Descendants of Mary MACDONALD / MCDONNELL (to contribute information, please email Helen@HelensFamilyTrees.com)

First Generation


1. Mary MACDONALD / MCDONNELL was born about 1820 in probably Knocklonogad area, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. She died on 24 Oct 1894 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow.

It is thought that the MacDonald/McDonnell family may have come from the Knocklonogad area in Garryhill, Co. Carlow. Note: In some older references to Knocklonogad, its parish is given as Sliguff rather than Garryhill.  

Mary's surname was probably MacDonald rather than McDonnell, but on the baptismal records of some of her children, Mary's surname is given as McDonnell. The McDonald spelling is also used. Also note that that I have seen Knocklonogad spelled as Knocklonegad and Knocklonagad.

According to her death certificate Mary died of 'Hemiplegia (5 days)'. Hemiplegia typically follows a stroke. Her son Patrick was present at death.

Both the MacDonald and McDonnell surnames are very common and are widely distributed throughout Ireland. They are separate surnames but they share the same origin, coming from the the Scottish or Irish personal name "Domhnall", meaning "world mighty". However, true MacDonalds are descendants of the powerful Scottish clan of the same name. The Scottish MacDonalds' involvement in Ireland started in the thirteenth century when they first arrived as gallowglasses or mercenaries. Such was their success that they were employed in virtually every local war, spreading and settling throughout the country over the following centuries. Their main connection, however, remained with Ulster. A secondary influx into that province of settlers bearing the MacDonald name occurred in the eighteenth century, when the Highland clearances caused great forced migration from Scotland. There was also a native Irish McDonnell family in Ulster who were rulers of Fermanagh before they were displaced. They then settled in the north of adjoining Co. Monaghan and remain numerous in the area. Another McDonnell family arose in the old kingdom of Thomond in the Clare/Limerick area.

Mary married John MURPHY, son of William J. MURPHY and Mary MURPHY. John was born in 1811 in probably Knocklonogad area, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. He died on 25 Nov 1887 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow.

John was a farmer. According to his death certificate, John died of 'senile decay' (1 year)'. His son Patrick was present at death.

They had the following children.

+ 2 M i William John MURPHY was born in 1846. He died in 1932.
  3 M ii
Thomas MURPHY was born about 26 Oct 1847 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. He was christened on 26 Oct 1847 in Myshall, Co. Carlow. He died on 16 Apr 1883.

Sponsors at Thomas's christening were Patrick MacDonald and Margaret Connors.

While I have been told Thomas died on 16 April 1883, I have also come across a 1911 census record for the household of a Thomas Murphy aged 64 and living in Drumfea (also spelled Drumphea), Garryhill, Co. Carlow with his wife, two children and 56-year-old brother James who was single. Although the Murphy surname is very common, given the Garryhill connection and the similarity in ages between Thomas and James from the census and our Thomas above who was aged about 63 in 1911 and his brother James who was about 59, I think there is a possibility the brothers from the census might be our Thomas and James.

In case the two pairs of brothers are the same, here are the census details:

Thomas (aged 64), farmer
Johanna (56), wife
Brigid (16), daughter
John (14), son
James (56), brother

All of the above were born in Co. Carlow. The census also tells us that Thomas and Johanna had been married 18 years and had two children born alive, both of whom were still alive at the time of the census. The fact that Thomas named his first son John ties helps to strengthen my belief that he is our Thomas as it was the tradition at that time to name the first-born son after the paternal grandfather.
  4 M iii
Patrick MURPHY was born about 11 Mar 1849 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. He was christened on 11 Mar 1849 in Myshall, Co. Carlow. He died in Oct 1936 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow.

Sponsors at Patrick's baptism were Laurence MacDonnell and Mary Nolan.

While the Carlow Genealogy Project has found a record of a marriage of a Patrick Murphy to Anne Fenlon in Myshall in 1877, I am inclined to believe that our Patrick never married as I have come across a 1911 census record for the household of a Patrick Murphy, aged 62 and single and living in Knocklonogad with his unmarried sister Brigid aged 59 and unmarried brother John aged 51. Given the similarity in ages between the three siblings from the census and our Patrick above and his sister Bridget and brother John who were aged about 61, 57 and 51 respectively, it is likely that both sets of siblings are the same.
  5 M iv
James MURPHY was born about 2 Mar 1851 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. He was christened on 2 Mar 1851 in Myshall, Co. Carlow.

Sponsors at James' christening were John MacDonnell and Bridget (no last name given).

While the Carlow Genealogy Project has found records of the following marriages of a James Murphy in the Garryhill area, it is possible that our James remained single (please see notes for James's older brother Thomas above for details):
Bride: Elizabeth Kennedy; Place: Myshall; Year: 1880
Bride: Bridget Rourke; Place: Myshall; Year: 1882
Bride: Teresa Lowry; Place: Bagenalstown; Year: 1892
  6 F v
Bridget MURPHY was born about 16 Jan 1853 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. She was christened on 16 Jan 1853 in Myshall, Co. Carlow. She died on 28 Jul 1926 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. She was buried on 30 Jul 1926 in Drumphea Cemetery, Garryhill, Co. Carlow.

Sponsors at Bridget's christening were Thomas MacDonnell and Joanne MacDonnell.

We know that Bridget never married and it appears that she lived in Knocklonogad with her unmarried brothers Patrick and John. Please see the notes above on Bridget's older brother Patrick for details.
+ 7 F vi Mary MURPHY was born about 29 Mar 1857. She died on 2 Apr 1932.
  8 M vii
John MURPHY was born about 28 Aug 1859 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. He was christened on 28 Aug 1859 in Myshall, Co. Carlow.

Sponsors at John's christening were Patrick Young and Mary Young.

While the Carlow Genealogy Project has found records of the following marriages of a John Murphy, it seems likely that our John never married (please see notes above on John's older brother Patrick for details):
Bride: Bridget Lynch; Place: Leighlinbridge; Year: 1879
Bride: Mary Coogan; Place: Rathvilly; Year: 1881
  9 F viii
Margaret MURPHY was born about 1 Mar 1862 in Knocklonogad, Garryhill, Co. Carlow. She was christened on 1 Mar 1862 in Myshall, Co. Carlow.

Sponsors at Margaret's baptism were Hugh Curran and Anne MacDonald.

The 1911 census of England has a 49-year-old Marguerite (sic) Murphy from Knocklonogad listed as an "assistant" and "help to Mother Superior to carry on school". The school in question was Catholic and located at 20 Fore St., Kingsbridge in Devon. The Mother Superior and the other six assistants at the school were all French and the boarders were a mix of French and British. Marguerite's age and place of birth had led me to believe that Marguerite is our Margaret above, with her first name given in its French form. It appears that Marguerite and the other assistants were lay staff rather than religious sisters.

I was unable to find Margaret/Marguerite in the 1901 censuses of Ireland and England.

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