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Hi from Australia

I have been searching for my great grandfather Michael Carter 1844 for several years. His death certificate tells us his age, that he was born in Ireland and little else.Every one of his children have a different story for him, but all agree he was born in Cork and lost his parents at a young age, at the height of the famine. Carter is believed to be an assumed name, possibly from his adopted family.

DNA evidence leads me to two key surnames, Minihane (Monihane Moynihan and variants,) and McCarthy (Carty, Carthy McCarty, Carter, Cart and other variants). The weight of this evidence is pointing to Schull (Skull) on the Mizen Peninsula or Mahoonagh Townland in Aughadown parish, Diocese of Cork and Ross near Skibereen in Western Cork. These relatives are in Cork and the United States. I have DNA matches to descendants of:
*Michael McCarthy, b. ABT 1807, Mohonagh, Skibbereen, Cork, d. 25 SEP 1887, Mohonagh and his son Thomas b 1851-1913 Mohonagh
*Thomas McCarthy 1828-1896 married Ellen McCarthy daughter of Daniel McCarthy McCarthy West Cork
*Eugene b. 1805 Kerry
*Charles b. 1820 in Banteer, Cork
*Mary, b 1833 Cregg, Cork
*John McCarthy, Born 1801 in Castle Townsend, County Cork but also William Carter 1808–1850 BIRTH 29 MAY 1808 • Kentucky, United States and Cooper
*Julia McCarthy BIRTH 25 JAN 1865 • Drimoleague, Cork, Ireland DEATH Lackenafasogue, Caheragh, Co Cork, father Michael McCarthy 1817-1877, mother Catherine Sullivan 1819-1905, note brother Michael born 1842, no further information. 

I don't know enough about the area to know how close these places are to each other, so that I might start linking the above people together to find a common ancestor. I am also having difficulty working through the McCarthy families, there are so many with very similar naming patterns. I plan to visit Cork this year so at least I will have a better idea of where the places are. It would be lovely to know where Michael is from and to be able to visit.
Any help will be greatly appreciated, warm regards Mary


Sunday 10th Feb 2019, 11:29PM

Message Board Replies

  • Dear Mary: 

    Thank you for your post to the Ireland Reaching Out message board.  I am forwarding this post to one of our West Cork volunteers who will be able to assist you not only with your research, but hopefully with your upcoming visit.  You should hear from him within a week or two. 

    Many thanks for your interest. 

    If you have any further questions, please let me know. 

    Kind regards, 


    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Monday 11th Feb 2019, 09:58AM
  • Hi Mary,

    I was contacted by Jane Halloran Ryan asking me to help you if possible with your queries.

    I haven't had a lot of time to do research over the weekend but found thge following that may be of interest to you.

    I found the death of a Thomas McCarthy of Mohonagh in 1913. His death at home at the age of 58 was witnessed by his daughter Catherine (spelled in a common error as Katherine) Cause of death was given as "Pneumonia for six days"

    Based on his given age of 58, I searched all Skibbereen Registers from1850 - 1860 but failed to find him. I then searched for the birth of Catherine and found it on 28th November 1891 with her mother named as Mary McCarthy, formerly Driscol and her father Thomas McCarthy.

    I searched throughout all of West Cork to find a marriage of Thomas and Mary but failed. I will try again.when I have more time in coming days. 

    I will continue to search for further information later today in the Skibbereen/West Cork area as I must go out right now but wanted tomlet you know that I am working on this for you.

    Frank Fahy

    Abbeystrowry Cork

    Wednesday 13th Feb 2019, 11:55AM
  • Thankyou very much Frank.

    I've collected everything I know or suppose about Michael at

    Is (The Rock/Ardgehane, Cork, Ireland) anywhere near Aghadown?


    On an entirely different tack I have the name Feighery in my mother's line, it seems to be very rare. Do you know if it is related to Fahy?

    warm regards Mary


    Thursday 14th Feb 2019, 03:24AM
  • Hi Mary,

    Will have a look at your link later today. Many places in West Cork are referred toi as "The Rock" but the one known best to me woulkd be an area almost in the centre of Skibbereen. It is also known as the Windmill Rock although I have no history of a windmill having been there. There is also an "Ardgehane" about four miles from Skibbereen but thgere is another of the same name close to Clonakilty 20 milkes from Skibbereen. Is there some significance to these two names for you. If there is a family link, I can try toi help.

