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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Townland for the Dunns

I have been searching for  Irish ancestors for over thirty years and had all but given up on finding the townlands of Michael Murphy and John Dunn... more on Michael at a later date.  Today I have found the Dunns.

Family tradition, as outlined in Sarah Lonergan's Legacy, said the Dunn(e)s were from the town of Golden in county Tipperary...and as it turns out that was very close and perhaps correct.  What I found in the Irish Parish Registers, which are available on the website of the Irish National Library, are christening records for the seven children of John Dunn and Bridget Lonergan.  The downside is now the story Sarah Lonergan's Legacy must become Bridget Lonergan's Legacy. (1)


The christenings, which are contained in two registers for Killenaule Parish are as follows list the place of residence as Mocklershill(2) (various spellings are used in the records, this spelling is found on today's maps).

  • Patrick Dunn was christened 10  Apr 1822(3) sponsors John Dunne and Mary McDonough. Patrick is found in 1851 in Brantford, Brant, Ontario CAN.  He is a wagon maker.  He died in Brant County in 1883.  He married Mary - and they had 7 known children.

  • Mary Dunn christened 14 Feb 1824 (3) sponsors Edmund Boc and Ellen Dwyer.  Mary Ann married Robert Kelly. They were living in Perth, Ontario in 1861.  By 1870 they had emigrated to Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan.  Mary died there in 1906.  They had 8 known children.
  • Margaret Dunn christened 26 Jun 1826(3) sponsors Patrick Ryan and Margaret Londrigan (this was the only record where the mother's names was not Bridget Lonergan, it was listed as Bridget Londrigan) Margaret married John Cavanaugh.  They were living in Perth in 1861 and Independence Kansas in 1870. John died before 1900 and Margaret is found in 1900 in Kansas City, MO and in Los Angeles CA in 1910.  No death has been found to date.  Margaret and John had eleven children.
  • Cornelius Dunn christened 2 Nov 1828(3) sponsors John Lonergan and Joanna Ryan.  There is a possible census record in Buffalo, New York for Cornelius in 1870, but to date no proof it is the right person and no other records have been found.
  • Thomas Dunn christened 20 Apr 1831(3) sponsors William Dunn and Mary Bowes .  I have not found records for Thomas.  Thomas was remembered by his Grandniece Grace as being quite talented. He played seven different instruments.  The family considered him wayward because he wandered from place to place, never settling down for long in one spot.  He would pop in from time to time, always good natured and with a devil may care attitude.  It would be difficult to trace when or where Thomas died.
  • Bridget Dunn christened 3 Feb 1836(3) sponsors Pat and Mary Dunn. See more in a later blog.
  • Ellen Dunn christened 10 Dec 1840(3) sponsors Michael McGonich and Catherine Ryan.  Ellen was found in one census record with her sister Margaret Cavanaugh, otherwise no records have been found to date.
When she was in Grand Traverse hospital at the end of her years, Bridget, remembered leaving Ireland when she was eleven, but unless she was near a year old when she was christened it seems they must have left earlier.  Mary Ann was married in Brantford, Brant, Ontario, Canada on 25 Oct 1846.  So it would seem the family emigrated sometime between 1841 and 1846.  Bridget also suggested that they lived in Buffalo, NY for a time.  

I have been unable to find John Dunn in Canada or the US in 1850/51 or later.  I also have not found the children who were not married in 1850/51.  I have not seen a copy of Mary Ann's marriage in Brant in 1846 but I did find Patrick in Brant in 1851 which gives credence to the fact that they lived there.  Bridget said that John was a miller, so the next step might be to look for any miller in 1850/51 with the name of John, born in Ireland.  This will be quite a task.

Returning to Ireland, Golden lies within 20 Kilometers of Mocklershill.  I did not find the marriage of John and Bridget in the registers for Killenaula Parish, so perhaps they were married in Golden.  With the christening date  of the oldest child Patrick confirmed the search shouldn't have to cover too many years.

I did find John in the Tithe Applotment listing for Mocklershill which was taken in 1830.  His holdings included a little over 34 acres for which he paid £1-17-9. Also listed is Cornelius Dunn, most likely a brother as his holdings were smaller than Johns at 25 acres.

One other fact became apparent.  There was NO Simon Dunn in the list of children. The christenings found match the list of siblings that Bridget gave the nursing staff at Grand Traverse Hospital. Simon Dunn was connected to Al Smith, and family tradition said he was a brother of Mary Ann and Bridget.  Perhaps he was a cousin?  We do know that he was born in Dublin, not Tipperary so the burden of proof will definitely be upon us if we wish to claim the connection.

Knowing the names of sponsors might also help in finding more on the families.  The search is on.

  1. Sarah Lundriken was the name given on the death certificate of Mary Ann Dunn Kelly, the oldest child of John and Bridget.  Daughter Bridget's death record gives the correct name Bridget.
  2. A link will be provided to a future Mockershill post, in the meantime you can find a map of Mockershill here.
  3. Killenuale Parish Registers, Library of Ireland 

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