Patrick O’Neill

Patrick O’Neill (1845-)
Mary Kelliher (1851-)

Jump down to the list of their children

Many O’Neill descendants of Ellen [O’]Neil[l] and Cornelius [O’]Neil[l] emigrated from the Killorglin district of County Kerry, Ireland, to Boston in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Research on these families is being done in collaboration with Meghan Hurlbert, one such descendant.

We do not publish the names of living people without their permission, unless they appear in an official or public document. Please send your queries, comments, stories and photos (which we will publish with due acknowledgment) to Mick O’Neill ( If your query or information relates to a Boston family then Meghan ( is the better person to contact.

Patrick O’Neill was the youngest of seven children born to Cornelius O’Neill and Ellen O’Neill. His birth record has not been found to date, but there are various census and other records that suggest this to be the case. Click here to view Patrick’s page on Boombridge Genealogy. As with other records of the time, O’Neill is generally written as just Neill or Neil.

Patrick O’Neill married Mary Kelliher on 13 Feb 1872 in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, Ireland. From later census records Mary’s birth is calculated as 1851. Mary’s surname is abbreviated to Keller on her marriage certificate, her father being listed as James Keller, a farmer at Tullig:

Patrick O'Neill marriage to Mary Keller

There is an interesting discussion on Timothy Kelliher’s Boombridge Genealogy webpage of the extensive Kelliher family in the Glounagillagh region of Co Kerry. Included in the list of Kellihers is James (Tullig), Timothy (Glounagillagh), Michael (Laharan), Michael (Main St, Killorglin) and Patrick ( Muingaphuca), all within a few kilometers of each other. Timothy is likely to have been James’ father, and Patrick Kelliher is most likely the man who later married Patrick O’Neill’s older sister Mary (and on their marriage certificate Patrick’s father is listed as Michael, a farmer at Glounagillagh).

Patrick O’Neill was a cottier, farming all his life in Sunhill, Laharan, Killorglin.

Patrick and Mary had 6 children all in Laharan:

01. Cornelius (b. 16 Sep 1876, d. 04 Jun 1898)

02. William Patrick (b. 25 Mar 1880, d. 17 Jun 1955 in Roxbury, Boston, USA)

03. Mary (1884, d. ? 27 Jul 1959 in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)

04. Margaret M (b. 30 Aug 1885, d. 06 Dec 1959 in Cambridge, Boston, USA)

05. John (b. 29 Apr 1888, d. )

06. Catherine (b. 18 Sep 1890, d. 05 Aug 1966 in Brighton, Boston, USA)

At the time of the census on 31 Mar 1901  Patrick and Mary lived in House 48, Laharan, with 4 of their children: “Willy” aged 20, “Maggie” aged 14, John aged 11 and “Kate” aged 9. Next door was Ellen O’Neill (his brother Martin’s widow) with four of her children: Martin (21), William (18), Katie (15) and Patrick (10) – see the last two entries in the House and Building Return.

We are unsure when Patrick and Mary died. All their other surviving children emigrated to Boston (apart from John) after 1901, so Patrick and Mary may have been patients in a hospice at the end of their lives.

The closest record we can find for Patrick is the death of a Patrick O’Neill, aged 78, in the first three months of 1922 in the Killarney district. We know that Patrick was born in 1845, so there too much uncertainty to attach that date to our Patrick.

Similarly, the closest death record for a Mary we can find is that of a Mary O’Neill who died in Dingle during the second quarter of 1936, aged 85. We believe that Mary Kelliher was baptised on 08 Jun 1851, so the age at death certainly matches.

Generation 2

01. Cornelius O’Neill does not appear in other family tree on but his birth record is this:

Cornelius O'Neill birth 1876

and his death on 04 Jun 1898 from Phthisis (now called pulmonary tuberculosis, which he had suffered from for two years) is this:Cornelius O'Neill death at 21 in 1998

02. William Patrick O’Neill was called Willy, and the middle name Patrick comes from his WWI draft card and his son Cornelius’s WWII draft card. William’s birth record indicates he was born in Laharan (Killorglin) area on 25 Mar 1880:

William's birth record 1880

However his WWI draft card dated 12 Sep 1918 states he was born on 25 Mar 1882. Prior to that date the US draft age restriction was 20 to 30, after which it was expanded to 18 to 45. It was not uncommon for men to lie about their age at the time:

William O'Neill 1880 WWI draft

William married Nellie Donoghue (elsewhere shown as Helen or Ellen) on 16 Apr 1911 in Brookline (Boston, USA). At the time Willy was listed as a 29 year old steamster and Nellie a 30 year old waitress whose parents were Patrick Donoghue & Mary Teahan. In fact she would have been 33 – see her birth record for 10 Jan 1878.

Click this image of their marriage entry to view a larger version:

The 1920 United States census for the couple shows that both Willy and Nellie emigrated from Ireland in 1905 (Willy on 28 Mar and Nellie on 15 Apr, travelling with her brother Michael, age 30, and both stating their passage was paid for by their sister). Both Willy & Nellie were naturalised in 1911.

