O’HARA FAMILY HISTORY
Most hereditary surnames in Ireland only came into use in the tenth century by command of the illustrious King Brian Boru. Historians believe Irish pedigrees are fairly accurate back to the 6th and possibly to the 5th century. Most Irish are descended from one of the three sons of Milesius who had issue, named Ir, Heremon, and Heber. Their father Milesius of Spain (Gaul) was a valiant warrior and contemporary with Solomon. He planned to invade Ireland to avenge the death of his brother Ithe and also to fulfill a prophesy. After his death his eight sons took on the charge and five of the eight were killed in the landing upon the treacherous coast of Ireland including the son named Ir.
The other two Heber and younger brother Heremon were jointly the first Milesian monarchs of Ireland. They began to reign over 3700 years ago in 1699 B.C., the first of one hundred eighty three Kings or sole Monarchs of the Gaelic, Milesian, or Scottish race who governed Ireland successively for two thousand eight hundred and eighty five years, from the first year of their reign to submission to the Crown of England - to King Henry II. Heber was slain by Heremon in a quarrel. From the Heber came the afore mentioned King Brian Boru and from him also came the O’Haras'.
The O’Haras' were of the Clan Cian. Cian was a son of Heber line descendant Olioll Olum, the King of Muster in the 3rd century. Olioll Olum’s father Owen Mor had battled continually with "Conn of The Hundred Battles" - the 110th Monarch of Ireland. Finally they divided the Kingdom into equal parts. Owen Mor was eventually slain by Conn and his son Olioll Olum married a widowed daughter of Conn. Seven of Olioll Olum’s sons were subsequently killed in waging war against his son-in-law Maccon, whom Olioll Olum had banished from Ireland but who raised an army in Scotland and returned. Olioll had only two sons left, Cormac Cas and Cian. From Cormac Cas came King Brian Boru and from Cian came the O’Haras'.
In Irish the name is OhEaghra of which the anglicized form O’Hara is a phonetic rendering. The O’ indicates the ancient Irish name origin and descent from the three sons of Milesius who had issue. According to O'Cleary, who compiled The Annals of The Four Masters in 1632, in ancient days the O’ was reserved for the Milesian Irish families of high or noble rank. The "O’" prefix can reasonably be taken as meaning something akin to "of", in the sense of "of the bloodline of . . ."
Eaghra (pronounced Ara), was chief of Leyney (or Lughne) in County Sligo, now the barony of Lieney, Co. Sligo. It previously included parts of Costello and Gallen in Mayo. The O’Haras had castles in Castlelough, Memlough, and others in parts of Leyney. About 1350 the O’Hara Clan formed two divisions:-
(1) Chief was
O’Hara Boy (i.e. buide, the tawny). O’Hara
Boy was seated at Collooney in Co. Sligo.
In the reign of Queen Anne and King George I the O’Haras were created Barons of Tirawley and Kilmain, Mayo. That is until Cromwell came along. The famous manuscript known as The Book of O’Hara contains a very full record of chiefs of the name. 1
Killinkere Parish - County Cavan
But I know the lie of it still.
Just turn to the left at the Bridge of Finnea
And stop when halfway to Cootehill. 2
The earliest record placing an O’Hara in Killinkere Parish (pronounced Cillin Ciar) in the highlands of eastern County Cavan County Cavan is a list of persons known as the 1796 Flax Grower’s List or Spinning Wheels Entitlements List. It is a list of about 58,000 farmers who grew a ¼ acre or more crop of flax in Ireland that year. The only person listed for County Cavan with the O’Hara surname was John O’Hara who grew a ¼ acre crop in Killinkere thus earning him an entitlement to a free spinning wheel 3. Suggesting this John O’Hara may have been the progenitor of the O’Hara family of this parish, whose descendants mostly emigrated to Australia from the 1850s to the 1880s, is that the name of "John" as an eldest son is subsequently found in the parish in the line of Samuel O’Hara of Greaghadossan townland. From early in the 2nd millenium Country Sligo was the seat of the O’Hara clan in Ireland so it is likely John O’Hara of Killinkere or an ancestor of his initially migrated about thirty miles from County Sligo to Killingah parish in western County Cavan and then further east to settle in Killinkere parish and at some point the native Irish Catholic denomination changed to that of the Protestant established Church of Ireland.
