The Mahers of Kilkenny are of particular interest to me, as this is one of the places around which my personal research revolves. Joseph Casimir O’Meagher contributed a pedigree of this group (pp. 201, 202), which I have organized in a way that I hope is easier to follow. I believe that Adelaide Maher, daughter of John Maher and Alicia Murray, who married John Quigley in 1839 in Freshford, Kilkenny, (FHL#926192) is very likely the same Adelaide J. Maher Quigley who emigrated to the small town of my great great grandparents (Patrick Maher and Anne Butler) in Naugatuck, Connecticut, 1864, and is buried in their cemetery, Saint Francis. I have done a great deal of research about her as well as about the other four Maher family grave sites there (and about other Mahers in New Haven County).
William Meagher, County Kilkenny (1697, Nicholastown – 1836, Freshford); was a member of the 87th Royal Irish Fusileers and fought in Portugal. He married Mary Dunne, aunt of a Bishop of Ossory. Their children: John, William, Thomas, and three daughters (Mrs. Byrne, Mrs. Lalor and another). 1. John (born 1728, married Catherine Kearney of Tipperary; their children: William, Elizabeth and Richard: William, born 1756, died 1803, married Catherine Brennan of Shralee and had Major Maher, 87th Regiment, who died 1836 unmarried; Elizabeth married Dr. J. Cullinane; Dr. Richard, of Waterford, married Anna Bowers, no children); 2. William (of Tennylenton, see below.) [NOTE: here, confusingly, O’Meagher included an additional John, placed Thomas as the fourth child, then added four more children other than the daughters he first listed.] 3. John (of Ballyragget, married Phelan; their children: Ellen, Catherine, Anne, others, none married); 4. Thomas (involved in the uprisings of 1798, fled to America and died there, was married to “Beauty Kavanagh;” their son John, 1793 -1850/1855, was an attorney; also a daughter Joanna who emigrated to and died in America); 5. James, apothecary in Dublin, died unmarried; 6. Pierce; 7. Dennis (died in America); 8. Catherine (married Garrett Brennan of Eden Hall). [Nicholastown is on R432, a road leading directly north to Ballinakill, Co. Laois and directly south to Ballyragget.]
William Meagher (of Tennylenton, second son of William Meagher of Nicholastown), born 1729, married Ellen Fitzpatrick of Gurteen. Their children: William Maher (Kileany, Queen’s County); John Maher (Freshford, 1769-1836); and daughters: Mrs. Cassin, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Lalor, and Kate, a nun. [Thankfully, O’Meagher noted that Kileany was in Queen’s County (Laois), not in Kilkenny, where I could not find it. Kileany is east of Abbeyleix. My great great grandfather, Patrick was said to have been from Queen’s County, and his possible brother or cousin, Matthew, was from Ballinakill. Tennylenton may no longer exist, or may have been a typo on O’Meagher’s part. I have not found the town on a map nor a town that has a spelling close to it.]
William Maher of Kileany (son of William of Tennylenton) 1767-1830, married Catherine Hannell (heiress of Captain Hannell and Ann Scully, Lissaroon, County Tipperary). Their children: William, 1791-1867 (married twice, see below); James Hannell, 1798-1884, died unmarried; John, died unmarried 1829; Edward James (Littleton); Anne, married William J. Maher, no children; Mary, a nun; Frances, unmarried; Ellen, unmarried.
William Maher (1791-1867), son of William of Kileany, married Mary Byrne of Ballyspellan. Their children: Charles (emigrated to America); Mary Ann (married Jeremiah Scully of Freshford). William married a second time to Eliza Savage of Dublin. Their children: Catherine Hannell and James William (as of 1890 both were living in England.) [Ballyspellan Lower is north of Johnstown, on the west side of County Kilkenny, near the border of Tipperary.]
Edward James Maher (1813-1881), of Littlefield, Jenkinstown (son of William Meagher of Kileany) married Mary Ann Moffitt, daughter of Francis, of Raheen House, Queen’s County. Moffitt had been a Captain of the 14th Regiment. Their children: Mary (married Henry Loughnan, J.P., Crohill, Kilkenny); William (born 1855); Francis Edward (born 1856); Anne (married Michael Corcoran); Edward, C. E. (born 1860). [Littlefield is north of Kilkenny City, directly west of Freshford.]
