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Hi All,

In August returend to the US from a trip to County Clare where I was able to trace the roots of my great grandmother's family (her name was Margaret (Maggie) Kenna, also known as McKenna), and was able to visit the house where they lived.  I found out today, that her husband, James Cleary was from Clonmel in Tipperary.  His mother and father, I beleive, were Patrick Cleary and Anna Heffernan.  I would estimate that James Cleary would have been born somewhere between 1845 and 1850.  If anyone could shed some light on this family, I would deeply appreciate it.  Thanks so much.

I have attached a photo of my great grandparents, James Cleary and Maggie McKenna, from 1904.  They are holding their daughter, my paternal grandmother, Sarah (nicknamed Cecelia). 

Sue Kenney

Sue Kenney

Sunday 23rd October 2016, 07:06PM

Attached Files

Message Board Replies

  • Hi Sue

    I didn't have any luck finding birth/baptism records for James on; there seems to be a gap between 1844 & 64 in the Clonmel Civil Parish records

    I did find this marriage record.

    Date of Marriage:20-Apr-1865
    Parish / District:CLONMEL
    County:Co. Tipperary
    MargaretHeffernanAddress:Old Bridge Clonmel
    Old Bridge ClonmelDenomination:Civil Parish
    Civil ParishOccupation:ROPEMAKER
    NONEAge:Full Age (Over 21)
    Full Age (Over 21)Status:Bachelor (Previously unmarried)
    Spinster (Previously unmarried)
    Husband's Father
    Wife's FatherName:JohnCleary

    Just found another:

    Date of Marriage:20-Apr-1865
    Parish / District:SS PETER & PAUL PARISH,CLONMEL
    County:Co. Tipperary

    If they were R C, you cane search the R C registers free at Type Clonmel in the search bar & you'll get 2 results. The first has baptisms 1843-64 on film 02462/01 & the second has 1836-59 on film 02463/01

    I couldn't find any Clearys or Heffernans in the 1851 Irish Census (free online

    There are 15 Patrick Clearys in Griffiths Valuation 1851; only the renter & landlords' names are mentioned; Clonmel is not in the list of south Riding parishes either!

    There is 1 Cleary in Clonmel in the Tithe Applotments (free at in 1824:



    ColCaff, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 24th October 2016, 05:14AM
  • Thanks so much for the speedy repl, Col!  I deeply appreciate your efforts.  They were definitely RC, so I will check out the link you gave me.  Can't wait to research a bit further.



    Sue Kenney

    Monday 24th October 2016, 05:20PM
  • Hi Sue

    Just a thought but if the photo is of James Cleary (b1845 to 1850) and Maggie McKenna then I think that they both look a little too young for it to have  be taken in 1904.  That would make him 54 to 59 years old ? and he does not look a lot older than her.  Are you sure of the dates?

    Gery Gleeson



    Tuesday 25th October 2016, 10:52PM
  • Hi Sue,

    RootsIreland information below-

    The two marriages found by ColCaff are the same 1 Jacob is latin for James (i think and dates are the same).

    Taking this marriage though James Cleary married Margaret Heffernan  - 20/4/1865 - St Peter and Pauls, Clonmel, Waterford.

    They then went on to have the following children (all in Clonmel) ;-

                   bpt                  dob           Sponsors

    John      5/3/1865                              William Cradie Kiely and Margaret

    Mary     15/7/1866    31/7/1866         William Mason and Alice Cleary

    Margaret   1/1/1868   1/1/1868         Patrick Heffernan & Catherine Barry

    Patrick     20/1/1869   16/1/1869?     Daniel Callaghan &Mary Ryan

    Sara       30/11/1870                          Denis Henebery &Alice Cleary

     William   2/2/1872                           John Barry   & Mary Goulding

    Martin      10/9/1873     7/10/1873?     John Heffernan &Honor Curtiss

    James      27/2/1876    25/2/1876       John Heffernan  & Mary Barry

    Mary           10/11/1878                     Michael Ryan   & Mary Mullins

    Mary M      1/12/1881      1/12/1881?      Thomas Kennedy & Ellen Mason

    Does any of this fit your records?  Sara is the only sara or sarah from Co Tipperary, Co Waterford or Co Clare that seems to fit?

