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My family were the McHale family of Toneybane. They lived in 11 cottages near the end of the racecourse on the Mount Falcon estate. They worshipped in the old RC Chapel in Rathbaun. Their cottages were levelled and my great great grandfather Ned McHale ( born c.1821) left with his wife Margaret McNulty and family for Liverpool and later Wrexham in 1845. Ned's sister Bridget McHale (born 1805) left with her husband Patt Devitt (born 1798). Ned's other siblings were Kitty McHale (born 1795), Peter McHale (born 1811), John McHale (born 1813), and Owen McHale ( born 1823) who all came to Wrexham in 1845.  My main interest is to find out the story of Ned McHale and his extended family, McNulty and Devitt, all of whom came over to Wrexham.  I can’t find any records of Ned’s marriage to Margaret McNulty or of Ned’s parents. Was he born somewhere else? What was the settlement like? Were they forced to leave or did they go of their own volition? Where did they leave from? Did any of the family stay behind? I did find a Thomas McHale in Ballymacredmond.  Was he one of the same family?


Thursday 12th November 2020, 09:22AM

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  • The year 1845 saw the beginning of the Famine, an event which hit Mayo very badly. It is likely that your family left Mayo for that reason.


    Thursday 12th November 2020, 08:02PM
  • The surnames McHale and McNulty are both very common in Mayo, especially in the north and east, and unfortunately the parish records in most of the parishes in the area don't go far enough back to be of much help in your inquiry.  However, there are records for what may be your Ned and Margaret in the Famly Search database [].  If you create a (free) account there, you can find Ned (Edward) under ID number L8R5-9HX, and can access the records for the others easily through his record, as you will see.

    FYI, given when he was born, it is likely that your Ned's actual name was Éamon (or Éamonn).  That area was entirely Irish-speaking at the time, and when the name Éamon was anglicized it usually ended up as Edmund/Edmond, Edward, or the diminutive form Ned.  Margaret was the usual anglicized form of the name Máiréad.

    Ned's record at FS doesn't add anything to what you have (it has no info about his descendants), but Margaret's record shows her parents and four siblings.  The entries appear to have been created by a descendant of Margaret's younger sister, Mary Ann, because there is info about her marriage in Wrexham and at least one child whom she had.  There is also an attached record from the 1851 census which states that Mary Ann was born in Roscommon, so that may be where Margaret was born as well.

    It appears that Mary Ann's family knew whom Margaret married, but not much more.  In each record, you can see the screen names of those who have created or modified the record, and can send them private messages, so you might be able to get more info by contacting them (and perhaps also locate some relatives that way).

    My grandmother was a McNulty from the parish of Killasser, which is several parishes to the south of Killalla (on the way to Roscommon), and her family spoke Irish at home into the 20th century.  She had McHale relatives as well (at least by marriage), so I can provide some historical info about the two surnames, in case you're interested.

    The McHale surname (Mac Céile in Irish) is native to northern Mayo.  MacLysaght, in his Surnames of Ireland, has this to say:  "MacFirbis says this derives from one Cele Ó Maolfaghmair whose family were co-arbs of Killala (céile means companion [he's referring here to the Cele part of the name Cele Ó Maolfaghmair, not to the name of the town of Killala]). The form Mac Eli is used in the "Annals of Loch Cé”.  [It’s] A Mayo sept.  The Howells [English settlers], early settled in the same area, were called Mac Haol, which was also anglicized as McHale.  Without the prefix Hale (numerous in Ulster) is an English locative name."

    In Irish, the surname McNulty is Mac an Ultaigh, which literally means “son of the Ulsterman” (Ultach = Ulsterman, and Ultaigh is the genitive case of the word), but it may simply refer to descent from the Ulaid, a people for whom Ulster is named (in ancient Ireland, the Uluti tribe), which in remote times ruled the entirety of the North of Ireland.  According to MacLysaght’s “Surnames of Ireland”, the McNulty surname originated in County Donegal, and that is where the Mayo McNulty’s came from.  A family of McNulty's migrated to the Callow Lakes area in eastern Mayo in the 1640's, according to a history of the parish of Killasser.  In the course of time, McNulty’s became numerous in the region.  There are also still McNulty’s in Donegal and nearby counties.  McNulty emigrants from Ulster are also known to have moved to Counties Louth and Meath (in Meath, they usually just use the name Nulty).  The family constructed a number of mills in the area, and the first parish priest of All Saints Church at Killasser was a McNulty.  There are also people named MacNalty or MacAnalty.  They’re generally from a different family, whose name comes from the Irish name Mac Conallta ("son of the wild hound"), but they also lived in Mayo.  McNulty's living in Roscommon are likely to have migrated there from Mayo.



    Thursday 12th November 2020, 10:33PM
  • Thank you very much Kevin. Very useful info.


    Friday 13th November 2020, 12:15AM
  • Hello My McHale family came tonebhe  Thomas Mchale married Ann flynn 1853 Mayo I have a Lot of Mchale,s :)

    Many thanks regards Jean 


    Jean Old

    Saturday 14th November 2020, 11:20AM
  • Thanks Jean. You have already been a great help with connections for which I am very, very grateful. I'm just trying to find out more about what actually happened there, whether they left any relatives behind and if anyone has info further back on Ned McHale's ancestors. Hope you are keeping well and staying safe. Xxx


    Sunday 15th November 2020, 10:54AM