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I am searching for the origins of my Great Grandfather Joseph Monahan(Monaghan) b.~1822. I have only been able to locate 2 on line records that I can verify are records of him living in the United States. 

  • On my Grandmother's (Jennie Catherine Monahan b.1871) wedding record in Nebraska 1897, her parents are listed as Emily Francis Quinette and Joseph Monahan.
  • In the 1870 US Census - Iowa, Emily and her children from a previous marriage are recorded with Joseph Monahan age:48 born:Ireland.  Emily's previous husband died in 1864. She was living in Wisconsin at this time so would likely have married Joseph in Wisconsin or Iowa between 1864-1870.  By 1880, Emily is remarried. It is not known if Joseph had died or they had divorced.

For many years, these were the only clues available.  In the last few years, I have discovered DNA matches with Monahan ancestry. A number of these dead end at Andrew Monahan b.~1860 Wisconsin. I believe they may be descendants of Joseph from a previous marriage (Margret?). I have 2 matches that I have traced back as descendants of John Monaghan (1826) and Rose Duffy (1833) from Brickfield Ballybeg. I also have a match who is a descendant of Nicholas Monaghan b.1815 and Catherine Lynch b.1822 US census New York 1870 (immigration >1860). 

I located a Monaghan family in Ireland census 1821 at Martry: house 28: Joseph Monaghan and Eliza with sons Nicholas ~1815 and Joseph ~1812.  This location seems consistent with John ~1826 Brickfield Ballybeg.  I have also found a passenger record for a Joseph and Margret Monaghan from Dublin to NY Sept 1851 (possibly first marriage).  I have not been able to locate any birth, marriage or death records to validate any of this hypothesis. 

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.  I hope to visit my Great Grandfather's townland when I have solved this puzzle (post pandemic)!

Thank you


Brian Amonson

Wednesday 12th January 2022, 11:07AM

Message Board Replies

  • Brian,

    I find it's not easy to figure out DNA matches and identify a family in Ireland without doing the research in the U.S. first.  I'm not sure how much you've done, so if you have done all of the following, please forgive me.

    --Start with the most recent records and trace back.

    --Look for Joseph and his children in the available census records, civil and church birth, marriage, and death records,  cemetery records, headstone inscription, newspaper obituaries/death notices, probate records, etc.  

    I hope this is helpful.


    Thursday 13th January 2022, 12:59AM
  • From Iowa, U.S., Select Marriages Index, 1758-1996 (

    Name: Joseph Monaghan
    Gender: Male
    Marriage Date: 31 May 1870
    Marriage Place: Algona, Kossuth, Iowa
    Spouse: Emily F. Diacon

    FHL Film Number: 1436203
    Reference ID: 2:3HTMP66


    Thursday 13th January 2022, 01:14AM
  • Thank you Patricia. 

    I have exhausted all searches in the US records. The 1870 census you have shown is the only definitive record I have found for Joseph; no marriage record, no death record, no census entry after 1870, and no census prior that can be identified as the correct Joseph Monahan.  I've been searching through the US records for years.  DNA matches have provided the first opportunity to follow new leads.  I have followed the records of my matches from current descendent all the way to the ancestors I identified in my original note including census records and death records: John Monaghan 1826-1897 and Nicholas Monaghan 1815-1886. I have not been able identify mother or father for either to determine if they were brothers. There doesn't seem to be bapitism records for these dates in Bohermeen.



    Brian Amonson

    Thursday 13th January 2022, 03:08AM
  • Perhaps look at the register for Joseph's Iowa marriage. It might include more information than shown in the index I posted, such as place of origin in Ireland or parents' names. Worth a try.


    Thursday 13th January 2022, 02:05PM
  • prevents me from viewing and says original image unavailable.

    I believe Joseph and Emily's marriage was very brief i.e.<1 yr.  My grandmother was the only child of this marriage and she didn't know anything about her father except his name. 

    What would be most helpful is to locate more information for the families of my DNA matches as I do have a considerable amount of supporting documentation for them. 


    Brian Amonson

    Friday 14th January 2022, 04:12PM
  • FamilySearch often requires a visit to an LDS Family HIstory Center to view documents. If you are near one, it might be worth a visit so that you could see this document...


    Saturday 15th January 2022, 03:09PM
  • Hi again, Brian,

    In the 1870 census it states that Joseph was working for the railroad. There are good railroad records--you'd have to do a bit of sleuthing to see which RR was going through/being built in Iowa at the time--so you might find something there.


    Good luck!


    Saturday 15th January 2022, 03:19PM