John Carey's parents were married in the parish of Mahoonagh in
County Limerick, Ireland in 1826. John's brother, Patrick was
christened in Mahoonagh in 1838. No christening record has been
found for John Carey, but the Mahoonagh parish register has gaps
in the late 1830s.
Mahoonagh is a parish in the west of County Limerick. It is sometimes called Castlemahon. There are two main villages in the parish, Mahoonagh and Feohanagh. Mahoonagh is an ancient Irish name, which means "place of the tree stumps".
The first appearance of the Carey family occurred when Richard Carey married Johana Cullinane:
Richard Carey married Johana Cullinane on 30 January 1826 in
Mahoonagh. The witnesses to the marriage were John Cullinane and
record for Richard Carey and Johana Cullinane in Mahoonagh
Richard and Johana's son, Patrick was christened in Mahoonagh in 1838:
Patrick, son of Richard Carey and Johana Cullinane on 12 October 1838 in Mahoonagh.
Careys are shown as witnesses and sponsors in the Mahoonagh parish register:
11 March 1814 John Carey is a witness at the marriage of James
Heligan and Margaret Connel.
7 August 1815 James Carey is a sponsor for the baptism of
Mary, daughter of Demetrius Hayes and Mary Carey.
Carey children baptized in the parish of Mahoonagh were:
Bridget, christened 25 January 1822, daughter of
Jeffrey Carey and Mary Gibbon.
Mary, christened 25 December 1824, daughter of Jeffrey
Carey and Mary Gibbon.
John, christened 3 March 1843, son of Thomas Carey and
Mary, christened 29 March 1847, daughter of Thomas
Carey and Margaret Connors.
Honora, christened 18 September 1852, daughter of
Thomas Carey and Margaret Connors.
In Griffith's Valuation, a tax valuation of landholders, for Mahoonagh in 1851 there is only one Carey listed. Thomas Carey is found in the townland of Curragh in lot 4:
Occupier: Thomas Carey
Immediate Lessor: John Meagher
Description of tenements: House and land
Net annual value: 2 L., 2 s., 0 d.
For more information about Mahoonagh, click
Griffith's Valuation, Common townland, Ballingarry parish, 1852
Richard Carey, Geoffrey Carey and John Carey are found in the
townland of Common (An Coimin) or Commons in the parish of
Ballingarry in the Griffith's Valuation of 1852. Ballingarry is
situated a few miles east of Mahoonagh. Ballingarry means the "town
of the garden". Ballingarry was a booming town in the early
1800s, and the important industries were weaving and linen. The
town's economy was badly impacted by the Famine. The countryside
around Ballingarry is dominated by the hill of Knockfierna, which
means "the hill of truth". Common had about 88 houses, a
school house, police barracks, and a commonage area of 198 acres.
Patrick Carey is also shown as having land other than a house in
Famine house, Knockfierna
Ballingarry is the site of a park dedicated to the famine houses
houses that were built and occupied on commonage land by those
who were evicted by ruthless landlords in the potato famine. The
Limerick Reporter for May 1847 recounts events that took place in
the area during the Famine: "Seven carts of flour and four
loads of Indian meal from Croom were being escorted by police to
Ballingarry, when 500 men and women attacked the convoy near
Kilmacow. When they were told the supplies were for the Relief
Committee at Ballingarry, they took only one cart-load...On the
same day as the attach, 300 people from Knockfierna Hill drove
off fifty cattle and only gave up when they were promised work
by the curate."
The Careys owned a small lot of land, which they subdivided. They
owned it in fee, and did not pay rent or live in the commonage
area in a famine house. They showed great resiliency to have
survived, as the area was hard-hit by the famine. Richard's house
was small - 15 1/2 feet by 21 1/2 feet, and he owned 3/4 acres of
land. This is a cottier or farm laborer's size property.
Knockfierna cottages in stages of restoration
The following facts lend support to Ballingarry as the Carey's home:
Castle Street, Town of Ballingarry
Griffith's Valuation, Ballynahaha townland, Ballingarry parish, 1852
Records created in 1849 in preparation for Griffith's Valuation give more details on the Carey's property. These records are the House Book, Land Book, and Tenure Book.
