This page is dedicated to the bearers of the name McNelis. It is sometimes written McNellis and occasionally McNealus or McNeilis or McNeelis. In records, it may also be written McNail, McNaylis, McNealie, McNeilly, McNealis, McNeil, McNeilis, McNelus, McNeillage, and McNelos. Almost everyone named McNelis has ancestry in southwest Donegal. In fact, most can trace their ancestry to one of a few communities. These are Ardara, Kilcar, Glencolumbkille, and Glenties. Presumably others are from neighboring towns, such as Killybegs or Carrick. In his "Guide to Irish Surnames," which is regarded by many as the authoritative work on Irish surnames, under Mac Nelis/Mac Niallghuis, Edward Mac Lysaght states "with the Mac this name is peculiar to Tirconnell (i.e. Donegal), without the prefix it is found in adjacent areas." The book does not specify southwestern Donegal. In the original Irish, surnames with Mac or O were written with a space preceding the second part, e.g. O Donnell (never an apostrophe) or Mac Nelis. It is the understanding of Frank McNellis of Las Vegas that his family came from Newtown-Saville, County Tyrone and had been there since 1746. Whether they went to Tyrone from Donegal or there is a distinct branch of Tyrone McNelises, I don't know. The International Genealogical Index includes a few years of civil birth registrations and there are several in Tyrone.
The name McNelis in some of its forms has been found in Scotland for centuries. According to The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History by George Black, the name is nevertheless of Irish origin, with much of the immigration occurring after 1820. There are several extracted birth records for McNelis in the International Genealogical Index in Scotland, most in the Glasgow area, and most quite clearly of recent Irish background. Black also includes an excerpt from a book written in 1877 that suggests that many McNelis families in Scotland modified the spellings to McNeil to conceal their origin. Given the general bias against the Irish at that time, this is not surprising.
Nellis and Grealish are variations on the name, although anyone with those names probably has no one named McNelis in their lineage. The name Nelis is also a related name, but there are at least four origins of Nelis. There are Nelis families in the United States of Belgium, Spanish, east European, and Irish origins. I corresponded with a Nelis was descended from immigrants from Fintona, County Tyrone. Whether the Nelis family was once McNelis and dropped the "Mc" isn't known. If so it was a long way back. From my reading of MacLysaght, the names Nelis, Grealish, and Nellis probably evolved separately, but from the same root. This does not mean that all bearers of the different names descended at some time from one person. This may be the case for McNelis however.
News reports from Northern Ireland often contain quotes from Mary Nelis, a prominent nationalist activist. I believe she is from Derry.
The book states that (Mac) Grealish is a Connaught form of Mac Nelis, and gives as the Irish spelling Mag Riallghuis. Note that "Mag" is not a typo, many Connaught surnames had a "g" instead of a "c". The name in Irish is pronounced with an English long e sound (Mc Neil-is), not Mc Nell-is, although in the United States, and particularly in Philadelphia the McNellis pronunciation is more common.
Some of the related names have information about them elsewhere. For example, at http://members.tripod.com/~Bonestwo/index.html information and an e-mail list for McNeilly is found.
The main goal of this page is to provide a central location for McNelis family information so that people can figure out more about their McNelis heritage and perhaps find others studying the same families. I have usually listed only people born before 1900. This is a little sketchy, as is all of the McNelis information from his period. Much of it predates the records and is based on oral tradition. It may be that generations are confused. This confusion is further compounded by the large number of women that died in childbirth and the number of second marriages, often to much younger women by the widower. Another level of confusion is introduced by the large number of people with the same name in this area. Irish names are regional and just as the McNelis family all comes from a small part of Donegal, so also do a few others. The result is that Carr, O'Donnell, McHugh, Meehan, and about 15 other names appear constantly. Since people didn't move much in Ireland, you soon were related to a sizable portion of the town. The number of non-relatives available to marry is few and often several members of one family will marry several members of another family. It can be difficult to sort them all out.
This page is a work in progress. Over time I will get more information onto it. If your don't see your family here, write me. I may have other information, or at the least I can add what you know. I have more recent information in some instances, if you can't find your ancestors because your information doesn't go back far enough.
This page has the following structure:
The History of the Name McNelis
Some Patterns in McNelis Names
McNelis Families from Ardara
McNelis Families from Bruxless
McNelis Families from Kilcar
McNelis Families from Glencolumbkille
McNelis Families from Glenties/ Kilraine
McNelis Families from Carrick.
