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The McConnells of Mourne

a resource site for McConnells

Welcome to the search for your McConnell family ancestors! This site has been created both to provide information to descendants of the McConnells of Mourne and to join with other McConnell researchers in an exchange of information which may help to locate and identify the various McConnell families who came from County Down and/or appeared in Scotland in the 19th century.

Sorry, but the material provided here will deal primarily with those places and that century leaving North American McConnells whose people arrived much earlier to sort themselves out. The goal is to accomplish a McCONNELL FAMILY INDEX for Scotland and County Down. Hopefully, such an index would help researchers to probe backwards into preceding centuries with some degree of order and also facilitate recognition of links between families.

If you have McConnell data of any kind for these places and times, please volunteer to share it with us. Send your info or queries to


1. The McConnells of Mourne

2. The Scotland Connection

3. Other McC Families

4. The McConnell Family Index


The McConnells of Mourne


The McConnells of Mourne lived in the Mourne barony, County Down, in the 19th century and perhaps earlier, being both farmers and tradespeople. Some of them may even have lived in the lordship of Newry as the two were at one time held by the same family. Nowadays, there are many McConnells throughout the Mourne mountain area around the town of Kilkeel.

The Irish potato famine of 1845 - 1850 saw a number of McConnells leave for Scotland and some of them or their descendants eventually made their way to other parts of the world. Some may even have travelled directly to Canada and the United States at that time. There are also clues to indicate that earlier family members had gone abroad as well and, perhaps, later members followed those kin to their new locations.

Information gathered to date:


JOHN McCONNELL, farmer, Kilkeel parish and ISABELLA HILL, Kilcoo parish (d/o Thomas HILL, farmer, and Elizabeth WRIGHT)


THOMAS McCONNELL b. c. 1827 --emigrated to Scotland (see Scottish Connection)--some descendants to Canada and USA

ALEXANDER McCONNELL b.c.1828 --emigrated to Scotland (see Scottish Connection)

JAMES McCONNELL b. c. 1835 --weaver, of Carrigenagh and later Ballinran townlands, Kilkeel parish. James' stayed in Kilkeel and has descendants there to this day. A grandaughter emigrated to Canada and met up with the descendants of Thomas and Jane McConnell who hold an annual reunion near Hamilton, Ontario.

JOHN McCONNELL b.? --stayed in Kilkeel (Carrigenagh) (See Poems of Jas. McConnell)

MARGARET McCONNELL b.c.1841 --emigrated to Scotland (See Scottish Connection)

JANE McCONNELL b.c.1847 --emigrated to Scotland (see Scottish Connection) --some descendants to Canada


William, David, Andrew, Samuel, Hugh, Elizabeth, Isabella, Frances, Sophie



PROBABLE OTHER CHILDREN: (identified in accompanying records but connection unproven) Nancy, Eliza, Isabella, Marianne, Penelope, William.

CHURCH CONNECTIONS: It would appear that the McConnells were originally affiliated with the Presbyterian Church but Isabella Hill of Kilkoo and the Hill family probably belonged to the Church of Ireland. Thus, children of John and Isabella appear to have married in either church depending on preference or the affiliation of their spouses.


JOHN MCCONNELL was identified as a farmer on his son James' 1860 marriage certificate. His wife ISABELLA HILL was born in 1798 (IGI) and John was probably around the same age.

LANDHOLDERS' LIST A fellow researcher has located a three-lives land lease registration in the name of John McConnell for a piece of land in Kilkeel in 1819 and this could very likely be our John. The lease also bears the life-names of Hugh McConnell and Arthur Davidson. Hugh could be a younger brother, father, uncle, cousin or nephew, or even son of John. Life-names recorded on these leases often included very young relatives or even the King or Queen.

William Nedham (the landlord -- a member of the Mourne barony family?) also leased a piece of land in Ballykeel at the same time to Samuel McConnell with life-names Ann Martin and William Moore.

In 1820 a piece of land in Maghereagh was leased by John Atkinson (landlord) to a Patrick McConnell.

BRADSHAW'S DIRECTORY Kilkeel, 1820, lists James McConnell, painter and glazier.

