Descendants of 'unknown' CUNNINGHAM (to contribute information, please email

Second Generation

2. Myles CUNNINGHAM ('unknown' ) was born in abt 1780s in Templeglantine, Co. Limerick; or Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. He died before 1 Mar 1879 in probably Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry.

Myles and his wife, Johanna Lynes (or Lyons), had a son and seven daughters, all of whom married and remained in the parish of Newtownsandes (now known as Moyvane). Everyone in the area knew of the seven daughters because it so unusual to have seven sisters all married and living in the parish at the same time.

Myles married Johanna LYONS / LYNES. Johanna was born about 1794 in possibly Knockbrane, Lixnaw, Co. Kerry; or Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. She died on 1 Mar 1879 in Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

Unfortunately very little is known of Johanna or the Lyons/Lynes family (the names Lyons and Lynes are interchangeable) although I have been told thay may have come from Knockbrane in Lixnaw, Co. Kerry or Newtownsandes (now Moyvane), Co. Kerry.

However, Heather Olson, a descendant of Johanna and her husband, Myles Cunningham, tells me she has an uncle who is a DNA match with the following people with Lyons/Lynes connections:

1. A descendant of Edmund Dineen from Glenalappa, Moyvane and Honora Lynes from Shronagragra, Moyvane who were married in Moyvane in 1858. Honora was baptised in Duagh, Co. Kerry in 1835 and her parents were Daniel Lynes and Honora Shine who would have been contemporaries of Myles and Johanna. Honora Shine was from Kilbaha.

2. A descendant of Margaret Lynes and Richard Woulfe. It appears Margaret was a sister of Honora Lynes and was baptised in Kilbaha in 1844. She emigrated to the United States, married Richard, and they had a daughter named Aileen.

3. Mary Stack, a daughter of Catherine Lynes and Michael Stack. Catherine was a daughter of  Dermot Lynes and Mary Sullivan and was baptised in Kilbaha in 1839. This DNA match is also a shared match with the descendant of Margaret Lynes and Richard Woulfe.  

It appears, therefore, that our Johanna above was related to Daniel Lynes and Dermot Lynes. Could they have been siblings?

Lynes is a variant of Lyons and is most numerous in counties Kerry, Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. It is an anlicisation of the Irish surname "Ó Laighin" from the word "laighean" meaning lance or spear. The Lyons surname is one of the commonest surnames in Ireland, particularly in the three southern provinces. In Ulster it is usually a variant of the English and Scottish surname "Lyon", but elsewhere it is virtually always the anglicised version of one of two Irish names, Ó Laighin, or Ó Liathain which possibly derives from the Irish word "liath" meaning grey. The Ó Laighin name originated in two areas, Co. Kerry and east Co. Galway. In Kerry the name was almost invariably anglicised as "Lyne". The Ó Liathain family is reputed to have originated in Co. Limerick but the Ó Liathain name is now more common in Co. Cork, particularly in the north of the county.

They had the following children.

+ 6 M i Bryan CUNNINGHAM was born in 1822. He died on 7 Jul 1901.
+ 7 F ii Ellen CUNNINGHAM was born about 26 Apr 1825. She died on 26 May 1883.
+ 8 F iii Hanora (Norrie) CUNNINGHAM was born about 1826. She died after 31 Mar 1901.
  9 F iv
Johanna CUNNINGHAM was born about 24 Apr 1830 in Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. She was christened on 26 Apr 1830 in Newtownsandes, Co. Kerry. She died in probably between 1830 and 1840.

Because another daughter also named Johanna was born ten years later, it is likely that this Johanna died as a child.

There were no sponsors listed on Johanna's baptismal record.
  10 F v
Mary CUNNINGHAM was born about 4 Oct 1832 in Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. She was christened on 6 Oct 1832 in Newtownsandes, Co. Kerry. She died in possibly after 2 Apr 1911 in possibly Aughrim, Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

Sponsors at Mary's baptism were James Cunningham and Mary Woulf.

It is thought by one family source that Mary married a Pat O'Sullivan from Knockbawn (in Co. Kerry?) and that they emigrated to the United States where Pat was killed in a railway accident in the course of his work. However, other family sources believe Mary married a Mr. Moore (possibly named James) from Aughrim.

There is a record (on of the marriage of a widow named Mary Cunningham from Newtownsandes to a James Moore from Listowel on 28 May 1874, but the name of Mary's father on the register is John, not Myles. Furthermore Mary would have been 42 years of age in May 1874 so it is unlikely that this record relates to the marriage of our Mary.

Perhaps Mary married twice, marrying Pat O'Sullivan first and later marrying a Mr. Moore.

