Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry

I seem to have been 'off the air' for the past two or three weeks, all for a good cause though.  With all the different 1916/2016 commemorations the last few weeks have been a bit hectic.  On Easter Monday I was at the day long commorative tribute in Dublin, the highlight being the National Commemoration at the College of Surgeons.  Since then I have been at  the Roger Casement Commemoration at Banna Strand, the Limerick City event on last Sunday and later that afternoon, the event at Grange, Co. Limerick. Roger Casement Banna Beach 21st April 2016. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that Thursday 21st at Banna Strand was the highlight. As has already been said elsewhere, anyone who was lucky enough to have attended will always remember it.  For those of you were not so lucky , you may be able to get the podcast so well filmed by RTE here. Then to Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry.

MKA Blog FKA Promo April 16Had a good positive trip to-day visiting Parish Offices in ‪#‎Kerry‬ promoting the advantages to them of recommending my book Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry. For preservation of the irreplaceable #Kerry baptism & marriage records, I would suggest they refer enquirers to search through the online archives as quoted p.56.  I also visited the #Kerry bookshops  in Listowel, Tralee and Killarney, was delighted to see copies stocked for the forthcoming visitor season.  Dingle, Killorglin, Cahirciveen and Kenmare still to visit.



  1. Noel Raymond Noel Raymond
    April 29, 2016    

    I have been trying to trace my ancestry and I have had some success but not as good as I’d like. I can send you all my info so far and perhaps you could give me a quote for researching the missing pieces and checking the strength of my data. Thanks

  2. Abby Robinson Abby Robinson
    April 29, 2016    

    I live in Columbus, oh in the States. Any idea where/how I can get your book?

    • Kay Caball Kay Caball
      May 23, 2016    

      Abby, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It seems like the descendants of EVERY Kerry emigrant is looking for information on their ancestors this month! And a lot of them are arriving in Kerry with minimum information. If it is one single bit of advice I could give, it is to get as much information on the ancestor’s live in the U.S. Earliest census records after assumed date of arrival, what type of work the ancestor took up in the U.S., scans from his/her American marriage certificates, names of his children in order of birth. All of these help us to identify the correct family.
      To answer your query, you can order it online here

  3. billy nyhan billy nyhan
    May 24, 2016    

    I am attempting to trace records for my great/great grandmother named Cathcart in the south Kerry area-any suggestions on how I can trace this

    • Kay Caball Kay Caball
      May 26, 2016    

      Billy, I just did a quick search on and there is a Helen Cathcart who was married to a Michael Horgan in Cahirciveen in the 1870s.
      Kay C

  4. Margaret Dennison Margaret Dennison
    July 4, 2016    

    My ancestors lived in Knocknagoshel Village.The 3 original houses are still standing.They were built by Sean Day O’Connor for his three sons.I was born 1945 and lived in Knocknagoshel .My father was Patrick O’Connor. his father was Sean Og O’Connor and his father was John O’Connor.There is one tomb in Knockane graveyard -John O’Connor for “self and posterity” dated 1863.The house I was reared in was a post office,pub shop.

    • Kay Caball Kay Caball
      July 4, 2016    

      Margaret, thank you for this history of the O’Connors in Knocknagoshel. I just completed research for an Australian family who were researching their ancestor Hannah ‘Kain’ (Keane) of Scairt, Knocknagoshed, who was born in 1865. We found details of the entire family and the Australian people visited here in early June, stayed in Abbeyfeale and were able to find relatives still living in the area. One of my most success blogs – meaning more people accessed it than any other – was the list of Knocknagoshel people who signed the petition for a Parish Priest. Kay

      • Margaret Dennison Margaret Dennison
        September 9, 2016    

        The tomb in the Knockane graveyard Knocknagoshelwas erected by John O’Connor” for self and posterity 1863″.I think he was called Sean Day O’Connor.and he was married to Mary Horan from the Castleisland area.
        My name is Margaret O’Connor daughter of PatrickJ O’Connor. Patrick(Born 1897) married Nora Wren(born 1909)
        Patrick’s father was Sean Og O’Connor born 1866( Married Liz Joe O’Connell from Lotts Knocknagoshel
        Sean Og had one sister who married Pembroke in Castleisland. It is the tomb that fascinated me .
        Signed:Margaret O’Connor (Dennison)
        This Sean Day came oner the mountain and built 3 houses in the village.1 Dick Batt Murphy(mother Agnes Tom O’Connor)
        2 Dinny Dave O’Connnor 3 the house where I was born. The houses were I believe the first houses in the village and ran a pub post office and a farm.