TITHES LIST. In 1830 the following McConnells were identified in the parish: Alexander, James, Thomas (Ballyveamore); James (Kilkeel); Samuel (Ballykeel); James (Magheramurphy): John (Derryogue).

GRIFFITH'S VALUATION approx. 1863: Alexander, James, James Jr. (Ballyveamore); Isabella (Kilkeel); John (Derryogue); Margaret (Ballinran); William (Brackenagh East); John (Carrigenagh).

Other family connections may have been James Crutchley of Ballyveagh, b. c. 1831, d. 1913, and Robert Scarbourg and James Cousins, witnesses at the marriage of James McConnell, Carrigenagh, s/o JOHN and ISABELLA, to Mary Ann Campbell d/o James Campbell, farmer, of Ballinran.

LONG-LINE FISHERMEN'S LIST for Kilkeel and Annalong includes the names of James McConnell, Ballyvea, Joe Moore, Back Brae, and Bob Cousins, Moneydarraghbeg. James McConnell was the captain of the C.S.Parnell, one of the schooners of Annalong and Kilkeel.

MOURNE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH GRAVEYARD Kilkeel. A stone reads "In memory of Thomas McConnell of Kilkeel aged 78 years, died Feby. 4th 1830. And of Eliza his wife died 28th October 1865 aged 100 years. Also of their son John died 21st January 1867 aged 77 years." There is also a cracked horizontal stone in a low stone enclosure with Gibson stone "Sacred to the memory of James McConnell of Kilkeel who died on the 8th of May 1853 aged 62 years. And of his wife Mary Jane who died on the 14th of October 1824 aged 35 years. Also of his second wife Martha who died on the 26th of May 1843 aged 63 years. Also of the undermentioned children of John and Anne (daughter of James and Mary Jane?) Boyd:


SLATER'S COMMERCIAL DIRECTORY 1856 lists Isabella McConnell, mistress of the Free School, Kilkeel, John Moore, master.

BELFAST and Area DIRECTORY 1863 lists Eliza McConnell, mistress of the Free School, Kilkeel.


McCONNELL BIRTHS IN THE MOURNE PRESBYTERIAN RECORDS AFTER 1839. (Note: Records prior to 1839 were destroyed.)



Poems of Jas. McConnell 1936

Projected FAMILY TREE based on information collected

MAPS: Road Map of County Down, Outline Map of Down Parishes, Outline Map of Kilkeel Townlands, Outline Map of Kilcoo Townlands, Topographical Roadmap of Kilkeel and Silent Valley




The Scotland Connection


THOMAS McCONNELL (the elder) was probably JOHN and ISABELLA's second son who would have been named after her father. Thomas left County Down somewhere around 1850 when he was approximately 23 years old and went to SCOTLAND. Traces of him turn up (IGI) in Arbroath in 1852, Old Machar in 1857-58, Aberdeen, St. Nicholas 1854-64, Dundee, 1900. These entries use the spelling McConnel.

Thomas married ELIZABETH MURRAY, b. Airdrie, Lanark, d/o William Murray and Sarah Ann Aitken. They had a number of children, many of whom died young. Thomas was a road commissioner in Dundee.

Prior to Thomas' arrival in St. Nicholas there are only two IGI references to McConnells. These names are also spelled McConnel. 1. James McConnel m. Susan Chandler, 1820, and 2. Ann McConnel m. William Marshall, 1833. It is possible that these could have been Thomas' relatives from a previous generation who arrived at an earlier date.

THOMAS McCONNELL (the younger) was the fifth son of Thomas and Elizabeth and the second child to be named Thomas, the first having not survived. He was born in 1861. He married EMILY URQUHART, b. Nairn, Scotland, d/o William Urquhart and Elizabeth Mitchell and they raised a large family in Dundee. In 1913, they emigrated to Ontario, Canada with their 11 children.

WILLIAM McCONNELL was the third son of the family and was born in 1857. He emigrated to London, England and possibly later to Montreal, PQ, Canada. He had a son named ANDREW living in Montreal in 1913 with whom Thomas (the younger) and his family stayed while on their way to live in Ontario.

