Friday, November 22, 2019

Connolly connections.....

Irish research is difficult as you move into generation that pre-dated the Famine.  Records often don't exist and you increasingly have to rely on oral history and local knowledge.  Recently Facebook has been a tremendous help, in that localized groups have been formed to search specific areas of Connemara in County Galway.  I belong to a Rosmuc, Lettermore, Carna and now a Moycullen group.

The groups are great for sharing old photos, connecting cousins, and sharing records.  I joined the Moycullen group, as my Connolly's go back to that area.  My Gt Gt Grandfather and his brother left Moycullen and went to Glantrasna around the time of the Famine.  From oral history, we had the names of his parents - James and Nora (Seamus and Honour), and that they were both Conneely's. The villages were Pollnaclogha, Ballydotia and Cloonabina.  We didn't know which side belongs with which village -- but surmised that the "Morgan Conneely" branch (as they're called) belongs to Pollnaclogha.  And we have some thought that Nora/Honor is from this branch.

James/Seamus is probably from Ballydotia/Cloonabina, as there are some early local census records which show a James and a Laurence in those villages.  Later on my Gt Grandfather Seamus Conneely was locally known as "Larry", so this seems likely that his Grandfather Seamus in Moycullen was part of this branch that had a Laurence in it.

Again, a bit of conjecture, but it helps put the story together in the most likely fashion.

So, I posted a quick query on the Moycullen page about what I knew regarding the Pollnaclogha relations, and that we heard we were from the "Morgan Conneelys" -- withing 10 minutes someone posted a response that she knew our family! What an absolute joy.....after years of searching, bingo an instant connection.  The family is in Chicago and the "Morgan Conneelys" term is still used by their family today.  She knew exactly of the house I was referencing that is on our family land (per a now deceased cousin).  She has put me in contact with other members of the family and we're actively sharing information!  So excited to have found a whole new branch and possibly breaking through a brick wall!

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