A House Book record created in 1849 gives details about the size
of their houses. The unit of measure at this time in Ireland was
in feet. Richard's house was 21 1/2 feet long by 15 1/2 feet wide,
and 5 1/2 feet tall. The height may be measured from the ground,
with the house dug in to the ground inside. The quality rating for
the house of 3C+ indicates that it was an old thatched
roof house of stone walls with mud mortar, or mud walls of the
best kind. It was old, but in repair.
Jeffrey's house had belonged to Bridget Carey in 1849, but was
Jeffrey's by 1852. His house was smaller - 10 1/2 feet long by 15
feet wide, and 5 feet tall. The quality rating of 3C indicates
that it was an old thatched roof house of stone wall with mud
mortar, or mud walls of the best kind, which was old and out of
John Carey's house was bigger, although he had the smallest
property. It was 30 1/2 feet long by 16 feet wide by 5 feet tall.
The quality rating of 3B indicates that it was a
medium-age thatched roof house of stone walls with mud mortar, or
mud walls of the best kind, which was of medium age, slightly
decayed, but in good repair. John was living in a newer and larger
house than Richard and Jeffrey.
Jeffrey emigrated to Chicago with Richard in about 1863, and is
believed to be his brother. They were both about the same age.
Patrick owned the land on which Richard, Jeffrey and John's houses
stood, but Patrick owned no house. In another related record, he
is shown to be living with John, and is most likely the father.
John must be the oldest son, as the land passes to him.
House Book, Common townland, 1849
A Land Book record shows the quality of the land the Careys owned. It is shown as clay, and moory arable. The value of the house and land did not exceed five pounds, so would not have been taxed. Thomas and Patrick Carey had owned pasture land nearby, but did not own it in 1852.
Land Book, Common townland, 1849
The Tenure Book gives details about the lease or ownership of the land. This record provides some very interesting details. Patrick and Richard Carey owned the land in fee, free forever, since 1827. Bridget, then Jeffrey also owned the land since 1827. John leased his house from Patrick, and they lived together, as indicated by the small arrow near their names.
Tenure Book, Common townland, 1849
Ballingarry appears to be the Carey's ancestral homeland. The
earliest mention of the Careys of Ballynaha was in 1808, when J.
Keary of Ballynaha, land, was selected for the Grand
Jury. (Ballingarry, Granagh and Clouncagh, County Limerick,
Archival Records, 1800-1900).
Careys are mentioned in the early Ballingarry parish register as witnesses and sponsors:
16 April 1825 Edmund Carey was a sponsor for Margaret,
daughter of John Meaher and Marie Aheren.
24 June 1825 Margaret Carey was a sponsor for John, son of
John Sullivan and Mary Rennahan.
7 February 1825 John Carey was a witness for the marriage of James O'Leary and Catherine Aheren.
21 February 1826 Jeffrey Carey was a sponsor for James, son of George Lynch and Mary Carey.
7 May 1826 Richard was a sponsor for John, illegitimate son of James Connell and Honora O'Donnell.
7 September 1827 Thomas Carey was a sponsor for James, son of Michael Kelly and Bridget Costeloe.
1 May 1827 Edmund Carey was a sponsor for Winifred, daughter of David Lillis and Elizabeth White.
5 May 1827 Thomas Carey was a witness for the marriage of Thomas Kelly and Helena Fitzmaurice.
There are several Careys found in the Ballingarry Tithe Applotment of April 1827. They are all concentrated in the townland of Ballynahaha (which means the "town of the kiln"), with one addition - John Carey is found in the townland of Ballinoe. There are no Careys found in Mahoonagh in the Tithe Applotment.
The Tithe Applotment is a census taken of land holders. It was taken in Ballingarry in 1826. The land was assessed, and the assessed tithes were paid to the support of the Church of Ireland (Protestant), no matter the religion of the land holder. Ballinahaha is shown in this record as Ballinaha.