JANE McCONNELL is assumed to have been a child of JOHN and ISABELLA who also went to Scotland. Her son Alexander was said to be a first cousin of Thomas (the younger) which would make her a sister of Thomas (the elder). A 1881 Census listing shows her living in Arbroath with her two sons, her sister Margaret and her brother, Alexander, and in 1891 with her son, Alexander. It is thought that Margaret and/or Alexander may have returned to Ireland latterly.

ALEXANDER McCONNELL appears to have been married, perhaps to Elizabeth Gannan (1852)or Helen Gennen in Arbroath. He may have had at least two children, Mary b.1853 and Alexander b. 1859. However, he appears to have been living separately from his wife at the time of the 1881 census. See 1861 census also.

MARGARET McCONNELL is found living in Arbroath in 1881 with sister Jane and brother Alexander. She was then 40 years old, head of the household, unmarried and working as a flax spinner.

JOHN McCONNELL (s/o Jane)b.c.1865 is believed to have stayed in Scotland and raised two sons, Alexander b.c.1890 and John b.c.1892. He was aT one point a boilermaker and later a journeyman joiner. He married Mary Ann Grant b. 1867 d/o Charles Grant and Jane Edwards of Montrose. His son John, was killed in WWI. There is a photo of him taken in Scotland with Thomas' (the younger) son, Thomas (third) who had been posted from Canada and also died in the war.

ALEXANDER McCONNELL (s/o Jane)b.c.1867/8 was the younger son. He became a shoemaker and worked in industry as a supervisor for various shoe manufacturers. In 1898 he married ELIZABETH DAVIDSON of St. Andrews, Fife, d/o Lawrence Davidson and Elizabeth Smith. They lived in Dundee, Montrose and then Edinburgh. They had three children. The eldest daughter died at age 12 and some years later (c.1920) the family emigrated to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, there linking up with Alec's cousin Thomas (the younger).


Other McC Families


There appears to be the strong possibility of a close connection with the Will McConnell Family although no hard evidence has as yet been found. Certain family stories have been passed on which seem to refer to the same people. What's more, Will McConnell himself may have been born in Upper Brackenagh, a townland of Kilkeel parish. A reunion in Newry in the 1960's was the source of some of the family info. It is possible that Will could have been a son of our JOHN and ISABELLA, or perhaps a nephew.

WILLIAM McCONNELL (Will) was born c. 1827 and emigrated to Scotland about 1849. He married Mary Will, d/o George Will and Erskine Walker. They lived in Echt, Drumoak and Peterculter parishes, Aberdeenshire, where they had five children, one of whom died in childhood. In 1873, Will, Mary and son, William, emigrated to New Brunswick, Canada. Several years later they were joined by two of their daughters and one of Mary's brothers.

Another interesting possibility is the McConnells of ROSTREVOR which lies 8 miles distant from Kilkeel. Alexander McConnell b. c. 1670 in Dumfries, Scotland, related to clan leaders, m. Elizabeth c. 1695 in Dumfries. They then travelled to Rostrevor where the following children were born to them: John 1696, James 1698, Adam 1700, William 1702, Alexander 1704, Thomas 1706. Most of the family are known to have gone to Pennsylvania but information is lacking on William and Thomas. What if they did not emigrate?

There are also a number of McConnells showing up in the early 1800's in the Newry area. It is possible that these, too, could be related to the McConnells of Mourne. Hanna and Dinah McConnell,c. 1820, believed to be daughters of James McConnell, painter and glazier, married into the Ruddock/Ruddick families and their descendants can be traced through them.

Other locations with ongoing McConnell records are Dromore, Ballinahinch, Killinchy and Boardmills. Births. And Marriages in Diocese of Down, Connor and Dromore.



The McConnell Family Index

To create a McConnell Family Index for County Down and Scotland in the 19th Century is a major project to say the least. To start with, we have our own family tree and a few connections.

At this point we need submissions from many other McConnell family researchers in order to make their information available to others and, hopefully, for them to gain helpful information in return. This is an ongoing task and we will endeavor to make all submissions available as quickly as possible.

If you can help, please submit your data or queries to