If our Mary did indeed marry a Mr. Moore from Aughrim, then it is likely she lived with her niece Margaret Moore (née Mulvihill) in Aughrim towards the end of her life as there is a Mary Moore, aged 81 and widowed, listed in the 1911 census return of Margaret and her husband, Patrick Moore.
Mary married 'UNKNOWN'.
+ 11 F vi Margaret (Peg) CUNNINGHAM was born about 3 Mar 1835. She died after 2 Apr 1911.
+ 12 F vii Johanna CUNNINGHAM was born about 25 Sep 1840. She died on 16 Jan 1920.
+ 13 F viii Brigid (Biddy) CUNNINGHAM was born about 25 Sep 1840. She died before 2 Apr 1911.
+ 14 F ix Ann (Nance) CUNNINGHAM died before 31 Mar 1901.

3. Daniel CUNNINGHAM ('unknown' ) was born in abt 1780s in Co. Limerick; or Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. He died in probably Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry.

Although Daniel farmed in Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry it seems he may have lived in Knockreigh, Lixnaw, Co. Kerry for a time as three of his children appear to have been born in Knockreigh, Mary in 1815, Patrick in 1817 and Margaret in 1818. Their elder and younger siblings all appear to have been born in Kilbaha. Or perhaps Daniel's wife, Honora, was from Knockreigh and wished or happened to give birth in Knockreigh.

And there was a James Cunningham of Kilbaha, married to a Honora Thornton, who had at least two children: Elizabeth, baptised on 7 December 1841 (sponsors were Michael Thornton and Mary Thornton) and Daniel, baptised on 18 May 1844 (with sponsors Daniel Cunningham and Honora Cunningham). Could James have been a son of Daniel's?

Also, we know from a search of Newtownsandes baptismal records in the National Library in Dublin that a Cornelius Cunningham of Kilbaha, who was married to a Brigid Kennelly, had a daughter named Mary who was baptised on 20 September 1868 (with Honora Stack as a sponsor). Could Cornelius possibly have been a son of Daniel's, or a son of Daniel's brother Myles? We have since learned that Cornelius lived in Athea, Co. Limerick where Bridget, his wife, and all his children, except Mary, were born. Cornelius and Bridget had 12 children: Catherine (born in January 1864, probably died as a child), John (December 1864), Michael (1866), Mary (1868, probably died as a child), another Catherine (c.1870, probably died as a child), another Mary (c.1870), Patrick (1872), Johanna (1873) who was known as Nonie, Bridget (1875), Cornelius (1877), Denis (1879) and another Catherine (1881) who was known as Kate. Michael, Mary, Nonie and Denis emigrated to the United States, settling in Kansas City, Missouri. Their mother too emigrated to Kansas City; she was about 60 years of age and left Cornelius back in Ireland. The 1911 census of Ireland tells us that Cornelius, aged 77, was living in Dirreen, Athea at that time. Bridget died in Kansas in 1922.   

Steve Cunningham in the U.S. tells me his great-great-grandparents were Cornelius Cunningham (born about 1836 in Co. Kerry) and Bridget Kennelly (place of birth unknown but she was a daughter of Patrick Kennelly and Mary Mullane) who lived with their family in the Athea area of Co. Limerick, not far from Kilbaha. It is possible that Steve's great-great-grandparents were the same couple whose daughter Mary was baptised in Newtownsandes in September 1868. In case there is indeed a connection between Steve's Cunningham family and the Cunningham family which includes the aforementioned Mary, here's a little more detail on Steve's family: Bridget emigrated to the U.S. in 1906 with her son Denis, his wife Catherine (Katie) O'Sullivan and their two young children, Mary and Cornelius. They settled in Kansas City, Kansas where Bridget died in 1922. Denis and Katie later moved across the state line to Kansas City, Missouri. If anyone has further information on Cornelius and Bridget, an email in the first instance to would be much appreciated.

Daniel married Honora ENRIGHT. Honora died.

They had the following children.

  15 F i
Ellen CUNNINGHAM was born about 10 Jan 1812 in Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry. She was christened on 12 Jan 1812 in Listowel, Co. Kerry.

Baptismal sponsors were Neilus Cunningham and Catherine Stack.
+ 16 M ii Bryan (Little Bryan) "Little Bryan" CUNNINGHAM was born about 25 May 1813. He died on 4 Feb 1894.
  17 F iii
Mary CUNNINGHAM was born about 4 Aug 1815 in possibly Knockreigh, Lixnaw, Co. Kerry. She was christened on 6 Aug 1815 in Listowel, Co. Kerry.

