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Looking for Murtagh Family

Hello. My Great Grandparents, Patrick Murtagh and Bridget Cunnane were married in Feb. 1852 in Killedan (Kiltimagh). They lived in Woodfield where they had several children: John Murtagh was born about 1860, and wrnt to Americaabout 1888. ....Another son Michael Murtagh (1864-1939) was my Grandfather. He went to Rawtenstall Lancashire and married and had 11 children; one of who was my Father. Looking for anyone who may have some connections to the Murtagh or Cunnane Families in the Woodfield/Kilkelly area. Many thanks!

Marie Murtagh

Tuesday 5th March 2019, 10:58PM

Message Board Replies

  • Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    The RC baptismal records for Kiltimagh parish start in February 1861.  Likely there were addiitonal children besides John born between 1852 and 1861. On the free site I located the civil birth record for Michael Murtagh and an 1866 civil birth record for Thomas Murtagh.

    Here is the 1901 census record for Thomas Murtagh born 1866 with his wife, child and his sister Mary.

    Bridget Murtagh died in 1895 and Patrick Murtagh in 1897. The informant was John Snee son in law on both documents.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon

    Wednesday 6th March 2019, 12:52AM
  • Thankyou Roger McDonnell for such detailed information. I am wondering, why, if my Grandfather was born in Woodfield (Feb. 1864) his church record isn't available. Would Woodfield records also be kept in a different parish? Or perhaps some church records did not survive? I seem to recall that a Luke Murtagh appears in the records, marrying a Mary Cunnane in 1849, (I think they lived n Derrybrack) and one of the witnesses was a Pat Murtagh (who I believe was my GGrandfatherand possibly Luke's brother or cousin). Pat and his wife Bridget Cunnane appear as sponors to some of Luke and Mary's children. It could also be that the Cunnane women were sisters or cousins. Very confusing and intriguing at the same time!
    I know that my Grandfather died on Feb. 3 1939 while visiting from Lancashire to see his sister, Annie and John Snee of Shammar. I do not know where he was buried...not sure if I could find that out. His grave did not have a marker I believe....according to my uncle.
    Any thoughts or advice most appreciated!
    Marie Murtagh

    Marie Murtagh

    Wednesday 6th March 2019, 05:07PM
  • I forgot to mention that the Michael Murtagh born 1866, was the son of Luke Murtagh and Mary Cunnane...most likely y Grandfather's cousin. I was able to piece together some of my grandfather's siblings and spouses...based on my uncle's memory and confirmed by parish and civil records. John Snee was the husband of Annie Murtagh. Annie was close in age to her brother but no records to confirm.

    Marie Murtagh

    Wednesday 6th March 2019, 05:12PM
  • I can give you some info about your potential collateral Murtagh relatives.

    My grandfather, James Peter Gallagher, was from Killedan, and his family intermarried with the Murtaghs in that area.  Luke Murtagh and Mary Cunnane were the parents of Luke George Murtagh, who was born 14 August 1862 in the townland of Cloondalagh [now Cloondoolough]  in Killedan.  His sister, Anne Murtagh, was born 17 December 1864, and his brother, Michael Murtagh, was born 2 July 1866 . That Michael iis presumably the one you mentioned in your last message above.

    The younger Luke married Mary Gallagher, my grandfather's first cousin, in Killedan in the late 1880's.  Mary was from the townland of Carrownteeaun, which is near Cloondalagh.  They emigrated shortly thereafter, first to New Jersey, where their first child was born, but then to St. Louis, Missouri, where the rest of their nine children were born.  Mary's father, Michael Gallagher, had moved there in the 1870's with the rest of his seven children.  The Murtagh and Gallagher descendants are still numerous in the St. Louis area, along with a number of McNicholas and Mulderig relatives from the same part of Mayo.  Some of the Murtagh's there use the Murtha form of the name, which is also found in Mayo and in Roscommon to the east.

    My branch of the Gallagher family (descended from Michael Gallagher's brother, Peter), including Gallagher's and McNicholas's, ended up in New York, and have many descendants in that area.  Michael and Peter had a brother, James, whose descendants remained in Killedan parish.  The old family farm is still owned by a relative (in my branch).

