Mary Ann Kelly 18611861

Mary Ann Kelly 1861

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Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in Australia

Mary Ann Kelly (1861?- 1945) is my paternal grandmother's mother who originated from Rath, County Clare. She was about 17 when she was sent to Australia to live with an old Kelly Uncle in Rosedale area Victoria Australia in late 1870's. Her older sister, Nellie 19, was sent to USA, area unknown. They were escaping starvation after the potato famine in Ireland. Mary Ann never heard from her parents James Kelly and Margaret Reidy ever again, nor did she know what happened to her sister Nellie. I've yet to find any Irish records, this information is from her living grand daughter who is 95. I have found Australian records of Mary Ann's marriage to Daniel O'Connor (1859 - 1903) in Yarram in 1884 and her death in 1945 in Mordialloc, Victoria, Australia. Following her husband's death in 1903, she lived with my grandmother Margaret O'Connor ( 1892-1973) and husband Archibald Buchanan Daniel until 1944 near Leongatha, Vic. She then went to live with another daughter, Marcella (1904-1967) and died there in 1945. I am looking for her passage to Australia believed to be sponsored by her Kelly Uncle and hers and Nellie's birth certificates (Roman Catholic) in Ireland. If anyone recognises the story and has information about Nellie Kelly in USA, that will be wonderful. 

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1861
Date of Death 1st Jan 1945


  • akways happy to help, you are welcome to message me. I am a Kelly by birth so if you want to connect with Kelly's around the world and find out your ancestry, please just ask x




    I don't know Mary but your question intrigued me. For her to me sent to Australia and her sister to the US I would gently suggest you look at the Irish orphan scheme. It had different names but I believe it was the earl grey scheme in Australia. Famine orphans is another sad reference to these young girls. Not sure if you are in Australia but this being an ancestor I am assuming yes.

    clan Kelly on Facebook could be a great connection, they are only Kelly blood and around the world so it's likely you will find the sisters family too.

    there is a group but the name I can't remember but google irish famine orphans and you will find links. Mountbellew comes to kind. These girls were young, poor and in workhouses so you may find records and that way too.  My first research would be finding her arrival record. It should be with nsw because it is before we were a country.






    Friday 15th July 2022 03:22PM
  • Thanks so much for your suggestions Zeeker, all you mentioned makes sense and will give me something to follow up and I'll post any findings here. This has been one of my biggest brick walls in my family tree and sad as this story maybe, my  great grandmother apparently was a lovely sweet person despite all her hardships.


    2 Kelly Family

    Saturday 12th November 2022 08:43PM
  • Hi Zeeker, I checked out your suggestion that the sisters may have been in the workhouses however they don't show up on any records. The story is the family were starving and Mary Ann and Nellie Kelly emigrated to Australia and the USA to live with relatives. I think I've found Mary Ann's assisted passage to NSW Australia, a 5 pound fare paid by Patrick Kelly in March 1882, with her age as 20 years which would be correct. On Mary Ann's marriage certificate in 1884, her father is named as Patrick Kelly (deceased). Strangely her death certificate states her parents as James Kelly and Margaret Reidy (no other records found yet). I've connected with Clan Kelly on FB and I'm receiving lots of help and have hope in time I will find out the townland where the family lived and with any luck some records. I've joined Gedmatch and already have started connecting to possibilities. I'm really grateful for the recommendation to Clan Kelly as I can see progress there. I'm most greatful for any suggestions you may have for me to explore. Kali

    2 Kelly Family

    Tuesday 29th November 2022 09:50AM
  • Hi Kali Always happy to help. I’ve found some great info because other people support each other. You HAVE to check out Clare library which is online. They have donated material from family researchers like us who donate our family info so others can read it. Because of a great Aussie Bloke, I found my gg grandmother- a mystery since 1850. I just had a 2 minute look at their website and there were Reidy in Clareabby and killone, Corofin, cratloe etc parishes. Be flexible with spelling too, Reidy sounds like reedy or read-y. But… there is also little Ireland in the US - 12 families from Clare moved there around the famine time - you could find clues. Teresa Townsell started the fb page. I only just found out our ggg grandfathers are brothers. I will see you on clan Kelly. My name is Katherine and at the moment my profile pic is a green peace lily plant in my house. Oh btw if you are in Australia check out the Kapunda region in SA, THREE families went there - including two separate Kelly families. One Kelly family was from Clare and the third fam was too. Hooper Boyland blog is amazing. The lady who made it is a teacher from WA. And… I’m Aussie too in WA.


    Tuesday 20th December 2022 04:45PM

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