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Looking for information on two G-Grandfathers- Cannon & McCafferty


I am seeking anything on two of my great grandfathers, who supposedly came to the States from Donegal.  Neither knew each other, and were of different generations.  The only data I have has been gleemed from census research, and even that is sometimes contradictory. Both were illiterate so left no written record and almost as much oral.  I cannot even definitely nail down their birth years let alone birthdays.  Both were RC.

Manus Cannon was born probably in 1842, but possibly as late as 1849.  Extrapolating back from the age he used in each census that is the range I am working with.  His death certificate, filled out by his son, gives his father's name as Cornelius Cannon.  This is plausible as he named his first son, who died in infancy, Cornelius.  Manus's mother's name is unknown.  On one census he gave his year of immigration as 1865.  He married Bridgit Thompson in 1869, but they probably met here and I have zero information on her other than that she too came from Ireland.

Owen McCafferty was probably born in 1868.  His death certificate lists his father's name as Martin McCafferty and his mother's as Mary Regan.  Answers to the census show he immigrated between 1875 and 1885.  He married Catherine Gallagher in 1890, but again they probably met here.  She also came from Ireland.

I have no information as to any relatives that may have come to America with them, ships that they may have sailed on, or ports they may have used.  It seems we are a pretty closed mouth set of families.

Any possible help would be greatly appreciated.  My email is as I seem to be having some trouble with my user name and password on this site.  I hope that can be shortly sorted out.

James Cannon




Tuesday 5th June 2018, 06:42PM

Message Board Replies

  • James:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    Finding RC church records in Co. Donegal is very difficult pre-1850 and some parishes have records that start even later in the 1860s and 1870s. Civil registration for births in Ireland did not begin until 1864.

    I searched the subscription site Roots Ireland for a baptismal record for Manus and did not find a record. Also, did not find a baptismal record or a civil birth record for Owen McCafferty.  My guess is that Owen was born prior to 1864.

    I then checked Griffiths Valuation data from 1857 for Co. Donegal. I located four Cornelius Cannon records which are shown below. They were located in four different civil parishes. Possibly the father of Manus was one of the four. I did not find a Martin McCafferty in the Griffiths.

    I would suggest that you add a story for Owen and Manus to our XO Chronicles site. Possibly someone may recognize one or the other.

    I would also suggest a DNA test (autosomal) and from your matches you may be able to pinpoint where your Cannons or McCaffertys came from.

    Let me know if you have questions.

    Roger McDonnell

    SourceSurnameFirst NameTownlandParishCounty

    GriffithCannonCorneliusShannaghdooClondavaddogCo. Donegal

    GriffithCannonCorneliusLackaghInishkeelCo. Donegal

    GriffithCannonCorneliusDrumabodanKilmacrenanCo. Donegal

    GriffithCannonCorneliusRannyLettermacawardCo. Donegal

    Castlemore Roscommon

    Wednesday 6th June 2018, 12:53AM
  • Roger;

    Thank you for your reply and guidance.  I knew going into this that it would be very difficult due to the lack of any information on my ancestors' origins.  I am just hoping that there is indeed a needle somewhere in the haystack.  Perhaps I can get lucky.


    Wednesday 6th June 2018, 03:28PM