Thursday, 24 November 2011


Today for our  US friends is all about family.

I made the mistake, a few years back of giving a visiting U.S. friend a gift on Thanksgiving. It's not about presents, it's about presence. So to all our stateside friends who can't make it home, enjoy your meal and your day off and may you soon be reunited with your family.

For the day that's in it I have a story about a family divided by emigration and now reunited by the internet.

I'm printing in its entirety the letter sent by Jim Horgan. Unfortunately the photos do not seem to be with it.

Mary, hope all is well in North Kerry.  I have put together a little of the story of my mother’s paternal side of the family tree, if anyone is interested.  I am also adding a few photos.

Thomas Sheehan was born in Direen, Kerry on 23/12/1860 the son of John Sheen of Inchaleen and Julia Murphy of Claramore.  Thomas married Margaret White (1857-1891) daughter of Edward White and Johanna Connor of Clahaneelesh, Kerry.
Thomas and Margaret married 18-February 1879 in Ballyheigue.  They had 7 children:

Bridget (1880-1952) – Married William Stack (1885-?) and had 5 children.
John Joseph (1881-1965) – Married Catherine Shine of Gurtomashilihy, Moyvane and had 1 child (my mother, Helen)
Edward (1882-?)
Anna (1885-1967) – Married Daniel Werner and had no children
Mary (1888-1977) – never married
Thomas (1889-?) -
Michael Edward (1891-1939) – married Ellen Duffy and had 4 children.

Margaret died 4 months after the birth of Michael, and Thomas brought all of the children to America, arriving in Philadelphia 13 August, 1891.  He brought the children to his wife’s mother, Johanna White, who had emigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1880.  The story goes that Thomas went west to find work and was never heard from again.  The children were raised by their grandmother, who was a shop keeper.

The descendants of Thomas and Margaret number over 100 that I know of now spread all over America.  There are doctors, lawyers, nurses, and business people among the descendants – all of whom can trace their Kerry roots to the tragic event in 1891 when Margaret died at an early age.

The third picture is of my grandfather’s black thorn walking stick.  It is hanging on the wall in my home in Atlanta.  I remember receiving a few wallops with it when I was young!

I will work on the other grandparents and their stories to share with you as I can.

Finally here is a link dedicated to Neal Shine.  He was the son of my grandmother’s brother Patrick from Gurtomashilihy.

All the best, Jim

Thank you, Jim and well done on all the research.

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