The only other and earliest known O'Hara in Co. Cavan is a listing in the 1897 published Index to the prerogative wills of Ireland, 1536-1810 of the 1729 probated will of Cormick O'Hara of Drumully in Co. Cavan. None of the 19th century census records have survived for Killinkere parish so it is necessary to determine O'Hara townland locations in the parish from other records. After the 1796 Flax Growers List the next available record of land occupation is the 1833 Tithe Applotment Valuation. This valuation was made for the purpose of arriving at a basis for assessment of an annual tithe payable by occupiers of land to the established Church of Ireland for its use to maintain the church establishments catering for the needs of the aged, poor etc. The name of John O'Hara is not present in the Killinkere parish listing indicating by then he was deceased or in a townland whose valuations record has not survived.
Killinkere parish baptism and burial registers from 1761 to 1877 and marriage registers from 1761 to 1845 were destroyed in the explosion at the Irish Record Office at Four Courts in Dublin on 29 June 1922. Some years before almost 100 extracts of entries in the baptism, marriage and burial registers were taken and published in a journal in 1923 and 1924 37. They are the only available pre-1845 Killinkere parish register records. A third of the entries were for the Kellett surname with the first of that name extracted being a baptism in 1761. The O'Hara name does not appear in the extractions although Joseph O'Hara did marry a Margaret Kellett. The nearest church town was Bailieborough. Its Church of Ireland parish registers are said to begin in 1744 and are held in local custody. They have not been consulted and are likely very limited with gaps and in Latin. Registers and transcripts of the Bailieborough Church of Ireland registers held by the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin commence from 1824 for baptisms and 1809 for marriages and burials. To establish that 1796 flax grower John O'Hara was the progenitor of this O'Hara family baptisms for children with him as the father would need to be identified which is prima facie impossible as the commencement dates of the surviving baptism registers are far too late. It cannot be excluded that the family progenitor may have not been John O'Hara but another O'Hara who who did not grow a crop of flax in Killinkere parish 1796 so was not listed in the Flax Growers Spinning Wheel Entitlement list.
At the 1833 tithes valuation there were three named O’Hara listed in different townlands in Killinkere parish. The two known to be relevant relevant to this particular O’Hara family were Samuel O’Hara in adjoining each other Greaghadossan and Lismagiril townlands, and Thomas O’Hara in Coolnacola townland 4. In addition to the two there was also a known brother of Samuel O'Hara named Joseph who in 1833 was likely on a farm in Lissannymore townland where the parish record of the birth of his daughter Martha had him residing in 1840. Lissannymore is one of a number of Killinkere townlands whose 1833 Tithes Applotment Valuation record has not survived. No evidence is available to link this family to a third O'Hara named Ambrose listed in the Tithes Valuation for Killinkere on a small farm in Carricknamaddoo townland bordering Lavey parish.
The next general valuation of Ireland was the Griffith Valuation done for County Cavan in 1856/57. It listed 43 farm occupiers with the O’Hara surname of which half were situated in the three most westerly parishes of Killingah, Kinawley and Templeport. The O’Haras' listed in eastern Co. Cavan occupying farms in Killinkere parish townlands who were likely related to one another were:- Samuel in Greaghadossan and his eldest son John in Lismagiril, Joseph in Drumfomina, and Thomas in Coolnacola. Australian immigration arrival records of their children establish Samuel and Joseph were brothers 5. It is possible the Thomas O'Hara in Coolnacola listed at the earlier 1833 valuation was the father of the Thomas who was there in 1856. Under this scenario speculated Killinkere family progenitor John O'Hara had three sons - Thomas, Samuel and Joseph of whom Thomas was deceased by 1856. There was also a possible close relative of the Thomas listed at the Griffith named William O'Hara who was listed at this 1856 valuation occupying a farm in Seefin townland in adjoining Knockbride Parish. There is an indication he was possibly Thomas's younger brother. It is possible the Thomas farming in Coolnacola at the 1856 valuation was a brother of Samuel and Joseph O'Hara. However because he was considerably younger than either it is thought he was more likely their nephew. The eldest known son of this Thomas named Adam arrived in Australia in 1863 in company with John eldest son of Samuel of Greaghadossan. This suggests a close family relationship. However as John O'Hara’s wife and Adam’s mother were Loughheads the relationship of John to Adam could have been on either their O'Hara or Loughhead side or on both. Thus the precise basis of the relationship of Thomas of Coolnacola to the other two known brothers Samuel Sr. and Joseph remains uncertain. It seems to this compiler Thomas of Coolnacola and William of Seefin were likely brothers and thus nephews of Samuel Sr. and Joseph.
