On Tuesday 17th September, at midnight, Kathy Hochul (born Kathleen Courtney), New York’s first female governor, will take office. Kathy will be moving into the Governor’s Mansion in Albany New York – it has housed governors and their families since 1875. It is at some remove from where the Courtney/Cournane family lived in Ireland in 1875.
Kathy Hochul’s grandfather John was born 31 January 1909, son of John Courtney, Farmer and Bridget O’Shea of Fahamore, Castlegregory. It is at this point that Kerry genealogy becomes complicated. In Kerry the names Courtney and Cournane are interchangeable. Ó Curnáin when anglicised becomes Courtney. As we go back over Kathy’s grandfather, great, great-great and finally gt-gt-gt grandfather we can see both versions of the name used on different Church and Civil records.
Kathy’s grandfather John Cournane/Courtney first arrived in South Dakota in 1919. In Kerry we can first find him on the 1911 Census of Ireland aged 2, as John Cournane. 1911 Census record gives us John Cournane (2) living with his parents John (36) and Bridget (32). The family lived with Kathy’s Great-Great grandfather John (65) and Great-Great grandmother Ellen (62). The 1911 Census tells us that the family lived in a 3rd class stone-built, thatched roofed four-roomed house. The Cournanes had a cow house, a calf house, a potato house, and a storehouse. John Cournane is listed as the Landholder.
Kathy’s Great Grandfather John [P] Cournane was born on 17 May 1874 at Maherabeg, Killiney, the home of his mother’s people [Scanlon]. His family address is given as Cutteen. This is a townland at the very tip of the Maherees.
This John Cournane (Gt-Gt-Grandfather of Kathy Hochul) was born in 1845 – son of Patrick Cournane and Margaret Spillane:
Patrick Cournane is occupying House, [Out]Offices and land held in common with his brothers John, James, Denis and John (Darby) of 46acres 1rood 33perches. The Landlord is the Reps of Lord Ventry in Chancery. Lease for land held in common is for 7 years from 1845. At-Will thereafter.
An interesting comment signed by the valuer E. O’Reilly in 1850 notes:
‘Lord Ventry’s property is all let very high, in most cases rack rented’.
Cool. My grandfather Maurice Griffin from Goulane had a sister named Julia who married a Courtney. I would imagine it’s the family.
Excellent research and presentation.
Thank you Kay
Fabulous information about the Courtney /Cournane clan. From thatched house to Governor’s Mansion in Albany is some progress.
Maurice, I was really thrilled to find the comment on Griffiths Tenure Book about the ‘rack rent’ charged by the Ventry Estate. You don’t often find personal comments of the valuers so it was a gem and particularly in this present link to the New York Governor’s Mansion. Kay
Can you tell the exact location of a person/family based on the census or Griffith’s valuation?
Dave, you can’t pinpoint the exact location of a family in the Census information, unless of course the person lived in a town with a street name. Even then the numbers given of the particular street are numbers for the Census enumerators rather than the number of the house as it is in the current time.
Yes you can pinpoint almost all locations from Griffiths. There will be a number on the left hand side of the list of the townland and if you follow that number through to the map you can find it. One word of caution – we use Griffiths list and maps from AskAboutIreland.ie and the maps there are not 1850 maps – rather later in the 1800s. There are more accurate maps on FindMyPast.ie.
Great research, Kay. I hope the NY mayor gets to see it. You are part of a big story!
Mary, I was really thrilled to find the comment on Griffiths Tenure Book about the ‘rack rent’ charged by the Ventry Estate. You don’t often find personal comments of the valuers so it was a gem and particularly in this present link to the New York Governor’s Mansion.
Another great piece of research from Mrs Caball. Gurtinard abu.
Vincent, thank you. That is real praise coming from a dogged researcher like yourself!
I am sure new Governor Hochul will appreciate all the hard ground work which Kay Caball did in researching the Courtney/Cournane family so comprehensively.
My great grandmother was Johanna Carmody. She married Peter Hallisey
My great great grandmother was Mary Cournane, and she married John Hallisey
Any relation that you know of?
Congratulations, Kay, on a magnificent piece of research. Well done.
Éamon, thank you – re Lord Ventry’s Tenant to NY Governor’s Mansion. I was away ‘holidaying’ in Glengarriff and Dún Chaoin, for the past ten days, thus the late reply. I saw your lovely photo of the Blascaoidí on Mary’s blog – we might have been in the area at the same time!
Having been a New Yorker for over sixty years and being a Cournane from County Kerry, I found your research very interesting and informative. Thank you for your efforts and Happy Holidays.
wonderful research! I just finished a Christmas genealogy project for my cousins, all Courtney’s. I reviewed the same information you reported but couldn’t link it directly to my Courtney’s who lived in Tullig, Castlegregory, and Coolroe, John C Courtney married Johanna Moore. Their daughter Johanna married Bartholomew Finn and lived in Stradbally. Undoubtedly all the Cournane’s and Courtney’s on the Dingle peninsula are related somehow. Thanks for the great work.
Rochelle, I am glad that you like the Maharees research on the Cournane/Courtneys. I have added more as I lately got my hands on an excellent history of the are The Land and People of Maharees & Castlegregory, A History 1560-1960 by Martin Lynch. It is a huge book, expensive but well worth it. I think if you google it you will find how to buy it – its only available locally. Kay
thank you, I’ll look into it
I am Sean Courtney, Kathy’s nephew. I’m visiting relatives in Kerry and this article is incredibly interesting and helpful. Thank you for the great research!
Sean, I am delighted that you have been able to see this history of the family. I have updated actually – the Mayor of Kerry met with Kathy in Governor’s Mansion during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations this year, and he presented her with the updated version. I will email directly to you now.
Are you from Buffalo, Sean?
Yes. Born in Hamburg NY and moved to Maryland/Northern VA in 2000.
Hi Sean, Bridget O Shea Courtney, Kathy Hochul’s great grandmother, had a niece, Bridget, who married James O Shea from Tonevane, Tralee and lived in Buffalo. She died in 1966. Are you aware of any O Shea cousins there? Patrick Lynch