Martin O’Neill

Martin O’Neill (1830-1893)
Ellen O’Shea (1839-1919)

Jump down to the list of their children

This page has been created with the input of Meghan Hurlburt, one of whose ancestors was Ellen’s sister Mary O’Shea and another ancestor (almost certainly) Martin’s sister Mary O’Neill.

Martin O’Neill was the second of (we think) seven children born to Cornelius [O’]Neil[l] and Ellen [O’]Neil[l]. The Irish records generally have Neil or Neill and Shea but we will adopt O’Neill and O’Shea for consistency. Martin was baptised in the Killorglin Roman Catholic, Co Kerry, Ireland, on 28 Jan 1830, his sponsors being Thomas Hurly and Alice Blennerhassett. Click here to view Martin’s page on Boombridge Genealogy.

Martin travelled to Sydney on board the Ocean Express, arriving on 18 Jan 1864. The ship’s manifest indicates he was sponsored by his brother William Charles O’Neill (whom we believe to be Gerald, see below) who had emigrated to Australia in 1862 and who lived in Clarence Town where Ellen’s older brother William O’Neill, a convict transported to Sydney in 1822, had settled. Whether Martin intended to emigrate as well is uncertain as he soon returned to Ireland.

Martin married Ellen O’Shea on 02 Mar 1867 in the Catholic Church in Glenbeigh, about 13km south-west of Killorglin. Ellen’s parents were John & Mary O’Shea, but at this stage nothing else is known about them. From the 1901 and 1911 census data Boombridge Genealogy researchers have calculated Ellen’s birth year as [1839].

Martin and Ellen had 8 children all in Laharan:

01. Cornelius (b. 10 Feb 1868, d. 30 Jul 1933)

02. John M (b. 19 Feb 1872, d. 18 Feb 1913 in Boston, USA)

03. Mary J (b. 01 Jun 1875, d. 13 Jun 1919 in Boston USA

04. Martin M (b. 26 Jul 1878, d. 14 Oct 1945)

05. Gerald (b. 04 Sep 1881, d. 03 Apr 1956) – always known as William

06. Ellen T (b. Abt 1882, d. 08 Apr 1930 in Boston USA)

07. Catherine M (b. 20 Jun 1884, d. 02 Sep 1973 in Boston USA)

08. Patrick Matthew (b. 26 Aug 1888, d. 16 Aug 1968 in Boston USA)

Boombridge Genealogy researchers used the 1901 census to simply state his death was before census date. The most obvious record is that of a Martin [Neill] who died on 23 Apr 1893 in Larahan (Sunhill, Killorglin) of chronic bronchitis, a condition he had suffered for 5 years. Click this image to view a larger version of his death certificate:

His stated age was 62, not 63, but that information is simply what was reported by his widow Ellen. He was described as a cottier, ie “an Irish peasant holding land by cottier tenure”, which is “the letting of land in small portions direct to the laborers, at a rent fixed by competition” (definitions from Google).

At the time of the census on 31 Mar 1901 Ellen, described as a 62 year old widow, lived in House 49, Laharan, with four children Martin (21), William (18), Katie (15) and Patrick (10). While Ellen’s age is correct the age of all four children appear to be understated by about 2 years. Interestingly next door (see the last two entries in the House and Building Return) in House 48 lived the family of Martin (senior)’s brother Patrick and wife Mary. The two families (of 5 and 6 members respectively) occupied just 2 rooms each!

Then at the time of the census on 02 Apr 1911 Ellen is listed at House 30, Laharan, aged 70, a widow living with two children William (30) and Patrick (22), both described as single. The ages of the two children are now correct (and Ellen would have turned 71 some 17 days later). In House 31 lived one Mary O’Neill, a widow aged 65, with two children. If this is Patrick’s wife her age in one of the censuses is incorrect.

Generation 2

Inaccurate ages reported in census and death records make it difficult to ensure we have the correct person but what follows is what our research best tell us.

01. Cornelius O’Neill – separate webpage to come

02. John M O’Neill was born in Killorglin on 19 Feb 1872 to “Martin Neil & Ellen Shea”. It appears from the 1910 United States census that he arrived in Boston in 1898. By the time of that census he had purchased a large property at 7 Fayette St, Boston. He had a brother living with him (Martin M O’Neill, arrived in 1899), a sister (Nellie T O’Neil, arrived 1897), a cousin William P O’Neill (arrived 1904) and 6 borders (including one John Kelliher who had arrived in 1892. The Kelliher name appears in several marriages within this extended family. Both John and Martin were described as “bartenders” in a “saloon”.

Note the ages reported in the census are not particularly accurate; click this image to view a larger version:

John sadly passed away on 18 Feb 1913 of cerebral meningitis in Boston:

John M O'Neill formal death record

According to his obituary in the Boston Globe he was quite well off. It also confirms the family structure:


03. Mary J O’Neill was born on 01 Jun 1875:

Birth of Mary O'Neill 01 Jun 1875

We believe she travelled to Boston on the S.S. Ultonia, arriving on 19 May 1899; the traveller registered immediately before her was Annie Shea, aged 23 from Killorglin. Mary’s stated age in the shipping manifest was 19 but we believe she under-stated her age by almost 5 years!