In the 1857 Griffith Valuation Joseph
O’Hara was listed as one of the twenty-nine land occupiers
in Drumfomina townland where he leased a 15 acre farm designated
number "23 a & b" from the landowner "Elliott &
Others" who owned much of the 267 acre townland. His farm was
located just off the main Dublin Road, between New Inn and Billis,
and had two dwellings of which one was sublet to a Margaret Brayson.
The baptism records for daughter Martha and next born child Susan
indicate the family would have moved to the Drumfomina farm
between 1841 and 1843 as they record Joseph was in Lissannymore
townland in December 1840 and in Drumfomina by December 1843.
Unknown to man, is marked by God.
Listed below are the seven known children of Joseph O’Hara and Margaret Kellett ascertained from records of Ireland marriages 1845-1882, Billis Church of Ireland baptisms from 1840, Billis C of I burials from 1851, and the Ireland civil deaths indexes 1864-1912 :-
(1) Thomas O’Hara b. 17 May 1831, Co. Cavan, Ireland - a farmer of Drumfomina, Killinkere Parish when he married on 7 Jul 1852 in Killinkere Church of Ireland, Sarah O’Hara b. ca. 1831 of Greaghadossan, Killinkere, his cousin and daughter of Samuel O’Hara and Elizabeth Jordan, (witnesses James Clisdell and Samuel O’Hara). Thomas and his wife emigrated to Australia, arriving at Moreton Bay, Queensland on 25 Apr 1853 on the Florentia. A pioneer settler from abt. 1858 at Glen Innes on the New England tablelands in northern NSW, where he was a farmer and grazier, a member of the first Municipal Council and the area's Guardian of Minors. They had 11 children and at least 81 grandchildren - see History & Family TreeIt seems Samuel O’Hara of Geaghadossan townland was likely born in the late 1780s making him the elder of the two known Killinkere Parish O’Hara brothers. It is likely he was the Samuel O’Hara listed in the 1833 Tithe Applotment Valuations occupying a 10 acre farm in Geaghadossan plus 6 acres in adjoining Lismagiril townland. It is known from Australian immigration records Samuel was deceased before 1863 when his son John and family emigrated to Australia. There is no record of his death as civil death registration did not commence in Ireland until 1864 and surviving Killinkere C of I church burial records only commence from 1877. There is no surviving census covering the period of his life, so baring the unlikely mention of his age appearing on a registered lease in unconsulted deed records or in a record such as that of Killinkere residents holding firearms, it will never be known when Samuel was born. Same applies to his date of death unless there is an inscribed stone marker in the Killinkere Church of Ireland graveyard. All that can be inferred from the available records is that he died between 1857 and 1863. His wife Elizabeth Jordan died in 1873 at the age of 82 years which gives her a circa 1791 birth year 13. As no index of inscriptions is available for Killinkere C of I graveyard it is not known if there is a stone marking either of their graves. After his father's death their last born son William apparently continued on as the tenant of the Greaghadossan farms until he and his family emigrated to Australia in 1880.
The Griffith Valuation of Ireland, done for Killinkere parish in 1856/57, listed Samuel O’Hara in Geaghadossan townland on a 33 acre farm comprised of two portions each with a dwelling designated 7 & 8 as a tenant of Maxwell family member Lord Farnham who owned the whole of the townland. The below photograph is purported to be of Samuel O'Hara's stone walled cabin on what was once farm portion #8. It was taken in 1995 when in use as a cattle shelter on land said to then form part of a farm owned by a George Thompson 35. Whether this cabin was in fact located on what in 1856/57 was farm portion #8 could be established from aerial survey photographs. To have been the Samuel O'Hara cabin it would need to have been located about one mile after the Greaghadossan townland access lane crosses a creek marking the SE boundary of the townland with that of adjoining Cleefin townland. For the route from the Virginia to Bailieborough road to the approximate location of where the Samuel O'Hara cabin would have been on farm portion #8 in 1857 see the one inch to mile scale Hill Map.
