family history, Kennaley

The Mystery Continues…

A few weeks ago, I wrote of my travels to Neola, Pottawattamie, Iowa where I visited the cemetery to conduct family research, and stumbled into an even bigger mystery. And after my dad shared my post on my visit to Neola as well as my post on the murder of David Kennaley (the beginning of the story, as well as this surname summary) to Facebook, the reading of these posts exploded. So I wanted to share an update of what we’ve uncovered in the weeks since.

I first did some simple research into the Kenealys that I found buried there. From Ancestry, I discovered that Jerome and Bernard were Jeremiah’s sons and that Jeremiah was the son of Cornelius Kenealy.

Cornelius was born 20 May 1812 in Buttevant Parish, County Cork, Ireland.He wed Elizabeth Mahoney and they had a son named Timothy who was born in 1843 in Ireland. The small family immigrated to the United States sometime after Timothy’s birth. They first settled in Charleston, South Carolina, where Elizabeth gave birth to four more sons, John, 1845; Thomas, 1847; Cornelius, 1849; and Michael 1850.

Shortly thereafter, Cornelius and family left Charleston and settled near Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa. They ended up purchasing a farm in Jackson county, which borders both Dubuque as well as Jones county, where my Kennaley family hails.

While on the farm in Jackson county, Elizabeth gave birth to four more children. Son Edward, 1852; daughters Catherine, about 1854; Mary, 1856; and son Jeremiah in 1861.4

Tragically, Cornelius and his son, Cornelius, met a grisly end. On 18 May 1868, while cleaning a well on their farm, they were overcome with gasses and suffocated. Both father and son were buried at Holy Family Cemetery in Peosta, Dubuque, Iowa. Following their death, Elizabeth retained the family farm until 1882 when it was sold to one Michael McCarthy. The Kenealy clan splintered and moved in separate directions. In the late 1880s, Jeremiah left on his own, eventually settling in Neola, Pottawattamie, Iowa where he married Catherine Doyle in 1888 and began his own family.5

Jeremiah and Catherine had ten children, of which, only five sons lived to adulthood. Jerome, b. November 1889; Francis, b. July 1891; Bernard, b. January 1894; John, b. September 1896; and Joseph, b. January 1899.6 Buried beside Jeremiah and Catherine are: Baby Kenealy, 1893; Aloysius, 1902-1911; Mary, 1904; Raymond, 1907-1910; and Cecilia, 1911.7


Sharing what I had found with my dad, he took my research into present day and looked up phone numbers for Kenealys who still live in the Neola area. So at the end of August, I met my dad’s eldest sister at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church where we carpooled to visit the Kenealy farm. There we met with the Neola Jeremiah’s grandson, great-grandson and his wife.

We did find some fantastic records that his mother had compiled on our Kennaley clan. The deed record of Hanorah selling the Kennaley farm in Jones county to one Jeremiah Dullea on 10 April 1885.

As well as a map locating where David’s farm was in Washington township, Jones county.

Photos of David and Hanorah’s sons:

Photos are taken with iPhone of Neola Kenealy family collection.

However, while we were unable to confirm relation between our two families, we were all in agreement that there must be a connection somewhere. They as well have a collection of genealogical research and so he offered to go through in deeper detail the information they had and send both my aunt an I a thumb drive of scanned documents. I received an email this week that that thumb drive is currently en route and I’m so excited to see what he’s uncovered.


At the same time, one of my dad’s younger sisters began researching Irish baptismal records in the hopes that we might be able to make headway by focusing on Murphy research. She discovered a website: Irish Genealogy, which:

“…holds a large searchable volume of pre 20th Century Church records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial that in many instances pre-date the Civil Registration.”

In the compilation of Kennaley family history of the descendants of David and Hanorah, her parents are listed as F Murphy ad M Duggan.With this information, my aunt cross-referenced the database on this site and returned with a baptismal record for one Honora Murphy baptized on 2 May 1824, born to Derby Murphy and Norry Duggan.9 Could this be our Hanorah?

screenshot from Irish Genealogy of baptismal record

Possibly. But it’s not yet confirmed. Since Hanorah was buried with a Michael Murphy of similar age, I believe we can safely say that he is her brother. I decided to try my luck at locating a baptismal record for Michael that also lists Derby and Norry (Duggan) Murphy as his parents.

