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John and Fanny (Gallagher) O'Donnell were my great great grandparents


This is their story so far - please note that some links aren't active yet.

Above is a picture of what remains of a small stone house, which once bore a thatched roof and whitewashed walls. It stands at the brow of a hill, looking down into the valley running through Augullies, a small townland of 322 acres. Augullies is located about 4 miles north east of Dungloe, in the Parish of Templecrone, County Donegal.

The first O'Donnell that I can positively say lived in Augullies, was James O'Donnell. In 1828, there were only three households in Augullies and they were headed by James O'Donnell, Nicholas Walsh, and Edward Boyle.

The next records are the 1857 Griffith's Valuations, which named the heads of the households throughout Ireland. From the Valuation for Augullies, it appears that James may have had two sons, John and Daniel, as the land that James held was now held by them. John's name does not appear on the Valuation as such - he must have been deceased by then, as his wife, Anne, is the head of the household, at map reference 1a - the map shows in blue, the land that had been occupied by John and Anne.

John O'Donnell and Anne Gallagher

There are no records for the birth, marriage or death of John, son of the time of his birth, the Penal Code was still in force - there were no parish registers for Catholics and there was no civil registration. From the records of his children, we know his name and we know that he married Anne Gallagher. As to any specifics of when any of those main events in his life occurred, there was never any documentary proof. However, Anne must have died about 1868, as that is when her name disappeared from the Valuations - a search of the deaths for that period failed to find her and its probable that her death was not registered. Civil registration was not enforced and native Irish Catholics had nothing to gain by conforming to the British bureaucracy.

Three Children of John and Anne Emigrate to New Zealand

Thanks to three of their children immigrating to New Zealand, there is a wealth of documentation available from which the main events of their lives can be gleaned. These children were James, John and Bridget.

James was the eldest son, born about 1836 in Augullies and named for his grandfather, as was traditional. James married Bridget Gallagher, born about 1842, a daughter of Anthony and Ellen Gallagher of Croaghnamaddy. The marriage took place in the Roman Catholic Chapel in Dungloe on 31 May 1864, with Daniel Houston and John O'Donnell (my gr gr grandfather) as witnesses. They left Donegal at the beginning of 1865, Bridget pregnant with their first child, sailing first to Plymouth where, on the 3rd February 1865, they boarded the 'Empress' bound for Auckland, New Zealand. On the same voyage was a girl named Jane Murphy, born 1836 in Carntown, Drogheada, Co Louth, the eldest daughter of Nicholas Murphy and his wife Judith Berry. James's story can be found here

John was the third son, born about 1839 in Augullies and named for his father. John married Fanny Gallagher, who was born about 1850 in Stramore in the parish of Gartan. She was the daughter of Hugh Gallagher and Ann Doherty. Their marriage took place in Letterkenny at the Roman Catholic Chapel, on the 17th May 1866. Their first son, John Francis, was born in Augullies on the 1st June 1867, then another son, James Arthur, followed a few years later. John took over the tenant right for their portion of Augullies (about 44 acres) in 1868. It was also about that time that they fostered a child, a niece named Mary Sweeney. Fostering was quite common between family members, especially when there were too many children for the family to support. In 1869, the Valuation entry for John changed to 'the representatives of John O'Donnell', for he and his little family left for Gravesend in June 1869. They boarded the 'Hydaspes' there on the 3rd July 1869, bound for Lyttleton, New Zealand. James and Jane, who had taken up land in Suburban, in Kaikoura, must have sent word to John and Fanny to join them. Also on board the 'Hydaspes' was James Gallagher (Fanny's brother), Mary McSwiggan (who would become James Gallagher's wife in 1873) and some other well-known early settlers in Kaikoura. Their story continues here. The story of Fanny and James Gallagher's family can be found here.

Bridget, the only daughter there is a record of, was born about 1843 in Augullies. Bridget married Denis Sweeney, probably in Dungloe, about 1860. Between 1861 and 1873, they had six children - Ann, Mary, James, John, Denis, and Joseph. Unfortunately, when Joseph was 2 months old Denis died in Dungloe - it was the 23rd August 1873 and he was 34 years old. There must again have been correspondence between Kaikoura and Donegal, as John and James, now settled on their own land in Kaikoura, sent for Bridget and her five childen (her daughter Mary had immigrated with John and Fanny in 1869). Bridget made her way to Plymouth where, on the 17th August 1874, she boarded the 'Ocean Mail', bound for Nelson, New Zealand. Her story continues here.

A Fourth Child of John and Anne

Until 2004, I had not known of this fourth child of John and Anne - Daniel O'Donnell m Mary Gallagher of Croveghy, and they emigrated to Whatcom, Washington

A Brother of John O'Donnell

Daniel, to his son John, to descendants still living in Crohyboyle

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Lindel Buckley

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