McNelis families from Killybegs
McNelis Families from Burtonport
McNelis Families from County Tyrone
McNelis Families in Scotland
McNelis Families in America
McNelis Families in Pennsylvania
McNelis Families in Michigan
McNelis Families in New York
McNelis Families in Tennessee
McNelis Families in Virginia
McNelis Families in Minnesota
McNelis Families in Missouri
McNelis Families in Maine
McNelis Families in Illinois
McNelis Families in Ohio
McNelis Families in Oklahoma
McNelis Families in Montana
McNelis Families in Texas
McNelis Families in California
McNelis Families in Australia
McNelis Families in South Africa
McNelises in War
The name McNelis is derived from the Irish MacNiallghuis and means "son of Niallus" which in turn means "champion choice." Woulfe in his book on Irish surnames lists Niallghuis as one of the oldest class of people's names in Ireland, where the first name was a combination of two words. From this base, at some time people found permanent surnames to be useful and often they chose an ancestor for their surname. The Mac or O at the front of these names made the ancestor's name into a surname. The name McNelis is peculiar to Donegal, and in fact only common in the area around Kilcar, with the exception of the group in Tyrone mentioned earlier. The name is sometimes translated McNellis or Manelis. In "Glencolumbkille: 300 B.C. - 1885 A.D.," Aidan Manning discusses the origin of the family and the McNelis families in the area and their role.
"The McNelis family was there (Glencolumbkille) in 1530, when Donn, the coarb of Colmcille, died. A number of traditions exist as to their origin: the sept is descended from nine brothers, natives of Northern Spain, who were shipwrecked while fishing in these waters and remained in the parish; members of the clan were originally bailiffs for the friars in Teelin and eventually claimed the fishing rights for themselves; Donn McNelis was a son of Menelaus McCormac, bishop of Raphoe (1484-1515), and was appointed coarb, in keeping with the then-current practice of powerful ecclesiastical figures showing much favour to their own kin." (p. 91)
Regardless of which of these theories, if any, is true, the family played an important role in church affairs in the area in the 1530-1750. Manning has an interesting discussion of the McNelis role as bailiffs o the "friars of Teelin" (which is a little fishing village across Teelin bay from Kilcar). Donn McNelis, mentioned above, "would have been entitled, according to the poems in the Laud M.S.S., to the dues from the fishing of Teelin. Neali McNelis made the same claim at the Inquisition of 1609. We know nothing else about Donn that would answer the question: how did the family of the former bailiffs acquire the title to the rights of the former owners? A number of possibilities exist, one being that the McNelises had been bailiffs for some centuries and, at the demise of the Augustinians (friars), they pretended that the title of successor of Colmcille, with its attendant rights, had been conveyed to the head of their family. This claim would seem to suggest that an initial claim may have been made in the mid-to-late 1300s, at a time when there was not only disarray within the Derry Augustinians, but the Church itself had two (and at one stage four) claimants to the papacy. The McNelises may have been firmly entrenched as successors of Colmcille in Glencolumbkille when the schism within the Church was (at least officially) healed at the Council of Constance in 1417. The monastery of Derry was obliterated in 1423, leaving the McNelises, perhaps, in uncontested possession of the former estate (and maybe the church of Teelin) of the canons of St. Augustine of Derry." (P. 15)
In 1538 a papal directive stated that "Edmund Magelasa (McNelis) holds the rectorship without adequate title." As Manning says, "The rectorship, at that time, usually denoted a position of leisure, and could be held by a layman. Only fully ordained priests could be vicars. We do not know how this dispute between the McNelises and the diocesan authorities was settled." (p. 16) "Bryan McNelis, who spoke Irish, Latin, and English and who was a talented manuscript illuminator is listed as curate of Glencolumbkille both in 1606 and in 1621.... After the Plantation of Ulster, beginning in 1610, few native clergy, such as Brian McNelis in Glencolumbkille and Kilcar (the towns are near one another) were employed as curates, since they would be viewed as adherents of the Roman Church and not be trusted." (p. 17)
Additional information along these lines, provided by Bob Greer is: In 1608 Brianus MacNiallghus copied manuscripts for Rois Og Ni Dhombnail. (Rose O'Donnell's prayer book calling upon the Almighty Lord and Blessed Colm to watch over the Irish people who had just suffered the loss of their leaders in the "flight of the Earls",(1607). From 1632 to 1636 the compilation of Annala Rioghachta Eireann ( The Annals of the Four Masters) occurred. In 1647 Bernardus and Brianus MacNiallghus and others complete the "manuscript illumination" of the Annals of the Four Masters. In 1838 the old church at Glencolumbkille was demolished. During the demolition 2 ancient manuscripts were found hidden in the walls. (What were these manuscripts? Where are they now?) Both the Annals and Rose's prayer book are considered to be national treasures. The Annals are housed today in the Abbey of the Four Masters in Donegal. I believe that Rose O'Donnell's prayer book is in the hands of one of the Donegal families.