    Cloondalagh and Carrownteeaun are to the north of Kiltimagh, almost in Bohola parish, whereas Woodfield and Kilkelly are to the east of Kiltimagh.  Woodfield is actually in Aghamore parish, to the east of Killedan. and Kilkelly is in the parish of Kilmovee, which adjoins Aghamore.  They are both near the parish boundary with Killedan, however.  Civil and RC parish boundaries are not always the same, and have changed at times, so perhaps they were once in Killedan parish.  In any case, the distances are not great, and people in the area often married people from nearby parishes, so your theory about Patrick and the elder Luke being cousins is entirely plausible, and they might even be brothers (just as their wives, who also share a surname, may be sisters or cousins of one another).

    Aghamore has baptismal and marriage records only back to 1864, although there are a few marriage records form the 1820's:

    Kilmovee has marriage records back to 1824 [with some gaps] and baptismal records back to 1854:

    All of those parishes adjoin Swinford parish, which has the oldest records in the area [some back to 1808], and I have found that one can sometimes find baptismal and marriage records in Swinford for people living in nearby parishes:   Swinford was also the civil registration district for that area, so if you find a civil record for someone in Swinford, that does not necessarily mean that they lived in that parish.

    In case you're interested, there were two Irish surnames (from unrelated families) which were both Anglicized as either Murtagh or Murtha.  They were the surnames Ó Muircheartaigh ("descendant of the navigator") in Leinster and Mac Muircheartaigh ("son of the navigator") in Roscommon.  Actually, there may have been three families, since the name was also found in Scotland, and brought from there to Ulster, where it was usually Anglicized as Murdoch.  Either of the two Irish forms of the name could end up as Murtagh or Murtha, depending on how they were heard by whoever was writing out the Anglicized forms (Irish has a number of sounds which English speakers find hard to hear clearly, and there are also regional difference in pronunciation).  It was thus not unusual for different Anglicized versions of a surname to be used within the same family.  The Murtagh's in eastern Mayo are presumably related to the ones who soriginated in the neighboring county of Roscommon.


    Wednesday 6th March 2019, 07:00PM
  • I can add info about your direct family line as well, as it turns out.  I've input my family records at the FamilySearch site, so I checked there for more info about the Murtagh's, and I found that someone else in your Murtagh line has already traced the line of Patrick Murtagh and Bridget Cunnane.  The info which they've inputted matches what you gave, including a record for John [Patrick] Murtagh, born in 1860, and what appears to be your grandfather, Michael Murtagh, born in 1864, whom they have marrying Lucy Agnes Edwards in Lancashire in 1895, and all 11 of the children you mentioned are listed there as well.

    The Family Search site is run by the LDS church, but it's free for anyone to use.  You just have to create a (free) account, for which they do not ask for a lot of personal info (and no one will call, or anything like that).  It's actually the largest genealogical database in the world, and very easy to use.  The url is

    If you decide to check it out, you can search for records in various ways, including a unique ID number for each person.  The number for your grandfather is M84D-RFX .  Once you get to his record, you will see how easy it is to go up and down the family tree to look at other records.

    The site offers users new info from time to time, as it locates potentially relevant documents, and one can choose to attach them to the relvant peoples' records and update their info.  I've created a connection between the Luke Murtagh and Patrick Murtagh branches, based on the lilkely relationship which you discovered, and also updated some of the records with info which the site was offering.  For now, I've indicated Patrick and Luke as brothers, but added a note to say that they may be cousins, and also that their respective wives, who also share a surname, could be sisters or cousins of one another.  If someone later determines the exact relationship, the info will all be there and the link can be adjusted accordingly.


    Wednesday 6th March 2019, 08:35PM
  • Marie:

    I see that Kevin has provide a lot of great information and leads.

    I looked at the civil birth record which showed a January 1864 birth in the Kilkelly area. Possibly the baptismal events around that time from the chapel in Kilkelly did not make it to the Kilmovee register?  Hard to say. Kilkelly is still one of the four churches within the current parish of the Immaculate Conception in Kilmovee.