John Maher (1769-1836), of Freshford, brother of William Maher of Kileany, married Alicia Murray, of Kilkenny, in 1792. Their children: William J. (1800-1875, married Anne Maher, no children); Emanuel Murray (born 1802, died unmarried); Mary, Ellen (a nun), Adelaide, and Michael (who died in America). John Maher married a second time to Jane Harold (Limerick). Their children were Kate, Margaret (a nun), Elizabeth (a nun), Jane (a nun), and Fanny (a nun).
NOTE: The stone of Adelaide Maher Quigley, who died in Naugatuck, Connecticut, placed her birth year as about 1808, slightly older than our Patrick, who was born in 1811. We know that women often shaved a few years off their ages, and that children did not always know the correct information when asked to fill out death records or provide information for tombstones. Adelaide Maher, daughter of John Maher and Alicia Murray, was baptized in Freshford on July 16, 1805. (Rothe House Trust Ltd./Irish Family History Foundation)
Interestingly, Griffiths Valuations for the parish of Freshford, Kilkenny, (printed in 1850) show many instances of the names William Maher, John Maher, Wm. John Maher, Esq., William J. Maher, Esq. (and other Mahers) and John Quigley, not only as tenants, but as individuals leasing land to others. In several occurrences they leased property from William de Montmorency Esq., the main landlord. (More about him later.) Surnames in the area, including others who subleased land, replicate closely the many early Anglo-Irish immigrant surnames that can be found in Saint Francis Cemetery, Naugatuck, Connecticut.* Many vacant properties in Freshford’s Griffiths Valuations appear to have been owned by William J. Maher, Esq., perhaps after individuals had already chosen to emigrate (such my great great grandparents who could have been living there after their marriage).
Microfilms of birth and marriage records for Kilkenny can be rented from the Family History Center, Utah, and Joseph Casimir O’Meagher’s notes should be further researched and clarified (as I am presently doing). Also, see Jane Lyon’s web site and her section on Kilkenny. A Google search on Kilkenny Genealogy will turn up many more resources online.
*My book about this cemetery will come out at the end of this year.
Ask About Ireland – Griffith’s Valuation, http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/index.xml
O’Meagher, Joseph Casimir, Some Historical Notices of the O’Meaghers of Ikerrin, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., American Edition: NY, 1890
©2011 Sinéad Ní Mheachair (Janet Maher)
All Rights Reserved
It’s funny Janet how when you hear a person say words they pass on, but when you read words you can begin to think about them. Some placenames come to mind when I read ‘Tennylenton’, other places that may sound the same but spell differently, problem is right now I’ve no direct access to my pacename book so I’ll have to check them another time. We have Quigley’s, Mahers, Meaghers in Rathdowney and that’s only abut 14 miles from Freshford, Johnstown lies in between. All the people and places tie up. You’ve written it beautifully, really easy to follow. Thank you. Will be back again to read more 🙂
Jane, So great to hear from you! And thank you for this! It’s wonderful that you’re seeing something here too, you who would understand best of all and really be able to see how things connect in Ireland. I’ve just been finishing up an article I’ve written about Dr. Stephen Maher, of New Haven, CT, hoping to get this published. There are more connections to the same areas, particularly around Thomastown, in this case. I’ve been scouring the Thomastown and Freshford microfilms, but as you know, it takes so long and can’t stay there all day. Progress every time, though! Cheers!
Joan F Schaefer said:
I have a question about a spelling of the name given as Meaher. There is a famous ship captain of that name in Mobile, Alabama who commanded a slave ship. Also, I have done research on a family in New Orleans using that spelling married to a Burns and a Keenan family. Is anyone else connected to such a Meaher spelling? Thanks for any info.
Joan Schaefer, USA
Joan, I wouldn’t know any specifics about your families, and it sounds like the ship captain would be someone interesting to look into, but your comment makes me think that I should write something soon about names and spellings. Thank you. Based upon what I’ve observed while studying records, my short reply would be that names were written to the best of the person’s spelling ability as they translated what they heard. By the nineteenth century it seems that people started spelling surnames and placenames more consistently, but in very early records, there is quite a range (likewise in pronunciations). Tracking the same family over time can reveal changes in spelling. Check the mailing lists on Roots Web to try to find people looking for your same Meaher, Burns, Keenans, as well as family trees on Ancestry.com. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t (yet) find connections. Those who are connected may not be doing research and may not know that you are or that you exist!
