Saturday, September 17, 2016

Heading to Church

A wealth of church material has come onlineat least from Irelandin the last few years, a research bonanza for someone like me, in hot pursuit of my husband's Irish ancestors. What I may not have been able to find in property records of the era in which his second great grandparents lived, I may be able to piece together from church records.

For some reason, the first two children of John Kelly and Johanna Falvey have not been identified in any baptismal records that I can findso farbut there are some possibilities for their second daughter. While this is disappointing for metheir eldest daughter, Catherine, being my husband's direct ancestorI did find some possibilities for the baptism of their second daughter, Mary.

I have my doubts about these, though. Since the Irish designations often were specific to the townlandsa rather small slice of the Irish landscape inside the civil parishes inside the baronies inside the countiesit could be quite possible that we'd be talking about a John Kelly from County Kerry who turned out to be from the townland, for instance, of Lisheennacannina instead of the one from Knockauncore. With a name like Kelly, it was easy to find multiple possibilities for "our man."

Still, since it might be helpful to catalog all the possibilities, here are a couple that I found. Though both are named Mary Kellyand both are daughters of John Kelly and Johanna Falveythey were from different townlands. And they were born on different dates.

The first possibility for Mary Kelly was baptised September 25, 1864, in the church parish of Killeentierna. The record indicated her "domicile" was in Currow which, try as I might to find it, turned out to be a location whose category I couldn't determine. Let's just take our lead from other information and say it was a village near the civil parish of Kilcummin.

Note that this Mary's parents were confirmed to be John Kelly and Johanna Falvey. Notice, also, that the child's baptismal sponsors were James and Margaret Fleming. That Fleming surname, as it turns out, kept popping up in the various records I've found concerning John Kelly and Johanna Falvey.

There was the other Mary Kelly, of course. Her baptism occurred March 24, 1867, in the same church parish, Killeentierna. Just like the earlier Mary Kelly, this one had John Kelly and Johanna Falvey listed as her parents. The sponsors, although not the James and Margaret Fleming of the earlier baptism, were also, presumably, part of the Fleming family: John Fleming and Mary O'Brien. (James and Margaret, it turns out, were busy standing in for the baptism of another child that same day: Catherine, daughter of David Fleming and Catherine O'Connor.)

While the baptism for which James and Margaret Fleming served as godparents noted that the family was from, again, Currow, that was not the case for this second Mary Kelly. Her domicile was listed, this time, as Barnfield.

Barnfield interjects a bit of difficulty in my quest to figure out possible townlands for the Kelly family. It doesn't show in the usual websites providing identification of townlands in County Kerry. However, if one chooses to go back to the era of the Tithe Applotment booksat least according to the transcriptions supplied by the National Library of IrelandBarnfield was a townland within the civil parish of Killeentierna.

Perhaps the parents of the second Mary of Barnfield were one and the same as the parents of the first Mary of Currow. At least they were in the vicinity of each other's home. Why might there be two Marys? One possibility is the 1864 Mary died in childhood and her name given to the next child born into the same family.

Of course, the other possibility is that there was more than one John and Johanna Kelly familywith Fleming relationshipsin the same neighborhood. We are, after all, talking about the surname Kellythe "Smith" of Ireland.

Above images of the Catholic Parish Registers courtesy National Library of Ireland via (with location of each as indicated in hyperlinks above).  


  1. Are these two births in the civil registration records?

    1. Kat, while the civil registrations--effective since 1864--should include both Marys, I haven't been able to locate them...yet.

    2. I found one john Kelly and Joanna falvey will save it and send later on my laptop

    3. 1864


    4. Kat, thank you so much!!! I had found transcriptions for these two entries, but for some reason, was unable to bring up the images. How awesome to see them!

      Though each residence was listed somewhat differently, both are for the parish of Killeentierna. Though I haven't been able to find any of the other children of this family (the family emigrated after the second Mary's birth, and the older children were born before civil registrations included Catholic families), I think these are good possibilities.

  2. I am thinking that the first Mary passed away and the name was used for the next daughter.

    1. That's what I am thinking, Miss Merry. Mary may be a very important name to that family, one they wanted to pass down, no matter what.


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