    Do you think that the Thomas McCarthy of Mohonagh is related to you as I have found out quite a lot more about him last evening but have not had the time to get it on here yet. Please let me know.

    I am not familiar with the surname Feighery and it does not, as far as I know have any link to Fahy but I may be wrong. I will try to look it up.


    Frank Fahy

    Abbeystrowry Cork

    Thursday 14th Feb 2019, 11:31AM
  • Hi Frank

    yes thanks I'm interested in Thomas McCarthy of Mohonagh. I have very many links to mcCarthys of West Cork The ones I've given you are my top few, what I'm tring to do is see if I can work out how they relate to each other

    warm regards



    Thursday 14th Feb 2019, 10:38PM
  • sorry should add that i'm most interested in information prior to 1880, by which time I expect any siblings of Michael would have married thanks, Mary


    Thursday 14th Feb 2019, 10:40PM
  • Hi Mary, I just discovered this thread. I am a direct descendent from the Michael McCarthy from Mohonagh.


    Monday 2nd Dec 2019, 06:28PM
  • Hi Connor, thanks for this information. have you done a DNA test?


    Friday 6th Dec 2019, 04:36AM
  • Yes Mary, my father is the match above with Michael McCarthy born 1807 above. I am on 23andme and my late father did many Y tests on FTDNA. Michael McCarthy was my great great great grandfather.

    Michael was from the townland of Mohonagh in the Parish of Aghadown, just outside of Skibbereen. After going through the available church records online (, I developed this spreadsheet of the McCarthys in Mohonagh. I'm not sure if this is all of them but I think I have many of them. There is a bit of a family mystery as there were three or four McCarthy's in this location just prior to the famine and only Michael and an Owen (which appears to be his brother) remain after 1848.…

    Curiously, Michael's son Richard went to Australia for the late 1800s Gold Rush. I have no records of him being there other than his obituary when he died in New Zealand the early 1920s which claims that he was a wealthy man on the back of success during the Gold rush in Australia. When he made his money, he bought a farm in New Zealand and raised a family. Maybe check this list to see if your Michael is there. It's quite likely I missed a few and the name 'Carter' does seem quite like McCarthy.


    Friday 6th Dec 2019, 11:22PM
  • Hi Mary,

    this post was passed on to me because I answered you last February and my sincere apologies, I was supposed to get back to you but never did. Tonight I saw your latest post in answer to Connor and I reread you previous posts and decided to answer you again and stick with it this time. You sent me this link and I tried it just noe and it does not work,

    Is (The Rock/Ardgehane, Cork, Ireland) anywhere near Aghadown?

    Could you send me a new up to date llink again in order to bring me up to date on what you know already so that I need not wase time researching something you know already. Where did you get the reference to The Rock/Ardgehane? I phoned a lady who was born and reared in Ardgehane to get the background story strraight from the horses mouth bu unfortunately she was not at home and her husband did not know for sure and she did not ring me back since. I will call her again tomorrow and get back to you when I get an answer. I promise I will not forget this time. 

    My current feeling is that your best bet right now  is to get in touch with Connor McCarthy as he is quite likely to be more sure of the McCarthy's of Mohonagh than any church records can prove as many of these records of the time did not show the Townland or street where the child being baptised was born. 

    While you are correct in saying that Mohonagh is near Skibbereen, it is not in the Parish of Aghadown but Skibbereen. Ardgehane is probably in the Parish of Castlehaven but I can verify this if you wis

    I will help in any way I can when you get back to me.


    Again my apologies for the delay.

    Frank Fahy

    Abbeystrowry Cork

    Saturday 7th Dec 2019, 12:15AM
  • Wow, I just checked my spreadsheet and there is a Michael McCarthy born to a Mary Minihine and a John McCarthy in 1841 in Aghadown. As the names are similar, it seems that it is the same couple that had a Thomas McCarthy in 1840 in Mohona.

    About four years ago, I went through these pages very carefully and I seem to have written that there is a Michael McCarthy born at some point in 1841 to a John McCarthy and Mary Minihane. It's very hard to read and I can't locate the exact part which led me to write that down. I made the assumption that this Michael born to a John McCarthy and a Mary Minihane, were the same parents of the 1840 born Thomas McCarthy in Mohona and the 1843, Ellen McCarthy.

