John Kane b. 1810 m. Ann Kane (nee ?) b. 1815

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John Kane b. 1810 m. Ann Kane (nee ?) b. 1815

Post by Lynnette » Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:22 am

Dear all,

I am trying to track this couple back to Co. Clare. They probably emigrated to upstate NY sometime between 1840 & 1850, when they show up on the Federal Census in Herkimer Co., NY. If anyone could help me find info on their marriage, baptisms, or births, I would be enormously grateful.

I am not actually related to them, but they took in my GGgrandmother, Mary Mulvihill, when her mother (Bridget Flaherty) died in childbirdh 30 September 1885, and her father Daniel Mulvihill wasn't able to care for her on his own. According to family tradition, Daniel then went back to Ireland.

The Kanes were supposedly from the same town/parish in Co. Clare as the Mulvihills. I am hoping that if I am able to find evidence of the Kanes in the historical record in Ireland, that will in turn help me to track down Daniel Mulvihill's trail. I have no DOB, DOM, DOD, or anything on him.

I am a total novice at this stuff, so I would be very happy to get any advice or info you may have.

Thanks so much! :)


Paddy Casey
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Re: John Kane b. 1810 m. Ann Kane (nee ?) b. 1815

Post by Paddy Casey » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:03 am

Hi Lynnette,

This is necessarily short as I need to be elsewhere in a few minutes but the following should get you going.

You are searching for wisps of hay in a haystack. That is the bad news. The good news is that Clare's County Library has an excellent set of online county genealogical datasets – arguably the best in the whole of Ireland and, by searching and browsing those datasets based on a few assumptions, you can rapidly reduce the haystack to a small and manageable forkful of likely candidates.

Let's assume that these people were indeed from County Clare. Clare is crawling with Kanes and Mulvihills and all their spelling variants (Keane, Kean, Mulvihil, just to start with).

Let's also assume that the people you named lived very close to each other in County Clare. There is genealogical rule of thumb that in rural communities in that part of the world 95% of those without horse-and-carriage tended to marry within 5 miles of their homes because that was the distance they could comfortably walk to court in the evening and get back home in time for work in the morning (there were other reasons related to farm deals surrounding marriages but that's another subject). This principle can comfortably be extended to social intercourse in general: social relationships would generally be focussed within a 5-mile radius because that's an evening's walking distance.

Let's also assume that your estimate of an emigration in the 1840s was accurate.

Let's also assume that the families were farmers and sufficiently sessile to be included in the Tithe Applotments of the early 19th century , i.e. that they were not indigents or itinerant labourers whose births, lives and deaths were seldom documented in those times unless they were listed in poorhouse records or ended up on the gallows or were transported.

Let's start with your spellings 'Kane', 'Mulvihill' and 'Flaherty'. Later you can repeat the process with spelling variants.

OK, let's go.

Firstly, fire up the Clare County Library website search facility at and, using the Search For field rather than the Google engine, enter "kane and mulvihill and tithe" and hit 'Search'. Four links are listed, the top one being the Clare Tithe Applotment books of the parish of Kilballyowen at ... en_tab.htm

Make sure you are safely seated and then take a look at the list of people who were "tithe applotted" in Kilballyowen in 1825. Bingo ! There are several Kanes and Mulvihills listed and at least three of them lived in adjacent townlands, as can be seen by reference to the townland map at ... nlands.htm The Library maps do not show a scale but we are talking about very short walking distances here, i.e. these people lived almost on top of each other. Just the kind of people who might take in a neighbour's child if the mother died.

Next, take a look at the other three links in the searchlist thrown up by "kane and mulvihill and tithe", i.e. ... tithes.htm

and ... tithes.htm

and ... mbined.htm

They tell you a lot about the distribution of your names in County Clare and, by carefully going through those name lists and taking account of spelling variants, and by referring to the parish and townland maps on the Clare Library site (see ... rishes.htm ) you will quickly be able to draw cluster maps of those names in the County. These maps will show you where the Kanes and the Mulvihills possibly came from and from then on you are in the money.

Then patch 'Flaherty' into your search strategy on the Library website and you might even find the origin of your Bridget Flaherty.

Then just put, for example, 'Mulvihill' into the search facility at and go through the long list of links. Do the same for 'Kane', 'Keane' etc. And so on. I could go on for ever but I'm sure you get my drift. You are on a roll.

Finally a word of caution: don't just concentrate on the pre-1850 Clare information simply because your people emigrated in the first half of that century. Often only part of a family emigrated and you mentioned yourself that Daniel Mulvihill may have returned to Ireland. Descendants of your people may still be there and may be able to give you information about the family. You can track them down by “going forward” in time and trawling the Library website records of the Griffith Valuation (ca. 1855) and the 1901 census for Mulvihills and Kanes in those townlands which you have already identified as likely candidates (see above). Also, for example, browse the Index to Biographical Notices 1935-1985 at ... mpionm.htm (there are 20 Mulvihills and 1 Mulvihil, including an obituary of a Thomas Mulvihill from New York). And so on and so forth.

If you find this information useful, when you have worked on it for a bit please, please come back to this forum and give us feedback as to how you got on. Also, if you manage to put together a family tree on the basis of this information you might like to offer it to the Clare County Library for publication on their website as a quid pro quo for the information they supplied. Take a look at some examples on the Library website.

Happy hunting !


P.S. Having written all this, some Mulvihill or Kane descendant who is lurking on this forum may write in with a complete ready-to-go family tree. You never know ! P.

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