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Dear Madam or Sir,

I am trying to trace my Maternal Great Grandfather to Ireland.

His name is Patrick McHale, born in Ireland, May 1838 or 1840. He died 13 July 1903 in Pittston Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA. The earliest record I have is the U.S. Federal Census of 1860 showing Patrick and his wife Mary (Cawley) McHale living in Pennsylvania, USA.

Patrick’s 1903 obituary states he had two brothers in Ireland, Michael and Anthony, who were both priests of the Catholic Church in Ireland at the time of his death.

I understand there is a book / directory which lists the names of all Catholic Priests in Ireland. I have been unable to find the book or gain access to the directory online or in libraries.

Do you have access to such a book or directory? If yes, does it list Anthony and Michael McHale in 1903?
I am hoping you can help me as I believe locating Anthony and Michael may open the door into my some of my family in Ireland.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Leo J. Walsh


Thursday 25th May 2023, 06:06PM

Message Board Replies

  • Leo,


    It would be helpful if you included the names of their parents and the county in which they were born.



    Thursday 25th May 2023, 06:41PM
  • Hello, In the 1901 Irish census I found the following:

    Residents of a house 20 in Emlybeg South (Binghamstown North, Mayo)

    Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion Birthplace Occupation Literacy Irish Language Marital Status Specified Illnesses
    MacHale Michael 46 Male Head of Family Roman Catholic Co Mayo Parish Priest Read and write Irish and English Not Married -
    MacHale Edwin 13 Male Nephew Roman Catholic Co Mayo Scholar Read and write Irish and English Not Married -
    MacHugh Bridget 30 Female Servant Roman Catholic Co Mayo House Maid Domestic Read and write Irish and English Not Married -
    Lavelle Edward 24 Male Servant Roman Catholic Co Mayo General Servant Domestic Read and write Irish and English Not Married -

    Report any error in transcription


    Thursday 25th May 2023, 07:00PM
  • The census record given above may well be what you're looking for.  According to MacLysaght's Surnames of Ireland, the surname McHale (in Irish, Mac Céile, meaning "son of the companion") originated in County Mayo, in the area around Killala, and I know from my own family research that it is fairly common in various parishes in Mayo.  The above record refers to the townland of Emlybeg South, which is in West Mayo (Killala being further east), but I have seen McHale's living many parishes away from Killala.  You can see more info about that townland at this link:…

    Although Michael may have been serving in 1901 as a priest in a parish different from the one in which he grew up, he might have been near home, since his nephew appears to have been living there with him.  Emlybeg South is in the Catholic parish of Kilmore Erris.  The records for that parish can be viewed online at this link (going back to 1860):



    Friday 26th May 2023, 10:20PM

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