Michael Maher said:
Just on the very remote possibility that there may be a connection, or you have ever had any dealings with my Maher clan… To date my connection to Kilkenny is that my grandfather, William Joseph Maher (1863-1945), was born in Rathmacan, Co Kilkenny, and was the son of Michael Maher and Mary (nee Maher — family stories). William immigrated in the mid-1880s to Omaha, Nebraska (still don’t know why). There he married Catherine McShane (1864-1941) who was born in Loughross, Co Armagh, daughter of Patrick McShane and Catherine nee Callaghan. She also immigrated in the mid-1880s to Omaha and, again, the reason for Omaha is unknown. Together they produced seven offspring and I have mostly been able to track the descendents. I’ve taken the McShane side back to my g-g-grandparents, but thus far have not been able to verify the Maher side other than mentioned above. Should you have, or know of, any connections, please advise. Or if you have any suggestions regarding further possible efforts on my part, please do likewise. Thanks, Mike
Mike, I put a keyword search into Google for Rathmacan, and the Tithe Applotment Books came up. These are on the National Archives of Ireland website. Following links I came to Michael Maher in the Parish of Tullaroan, Kilkenny, 1833. [http://titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie/reels/tab//004625728/004625728_00255.pdf] Neighbors were Ryan, Kelly, Grace, Calbeck and four Fogertys. I would try to get the microfilm for that area and look through the birth and marriage records. You may find Michael and Mary’s info that way.
Family Search [familysearch.org] has film for Tullaroan (1843-1891). Freshford (1773-1881) also turns up under their Tullaroan Church Records. It is Family History Library BRITISH Film #926204. It includes Baptisms 1843-1878; marriages, 1843-1880, 1890-1891. William’s birth record may be there, and if so, maybe some of his siblings. Right now I am not actively doing research, but if I do come upon something that looks like it could be a fit for you, I’ll let you know. Merry Christmas! Janet
Marlene Maher Loadvine said:
Hello, my father was John Joesph Maher born in 1919 in Omaha, Nebraska. I have visited my cousins Mick and Bridie Maher in Rathmacan, Kilkenny, Ireland. My father’s Maher siblings were: Catherine, Patricia, Margaret, Richard, and Edward. I grew up near Omaha and now live in Los Angeles. Please correspond as I would love to connect our common ancestry.
Do you know the connection between the DesMoines Iowa Maher and the Nodaway County, Missouri Maher? Michael Maher and Mary Egan Maher were my great great grandparents and I would like to know more about them.
Janet Maher said:
Hello Marlene, so great for you to have knowledge of cousins in the Old Country and to have visited! All good wishes, Janet
Mary McKeown said:
Hi Janet I am researching my Dunne ancestors who are buried in St Canices Cathedral graveyard .The head stone is erected by a William Dunne to his father Jno Dunne who died 1749 age 39 yrs.William is also buried here date 1796 age 53 .The only other Dunne buried in St Canices is John Dunne the bishop of Ossary .I found a William Dunne who married a Mary Meagher in St Marys parish Kilkenny 1762.He could possibly be my ancestor William as recorded on headstone . They needed a dispensation -maybe they were cousins .Their first child was called John b 1768 so if they followed tradition he may have been caled after Jno above which is John .Other children born to them were William, Catherine ,Barbara, and Susan x 2 .Do you think there might be a connection to your Meaghers .The witnesses on the marriage record of William and Mary are Mary Dunne and John meagher.
Look forward to hearing from you
Hello Mary, It’s great that you have located your ancestors in such a significant place and have documentation that far back. To my regret I wouldn’t have a way to know if your Mary was related in our line, though the name, and others certainly occur. Please see the post on Old Kilcullen Cemetery, where I found some old Dunne graves.
Thank you for writing and good luck with your research,
joe fitzpatrick said:
hi janet, just to let you know that there is a place called tennylenton not certain if that is the correct spelling though ,it is situated aprox two miles after ballyragget on the road to ballinakill.also my grandmother was a maher from crosspatrick near johnstown co kilkenny .