Tithe Applotment for Ballinaha, first page
Tithe Applotment for Ballinaha, second page
This is the complete list of occupiers in 1826 for Ballynahaha in the Tithe Applotment:
Lot # Occupier
246 Timothy Duane
247 John Riedy & co
248 Thomas Carey & co (acreage: just over 45 acres)
249 Own Deneely
250 Danl Sullivan
251 Thomas Mahony
252 Edmd Carey, hill (Note: the word hill is a descriptor or agnomen to differentiate people of similar names. In this case it means that Edmond Carey lived on the hill. Acreage: just over 4 acres)
253 Simon Sheahan & co
254 Daniel O'Briene
255 Daniel " , commons
256 Thos O'Briene, Firon
257 Thos Wm O'Briene
258 John Carey & co (acreage: just over 11 acres)
259 Edward Carey (acreage: just over 3 acres)
260 Edmond Kennedy
261 William Scanlon, Esq.
262 Edmond Kennedy
In Ballynaha, in the sub-denomination of Commons:
263 James Doyle
264 Edward Carey (acreage: just over 2 acres)
265 Michl Donahoe & co
266 George Lynch
267 Timothy Halloron
In the townland of Ballinoe:
829 Patrick Cullinane
831 William Cullinane
xxx John Ceary
The Tithe Applotment records show four Careys living in
Ballinaha: Thomas, Edmond, John and Edward. There is only one
Carey - Edward, living in the Commons area near Ballynahaha,
therefore he is likely to be the father of Patrick Carey, who
owned land in Commons later. The Edward Carey in Commons, and the
Edward in Ballynaha are probably the same person, as no
differentiator or agnomen is used to identify them as separate
individuals in the same townland area. It seems that Edward owned
a small amount of property in Commons which was passed on to
Patrick before 1849. From the tenure books, we know that the land
in Commons passed to Patrick, Richard, and Bridget in 1827.
Perhaps Edward died, the land passed to his son, Patrick, who
subdivided it for his sons. Bridget may be the widow or a sister.
We also know that Richard Carey had a son, Edward, who may have
been named for his grandfather.
Some Careys are found in the List of Defaulters Summoned to
the Petty Sessions of Ballingarry for 21 November 1829:
The borrower was Honora Carey of Ballinaha
Her guarantors for the loan were: Michael Carey of Ballinaha, and Michael Ready of Ballinaha
Source: Poverty Relief Loans on www.findmypast.ie
The borrower and guarantors had to be at least 21 years
old at the time of the loan. Honora Carey may be the same person
who acted as a sponsor in two of the weddings listed below. Honora
Carey was a witness at Jeffrey Carey's wedding to Mary Donahue in
1827 - possibly a sister to Jeffrey and Richard.
Careys are found in the Ballingarry parish registers baptisms and marriages:
Edmund, christened 26 June 1825, son of John Carey and Bridget
Jeremiah Carey of Effin married Mary Kelly of this parish 31 July 1825.
Johanna Carey married John Rennahan 7 February 1826. Witnesses: John Carey and Mary Carey.
Mary, christened 4 June 1826, daughter of Edmund Carey and Mary Sullivan. Sponsor: Margaret Carey.
Mary, christened 9 July 1826, daughter of Jeremiah Carey and Mary Kelly.
Sponsor: John Carey and Honora Kelly
Elizabeth, christened 4 September 1826, daughter of Thomas Carey and Mary Collins. Sponsor: Mary Carey
Anna, christened 23 September 1826, daughter of Patrick Carey and ______ Dwyer.
Jeffry Carey married Mary Donohue 25 February 1827. Witnesses:
Honora Carey and John Carey.
Mary Carey married Michael Mallone of Knockaderry 25 February 1827. Witnesses: Edmond Carey and Margaret Carey.
Denis, christened 2 August 1827, son of Andrew Carey and Mary
Sponsor: Jeremiah Carey
Mary, christened 5 October 1827, daughter of Jeremiah
Carey and Mary Kelly.
Bartholomew, christened 11 November 1827, son of John Carey
and Bridget Burns.
Margaret, christened 28 November 1827, daughter of John Carey
and Bridget Donohue.
Catherine Carey married Daniel Donohue 19 February 1828.
John, christened 25 May 1828, son of Thomas Carey and Helen Connell. Sponsors: John Carey and Margaret Carey.
