The following information on my O'Donnell ancestors is summarised by Brian Hickey (my mother's first cousin) in an e-mail to Mike James:-


From:     Brian John Hickey
To:         Mike James <mjames99@email.msn.com>
Date:     Monday, 29 December 1997
Subject: Re: Michael O'Donnell D, 1877 at age 105

Hello Mike,

I was very pleased to receive your e-mail. Your contact has been the only one ever since I started posting family data on various BBS etc some 18 months ago. Before I went to Ireland in 1995, I wrote to a number of places where my GGGrandparents lived to see whether any namesake O'DONNELL had a forebear who lived to a ripe old age such as 105. There has been no response until now.

I have a copy of the Death Certificate of Michael O'DONNELL.

He died at Killonan and his death was registered in the District of Annacotty in the Superintendent Registrar's District of Limerick, Co. Limerick, Ireland.

Date of death - March 5, 1877

Married - Yes

Age -105

Cause of death - from old age (not certified).

Present at the death - Alice LAFFAN.

Because the age at death ties in with family oral history, I have "assumed" that this is my GGGrandfather who was married to Alice O'BRIEN. My research shows that he had a daughter, Catherine - b. 1864. She eventually died as a widow in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia in 1918 aged 84. She had been married a second time (after the death of her first husband) to a John McCABE in Maryborough in 1891. John died in 1900. There were no family of that union - understandably!

Catherine was first married to Thomas CAPLICE (1818 - 1874). They married in The Church of the Assumption, Ballyporeen on February 5, 1861. Thomas died suddenly in the Townland of Glenacunna, Ballyporeen where he had been a farmer.

Catherine (Kate, as she was known) and her children subsequently immigrated to Maryborough, Queensland, Australia.

She had five children, Catherine (my Grandmother), Patrick, James, Alice and Mary.

It is interesting to note that Kate, James and Mary came to Australia on the Ship Oriana in 1887 - shown as emigrants from Kerry. The other children emigrated from Tipperary. This disparity in places of emigration has always been a mystery to me.

I now find the Kerry connection with your O'DONNELL name very interesting as it may provide a long-awaited clue as Michael O'DONNELL' s family ancestry.

Oral history of the family stated that when Thomas CAPLICE died in 1874, the children's Grandfather (Michael) was said to have taken care of them. He was already an old man!

However, this fact was staunchly affirmed by my Great Aunt Alice CAPLICE). I knew her well as she lived to the age of 99 (1869 -1968). Perhaps Michael O'DONNELL resided at that time in Kerry and it was to that County his daughter and some of her children came to be with him.

I have never traced any siblings of my GGGrandfather (Michael) or my GGrandmother (Alice). I have however traced some of Alice's O'BRIEN cousins who came to Australia. I have no knowledge of any of Michael's relatives emigrating here but surely some did!

There are numerous O'DONNELL families around Cahir and Ballyporeen. I might add that I haven't directly approached any by snail mail. It's worth mentioning that I didn't note much enthusiasm by the Irish in general about relatives who emigrated to Canada, America and Australia. On the other hand our search for our IrishRoots is a growth industry.

The professionals in Ireland are happy to assist - but at a price!

About the Catholic Priesthood - Tradition has it that we are related to the O'DONNELL family in Fethard which produced a noted Archbishop of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia viz. Patrick Mary O'DONNELL who died some 20 years ago. There is another noted Cleric in Ireland who has edited a book on early photographs of Australia - he was an O'DONNELL but I cannot find him in my database.

In pursuing the ancestry of Michael O'DONNELL through the IGI some years ago I found that a Michael O'DONNELL married Mary HOGAN in St Mary's Church, Limerick on February 10, 1797. It is a possibility that his marriage to Alice O'BRIEN was a second marriage which happened frequently in those days due to deaths in childbirth etc.

My cousin Peter DUNN has an excellent WEB PAGE. It is worth visiting:-


Mike, it's been good to hear from you. I'll be keen to hear should you be able to link or respective families.

Kind regards,

Brian Hickey,



From:    Mike James <mjames99@email.msn.com>
Date:     Sunday, 28 December 1997
Subject: Re: Michael O'Donnell D, 1877 at age 105

I found not only the surname, O'Donnell, interesting, but also the location from where you reside. You see, I just came across a summary of the Thomas Joseph O'Donnell Clan. TJ was born in 1857 in Taubert, County Kerry, Ireland. His parents were Maurice O'Donnell and Mary Staples (Stack). TJ and his nephew, John, moved to Fort Worth, Texas, USA while the others who had not died migrated to Austrailia. One brother or nephew was in a high order of the priesthood. Is any of this info familiar to you? The age of your GGGrandfather and the dated he died seems a bit before the time of my family's migration, but it is worth a try.

Mike James


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