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’.