    Castlemore Roscommon

    Thursday 7th March 2019, 06:06PM
  • Hello Kevin and Roger. Thank you both so much for your time in helping me with my research. I am actually the person who created the tree on the LDS site. I wanted to recreate a free family tree, as I will not be a member of ancestry forever! I find the task of transferring info one person at a time rather tedious, so do it in fits and starts! I will revisit all those links to various birth records. I recently came across another person who is a descendent of the Michael Murtagh, born 1866..son of Mary and Luke. She and I share at least we have pinpointed our connection. Neither of us can confirm if the Cunnane girls were sisters, or if Luke and Pat were brothers. If they were brothers, then perhaps the fact that they each named their firstborn sons, John, may indicate that they were named after their paternal John Murtagh.
    Thankyou for proving all the details and links.
    I am Cloondelagh different ftom Cloonkedagh....perhaps just a different way of spelling....
    I hope I will be able to add a few more pieces of the Murtagh Cunnane puzzle. If would be wonderful to find out which village they came from. I kmow that Patrick and Bridget Murtagh's home still stands, albeit in a delapidated state. When I visited Kiltimagh in the 1980's, a man named Paddy Walsh located it for me based on my sparse info. I am pleased to say that it was the right cottage, and found out that my Dad's cousin lived in it until 1972. She is buried in Woodfield cemetery.
    Again many thanks.
    Marie Murtagh

    Marie Murtagh

    Friday 8th March 2019, 03:56AM
  • Hi Kevin
    I had a quick look at my family tree on the lds site. I am not very adept at changing information on it. I was looking at the siblings for my Grandfather Michael.Murtagh (Jan 19, 1964 -Jan 3, 1939). I am 100% certain of these years and dates. There are a few other siblings in that tree that do not belong and I don't know how to delete:
    1. Mary born 1862...this is not my Grandfather's sister. She appears in the 1901 census living with her brother, Thomas and his wife. She was the eldest child, according to my uncle, so would have been born soon after her parents married in 1852.
    2. Michael . Again this is not my Grandfather
    3. John b. 1877. My Grandfather's eldest brother was John and he was born in 1860. (His GGGGranddaughter has confirmed this as John went to America in the late 1880's.)

    Can you explain how I can delete these people from my tree?
    Thanks for your help.
    Marie Murtagh

    Marie Murtagh

    Friday 8th March 2019, 04:44AM
  • Hi, Marie.  I saw that someone named Marie Murtagh had input some of the FamilySearch info, but I didn't realize that was you!  I probably also have a DNA connection to that person you mentioned, since Mary (Gallagher) Murtagh was a first cousin of my grandfather.  I have my DNA results posted at FTDNA, GEDMATCH, and MyHeritage, and I've located a number of second and third cousins already, plus many other people with east Mayo connnections with whom I have matching segments, even though we don't know the exact connection.  My kit number at GEDMATCH is T780556 (Kevin Jewell), by the way, in case you want to check for a connection.  The families in that area have been intermarrying for centuries.

    Anyone can edit any of the records on FamilySearch, since it's all one big family tree (not separate trees, as at Ancestry).  They just trust people to be careful, and they have an easy way to reverse mistaken changes.  They also do some quality checking, especially if someone reports repeated errors.  I've occasionally made mistakes myself and then reversed them.

    So, I went in and separated the second Mary and the second John from the siblings of your grandfather, and also the Patrick whom you said was not one of the sblings, and added an explanation as to why I was doing that.  Detaching records can be tricky, and I always have to think through which record I am detaching from which other record (if one isn't careful, one can unintentionally separate the parents from all of their children, and then have to put them all back together again).  Before trying it, it might be good to get someone to show you how to do it.  I learned how to do it at one of the Mormon Family History Centers, where the people were very helpful, and I also learned about some of the other tools at FamilySearch.

    I'm not sure about that Mary, but the Michael and Patrick whom I detached were shown in a 1901 census as living at Kilkelly, so they may be cousins of your Murtagh's.  Their records are still in the system, by the way, just no longer connected to your line, so if someone else comes up with the right connection they can add those records where they belong.

    To answer your other question, Cloondalagh and Cloonkedagh are townlands right next to one another, to the north of Kiltimagh (and Carrownteeaun is just on the other side of Cloondalagh from Cloonkedagh).  The "cloon" part is from the irish word "cluain", meaning "meadow".  In irish, Cloondalagh is Cluain Dálach and Cloonkedagh is Cluain Céadach,.  I looked for the meanings of the second part of each name on, and the meanings are not known with certainty.  Céadach can have various meanings, but none of them seem to make sense for a meadow, unless it's a dialectical adjective based on the word for "first".  The adjective dálach can mean "suitable for an assembly", so that meadow may be where meetings (maybe masses) were once held, but it's also possible that either of them could be from a personal name.

