baptism record shows that Mary’s godparents were William Neil and Johana, whose last name appears to be Powell.

    Clashnacrona, as well as Dunmanway, were located in the Civil Parish of Fanlobbus.

    A Google Map shows that Clashnacrona is 4 miles southwest of Dunmanway:

    For a Google Street View of Clashnacrona, see:

    Another Google Map shows that the Catholic Church in Dunmanway is called St. Patrick’s, located just north of the Dunmanway Lake:

    For a Google Street View of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Dunmanway, see:

    Another Google Street View shows a close-up of St. Patrick’s Church:

    According to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage/Buildings of Ireland website, St. Patrick’s Church was constructed in 1834, just four years before Mary Donovan was baptized there. See the description of the church, as well as a slide show, from the Buildings of Ireland website link at:

    An Ordnance Survey Map from the 1837 to 1842 time period shows the location of the “R.C. Chapel” (today’s St. Patrick’s), in Dunmanway. The map shows the church the way it was when Mary Donovan was baptized there. The map is from the GeoHive website:

    Another Ordnance Survey Map from the same time period, and also from GeoHive, shows the center of Dunmanway. The church you see on to the east of town on the map is the St. Mary’s Fanlobbus Church of Ireland:

    When at the map click on “Close Menu” to view the full map.

    I also found the FMP baptism transcriptions, as w ell as copies of the original baptism records for three of Mary’s siblings. Their names and years of baptism are:

    Cornelius, 1835
    William, 1841
    Ellen, 1844

    I can send these baptisms in a follow-up reply if you would like them.

    I next looked for but did not find a Dunmanway Catholic Parish marriage transcription for Timothy Donovan and Mary Neil/Neal at the FMP website.

    I also looked for, but did not find the baptism record for John Connolly, son of Daniel Connolly and Johanna Daly.

    With Best Wishes,

    Dave Boylan


    Sunday 29th Mar 2020, 02:52AM
  • Thank You, Dave!

    I had the information on the Donovan family and have visited the area twice in the last two years. I met the Beamish family that resides on the old farm in Clashnacrona and was able to see the original cottage site. I also identified the last Donovan to live on the farm. He died about 5 years ago so I missed him. 

    Again, thank you for your efforts.



    Monday 30th Mar 2020, 05:01AM
  • Hi John:


    I will pass your query to Frank who is one of our local Cork volunteers.  Frank has a great knowledge of the West Cork area as does his brother.  Either one of them will reply to your query.  

    Stay safe.


    All the best,



    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Monday 30th Mar 2020, 10:53AM
  • You're welcome John, and many thanks for writing back.

    Kind Regards,



    Tuesday 31st Mar 2020, 04:35AM
  • Hi John

    Frank Fahy here.

    I have carried out extensive searches of the entire Cork County area and paying particular attention to all areas within twenty miles of Dunmanway and have failed to find any John Connolly with a Johanna Daly as a mother, I searched from 1800 - 1840 for a baptism/birth and while finding many John Connolly's, did not find one with a Daly mother. I will continue to look and  will get back to you immediatly if I make any progress.

    Is there a possibility that they (John & Mary) met on board ship or in New York. Do you have any information on their date or year of arrival in  the USA or on what ship? 

    Sorry I cannot be more positive with my information but i  will continue to look.

    Wishing you good health,

    Frank Fahy

    Abbeystrowry Cork

    Thursday 2nd Apr 2020, 10:23AM
  • Hi Frank

    Thank you for your interest...

    John Connolly and Mary Donovan arrived in New York City about 1858 but not necessarily together.

    They were married in that city in July 1861 in an RC church on the Upper East Side.

    John was employed in the digging of the Central Park lake at the time. 

    Their eldest daughter, Mary was my grandmother, She was born almost to the day, one year later in 1862.

    Their second child, Daniel was born in Pennsylvania a few years after that so they must have left the city.

    Some relatives were still there as another daughter, Johanna, lived with them while attending a commercial school in the 1890's. 

    Again thank you for your help.








    Friday 3rd Apr 2020, 03:34PM
  • Hello again,

    This is in regards to Timothy Donovan and Mary Neil.

    I just found their marriage record 10 Feb 1825,in Careragh Parish, Cork.

    They were listed  as being from Gortnascreena.

    Mary appers to have been a native there.There were several Neil families listed in that townland.

    They had son, Darby, baptised in Caheragh on 14 March 1833.

    They do not appear in local records after that time.

    That still leaves 7 years from his birth back to the marriage. Ordinarily, there would be other children in that time.

    They obviously left that area shortly after Darby was born because their next child, Cornelius came in 1835.

    He was born in Milane, Dunmanway. They appear in Clashnacrona, Dunmanway, a bit later.

    The map shows their cabin was on the border only a few steps across from Milane. 

    So things are looking good in my research into the Neil branch of my family.

    I expect more is available.


    Monday 1st Mar 2021, 07:27PM

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