Margaret Carey married James McCarthy of Adare 18 February 1832. Witnesses: Honora Carey and John McCarthy.
Mary Carey married William Hartigan 16 February 1833. Witnesses: Mary Carey and Patrick Hartigan.
John Carey married Mary Houlihan 24 April 1833. Witnesses: Daniel Carey and Bridget Houlihan.
Mary Carey married Patrick Condon 11 February 1834. Witnesses: James Condon and Mary Carey.
Richard Carey of Castletown married Helen Healy 26 February 1834.
John Carey married Bridget Hartigan 9 February 1834. Witnesses: William Hartigan and Mary Carey.
Catherine Carey married John Shaughnessy 3 March 1835.
There are gaps in the Ballingarry parish register in the 1830s and 1840s.
Patrick Carey married Bridget O'Brien 1 September 1859. Witnesses: Mary Carey and Catherine Heenan.
John, christened 3 February 1850, son of Patrick Carey and Ellen Kieff.
Edmond, christened 9 April 1852, son of Patrick Carey and Ellen O'Keefe.
James, christened 28 June 1857, son of Thomas and Margaret Carey.
Michael, christened 11 April 1857, son of Michael Carey and Bridget Hayes.
In the 1860s more Careys are found in Irish civil records:
Mary, christened 20 January 1861, daughter of Michael Callahan and Alice Carey.
Michael, christened 10 January 1862, illegitimate son of Patrick Cary and Mary Sheely.
Bridget, christened 1 March 1862, daughter of Michael Callahan and Alice Carey. Sponsor: Ellen Carey
Patrick, christened 20 February 1863, son of John Cary and Bridget Shelly
Mary was born 12 April 1864, the daughter of John
Carey of Ballinaha, farmer and Kate Morissey. The same day, Mary
was christened 12 April 1864, daughter of John Carey and
Catherine Morrissy. Sponsors: Daniel Cagney and Mary Morrissy.
John was born 26 January 1866, the son of John Carey of
Ballinaha, farmer and Catherine Morrisy. The same day, John was
christened 26 January 1866, son of John Carey and Catherine
Edward was born 4 December 1867, the son of John Carey of Ballinaha, farmer, and Catherine Morrissy. The same day, Edward was christened 4 December 1867, son of John Carey and Catherine Morrissey of Ballinaha. Sponsors: John Carey and Helen Tuomy
Thomas was born 1 December 1868, the son of John Carey of
Ballinaha, farmer and Mary Sullivan.
Bridget was born 25 January 1869, the son of John Carey of
Ballinaha, farmer and Catherine Morrissey. The same day, Bridget
was christened 25 January 1869, daughter of John Carey and
Catherine Morrissy, Ballinaha.
Margaret was born 15 June 1871, the daughter of John Carey of
Ballinaha, farmer and Mary Sullivan.
Thomas was born 2 June 1872, the son of John Carey of
Ballinaha, farmer, and Mary Sullivan.
Michael was born 15 March 1873, the son of John Carey of
Ballinaha, farmer and Mary Sullivan.
Ballingarry topographical map with Common and Ballynahaha
highlighted. Knockfierna is to the east of Common, and the
town is to the west.
Ballingarry is dominated by the hill of Knockfierna. A history in the late 1800s describes Ballingarry in this way: "The village of Ballingarry lies just within the upper or southern division of Connello Barony, about half-way between Bruree and Askeaton. Its population is roughly 400; in 1837 there were 1,685 inhabitants, these being largely weavers, boot, brogue and patten makers, turners or makers of piggins, harness makers, carpenters, wheelwrights, smiths, nailers and chain makers...Markets were held twice weekly, and fairs four times a year. The glory of Ballingarry has departed...The town is divided into two sections by the Grinoch (grannach, gravelly) stream. This flows between two hills or ridges, up the lower slopes of which the streets climb, Main Street toward Knockfierna, Turret Street passing up over a shoulder of the ridge opposite. " Records of Ballingarry, G.F. Hamilton
For more information about Ballingarry, click
After Griffith's Valuation, additional valuation lists were
created to show changes in ownership, and it is possible to trace
the ownership of the land in Common. The next valuation is taken
in about 1862, and shows only Richard and Geoffrey Carey. Patrick
and John are not listed here. This may be an accidental omission,
as they appear in the next update. Michael Donohoe is now shown as
owning Lot 10c.