    You probably know from your own family history that much of that part of Mayo was still Irish-speaking, even into the early 20th century (it was even considered for inclusion in a Gaeltacht).  My mother's parents (who both grew up there) both spoke Irish at home up to the years when they emigrated to New York.

    I looked at the 1901 and 1911 census records, and there were several Murtagh families in Cloonkedagh in 1901,  Cloondalagh had many familes to which I am related at some point (Brennan, Forde, McDonough, McNicholas, etc.), and those same familes are also found in Carrownteeaun, along with many Gallagher's.


    Friday 8th March 2019, 06:19PM
  • Hi Kevin
    Thanks so much for helping with the LDS family tree adjustments...I do find it tricky...I live in Vancouver BC, by the way...whereabouts are you? My gedmatch number is A678503, no match, I'm afraid The last time I visited Mayo, I do recall meeting a woman who was a Murtagh before she married. She spoke in Irish to the man who was helping me locate my Grandfather's grave. This man, Paddy Walsh, was a retired undertaker, so knew the families well. They chatted for some time in Irish and when I asked Paddy what the woman was saying, he replied,"She knows you're a Murtagh; they're short and stout!" (I gave up on the diet following that!!)

    Marie Murtagh

    Saturday 9th March 2019, 05:25AM
  • Glad to help. Marie.  I live in San Francisco, but I've been to Vancouver several times (first time was for the Expo many years ago).  It's a very nice city, and the surroundings are beautiful.

    I compared our GEDMATCH results also, but with the cM segment length threshold lowered.  We actally share 37+ cM of DNA, on seven different chromosomes, but all in small segments no longer than 5 cM.  Smaller segments like that are less useful to compare and can be misleading, but it indicates that we are probably distantly related, perhaps several times over, given how intermarried the families in the area were.

    Take care!

    - Kevin


    Saturday 9th March 2019, 06:14PM
  • Hi Kevin
    Thanks for explaing about the DNA search. I am not very adept at understanding the DNA thing, although I think that I have just made a cennection with a descendent of ny Grandfather's elder sister, Kate. There was a fairly decent match on my ancestry (estimated 3.9 generations). I reached out to make contact but there was no response...then yesterday I heard from this perdon. She told ne her great Grandmothef waz a Kathleen Murtagh. I took a chance and inquired if Kathleen had married a man named Scott...and it was confirmed! I jotted down notes about30 years ago, from a conversation with my Dad's brother. Although he grew up in Lancashire, he spent some time in Ireland (a short stay in a seminary!) but became aquainted with his father's side of the family. I have hung on to those notes and used them to guide me in my research ..and it is amazing how much was spot on and I have confirmed with the civil birth records now available on line! I have been able to confirm 6 siblings of my grandfather....which is uncredible to me, given that they were born in the 1850-1860's during such terrible times. Only one sibling remains...Patrick.. I have noted that he died before joining the Dublin police force. I have yet to find his birth or death record..and doubt I will be able to. I think my takeaway from this, is that I come from hardy stock!!

    Marie Murtagh

    Sunday 10th March 2019, 05:57PM


    Hi Marie. I am fairly new at searching my ancestors. My Great Grandmother was Bridget Julia Murtagh. Born December 16 1873 in  Kiltimagh, Parish of Killedan, County Mayo. Her parents were Bridget Mullee and John J. Murtagh. She married my Great Grandfather, James P. Henry in 1895. She had a brother, Patrick Murtagh who died in February 1897. Her son, Patrick Henry, born in 1902 is my maternal grandfather. 



    Sunday 22nd March 2020, 01:06PM
  • Hello, Thankyou for your message. My Great Grandfather, Patrick Murtagh, died in June 1897, at the age of 72. My Grandfather, Michael Murtagh was born in 1864, and he was one of the younger children in his family. My uncle did tell me that Muchael had a brother, Patrick, but he died young, just before entering the Irish constabulary. I have no idea when Patrick would have been born...preumably he would have just been a young man when he died.
    Do you have a familt tree that is viewable? I am a member of ancestry. My direct email address is as follows:
    Please feel wrlcome to email me directly; it might be easier to connect!
    Where did 'your' Patrick die? Have you found his death in the civil death records? I am happy to help you search for that, if you'd like.
    Looking forward to hearing from you. Sincerely
    Marie Murtagh

    Marie Murtagh

    Monday 23rd March 2020, 05:17AM