Known children of Samuel O’Hara and Elizabeth Jordan were as follows:-The third of the Killinkere Parish O’Haras, who was likely either a much younger brother to the other two or perhaps a nephew, was Thomas O’Hara who was on farm number 6 of 22 acres in Coolnacola townland at the time of the 1857 Griffith Valuation. It is known from the Australian immigration record of his son Adam that the wife of Thomas was Mary Loughead. It is presumed she was one of the Lougheads of Seefin townland in Knockbride Parish which adjoins Killinkere to the north. The Loughead relationship to the O’Haras also existed in the line of Samuel O’Hara of Greaghadossan, as his eldest son John who came to Australia in 1863 married Elizabeth Lougheed in 1847 who was likely the daughter of Adam Loughead of Seefin.
The birth year of Thomas O’Hara of Coolnacola is uncertain. His civil and church parish death records differ by nine years, indicating only that he was born between the years 1808 and 1817. According to the Killinkere C of I burial book he was aged 72 when he died on 11 May 1880 24. He was aged 63 according to his civil death record 14. It is not known if he has a headstone in Killinkere C of I Church graveyard. It seems possible his wife Mary remarried almost immediately after his death, which if so would explain why she and daughter Margaret decided not to come to Australia with son William in 1881 to join her children Adam and Elizabeth. The marriage indexes list a Bailieborough district marriage of a Mary O’Hara in the 3rd quarter of 1880 19.
As with any pre-1878 births in this area to Church of Ireland families establishing names and birth dates can usually only be done from a record of their marriage which often give the ages of each party.
Seven possible children of Thomas O’Hara and Mary Loughhead as identified from records other than the 1840-1878 Killinkere C of I baptisms were:William O’Hara of Seefin townland, Knockbride Parish, born ca. 1822 31; died 1912 31; buried in Seefin Graveyard in Gola townland 28,29. He married in 1847 23 Jane Leech born ca. 1823 15; died 1 Jan 1894 15,30 ; buried in Seefin Graveyard. He was listed in the 1856/57 Griffith Valuation occupying a farm in Seefin townland in Knockbride Parish which adjoins Killinkere Parish on its northern border.
It has been been said by an elderely Killinkere Parish resident that a
early 1930s High Court contested will of the batchelor son of William
O'Hara of Seefin named Thomas, in which Thomas bequeathed a farm
in Coonacola townland to the grandson of John O'Hara of Coolnacola,
indicates William of Seefin would have been related to Thomas
O'Hara of Coolnacola. If it can be established, as has been
presumed here, that John O'Hara who died in July 1881 was the
son of Thomas of Coolnacola such undoubtably would
have been the case. However a complicating factor is that unlike
the three Killinkere Parish O'Haras' it seems apparent from the fact of
the burial of William and his wife Jane Leech in Seefin Presbyterian
Cemetery in Gola townland that William of Seefin was of that faith.
Such should be confirmed by his yet unsighted 1847 marriage record.
However it is possible he converted from the Church of Ireland to
Prebyterianism after he married Jane Leech, perhaps during a early
1850s Presbyterian membership drive.
The only two known children of William O’Hara and Jane Leech were:
And the homes that I know so well,
And the mountains grand of my own native land,
I'm biddin’ them all adieu .......
The majority of identified family members emigrated to other lands during the 19th century. Emigration to Australia from Ireland that century is estimated to have numbered around 400,000. About ten times that number went to the United States. It was often the case that a male family member emigrated first in the role of a scout and reported back to the family on the availability of land in the new place etc.. In the case of the emigration of the Killinkere O’Haras to Australia that role seemed to have been fulfilled by women with the male family members following later. Similarly with New Zealand the first O'Hara to arrive was a woman §SOURCES:
1 Originally extracted from : John O’Hart’s, Irish Pedigrees, Composition Book of Connacht, The Annals of The Four Masters. The Book of O'Hara commemorating the O’Hara chiefs was compiled in the 18th century. A digital copy of a 1951 published non-English edition of the The Book of O'Hara is online in Modern Irish.