In 1603 Cormack Og McNelis of "Clancolamekilly" was a juror. (p. 21) In 1609 Neal McNelis of Glencolumbkille was a juror. The case involved describing the ownership of land in each parish. At the time Kilcar was part of the Glencolumbkille parish. The description included "William Oge McEnelis is both corbe and herenagh of one moiety and Neile McEnelis is corbe of the other. " These titles are church officials of some type. Further Neil McEneillus is said to own half the royalties of the fishing of Teelin (the fishing cove for Kilcar). Claims such as Neil McNelis's fishing royalties were ignored. (p. 21-22) The Hearth Rolls of 1665 list Brian Og McNelis, Edmund McNelis, and Michael McNelis in the head of household census for Glencolumbkille and Kilcar. This was used for tax purposes. This list was probably compiled by Brian Og McNelis, churchwarden on Glencolumbkille and Kilcar in 1661. Manning says that Brian may have lived in Derrylahan (a townland of Kilcar), since there are repeated instances of Brian McNelises living there subsequently.
Black, in his Surnames of Scotland lists several appearances of the name. "Cristin M'Nelos witnessed a Lamont charter in 1465. - McNellus was one of the "wrychtis engaged by Sir George Calbrathe in 1494, and in 1500 a trial was held for the slaughter of Gillaspy McNelus or M'Neluse. Archibald McNellus witnessed sasine at Larichlyssagnicht, 1515, and Milmore Mc nelos was charter witness at Ferlings, 1525. Archibald McNelus was miller at Campsaill in 1598, Donald M'Nialladge in Kilfinan parish is in record in 1695, Gilbert M'Neilladge was burgess of Rothesay in 1663, and Daniel M'Nilage is recorded in Paisley, 1749. Other mentions include M'Neilas 1663, McNeillas 1678, and Macneilledge 1816."
All Irish families in the 1800s named their children after their relatives. The result was that certain names characterize certain branches of the families. While every branch has a few people named Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Michael, and John, some have a disproportionate number of less common names. The most striking of these is Anthony. My own McNelis branch is headed by an Anthony McNelis. Each of his sons who had children named at least one son Anthony. Other McNelis branches also have a lot of men named Anthony. The name Anthony McNelis is vastly more common than is the name Anthony in other Irish families. The Soundex for the U.S. Census for Pennsylvania for 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 offer striking evidence of this. When you look up Anthony in all the names whose first consonants and m, c, n, and l, you think McNelis is a common name. When you look up John or Michael you reach a far different conclusion. The McNeills, McNallys, etc. vastly outnumber McNelis in that latter instances, but not during the former.
William, Rose, Patrick, Neil, Andrew, Theresa, Agnes, and Ellen are a few other names that can help identify what family you are part of. Get a complete list of your McNelis grandparent's siblings. It will help.
Bridget McNeelis was born approx 1828 in Bruxless. According to the 1871
census in Glasgow, she had been a widow for some ten years. She and her
husband Edward McGinnes had children Isabella McGinnes (born approx 1851),
Edward (1853), Mary (1855), James (1859) Michael (baptised 14th Nov 1858) Catherine
( baptised 10th January 1861), and Bridget (1863). Michael McGinnes on the poor law
listed his place of birth as Carna-muchal, Co. Donegal. This is the family
of Mary Boyle
The extracted baptisms from St. Cartha's Catholic Church of Kilcar where one or more of the parents are named McNelis is found at baptisms. For more information on Kilcar genealogy check out my Kilcar genealogy home page.
My own McNelis ancestors begin with Edward McNelis and Sally Porter. They had sons Hugh and
Anthony and perhaps Stephen. Hugh married Mary Meehan and had children Jane, Edward,
Bridget, Mary, Michael, Ann, and William. Anthony married Catherine Meehan and had Michael,
James, John, Thomas, Edward, and Anthony. The latter three were born in the United States.
