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Cahill Family Genealogy


This page contains some general background information on my Cahill ancestors and what we know of their home in Ireland. Following this there are two pages for the descendants of the immigrant brothers John and Patrick.

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First posted to the web: 11 Nov 2000
Date Last Modified: 1Mar2001

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Cahill Family Crest   The Cahill Family

The great Irish Potato Famine of 1845-50 resulted in the emigration of many from Ireland to America. After the Famine, the Irish were poor and employment opportunities in Ireland were limited. In 1863, family tradition says three brothers in their 20's; John, Patrick, and Michael Cahill emigrated from County Sligo probably leaving behind additional brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and possibly parents. According to the family tradition, they left because there were caught on the wrong side of the creek with one of the landlord's cattle. Patrick's daughter Mary said that her father's job in Ireland was "moving cattle across the channel after dark." Again according to the story, they came over on the vessel "Speedwell" into New York City to work in the coalmines in the Scranton, Pennsylvania area. After the mines opened in Sullivan County, John and Patrick moved to the Murraytown, Bernice and Lopez area near Dushore, Pa. There they married and established families.

Of the supposed third brother, Michael, I have been unable to find any information or confirmation that he existed. Likewise, I have not been able to find any proof that a vessel named the "Speedwell" was plying the immigration trade in the 1860-70 time period.

Because family tradition has maintained County Sligo in Ireland as the ancestral home of John and Patrick, I requested a census search for the family of John Cahill in Sligo. The records of the early 1800's in Ireland are spotty but several Cahill or McCahill families were located. By review of the names, the most likely family to be ours was in Bunnacrannagh Townland, Achonry parish.

Griffith's Primary Valuation conducted in 1858 would have found John and Patrick in Ireland at their early 20's or teens. Listed in Bunnacrannagh Townland are the names John, Patrick, Thomas, Michael John, and Michael Patrick. These may possibly be related as they were leasing houses and land from the same landlord, Rev. St. George Knox. I suspect these may be family only from the commonality of the names in the first generation here in the U.S.

Unfortunately there are no parish baptismal records available before 1859. Combine this dead end with taxation registration records not containing ages or other information and it is probably impossible to further establish the parents and birthplace of John and Patrick.

Bunnacrannagh Townland was (is) a crossroads located about five to ten miles west of Ballymote, which is approximately fifteen miles south of Sligo itself.


Sligo is a county in Connaught Province in the northwest part of Ireland bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Donegal. The coastline is indented with numerous bays while the interior is mountainous. With an area of 693 sq. mi., Sligo is about twice the size of Sullivan County and a little more that half the size of Bradford County in Pennsylvania.

Nearly half of Sligo is rough pasture, mainly in mountains, hills and peat bogs. Sligo has a long tradition of fishing, but only salmon is profitable. The lowland is divided into small farms that depend on cattle, sheep, and poultry. Peat is cut in the plateau areas, especially in the Ox Mountains. Inland from the Ox Mountains, scenic lakes and limestone hills break the farmed lowlands. Here are located the picturesque loughs (lakes) of Arrow and Gill.

The chief occupations are farming, livestock raising, with some fishing and mining of coal, lead, and zinc. Industries include textiles, pharmaceuticals, and dehydrated foods.

Sligo is the county seat and major town in the county. Most of the towns are small market centers. At nearby Carrowmore is a large group of megalithic monuments and on Koncknarea, west of Sligo, is a cairn traditionally held to be the burial place of Queen Maeve of Connaught. Sligo has ruins of a castle and a friary dating from the 13th century.

Go to:

            Tree button    The Descendants of John Cahill
            Tree button    The Descendants of Patrick Cahill

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Copyright © 2000, 2001 Gerald F. Cahill. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Navigation Links:
Table of Contents · Genealogy · Baxter · Cahill · John Cahill · Patrick Cahill · Campbell · Help · Search