2 Percy French, Come Back Paddy Reilly, To Ballyjamesduff (song)
3 LDS Church Microfilm - Spinning Wheel Enitlement List
4 LDS Church Microfilm #0256641 - Tithe Applotment Books 1824-1840 (Killinkere)
5 NSW State Archives, NSW Immigration, Persons on Bountry Ships - reel #2137 & #2471 - Mangerton 28 Jul 1855 immigration record of Jane O’Hara (dau. of Joseph) states Hugh Wauhop, husband of Mary O’Hara (a dau. of Samuel Sr.) was her cousin-in-law.
6 Ibid immigration record for Margaret O’Hara aged 18
7 Herbert W. Stewart, Billis Church Headstones and Burial Book Records (1997) p.18
8 LDS Church Microfilms - Death Indexes 1882 1st Qtr. Vol 2, p.297
9 Ibid 1879 Vol 2, p.341
10 Ibid 2nd Qtr. 1888 Vol 2, p.287
11 Ibid 1870 Vol 2, p.350 - age 30 years.
12 Ibid 3rd Qtr. 1881 Vol. 2, p.243 - the "4" is indistinct so may be another number.
13 Ibid 1873 Vol 2, p.351 (aged 82 years)
14 Ibid 3rd Qtr.1880 Vol 2, p.271 (aged 63 years)
15 Ibid 1st Qtr 1894 Vol 2, p.327 "age 71"
16 Informant for William Sheils 1859 death registration was his "sister-in-law Mrs. M. Smith". Margaret & William Smith had a daughter named Martha Amelia Smith whose birth was registered in 1860.
17 Billis C of I Baptisms extracted by Herbert Stewart, Termon, Virginia - letter 19 Nov 1999
18 LDS Church - Ireland Marriages microfilm #0101488, 1866 Vol. Vol.2, p.565
19 LDS Church Microfilms - Ireland Marriage Indexes 1880 3rd Qtr. Vol. 2, p. 297
20 Ibid 1871 Vol 8, p.149
21 Ibid 1869 Vol 1, p.848.
22 Ibid 2nd Qtr. 1895 Vol 2, p.367
23 Ibid 1847 Vol 1, p. 473
24 Killinkere C of I Burials - "age 72 years" extracted by Herbert Stewart - letters of Sept 1999 & 19 Nov 1999
26 Dec. 1999 email advice from Patricia Kostelnick of the USA who extracted the record from the Kilmont Church marriage records.
27 Dec 1999 email from Pat Moreau of Canada who had the marriage record.
28 Headstone in Seefin Presbyterian Graveyard in Gola townland erected by Margaret O’Hara for her father William (it does not give his 1912 death year or the date) & her brother Thomas d. 1932 aged 80 years.
29 Eugene Markey, Knockbride a History - has names/details from the headstones in Seefin Graveyard in Gola.
30 Headstone Seefin Graveyard in Gola townland - death date & age, erected by husband William O’Hara.
31 Ireland Death Indexes: 1912 Bailieborough Poor Law Union, Vol. 2 page 289 "aged 90 yrs."
32 NSW State Archives, Immigration Deposit Journals, 1853-1900
33 1999 letters to the compiler from Gwenda Andersen (ca. 1929-2009) of QLD. passing on information contained in corro from John Lynch - President of the Killinkere Parish Heritage Society.
34 From the cover of: Billis Church Headstones and Burial Book Records, (to Oct. 1998) by Herbert W. Stewart.
35 Photographs of Gola headstone and purported Samuel O'Hara cabin courtesy of Gwenda Andersen, QLD.
36 Hugh Wauhop addesses and occupation listings from 1844 in Sydney directories, Surry Hills land ownership and 1856 hotel license, researched by Sherie McEvoy of Hunter River, NSW at the Sydney Council Archives - copies of records provided courtesy of same.
37 The Breifny Antiqarian Society's Journal, 1923 Vol. II, No. 1, (Cavan, The Anglo-Celt Ltd), p. 95-98 & ditto 1924 Vol II, No. II, p. 227-229.