    Gerry G



    Tuesday 25th October 2016, 11:57PM
  • Hi Sue,

    I don't know if this is relevant to you but my Grandmothers parents were Michael Cleary & Catherine Heffernan. They were married in 1901. Michael was from Caher, and Catherine was from Cashel.

    They were married at the Roman Catholic Chapel of Cashel.

    Michael's father was a James Cleary. Michael & Catherine are living with him on the 1900 census. James is 60 at time, and listed as a widow. I don't know if this is the same James that you are talking about. I dont suppose it can be, as my James would be around 64 in 1904, the time of your photograph.

    Your chap is obviously much younger than that. He looks in his mid twenties to me.

    There seem to be a lot of Clearys & Heffernans about! there might be a connection between our family's somewhere.

    I have attached a picture of my Grandmothers parents Michael & Catherine. These would be my great grandparents.

    Good luck!


    Wednesday 26th October 2016, 02:13PM

    Attached Files

  • Hi Everyone - 

    My goodness!  I am so happy to see all of your replies, and I think I can clear up some of the mystery.  The photo I included is of James Cleary, the son of the man I am looking for, not the man himself.  The photo was definitely taken in 1904, because that's the year my grandmother was born, and she is the baby in the photo.  To confuse matters, though, we have Cleary's on both sides of the family.  On my maternal great-grandmother's side, the family was from Clare.  On my maternal great-grandfather's side (the man in the photo), the family was from Clonmel in Tipperary. I believe the man in the photo's parents' names were Patrick Cleary and Anna Heffernan.  There may have been  cousins with the last name of Riordon and Moore.

    So, yes, lots of Clearys and Heffernans about!  I beleive there was an issue when my great grandparents wanted to get married, because of the Cleary name being on both sides.  Apparently the matter was cleared up, though, becasue they got permission and here I am!  : )

    Thaks to all for your interest and your research.


    Sue Kenney

    Wednesday 26th October 2016, 08:35PM
  • Sue

    This could fit but your description of the tree is not clear and I cannot follow this without drawing it out  - See below.  Here is what I understand you are saying -

    Patrick Cleary  m   Anna Heffernan                                                                                    = Your GGG/Grandparents


               James Cleary (b1845 to 1850)  m   ????????                                                         = Your GG/ Grandparents


                                     PHOTO  =   James Cleary(Clonmel)  m  Maggie McKenna (Clare)    = Your G/Grandparents                       


                                BABY IN PHOTO                          Sarah Cleary (b 1904)                           = Your Grandmother

    The couple who's marriage and children I mentioned could be the James Cleary(and his wife Margaret Heffernan) you are looking for -

    1) From RootsIreland website See attachment -  the notes on the marriage in ST Peter and Pauls Clonmel on 20 April 1865 says "Dispensation in time prohibited" so there was some issue with the marriage that needed clearing up.

    2) See possibilty here - They had a son James born 1876 about the right time to be having your Grandmother in 1904 when he would have been aged 28 and then the photoed couple are in the correct age bracket then.


    Thursday 27th October 2016, 01:18AM

    Attached Files

  • Hi Gerry - 

    I believe your diagram is correct, and the marriage certificate you have included is a very strong possibility.  Through researching the Clare side of the family, Ihave found that the names on official documents may vary slightly from the names people were called (Nora for Honora, for example).  I will check with my uncle, and see what his thoughts are on this certificate.  Thank you sooo much for taking the time to do this!  I deeply appreciate your efforts.


    Sue Kenney

    Friday 28th October 2016, 12:41PM
  • Thats no problem Sue,

    I hope it is what you need.

    I have visited St Peter and Pauls Clonmel in my own research and they have extensive parish records which help to stop any transcription errors but RootsIreland is a good site and you can see the actual records as they have been digitised. 



    Friday 28th October 2016, 09:37PM