Dear Joe, Thank you so much for telling me this! I have not been able to find Tennylenton on a map, and it is exciting to know that it is very close to Ballinakill. I am still working on finding specific connections with my gg. grandfather, who was likely related to the one Maher in our little Connecticut cemetery whose grave cites Ballinakill. I’d love if we could talk more about this. I feel that Maher connections to my Patrick between these areas so near each other in Laois and Kilkenny are there just waiting to be revealed. Still don’t know when we’re coming back to Ireland, though had been hoping it would be this year, maybe in the fall. Meanwhile feel free to write to me at email@example.com. Thank you again! Janet
John Meagher said:
There is a townland Tinnalinton in the Parish of Conahy which borders my Parish of Freshford.It would be approximately 8 miles from Ballinakill. John Meagher
Thank you very much, John. This is extremely timely, as I am about to go to Ireland for two weeks, hoping to scour particular areas. Rootsweb has a good page showing Kilkenny areas divided into new parishes. (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlkik/caparish_kilkenny.htm) According to this, Conahy was “developed from cuttings from Ballyraggett (1832) and Muckalee (1840) parishes.
John Meagher said:
i know the area very well having lived here all my life.Retired now from teaching inConahy. If i can be of any assistance when you visit Ireland feel free to contact me.
John, thank you. Yes, I will be in touch. I’d love to meet you! Janet
John, I am sorry that I did not get in touch while I was there, but thank you so very much for mentioning Conahy! Conahy was the linchpin to finding some of the other small places. Unfortunately there was not enough time to do everything, but that day proved to be wonderful. Will write about it when I can and would love to email further with you off list. – Janet
John Cherry said:
Janet, I love your blog and the sense of sharing of your research it entails. I have been researching the Lalor family of Laois and Kilkenny which intermarried with the Mahers on several occasions. Exactly how and to whom is not clear. For example, William Meagher of Nicholastown was (along with Jeremy Lalor of Ballyragget) the executors of the will of Denis Lalor of Ballinakill in 1746 (see Irish Register of Deeds). In 1825, William Maher of Kileany was one of the eminent worthies to provide an affadavit of support for ‘my relative’ Maria Lalor, daughter of James Lalor of Cromogue in the curious case of her miraculous cure from dumbness. Patt Lalor patriach of the famous Lalors of Tenakill also provided an affadavit, describing Maria as a ‘near relative’. Patt Lalor had several cousins living in Ballyragget, including Denis Lalor, the father of Sister Alice Lalor, foundress of the Sisters of the Visitation in the US. Cosimer O’Meagher’s pedigree you have outlined above says that one of the daughters of William Meagher of Nicholastown (b 1697) married a Lalor. His son William Maher of Tennylenton (b 1728), father of William of Killeany, also had a daughter who married a Lalor. I am wondering if you have any further intelligence on these Maher ladies and their Lalor spouses? John
John, it is great to hear from you. Thank you very much. These are the exact areas I was trying to scout when there this time, at least per graveyards. Did not do any archives research. I wish I knew more, and, unfortunately, I don’t. You have added more here, however, which helps flesh the picture out more. I do know that Lalors/Lawlors ended up also coming into the area in Connecticut that I am studying, which I think was a chain migration from this general group. Do you know of any Connecticut connections? I’d be happy to email off this with you about this. – Janet
Hello Every one. We are now living in the Dunne cottage in Tullaroan. Love to know any history. Molly (Mary?) Dunne lived here. And Dick Dunne.
I have uploaded information to FamilySearch regarding Martin Maher from Kilkenny who emigrated to South Africa in 1850 aboard the Zenobia, married Margaret Clare and apparently had 13 children there. A daughter there married into an O’Connor family from County Limerick that I was researching. My research ended up being a wild goose chase, but I added the people into FamilySearch anyway if you’re interested.
Janet Maher said:
Thank you, Patricia. It may be that someone reading this will make a connection. -Janet
Kitt Mcmains said:
I too am a Maher. My relatives came over to America also. I believe we have relatives in Ireland still. My sister has all the info. I know that my dad’s cousin lived in Tullarone (spelling)? Would like to chat with you sometime.
Janet Maher said:
Hello Kit, great that your sister has all the info. It would be good to get a clear understanding of the people and places from her, then go visit sometime, traveling and staying in the areas. Yes, I saw that there were many Mahers in Tullarone, a nice cemetery there you’d probably want to visit. Nothing like being there and truly experiencing the place, the people, walking the same roads! – Janet
Debbie Maher said:
My husbands family spelt Maher came from killkenny to Bishopbourne in Tasmania as free settlers not sure of the dates mist likely late 1800s or early 1900s