Saturday, September 24, 2011

Surname Saturday - Hennessys Where do They Come From and Why are They all Named Timothy.

My great grandmother (b about 1800) was a Hennessy from Ballylanders, Limerick, Ireland. Mary Hennessy was the daughter of John Hennessy and Mary Hayes. While attempting to track the ancestors of Mary Hennessy, I joined several cousins who were working to the same end. Some of them were the descendants of Mary Hennessy and some were the descendants of Mary Hennessy's sister Winifred.

We decided to pool our resources and see if we could determine who was who. In my experience, the Irish have a propensity to call everyone cousin, especially if the came from the same county and were acquainted with each other. Actually they probably were cousins when you think about it.

A Timothy Hennessy of Chicago had written a history of the Hennessy family of Counties Cork and Tipperary in 1954. This history began with birth, about 1700, of Timothy Hennessy in Dagan, County Cork.

As we combined our information, we were able to establish a 10 generation Hennessy Family Tree. It consists of 588 individuals and covers a span of 311 years. The family migrated from Cork and Limerick to Chicago, Houston, California, and Australia. There are 8 Timothys, 7 Thomas', 9 Michaels, and 7 James' and 8 Johns. 7 Marys and 5 Alices add to the confusion. Just to make it more difficult, about 1820 (+/- 10 years) Alice Hennessy (duaghter of John Hennessy and Mary Hayes) married Timothy Hennessy (son of Thomas Hennessy and Bridget Cleary).

Is the John Hennessy who married Mary Hayes an ancestor of Timothy Hennessy who married Alice Hayes? If not, where did he come from. This tree is not sourced and may never be due to the state of Irish records, but we do know the villages/parishes to look at for proof. What will we find.