Valuation List, about 1862
Richard is found twice in the Petty Sessions Court records in
1862, being fined when his farm animals got out:
Defendant Richard Carey of Knockfierna, witness Luke Kelly,
was charged with "Your ass wandering on the public road at
Kilinchile on the 22nd" and was fined three pence and one
shilling cost. Date of record: 30 August 1862. (Irish
Petty Sessions Court Registers, 1828-1912 on findmypast)
In the next Valuation List update, about 1863-5, Jeffrey Carey
has been crossed out in 1865, and Bridget Carey owns his house and
land. Patrick Carey is shown at 10b, and is also crossed out, and
Bridget owns his land. This may indicate that Patrick died in
about 1865, and his widow Bridget inherited the house. Jeffrey's
date reflects his immigration to America in 1863. Richard is still
shown as owning his land, but has also immigrated.
Valuation List, about 1863-5
The next list, in about 1866, shows Richard crossed out, and his land passing to John. Bridget is also crossed out, and her land also passes to John. Michael Donohoe's land has gone to Daniel Cagney.
Valuation List, about 1866
John Carey of Ballinaha appears in the Dog License Registers books starting in 1869, with a black and white terrier. He is found in the Dog License Register again in 1873, with a black terrier. (Ireland Dog License Registers on www.findmypast.com)
In the next Valuation List update, John Carey continues to own
the land. In about 1873, the house is shown as down, and John owns
only land. At the same time, in 1871 he begins to appear in the
Carey Lot 4 in Ballynahaha, owing a house, offices, and about 26
acres. This supports the connection between the Careys of Common
Valuation List, about 1871-5
Throughout the 1880s and 90s, John Carey continued to own land only in Common, and a house in Ballynahaha. Since it is unlikely that this is the same John Carey (who would have been born in about 1800), John must have had a son named John.
John Carey of Ballinaha continues to appear in the dog license
registers from 1878 to 1919, with a brown and white or black
terrier, then greyhound, then black collie. (Ireland Dog
License Registers on www.findmypast.com)
In 1894, John Carey of Ballinaha married Mary Casey. John, a
bachelor and farmer, married Mary, a spinster and farmer on 16
June 1894 in Ballingarry. John was shown as the son of John Carey,
also a farmer. Mary was the daughter of Cornelius Casey, a farmer
In the 1901 census for Ballynahaha, John Carey was shown as head of the house, with his parents John and Kate Carey living with them:
John Carey, head, Catholic, can read and write, age 35,
farmer, married, born Co Limerick, speaks English
Mary Carey, wife, Catholic, can read and write, age 40, housekeeper, married, born Co Limerick, speaks English
Ned, son, age 4
Con, son, age 2
Kate, daughter, age 5
Mary, daughter, age 3
Margaret, daughter, age 1
Eliza, daughter, age 1 month
John Carey, father, Catholic, cannot read and write, age 60, retired farmer, married, born in Co Limerick, speaks English and Irish
Catherine Carey, mother, Catholic, cannon read and write, age 65, married, born in Co Limerick, speaks English and Irish
The house is described as having five rooms, with three windows
in the front of the house. John Carey is the owner. The walls are
of stone, brick or concrete, not mud or wood. There are four
outbuildings - a stable, cow house, piggery and fowl house.
John Carey, senior, of Ballynahaha died 25 January 1906, age 69,
probably of prostate disease.
In the 1911 census for Ballynahaha, John Carey is shown with his family:
John Carey, head, Catholic, age 45, farmer, married 17 years
Mary Carey, wife, age 50
Catherine Carey, mother, age 80, widow
Ned, son, age 15
Cornelius, son, age 12
Catherine, daughter, age 16
Margaret, daughter, age 11
Eliza, daughter, age 10
Hannie, daughter, age 8
This would make this John Carey born in 1866. Therefore it is probable that Patrick and Bridget Carey (born about 1780) had a son John (born about 1800), son Richard (born about 1802), and son Jeffrey (born 1807). John had a son, John, born in 1841 who married Catherine Morrissey (born in 1836). They had a son, John, born in 1866, who married Mary in 1984.