A Mary Cunningham who was married to a William Stack and who lived in Kilbaha, had at least two children, Ellen (born in 1851) and Margaret (1858), both born in Kilbaha. Margaret's baptismal sponsor was a Bryan Cunningham, which leads me to think that Mary above, who had a brother named Bryan, might have been the Mary Cunningham who married William Stack.
+ 18 F iv Margaret CUNNINGHAM was born in 1818. She died on 2 Jun 1903.
+ 19 M v Patrick CUNNINGHAM was born about 1819. He died on 24 Jan 1914.
+ 20 F vi Bridget CUNNINGHAM was born about 4 Feb 1820. She died in possibly 22 Jan 1882.
+ 21 F vii Johanna CUNNINGHAM was born about 21 Nov 1823. She died on 2 Sep 1902.
  22 M viii
John CUNNINGHAM was born about 14 May 1825 in Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. He was christened on 16 May 1825 in Moyvane, Co. Kerry.
  23 F ix
Catherine CUNNINGHAM was born about 15 Apr 1830 in Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. She was christened on 17 Apr 1830 in Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

Sponsors at Catherine's baptism were John Kirby and Ellen Harrington.

Catherine married Michael KENNELLY on 21 Feb 1860 in Moyvane, Co. Kerry. Michael was born in probably Athea, Co. Limerick.

Marriage Notes:

Witnesses were John Dore and John Stack.

4. John CUNNINGHAM (caution: not verified) ('unknown' ) was born about 1791 in Co. Limerick. He died on 18 Oct 1887 in Church St., Listowel, Co. Kerry. He was buried in Murhur Cemetery, Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

John's family is definitely related to my Cunningham family but we have no documentary evidence to prove that John was a brother of Myles and Daniel. However, we do have a letter written in 1956 by Jack Hudson (1878-1960) of Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry (a great grandson of Myles Cunningham, John's putative brother) to his relative Bill Hudson of Florida in which Jack states that "I have never heard of Edward Cunningham but he could be one of the Cunninghams of Irremore that were first cousins of Johanna Hudson's husband." Johanna's husband was Bryan Cunningham, son of Myles, indicating that John's children (who were raised in Irremore) were indeed first cousins of Bryan. Note: the Edward Cunningham mentioned above (1856-1924) was actually a son of Bryan Cunningham and Johanna Hudson. He emigrated to the United States, which is probably why Jack had not heard of him.

It appears John moved with his young family from Co. Limerick to a farm in Irremore near Listowel, Co. Kerry. At some point the family was evicted from this farm, which I am told may have been located near Irremore church. I have also been told that John farmed in Mountcoal near Listowel. As Mountcoal and Irremore seem to be adjacent to each other could the Mountcoal and Irremore farms have been one and the same?

John died at the age of 96, according to his obituary in the Kerry Sentinel of 21 October 1887, although a family source has told me he was 86 years of age when he died. The obituary also tells us he died "at the house of Mr. John Troy, T.O., where he resided a considerable time, being Mrs. Troy's uncle. The funeral was a splendid one, all the respectable inhabitants attending. The coffin, which was a beautiful oaken one, was conveyed to the place of interment in a hearse, where his gransdon, the Rev. J. Cunningham [who died in 1885], was interred not very long since." It therefore appears that John's fortunes had changed considerably since the time of the family's eviction decades before.

The obituary goes on to say the chief mourners were "Messrs John Troy, T.O., J. Nolan, J. Harrington [presumably John's son-in-law John Harrington], J. Cunningham, Kilbaha, B. Cunningham, do. [presumably one of the three Bryan Cunninghams in Kilbaha whom we know of and who were alive at the time]".

Regarding the statement in the obituary that John was an uncle of Mrs. Troy, this is in fact untrue as the Irish Census Search Forms of 1851 (used by the Irish government to prove the age of people who were applying for the Old Age Pension and who were born before Civil Registration began in 1864) show that Mrs. Bessie Troy's mother was Annie Thornton and not a Cunningham. Perhaps John was a more distant relative of Bessie's than an uncle, or perhaps John's connection to Bessie was through his wife, Kate Fitzgerald. Any help in identifying the exact relationship between John and Bessie would be appreciated. Please email Thank you.

John married Catherine (Kate) FITZGERALD about 1827. Catherine was born about 1800. She died in possibly 1840s in probably Irremore, Listowel, Co. Kerry.

Of Kate and John's nine children (that we know of), all but two emigrated to the United States, settling in either Kansas or Kansas City, Missouri.

They had the following children.

+ 24 F i Ellen CUNNINGHAM was born about 1828. She died on 17 Jun 1919.
+ 25 M ii Bryan Patrick CUNNINGHAM was born on 20 Dec 1828. He died on 29 Dec 1910.
  26 F iii
Mary CUNNINGHAM was born about 1829 in Co. Limerick; or Listowel, Co. Kerry. She died in Weston, Kansas.
  27 M iv
Patrick CUNNINGHAM was born about 1832 in Co. Limerick; or Listowel, Co. Kerry. He died on 14 Sep 1877 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Patrick emigrated to Kansas City in 1862. I can find no evidence of a marriage or a family but it appears he was a saloon keeper in Kansas City.
+ 28 M v James CUNNINGHAM was born about 1832. He died in 1900.
+ 29 F vi Bridget CUNNINGHAM was born in Feb 1840.
+ 30 M vii Daniel CUNNINGHAM was born in Mar 1841.
+ 31 F viii Margaret CUNNINGHAM was born about 1841. She died after 31 Mar 1901.
  32 M ix
John Francis CUNNINGHAM was born on 21 Sep 1842 in Irremore or Mountcoal, Lixnaw, Co. Kerry. He died on 23 Jun 1919 in Concordia, Kansas. He was buried in Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery, Concordia, Kansas.

