Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The O'Neill Connection To St. Patrick

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I wanted to highlight the O'Neill family connection to St. Patrick.

All information on the older O'Neill ancestors, my 3rd great grand-parents and beyond, is from Patrick G. O’Neill, my 1st cousin 3x removed, who wrote the O'Neill Descendants of Con & Katherine 1700-2000 with George K. O'Neill, another distant O'Neill cousin, I was able to purchase the book he wrote and learn more about the O'Neill family.

The O'Neill line begins with my 2nd, great grand-mother, Winifred Agnes O'Neill. Winifred was born 03 Sep 1874 in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Michael O'Neill and Ellen Cunningham, my 3rd great grand-parents.

Winifred Agnes O'Neill and Robert Alphonsus McDonald by michelle.murosky

Winifred Agnes O'Neill and her husband Robert Alphonsus McDonald

Michael O'Neill was born 19 Sep 1827 in County Leitrim, Ireland. Michael was the son of Thomas O'Neill Jr. and Bridget Conboy, my 4th great-grandparents. Thomas O'Neill Jr. and Bridget Conboy had nine children, all were born in County Leitrim, Ireland. Birth records for some of the later children indicate the birth location was Sruhan, Fenagh Parish, County Leitrim, Ireland.

Michael O'Neill

Michael sailed from Liverpool on May 12, 1851 on the ship "Roscius". He would have departed Ireland during the "Great Famine" which struck the country between 1845 and 1852. This would have been a period of incredible hardship for the Irish people and we should be thankful our ancestors lived through this period considering the large amount of death that resulted.

He settled in Clarion County Pennsylvania. He married  Lucinda Jane Aaron on 13 Feb 1855 in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. They had six children together before Lucinda died on 20 Apr 1870. Michael married Ellen Cunningham on 20 Apr 1871 in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. They had ten children together.  Michael died on 08 Feb 1892 in Limestone Township, Clarion County, Pennsylvania at the age of 64.

Michael's father Thomas O'Neill Jr. was born about 1799 in Ireland the son of Thomas O'Neill Sr. and Leticia York, my 5th great grand-parents. Thomas O'Neill Jr. died on 19 Jul 1873 in County Leitrim, Union of Mohill, District of Rowan, Ireland at the age of 74.  Thomas was buried at the Fenagh Abbey Cemetery, Fenagh Parish, County Leitrim, Ireland.

Fenagh Abbey is one of the most ancient monastic sites in Ireland. (Additional images Fenagh Abbey) It is said that nineteen Gaelic Kings are buried in the graveyard. History has it that St. Patrick's early work preaching was at a site several miles north of the present day abbey ruins which date from the fifteenth century.

At least two generations of our direct O'Neill line lived in this general area before departing Ireland for the United States. Only two of Thomas O'Neill Jr. and Bridget Conboy's nine children remained in Ireland.
  1. O'Neill Descendants of Con & Katherine 1700-2000

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