Mary must have visited Ireland because she is listed as arriving again in Boston on 17 Sep 1913, her mother being “Ellen O’Neill of Laharan, Killorglin”. In that voyage she over-states her age to be 33; her last permanent place of residence was Boston.

Mary O’Neill, aged 34,  married Patrick O’Shea, aged 38, on 08 Oct 1914 in Boston. Patrick’s parents were James O’Shea & Bridget Griffin. Both Patrick and Mary were living at 7 Fayette St at the time of their wedding. Mary’s sister Catherine was one of the witnesses: Click this image to view a larger version of the original Church entry:

Sadly Mary died 1919; we are unaware of any offspring.

04. Martin M O’Neill was born in Laharan on 26 Jul 1878:

MArtin O'Neill 1878 birth

According to the 1910 US census reported above, Martin arrived in Boston in 1899, was naturalised and resided with his brother John, a sister and a cousin. Like his brother John he was listed as a bartender in a saloon. He married Mary Josephine O’Connor on 05 Feb 1911 in Brookline, Boston (under-stating his age by 4 years); click this image to view a larger version:

Mary is aged 25, the daughter of Jeremiah O’Connor and Bridget Clifford. She was born on 24 Aug 1880 in Droum, Glenbeigh and baptised two days later. According to the 1920 census, both she and Martin had arrived in Boston 1897 and were naturalised in 1904. Martin is still listed as a bartender. There is the death of a Martin M O’Neill listed in 1945, but other researchers believe his death to have occurred in Nov 1972 Belmont, Middlesex. Mary died in Boston in 1926.

Martin and Mary had five children together:

01. Martin Joseph (b. 1911/2, d.)

02. John (b. 1913, d.)

03. Elizabeth Marie (b. 23 Dec 1914, d. 19 Apr 2003 in Walpole, Norfolk)

04. Arylene Ellen Josephine (b. 08 Nov 1917, d. 10 Mar 1978 in Dorchester, Boston)

05. Claire Catherine (b. 21 Feb 1921, 16 May 1991)

03. Elizabeth Marie O’Neill married William Joseph Mahood (b. 29 Aug 1908 in Somerville, Middlesex Count, d. 17 Mar 2001 in Walpole, Norfolk). The couple had three children.

04. Arylene Ellen Josephine O’Neill married Edward James McCarten in 1943. The couple had three children. From The Boston Globe, 12 Mar 1978:

Boston Globe 12 Mar 1978

05. Catherine Claire O’Neill married Eugene Nicholas Skoropowski (b. 06 Dec 1915 in Chelsea, Suffolk, MA, d. 22 Sep 1975 in Salem, Essex, MA). The couple had two children, one of whom was Cheryl Ann Skoropowski (b. 08 Jun 1946, d. 31 Aug 2004).

05. [Gerald] William O’Neill was born on 04 Sep 1881. He basically remained on the family farm in Laharan until his death on 03 Apr 1956. He married Julia Costello[e] in the Killorglin Catholic Church on 24 Jan 1915. Julia was born on 06 Nov 1894 in Gurrane West (about 5km north-east of Laharan), her parents being John Costello & Bridget [O’]Connor:

Marriage William Neill & Julia Costelloe 1915

William and Julia had four children:

01. Bridget (b. 24 May 1918, d.)

02. William (b. 1921, d. 29 Sep 1967 in Waltham Forest, London, England)

03. Margaret (b. 1923, d.)

04. Denis (b. 1925, d. 09 Apr 1989 in London

Denis lived at 43 Hawthorn Rd Willesden, London. After his death he was taken back to Ireland and buried on 15 Apr in the old section of Dromavally Burial Ground; the inscription on his gravestone inscription reads:

In Loving Memory Of
Our Dearly Beloved Brother
Who Died Suddenly On 29th Sept. 1967
And Of Our Dearly Beloved Father
Who Died On 3rd April 1956
And Our Dearly Beloved Mother
Who Died 28th May 1974
And Our Dearly Loved Brother
Who Died 9-April 1989

God takes our loved ones from our
homes, but not from our hearts

06. Ellen T O’Neill – separate webpage to come

07. Catherine M O’Neill emigrated to the USA, initially sailing from Queenstown to Boston on 23 Sep 1905 and stating her intention to join her sister Mary who lived at 58 Marcella St, Boston. She must have visited her mother subsequently as she and her sister Nellie (Ellen) are also listed on the S.S. Saxonia, departing from Queenstown on 28 Sep 1910.

Catherine married David J Stapleton who was born in Ireland about 1878. In the 1920 United States census he is listed as living with his sister. In the 1950 census he is an elevator operator in a hospital. He died before Catherine. We believe they had no children. Catherine passed away on 02 Sep 1973 and two days later the Boston Globe carried this notice of her death:

Katie's death notice on Boston Globe 04 Sep 1973

08. Patrick Matthew O’Neill – separate webpage to come

We do not publish names of living people without their permission, unless they appear in an official or public document. Please send your stories and photos, which we will publish with due acknowledgment, to Mick O’Neill ( or Meghan (

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