      • Margaret Dennison Margaret Dennison
        May 9, 2017    

        Hi Kay
        O’Connor search for Knockane Graveyard Knocknagoshel
        I now know that Patrick O’Connor was born in 1897 – 1964 in Knocknagoshel, His wife was Nora Wren born 1909 -1998 Ballyduff Knocknagoshel
        His father was Sean Og O’Connor born 1865 -1924 In Knocknagoshel.His wife was Elizabeth O’Connell born 1861-1924
        His father was John O’Connor (no date of birth) The inscription on tomb “For self and posterity”1863 His wife was Julia Murphy who was native of Knocknagoshel but died at her daughter’s residence i.e Johanna Pembroke at Woodview Castleisland in 1911.Her name is not on the tomb.
        I think there was another man called Sean Day O’Connor who is the mystery.Thanks Kay The Mary Horan I mentioned in a previous letter was a mother to Elizabeth O’Connell.I was way off. Many thanks for your help but I think I am stuck.
        Peigi Sean Og O’Connor (Dennison) I was born in Knocknagoshel in 1945 and my father was Patrick O’Connor.

  5. sue lannen sue lannen
    August 11, 2016    

    Hi, I am visiting Kerry in March from Australia.; I am trying to find the graves of my GG Grandparents who lived in Portmagee
    James Lannen he was the sub postmaster in Portmagee i the 1901 census but died later that year.
    can you please steer me in the right direction. Regards Sue Lannen

    • Kay Caball Kay Caball
      August 11, 2016    

      Sue, I thought I had replied to you earlier. If you didn’t get a reply, my apologies. Yes I have seen James Lannen in the 1901 Census. There is a burial ground in Portmagee but it is very new and doesn’t look as if any old burials took place there. I don’t know who you were emailing – that didn’t reply. There was actually no register of burials at the time that James Lannen died. There is a website by Kerry Co Council where burials are recorded, some from early in the 20th century but in the case of Portmagee it doesn’t start until 1949. I think your best bet would be to set aside at least 2 or 3 days when you get to Kerry and go to the local church, ask for the names of the oldest people in the area and go from there. This is the normal way of doing this type of research and you will be surprised by the amount you will learn, they are a friendly ad welcoming bunch in Portmage. Just a word of warning – don’t try and fit your research into one rushed day. I have seen this happen and the very person you should meet is ‘gone to town’ or just not there at that particular time. The more space you can give to the search the more successful you will be.

      • sue lannen sue lannen
        August 15, 2016    

        Hi Kay, Thanks so much for your e mai, I will take your advise and stay a few days in Portmagee.
        Many thanks

  6. Suzanne Suzanne
    September 16, 2016    

    Hi Kay, I’ve been researching my family for many years, and actually went to Glenbeigh in search of a gravesite, but couldn’t find it. My grandmother (Margaret Sullivan) was born in Scotland to Irish parents–Mary Quirk of Coomasaharn and John Sullivan of Caragh Lake, and then came to America. John Sullivan opened several bars and restaurants here in Brooklyn, NY.

    My grandmother, Margaret Sullivan, spent several years after she was born in Glenbeigh with her grandparents, Patrick Quirk and Mary Hussey, before her parents took her and her siblings to NY. Patrick and Mary Quirk lived very close to Coomasaharn Lake. Patrick lived from 1837 to 1925, and was the son of John Quirk and Anne Reardon (Riordan.) His wife Mary (Hussey) Quirk lived from 1845-1923, and according to a marriage record I found, she was from Tooracladane (spelling on church record.) My hope was to find where they might be buried in Glenbeigh, and who Mary Hussey’s parents were.

    My grandmother’s father John Sullivan born @ 1877, was the son of John Sullivan and Bridget Costello of Caragh Lake. I’ve hit a brick wall with them probably because of the common name, Sullivan. John and Bridget had several other children–Patrick, Michael and Margaret, who came to America as Well.

    I’m not sure if this information will yield any info on burial sites, but I thought I would give it a try. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this…I do appreciate your time. Take Care!

  7. Suzanne Suzanne
    October 14, 2016    

    one other question, Kay,

    Would you happen to know what the number “49” means here…

    This was on my great grandmother’s baptismal record, which I found on Ancestry.

    Baptism Place: 49, Glanbehy, Kerry, Ireland

    Thank you for any help!!! Greatly appreciated!

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