Willy & Nellie had 5 children, all in Roxbury, an area of Boston on the opposite side of the Muddy River to Brookline:

01. Mary Josephine (b. 19 Mar 1912, d. 28 May 1986)

02. Patrick Francis (b. 11 May 1913, d. 20 Jan 1970)

03. Cornelius John (b. 19 Jan 1915, d. 1946)

04. William J (b. 28 Jun 1916, d. 29 Nov 1981)

05. Ellen (b. 13 Apr 1918)

03. Mary O’Neill also travelled to Boston, departing from Queenstown, Ireland, on 04 Sep 1912 on board the S.S. Laconia. She was described as a cook, aged 29, and travelled with Pat O’Neill, aged 20, who was evidently her cousin. She petitioned for naturalization on 27 Jul 1921, her occupation being that of housekeeper at 3 Varnum Ave Lowell, about 50 km north west of Boston. We have not uncovered any other information about Mary, and can only speculate that the record of a Mary O’Neill, who was born in 1884 and who died on 27 Jul 1959 in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, is this Mary.

04. Margaret M O’Neill also travelled to Boston, arriving in 1906 aged 33 and naturalized in 1912, as indicated for example in the 1920 United States Federal Census. She married Timothy Joseph Breen in Boston on 01 Jun 1913. Timothy was also aged 33, arrived in Boston on 21 Apr 1906 on board the Saxonia and was naturalized in 1912. He was listed as a postal clerk in subsequent census returns.

Click this image of their marriage entry to view a larger version:

The couple had 5 children:

01. Mary E (b. 1914, d. ?)

02. Timothy P (b. 1916, d. 1922 in Boston)

03. Maurice (b. 1919, d. 1924 in Boston)

04. William (b. 1923, d. 07 Sep 2015 in Hartford, Connecticut)

05. John P (b. 19 Apr 1924, d. 03 Apr 1986 in Boston)

William became a Catholic priest (Fr Brendan Breen). In 1949 John married Mary Norton (b. 28 May 1919, d. 30 Jun 2013) in Broward, Florida, the couple having six children. Finally, in the 1950 census was listed a granddaughter, Mary K, born at the end of 1949 or early January 1950. At this stage no other information is known about this family,

05. John O’Neill married Ellen O’Donoghue (known as Helen in her marriage and other records) in the Killorglin Catholic Church on 22 Aug 1911. Gurrane is almost an outer suburb of Killorglin, and the Reen mentioned here is close by, not the location on the south west coast some 50 km from Killorglin.

Marriage of John O'Neill 1888

Ellen was born in Gurrane (Reen) on 22 Dec 1888. Click this image of her birth entry to view a larger version:

Notice that Ellen’s mother’s name was formally Johanna. Her baptismal record also shows Mary Shea to be one of her two sponsors; Mary is part of our extended family (link to come).

At this stage we have not uncovered any children or record of immigration for John & Ellen.

06. Catherine O’Neill also emigrated to Boston in 1909, She married Dennis Timothy Breen on 17 Sep 1915; Dennis born on 12 Jun 1892 in Faha, Knockagowna, Kerry, about 12 km east of Killorglin. He travelled to Boston with his younger brother Peter, arriving on 29 Apr 1909 on board the S.S. Cymric (as stated in his naturalization record on 10 Sep 1914 and Boston arrival records). Dennis was Timothy Joseph Breen’s brother.

Click this image of their marriage entry to view a larger version. Note that Catherine O’Neill appears as Katherine F O’Neill in this and other US records.

Like his brother, Dennis is listed as mail clerk in US census records.

We believe that Dennis and Catherine had 7 children in Boston:

01. Mary Margaret (b. 26 May 1916, d. 23 Feb 1984 in Quincy, Massachusetts)

02. Katherine P (b. 12 Jun 1918, d. 04 Dec 1983 in Milton, Massachusetts)

03. Dennis Paul (b. 24 Oct 1919, d. 13 Jan 1996 in Weymouth, Massachusetts)

04. Ellen Virginia (b. 23 Jul 1923, d. 15 Dec 2013 in Boston)

05. Robert Ambrose (b. 25 Nov 1924, d. 08 Nov 2006 in Roslindale, Massachusetts)

06. Walter E (b. 24 Aug 1929, d. 10 May 2009 in Clearwater, Florida, USA)

07. Paul Francis (b. 1931, d. 21 Jun 1950 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, aged 19)

Catherine visited Ireland with her five children as the six members of the family were recorded as re-entering Boston from Queenstown on 24 Jun 1928.

