Share This:

I am coming to Valentia in two weeks to research my great-great-grandparents, Ellin (born about 1850) and John (born about 1836?).  They lived in either Lower East Tinnies or Lower Feighman, The Lotts in Chapeltown.  My great-grandmother, Honora O'Sullivan (b. about 1867), emigrated to America with her older brother, Cornelius, or perhaps her brother Jeremiah.  She married John Sargeant and settled in Greenwich, CT.  I know my great-great-grandfather worked in the gardens of the "big house", probably Glanleam.  I believe that all of their many children, but one, emigrated to America.  That last son did not marry and died long ago.  I do not know if Ellin O'Neill was born on Valentia, and I am hoping to find answers when I come.  If any of these names sound familiar I would love to hear from you.  My direct email is  Thanks.  Stephanie Ellin Morton


Sunday 14th Apr 2019, 11:04PM

Message Board Replies

  • Dear Stephanie:

    Thank you for your query to the Ireland Reaching Out message board.  I have contacted the Valentia Island Heritage Centre, and Gerard has very kindly offered to meet you when you visit.  They are open and they do have some parish registers, but these only go back to 1875. 

    You can contact Gerard through this email link:

    The Centre website is here:

    If you have any further questions, please let me know.  You can contact me directly at:

    Have a wonderful trip!

    Kind regards,


    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Thursday 18th Apr 2019, 10:40AM
  • Hello Stephanie

    I am also searching for family information on Valentia Island.  I would be most interested in hearing of your travels and adventure while visiting if you are willing to share.  


    Susan Pegg

    Dundas, Ontario Canada


    Susan Pegg

    Monday 20th Apr 2020, 07:44PM
  • Hello, Susan.  I apologize for not answering last year.  Valentia was my honeymoon and we didn't have much time for anyone else!  So sorry.

    It was my first time to Valentia and it was almost like being in a dream after hearing about it most of my life from my mother and grandmother.  I knew my great-grandmother, Hanora (Nano) O'Sullivan (daughter of Ellin O'Neill and John "O'Sullivan) until she died when I was 5,  I knew they lived in Tinnies and/or Chapeltown, and knew her siblings names, but I had no idea of how rural, simple and treeless the island would be.  It is my vision of heaven, and I loved it, but I could also understand why, 130 years ago, with no prospects for earning a living besides farming and fishing, she and all but one of her siblings would leave for America. It seems they, and most other islanders, were incredibly poor. Now, I wish I could return there, buy a cottage, ans stay there until I die.  It truly is a magical, beautiful place.

    One of the things that took me by surprise were the reminders of history all over the island.  Standing stones, 2 wedge tombs, remains of ancient settlements, forts, graveyards and terraced fields were there if you looked for them.  I had no idea.  What I would like to know is how long my own family lived there, but it seems that it's only a few generations back before all records are lost, or never even existed.  My National Geographic DNA test says my matrilineal line came from Africa through Turkey, Eastern Eaurope, up through Scandinavia, and through Scotland to Ireland.  So maybe my mother's line were women who came to Valentia during the Viking era.  I don't know if we'll ever know.

    We met Teddy Kennedy, who is a distant cousin through the O'Neill side, who is a tour operator and very friendly and helpful.  If you go to Valentia please look him up.  He is eager to share what he knows.  The people were warm and friendly when you actually encountered them, and the little Heritage Museum has a wealth of information.  They refused to do any geneological work during the summer, although this year they may relent on doing summer geneology searches since there will probably be no tourists.  

    The little village of Knightstown is pretty and charming.  Beyond that I was suprorised to see that most of the homes were new, and the old cottages in ruins.  But they lie their ruins, which they preserve as reminders of the Great Hunger and the oppression of the English.  This is true in all of Ireland, I believe.  So I could not find my great-grandmother's house, although I found two ruins in the vicinity of The Lotts that might have been theirs.  I don't know if there is a way of findng out.

    My best suggestion is to go in the month of May, before tourists inundate the island, and spend a good 3 weeks exploring, going to the museum, and just asking around.  Teddy would be a wonderful resource, but there must be many more. It is very difficult to get information unless you are actually there.  Perhaps we'll find that we are distant cousins, too!  

    Please write if you have specific questions.  Who were your ancestors there, and do you know the village they lived in?  So much to learn.  Stay safe.  Stephanie Morton


    Tuesday 21st Apr 2020, 11:21AM
  • Hello Stephanie.  And I offer apologies back to you for my delayed respond.  When you wrote to me in April, we were just learning then my husband's health was in trouble.  So with chemo, surgery and caring for him here at home, he was my priority.  Clarke passed away August 21, 2020 and I am now trying to find a new way in my life.  Genealogy was a passion before his illness and I have since started to get back into it.

    Family on my dad's  side came from Valentia, Kerry.  They lived in Upper and Lower Tinnies, an area we have in common with your family.  Near as I can tell, My Gr Gr Grandfather was a farmer and Property tenement.  It was his wife's dying wish that her husband leave Ireland and take the children so that they did not intermingle with the Catholics.  (As a side note, there could be nothing further from the truth as our family is since well blended in religion).

    Here is my family:  William B. Smith (DOB 1790-1810??)  & wife Ellen Jeffcott who died in Ireland.  Their children were Lucinda (DOB 1842), Richard (DOB 1844), twins Joseph & William (DOB 1845), Benjamin (DOB 1846), Ellen (DOB 1849) and Frances (DOB 1853).  They came to Canada some time between 1855 and 1861, farming in Ontario near Owen Sound. 

    I have not been able to locate information prior to my Gr Gr Grandfather or when they came to Canada,  and so continue my search, but I have been able to trace them here since. 

    How about you?  Were you able to find family listed in John Grenham's records (Irish Census Records)?

    Looking forward to chat again and know what dates of your family.  They may coincide with mind.

    Susan Pegg   Dundas, Ontario, Canada






    Susan Pegg

    Saturday 24th Oct 2020, 05:27PM

Post Reply