While their tombstone states that Hanorah was the elder sibling, I’m not certain that was the case.10 Because neither Hanorah or Michael read or wrote, it’s difficult to say for sure who was older. Census records for each indicate that their birth years could fall between any number of dates. For Hanorah, the dates are from 1818 (tombstone) to 1824. It’s also not uncommon for women to have shaved off a few years when the enumerator came knocking.

For Michael, the dates are a little closer together: 1820-1825. While the tombstone states he was born in 182211, other census records I’ve located in my research of him varies between that five year period.

I began my search on Irish Genealogy but I was unable to find a record for a Michael Murphy between the years of 1820-1825 born to a Duggan. In fact, I wasn’t able to find another record for Derby and Norry (Duggan) Murphy. So either the database is not complete in its parish records, or else this Derby and Norry were terrible Catholics in having only one child.

I’m not yet convinced that Hanorah’s parents are F. or Derby Murphy and M. or Norry Duggan, as there is no citation as to where that information was found within the Kennaley family book. So I moved my search to Ancestry where I searched Irish baptismal records.

Thankfully, once I narrowed down the names and dates for Michael, I received about thirty possible hits to sift through. To do this, I recorded all possible records: listing parents, dates, and locations on one sheet for Michael. I opened another tab and searched Hanorah’s information and received a similar number of hits. I took a separate sheet and recorded parents, dates and locations for Hanorah. And once I had finished reviewing and recording all the records, I took the two sheets and compared to see if I had similar names.

A process, really. But since siblings are not recorded on baptismal records, only parents, it was the only way I could ensure I had reviewed all possible options for comparison.

I ended up with two possible options.

Michael Murphy – baptized 29 Mar 1821 in Inchigeelagh Parish, Cork, Ireland, son of Tim Murphy and Margaret Buckley.12

Hannah Murphy – baptized 4 Jan 1822 in Inchigeelagh Parish, Cork, Ireland, daughter of Tim Murphy and Mgt. Murphy.13


Michael Murphy – baptized 8 September 1819 in South Cork Parish, Cork, Ireland, son of Pat Murphy and Ann Connell.14

Hanorah Murphy – baptized 24 September 1821 in South Cork, Cork, Ireland, daughter of Patrick Murphy and Anne Connell.15

Both list Michael as the elder sibling. But I’m still not convinced any of these are accurate records for Michael and Hanorah. I plan on researching Michael’s family, his descendants for possible leads, as well are return to early documents of land sales, quit claim deeds, and probate court records for missed clues. Additionally, I plan to copy the history of St. Patrick’s Garryowen, that my aunt has graciously lent me so that I can read through and hopefully find additional clues.

I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks!


1Moonen, Cheryl Locher. “Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials.” Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. October 17, 2011. Accessed September 12, 2016.

Year: 1850; Census Place: St Michael and St Phillip, Charleston, South Carolina; Roll: M432_850; Page: 166B; Image: 173

3Year: 1860; Census Place: Brandon, Jackson, Iowa; Roll: M653_326; Page: 397; Image: 397; Family History Library Film: 803326


5St. Patrick’s Garryowen, 1840-1990. Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1990.

6Year: 1900; Census Place: Norwalk, Pottawattamie, Iowa; Roll: 456; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0158; FHL microfilm: 1240456

7“NEOLA TOWNSHIP &.” Neola Township and Saint Patricks Cemetery. Accessed September 12, 2016.

8Speaker, Mark E. Kennaley Family. Las Vegas, NV: M.E. Speaker, 1989.

9“CORK & ROSS (RC) , Parish/Church/Congregation – SCHULL EAST.” Irish Genealogy.

10Dad, POW. “Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials.” Hanorah Murphy Kennaley 1818-1908. March 3, 2012. Accessed September 12, 2016.

11Wright, Brianna Audrey. “Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records.” Michael Murphy 1822-1908. September 2, 2016. Accessed September 12, 2016. Ireland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2011. Murphy, Michael. Ireland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2011. Murphy, Hannah.

14Catholic Parish Registers, The National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; Microfilm Number: Microfilm 04778 / 04

15Catholic Parish Registers, The National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; Microfilm Number: Microfilm 04778 / 04


2 thoughts on “The Mystery Continues…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s