Anthony and Catherine and the boys, other than James, came to the U.S., eventually coming to
Centralia, Pennsylvania in the late 1860s. James stayed in Ireland, marrying Madge Byrne. They
had children James, Margaret, John, Mary, Catherine, and Patrick. Madge died in 1891 and the
family emigrated to Greeley, Nebraska in 1893. Michael married Anne Fogarty and had children
John and Catherine. They lived in Mahanoy City, PA before moving to Philadelphia in 1904. John
married Mary Hagerty and had children Catherine, Anthony, James, John, and Mary. They lived in
Centralia, PA. Edward married Ellen McNelis and had daughters Mary, Catherine, Susan, and
Eleanor. They lived in Shenandoah, PA. Thomas married Mary Daley and had Anthony, Sarah,
Ray, Catherine, and John. They lived in Philadelphia and later York, PA. Anthony, son of Anthony
and Catherine Meehan, married Margaret Moran and had a daughter Catherine McNelis. For more
on this group, contact me at email@example.com or check out the page at mcnelis1.htm.
This McNelis family is of Kilcar and Maryville, MO. This family is related to the Cannon cousins of Jim Dunn. Patrick McNelis m. Sally McFadden, (daughter of Ancestor 1 McFadden and unknown _____). May be named James. Members of this family provided business contacts for Michael McFadden, a peddler who worked throughout the Midwest. Children:
The Second Generation has
Patrick McNellis b. 25-Sep-1843, Kilcar, County Donegal, Ireland, m. 21-Apr-1874, in Maryville, MO, Mary Dougan, b. 31-Oct-1850, Shalway, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, IRE, (daughter of Brian (Bernard) Doogan and Ellen (Nellie) Cannon) d. 11-Apr-1930, Maryville, MO. Patrick died 6-Feb-1920, Maryville, MO. Children:
James McNelis b. ABT 1840, Tawney, Kilcar, Co Donegal, Ireland, m. in Kilcar, Co Donegal, Ireland, Rose McHugh, b. ABT 1870, Co Donegal, Ireland. James died BEF 1895, Kilcar Parish, Co Donegal. It is not clear to whom James was married. There is a James m. to Catherine McHugh, dtr. Catherine at Tawney for 1856. in Kilcar parish record. Rose's identity is based upon letter from Patrick Raughter. Amongst their children was Catherine McNelis b. ABT 1880.
The Third Generation
Katherine McNellis b. 23-Sep-1887, Maryville, MO, m. 29-Mar-1910, in Chillicothe, MO, James Olan Whan, b. 1-Dec-1886, d. 7-Aug-1977. Katherine died 20-Jan-1974. They had children: James Wheldon Whan, John Francis Whan, Mary Patricia Whan, and Margaret Helen Whan.
Catherine McNelis b. ABT 1880, Carrick, Kilcar, Co Donegal, Ireland, m. in Kilcar, Co Donegal, Ireland, Thomas Raughter, b. ABT 1880, St. John's Point, Dunkineely, Co Donegal, Ir. Their children are:
Tom McNulty has two McNelis women in his McNulty family. The first is Peggy McNelis, married
to James McNulty. Peggy and James had a daughter Bridget, bapt. 1848. And sons Patrick, Conti,
and Charles McNulty. Patrick had James McNulty (1870 - 1929) (m. Mary Ryan) and Una
McNulty (m. Thomas Fawcett). James and Mary McNulty had Mary McNulty (b.1888, m. Michael
Gillespie), Patrick McNulty (1890 - 1982, m. Anne Doherty), James McNulty (m. Catherine
Boyle), Hannah McNulty (b.1893), and Bridgett McNulty (1893). After Mary's death, James
married Bridget Dorian (1875 - 1944), who had children John McNulty (m. Margaret McNelis),
Cornelius McNulty (1904 - 1992, m. Bridget McIntyre, Charles Hugh McNulty (1902 - 1982, m.
Mary McBraerity, Anne McNulty (1903 - 1978, m. John McGinley), Donal McNulty, Bridgett
McNulty, Joseph McNulty (1908 - 1980, m. Bridgit Sweeney), Cassie McNulty (b. 1913, m.
Joseph J. McGuiness), Margaret McNulty (1911 - 1992, m. James Doogan), and Francis McNulty
(b. 1909, m. Mary Gavigan). John McNulty and Margaret McNelis had son James Thomas
McNulty (1929 - 1992), who married Maire Campbell.