    Why my late father and I believe that these families are important is that they share the same names as our family. Michael, Thomas, John, Ellen, Catherine seem to be common names for our family. There is a story in the family that our Michael McCarthy was married twice. Furthermore that the family wasn't exactly poor during the famine and that is born out that Michael and his assumed brother Owen (neighbouring farm) had children during the famine, which is unheard of. Even more confusing is that at least 3 families of 'McCarthys' are having children in the same location pre 1845 and only Michael / Owen remain past 1848. The implication is that they weren't poor and that might mean they could afford to send their brother's families abroad. This is very strange as Skibbereen was one of the worst hit areas of the famine. There is a mass burial pit in the Abbey graveyard only a mile from this townland.

    Have you any idea if Michael had any siblings? It looks like Thomas and Ellen might have been them.


    Saturday 7th Dec 2019, 12:18AM
  • Mohonagh is indeed in Aghadown in the time period that we are dealing with here. I'm sure this has changed in the last hundred years.


    Saturday 7th Dec 2019, 12:24AM
  • Also this reference to the 'rock'. My grandfather would talk about the Ken-op, which is the high point of Mohonagh and the neighbouring townland of Reenmurragh (Knockgorm). There is another family of McCarthys in that townland with the same naming convention (Thomas, Michael, John) who interchangeably use Mohona or Knockgorm in the parish records for the same family (same parents).

    Why this might be signficant, is that my grandfather would talk about how they would sit up there at night and watch the ferries sail to the Americas from Cork. My great aunt said that their father did the same thing in the late 1800s early 1900s. Apparently you could see 20 steeples from up there. Not sure if this is a signficant thing but there are lazy beds cut into the rock up there. Lazy beds are a form of potato cultivation that are sort of a relic of how populous these townlands used to be before they were devastated by the famine


    Saturday 7th Dec 2019, 12:36AM
  • Hi Frank

    this is my information for Michael

    regards, Mary


    Saturday 7th Dec 2019, 10:20PM
  • Connor & Mary,

    i must admit to having made an error in saying that Mohonagh is in Skibbereen Parish. I wrote it without checking as Mohonagh is so close to Skibbereen but I have checked since and found thatr it is in Aghadown.

    Regarding the Rock/Ardgehane, I would love to know where this reference came from as my contact for the area has confirmed that there is indeed an area known as the Rock in the immediate area of Ardgehane although located in the townland of Bawnlahan. It was located on a track used by school children from Ardgehane and Bawnlahan as a short cut to their Primary School at Tragumna. It might also be of interest to you that there was and is a McCarthy family living  in Bawnlahan. All of the above Townlands are in Castlehaven (Castletownshend) Parish.

    Please, could you please let me know about the reference to The Rock/Ardgehane.


    Abbeystrowry Cork

    Saturday 7th Dec 2019, 10:38PM
  • Hi Connor thanks for your help. My problem is that there is no shortage of potentials. The Michael above seems to have stayed on (from MyHeritage Marriage to: Elizabeth McCarthy (born Walsh)

    Jan 15 1865  Kilcoe ResidenceRelation to Head of House: Head, Aghadown North, Cork, Ireland Mar 31 1901)


    Are you in any of the genealogy facebook groups?


    Monday 9th Dec 2019, 12:56AM
  • Hi Mary,

    I know your question was addressed to Connor but just wanted to let you know that I set up a group of people with an interest in and of great ability in that line to voluntarily help people with queries. It is called Skibbereen & West Cork Family History Group and we have monthly meetings at which all queries received are researched and replies sent to the person requesting help. We do have a facebook page under that name bt we do not use it generally as we consider it to be too open for resolving what is essentially private family matters and also the information we research and publicise may be in breach of Irelands data protection laws and without meaning to,  could  make public matters which endanger personal security information on a person/persons background such as address, date of birth, mothers maiden name etc which often comprise personal security information which is used in Bank Accounts and other areas.

    I have also personally transcribed all the Catholic records of Skibbereen, Rath and the Islands for the Church and have a personal copy for myself. I have indexed all the content of the Registers alphabetically and chronologically to speed up the process of research. 

    You can contact me through my email address which is where it will receive immediate of charge or through this Message Board where I am registered as a Volunteer Leader for the West Cork area. I also have international access to records through Ancestry.Com

    just a personal interest but I would be obliged to hear where your reference to The Rock/Ardgehane came from and in what context.

    Frank Fahy

    Abbeystrowry Cork

    Monday 9th Dec 2019, 11:36AM
  • Hi Connor, if you would like to email Frank at his emil given above he will be able to give you my email address. I would like to explore if we are a DNA match offline, regards Mary


    Wednesday 18th Dec 2019, 02:23AM

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