According to family sources John was sent to the United States at the age of 12 following the eviction of the family from their farm in Mountcoal, Listowel. However, The Kerryman newspaper tells us in its edition of 30 October 1915 that John emigrated to the States at the age of 18 with his parents. His parents in fact remained in Ireland but it does appear that John emigrated around the age of 18 as the U.S. census of 1900 census gives his year of emigration as 1860. His eldest brother, Bryan, who was about 14 years his senior, also emigrated to the U.S. in 1860 so it is possible that, rather than emigrating with his parents, John went to the U.S. with Bryan and his family, who lived initially in Atchison, Kansas, where John studied for the priesthood, at St. Benedict's College. He was ordained a priest at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1865, and at the time of his father's death in 1887 he was Vicar General of Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1898 in Leavenworth he was consecrated Bishop of Concordia.

Apparently John encouraged his brothers and sisters who remained in Ireland to move to Kansas, and eventually six of his eight siblings were settled there. He was also successful in encouraging other relatives from Co. Kerry to come to Kansas to enter religious life. Several did so, including:

Fr. John Fitzgerald (dates of birth and death unknown), a first cousin of John's
Fr. William Fitzgerald (1842-1881), a brother of Fr. John above
Fr. Michael M. Mulvihill (born 1888), a cousin of John's (exact type unknown)
Sr. Ann Joseph (Mary Ann) Mulvihill (1894-1992), a sister of Fr. Michael above
Fr. Daniel B Mulvihill (1896-1972), a brother of Fr. Michael and Sr. Ann Joseph above
Sr. Mary Ellen (Johanna) Cunningham (1895-1989), a probable first cousin twice removed of John's
Sr. Mary Estelle (Margaret) Cunningham (1898-1987), a sister of Sr. Mary Ellen above
Fr. Patrick Cronin (1897-1973), a grandnephew of John's
Fr. Michael Moran (1899-1983), a cousin of John's (exact type unknown)
Fr. Daniel B Mulvihill (1927-2006), a nephew of Fr. Michael, Sr. Ann Joseph and Fr. Daniel above

According to the obituary of a Sr. Agnes Flynn in The Kerryman newspaper of 12 May 1934, she was a relative of Bishop Cunningham (exact type unspecified).  Sr. Agnes was from Main St., Abbeyfeale and died in Topeka, Kansas in 1934 following eight years of illness. I have not been able to establish exactly how the Flynns and Cunninghams were connected but here is some information on the Flynn family from Sr. Agnes's obituary:

Sr. Agnes was born on 11 January 1860 in Abbeyfeale and went to Kansas in 1880. Two years later she entered the Sisters of Charity convent. She was primarily a teacher and spent a period of time teaching the children of silver and gold miners in "two [states] in the Rocky Mountain region". She also worked in hospitals and was superioress of St. John's Hospital, Leavenworth, Kansas and St. Vincent's Hospital in Billings, Montana.

There were four siblings of Sr. Agnes's mentioned in the obituary: her brother, John, of Tarbert, Co. Kerry and three sisters who were also members of the Sisters of Charity order: Sr. Anacleta of St. Mary's College, Leavenworth, Sr. Mary Joseph of Immaculata High School, Leavenworth and Sr. Mary Evangelist of Annunciata High School, Denver, Colorado. In an account of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in Leavenworth of both Sr. Agnes and Sr. Anacleta in The Kerryman two years earlier, in 1932, we are told that among the attendees were their brothers William and James, sisters Mary Flynn and Mrs. William Blake, and cousin Rev. John Fitzgerald. This perhaps indicates that these relatives lived in the United States; and because Bishop Cunningham's mother was a Fitzgerald perhaps Sr. Agnes and the bishop were related through the Fizgeralds. The newspaper account of the jubilee celebrations also tells us that "other cousins from Ireland included William and Rodney McAuliffe and Miss Mary McAuliffe" and that four sisters of Sr. Agnes and Sr. Anacleta entered the Sisters of Charity order in Leavenworth, although we have names of only two (Mary Flynn and Mrs. William Blake, mentioned above).

We also know of another relative of John's, a Sr. Mary Felicitas McAuliffe (C.1889-1959) who was from Kansas and presumably related to the McAuliffes mentioned above.

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