Catherine passed away on 15 Aug 1966 in Brighton (Boston) and Dennis on 30 Nov 1966; his funeral notice appeared in The Boston Globe on 01 Dec 1966:

BREEN – In Brighton, Nov. 30, Dennis T., of 27 Priscilla ed,. formerly of Hartford st., Dorchester, beloved husband of the late Catherine (O’Neill), father of Dennis, Robert and Walter Breen, Mrs. Mary Blank, Mrs. Katherine Moran, and Mrs. Virginia Sullivan. Funeral from the Foley Funeral Home, 40 Hancock st., Dorchester (Upmans Corner), Saturday, Dec 3 at 8 a.m. Solemn High Mass of Requiem in St. Gabriel’s Monastery, Brighton at 9. Relatives and friends are invited. Visiting hours Thursday 7-10, Friday 2-4, 7-10. Late Postal Employee and member of St. Gabriel’s Retreat League. Kindly omit flowers.

01. Mary Margaret Breen. In the 1940 census Mary was listed as a Office Clerk in the Federal Reserve Bank. She married Russell Eugene Blank (b. 25 Jul 1919, d. 30 Jul 1989) in 1942. His WWII draft card can be read here. In the 1950 census Russell is listed as aged 30 and the proprietor of a machine shop (he was a toolmaker). The couple at that stage had two children, Catherine aged 6 and Richard Russell aged 3. Richard (b. 6 May 1947 in Boston, d. 31 Jan 2011 in Lee County, Florida) was an alcoholic and was found dead, the autopsy showing the cause to have been chronic ethanolism (basically alcohol poisoning).

At some stage the couple must have divorced because Russell is not mentioned in the list of close family in her obituary published in The Boston Globe on 24 Feb 1984. In fact Russell’s obituary in The Boston Globe on 01 Aug 1989 states:

BLANK – Of [Marshfield] and Florida, July 30, Russell E., beloved husband of Joan (Travers). Father of Patricia Costa of North Truro, Richard Blank of Middlesex, NY, and Paul Brandon of Ledyard, CT. Brother of LeRoy Blank of Hyannis. Also survived by two grandchildren. …

02. Katherine P Breen. In the 1940 census Katherine was described as a Bookkeeper in a Paper Manufacturing Company; in the 1950 census her name was spelt Catherine and she was listed as an airline reservation clerk. We believe Katherine never married.

03. Dennis Paul Breen. We are not sure that Dennis ever married, but it appears he had four children with Geraldine Agnes O’Connell (b. 02 Apr 1921 in Boston, d. 05 Jul 2003 in Chelsea, Orange, Vermont, USA).

01. Ruth E (b. 19 Mar 1948, d. 28 Jun 1983)

02. William Michael (b. 21 Oct 1954 in Weymouth, MA, d. 08 Dec 2014 in Scituate, Massachusetts).

We know little of this family but believe that William Michael was married with 3 children. There was also a marriage solemnized in Salem on 06 Jun 1964 between Maureen Francis Breen (whose parents were shown as Dennis & Geraldine) and Charles Martin Crocker.  Click this image of their marriage entry to view a larger version:

04. Ellen Virginia Breen married Joseph Patrick Sullivan (b. 23 Jul 1923 in Boston, d. 15 Dec 2013 in Boston) on 28 Sep 1946. The couple had 7 children, the first two of whom were:

01. Dennis Coleman (b. 15 Aug 1947, d. 08 Jan 1999 in Worcester, Massachusetts)

02. Thomas Fidelis (b. 02 Mar 1954, d. 19 Aug 2015 in Delray Beach, Florida)

Dennis did not marry; Thomas was married with two children.

05. Robert Ambrose Breen was married; at the time of his death his for surviving children, a surviving brother and sister were listed in the U.S. Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection.

06. Walter E Breen married Rose Malvone (b. 22 Dec 1992, d. 18 Jul 2010 in Saint Petersburg, Pinellas, Florida). The couple had three children:

01. Paul Leonard (b. 05 May 1954 in Boston, d. 10 Dec 1991 in Seminole County, Florida)

02. Shawn D (b. 15 Sep 1955 in Medford, Middlesex, Massachusett, d. 18 Jul 2012 in Orlando, Orange, Florida)

03. Marc (b. 08 Oct1958 Winchester, Middlesex, Massachusetts, d. 2006 in New Hampshire)

07. Paul E Breen was one of nine young men involved in a head-on collision which took the life of one of the men at the scene (The Boston Globe, 17 Jun 1950). Sadly Paul also succumbed to his injuries and passed away four days later. This is the report of the accident:

Dorchester Man Killed in Crash

PEMBROKE, June 17 – A Dorchester man was fatally injured and eight residents from that district and Roxbury injured when two cars met in head-on collision on Schoooset road at Water st. at 12:20 this morning.

The dead man is James Stewart, 24, of 104 Bloomfield st,. Dorchester. He died 45 minutes after police and firemen extricated him.

Taken to South Shore Hospital were: …

… Paul Breen, 19, of 62 Hartford st., Dorchester. …

Acetylene torches could not be used by the firemen, since gasoline from the broken tanks had flowed over the wreckage. …


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