Bob Greer is descended from a different James McNelis of Towny than the one mentioned above. James and Belle Carre of Carrick had many children, one of whom was Bob's great grandmother ISABELLA MANELIS, born 20 August 1867, in Tawny. Isabella came to America in 1887, with her brother Philip and possibly other siblings. They joined a large family of cousins in Philadelphia. (Philip brought grapevines and moved on to California to plant them.) Isabella was an accomplished musician (harpist), who performed at many social events. She was well educated. She spoke Gaelic at home and English, socially. She married Patrick John Wylie in 1890, in Philadelphia. They lived in Chestnut Hill, northwest Philadelphia. They had 11 children, Mary, Elizabeth, Francis, John, Margaret, Joseph, Rose 1, Rose 2, Agnes 1, Agnes 2, and Rachel. All persons above are deceased with the exception of Margaret Wylie Kelly who will be 100 years old on 25 February 1999. There are many grandchildren and great grandchildren but none have the name McNelis. When Isabella was alive she kept in close contact with her family particularly the Dominick McNelis family of Mauch Chuck, Pa. She was also very close to her sister Janey, Jenny, who married Edward Giles. Another thing that Bob remembers was that the family's family doctor was Doctor McNelis (Philadelphia 1895-1915), (perhaps Anthony McNelis) who was related somehow.
Kate McNeal is the great granddaughter of Mary Carr from Kilcar, Donegal, Ireland. Mary's first husband was a McNellis or (McNelis). There were several children from this union, Joseph McNellis (b. March 14, 1895 and Margaret McNellis (b. August 30, 1890) and possibly a Bridget. Mary Carr's second husband was Charles Halket, son of William Halket. Mary and Charles had 2 children, Charles and Marie (Kate's grandmother). Kate thinks that Mary Carr and Charles met in Chicago. The William Halket family resided in Chicago, IL and he was in the livery business for 20 years. Charles Halket and Mary Carr resided in Glenview, Ill.
Patrick McNelis and Grace Byrne of Churchtown, Kilcar had children Mary (10/26/1849) James (8/3/1852), Susan ( 3/17/1855),and Michael McNelis (11/26/1857). Almost certainly John McNelis, who with wife Susan Royan, was having children about the same time as Susan McNelis and her husband Charles Murray, is the brother of Susan, Michael, James, and Mary and was either born before the records began or didn't get recorded. I believe that Patrick has siblings Susan McNelis (wife of Connell Cunnea), Mary McNelis (wife of John McSweeney or Sweeney), and James McNelis (husband of Margaret Cunnea). Susan McNelis and Charles Murray had children Ann (02/08/1900) , Brigid (03/18/1888), Charles (08/19/1886), Dennis (03/26/1885), Ellen (09/04/1893), Joseph (09/09/1895), Mary (01/27/1881), Patrick (09/29/1891), Peter (10/15/1895), and Susan (03/27/1890). Dennis, Charles (Charlie) and Peter went to Kansas City and later joined the gold rush in Alaska. Then Dennis came to Seattle, Charles (Charlie) returned to Kansas City, and Peter returned to Ireland. Dennis died about 1967 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Seattle, WA. Some of the other Murray family seems to have gone to Kansas City. Michael McNellis married Elizabeth Campbell of Kilcar and they lived in Glasgow. They had two children: Patrick and Isabella, both born in Glasgow. Elizabeth Campbell McNellis died while the children were young, and Michael McNellis took the children back to Donegal and left them in the care of Susan Murray, Churchtown. Michael McNellis then emigrated Kansas City where he remarried. Michael's son, Patrick McNellis, married Mary Jane Dunion of Mountcharles, Donegal, a few miles east of Killybegs. She was the daughter of Hugh Dunion and Rose Gallagher. Patrick and Mary moved to Glasgow and had six children: Patrick Hugh, John, Rose, Mary, Michael (died young), and Isabel. When in her teens, Isabel moved to Kansas City and married Mr. Mittenfelder. Patrick Hugh McNellis (1909, 1995) and his wife and children came to the USA in the early 1950's, settling in Seattle and then Santa Barbara. Patrick is the father of Eileen Cush McNellis
Peter Francis O'Donnell (son of Timothy O'Donnell and Giles
Dever who were born about 1802) and Ellen
born abt. 1835 in Ireland, and died 10 Aug 1917 in Wilkes Barre, Luzerne County,
Pennsylvania). All of their nine children were born in Pennsylvania,
beginning with Condie (Cornelius), 1858. They
also had sons Peter (a Board Member of the
United Mine Workers of America) and Monsignor
John J. O'Donnell of St. Mary's in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Monsignor
O'Donnell, born in Sugar Notch, near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on January 13,
1872 (Monsignor O'Donnell died on March 7, 1945, in Wilkes-Barre. They appear in
the 1860 census living in Buck Mountain, a mining town in Carbon County, PA,
east of Hazleton and west of Rockport in Lausanne Township, Carbon County.