Their son, Edmond (Ned) is shown owning the
land in Common until at least 1970. He inherited it from his
father who died in about 1945. Mike Burke, a grandson of Con
Carey, Ned's brother, shares this information about the family:
Mike's grandfather, Con emigrated to Chicago: "He emigrated
there in 1925 but had returned by 1930. While there he met
his wife, Catherine McMahon, also from Ballingarry
parish.They both returned to Ireland to get married."
Con Carey and wife, Catherine in
Neighbor lady, Mike Burke, and Maggie Carey
Valuation List 1932-1970
The Carey house and farm were sold after 1970 to the Cagney family, who own it today. The house was razed, but a garden wall and original gate remain. The Cagneys transplanted daffodils from the Carey land, and also moved a large stone, which they had inscribed for the Millenium. The following pictures were provided by Mike Burke, who visited the farm.
The entrance to the Carey farm and land (photo by Mike Burke,
Daffodils transplanted from the Carey farm to the Cagney's (photo by Mike Burke, 2012)
The old garden wall on the Carey's property - with Knockfierna in the background (photo by Mike Burke, 2012)
The original gate to the
Carey's farm in Ballinaha
(photo by Mike Burke, 2012)
The stone removed from the Carey land - the last line says,
"Wherever your life's journey take you
Always remember your way home."
(photo by Mike Burke, 2012)
The view up the lane to the
(photo by Mike Burke, 2012)
Recent DNA testing on a direct line male descendant shows a
deep Celtic ancestry for the Carey family: Carey
Family Group Record of
Patrick Carey and Bridget Dwyer
Patrick Carey was born in about 1780 of Ballingarry, Limerick,
Ireland, and was most likely the son of Edward Carey of
Ballinahaha Commons. The J. Keary (John or James?) of Ballynaha in
the Grand Jury List may be Patrick's brother. Patrick married
Bridget Dwyer in about 1800. Patrick and Bridget had the following
1. John, born in about 1800 of Ballingarry; married
Bridget; had son, John (b. 1841, who married Catherine Morrissey
2. Richard, born in about 1802 of Ballingarry; married
Johana Cullinane 30 January 1826 in Mahoonagh; had children James,
Patrick (b. 1838 in Mahoonagh); John Joseph, Michael, Edward and
Margaret; died in about 1865 in Chicago.
3. Jeffrey, born in 1807 of Ballingarry; married Mary
Gibbon, had daughters Bridget (1822) and Mary (1824); married Mary
Donohue (1827) had sons, Patrick (b. 1830) and Thomas (b. 1840);
died 26 May 1884 in Chicago. Jeffrey lived with his son, Thomas,
in Chicago at 79 Ewing St, 81 Ewing St, and was at 225 Ewing St
when he died. His obituary read "Carey, Jeffery, May 26, 1884,
father of Thomas and Patrick Carey, aged 79, native of
Ballingarry, Co. Limerick. Funeral from his sons resid., 225
Ewing Street to Calvary." At that time, John J Carey,
Richard's son, lived at 250 Ewing St. In the 1890s, when John
Carey died at 250 Ewing St, Thomas is shown at 245 Ewing St.
4. Anna, baptized 23 September 1826, daughter of Patrick
Carey and Bridget Dwyer in Ballingarry (mother's first name not
legible in the parish register). One sponsor was ______ Keeffe.
Another possible child is Mary, who immigrated with Richard and
Jeffrey. Mary may also be Jeffrey's wife.
SOURCES: Ballingarry parish register online at nli.ie;
Mahoonagh parish register online at nli.ie; Griffith's
Valuation; Tenure Books; Land Books; House Books; Tithe
Applotment, FHL# 256569; research by Limerick Genealogy;
Ballingarry, Granagh and Clouncagh, County Limerick, Archival
Records, 1800-1900, Christy Kerins; 1901 census Ballingarry,
1911 census Ballingarry; e-mail communication, Mike Burke, 2012.
If you have additional information about this family, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
table of contents