At her death, Ellen was survived by one brother John McNelis of Carbon County
and one sister, Mrs. C. Ward of Philadelphia. Father Edward McNelis, (born in
Ireland in 1845)ordained October 18, 1872, by Bishop Wood, St.
Charles Borremeo, Overbrook, Pa., died November 19, 1889. is Ellen's
Francis O'Donnell (the son) married Bridget
Conahan, who had a son Peter Francis O'Donnell, who helped lead the
formation of the United Auto Workers union at Ford Motor Company in Detroit.
This Peter was born in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
In turn this Peter had a son Peter
Gerald O'Donnell. This fourth Peter is the father-in-law of Jeff McQueen
. 5. Michael McNelis and wife Mary (nee McNelis) had a son Thomas who went to
Scotland in the 1940s. They also had sons Joseph and John. Mary
Lambie is the
daughter of Thomas. The late Paddy McNelis, who owned a tea room in Glencolumnbkille was a cousin.
Cormack McNelis (b. abt. 1834, d. Aug 25, 1894, Leckenagh) and Mary Bonner McNelis (b. abt.
1837, d. Mar. 5, 1891) lived on a farm in Leckenagh (which is a townland in the area). They had
14 or 15 children, including John, Bridget, Minnie, Alice, Grace, Andrew, James, Mary, Annie,
Cecelia, and Hannah Norah. John, the oldest, stayed in Ireland. Minnie (b. abt. 1860) m. Charles
Dougherty and lived as an adult in Philadelphia. She brought most of the rest to America. Alice m.
Mr. Lindsey and had at least three daughters Mary McGee, Anne McGinley, and Loretta Moran.
Grace m. Frank Eliff and lived in Norristown, PA, where they had children Mary, Grace and
Cornelius. Andrew (b. Oct 31, 1862, d. Sept. 5, 1924) was a machinist and lived in Philadelphia.
James (b. 1873, d, Jan. 19, 1916) was a boilermaker in Philadelphia. Both he and Andrew were
married, but had no children. Mary (b. Apr. 6, 1879, d. Nov. 11, 1951 in Philadelphia) never
married. Cecelia (b. 1880, d. May 20, 1902, Philadelphia) was also single. Hannah Norah (b. May
14, 1875, d. Nov. 27, 1956) m. Patrick Donahue in 1901. They had six children, Anna, Cecelia
(Betty), Mary Alice (Marie), Noretta (Loretta), James, and Charles. Marie is the grandmother of
Tim Gass According to Tim, Mary McNelis had a farm in Leckenagh in 1828. She is presumably a relative of
Cormack. Similarly Patrick McNelis (b. 1879) farmed in Leckangh in 1911, so he is probably
related as well, perhaps another of the many children or Cormack and Mary. In addition to the family information below, a variety of information from Census records, Social
Security Death Records, and other places may be found in Pennsylvania Records. Joe McNellis
compiled a summary of the McNelis families found in the 1880 Pennsylvania Census. It may have a
few omissions. Bob Greer has provided a list of McNelis marriages that he has copied from the
marriage registration books for Philadelphia. They cover mainly the period 1887-1916, although
some later entries are there as well. Bob has also contributed information on McNelises in
McNelis Families from Glencolumbkille
McNelis Families from Glenties/Kilraine
McNelis Families from Carrick
McNelis Families from Killybegs
McNelis Families from Burtonport
McNelis Families from County Tyrone
McNelis Families in Scotland
McNelis Families in America
McNelis Families in Pennsylvania
McNelis Families in Michigan
5. Michael McNelis and wife Mary (nee McNelis) had a son Thomas who went to Scotland in the 1940s. They also had sons Joseph and John. Mary Lambie is the daughter of Thomas. The late Paddy McNelis, who owned a tea room in Glencolumnbkille was a cousin.
Cormack McNelis (b. abt. 1834, d. Aug 25, 1894, Leckenagh) and Mary Bonner McNelis (b. abt. 1837, d. Mar. 5, 1891) lived on a farm in Leckenagh (which is a townland in the area). They had 14 or 15 children, including John, Bridget, Minnie, Alice, Grace, Andrew, James, Mary, Annie, Cecelia, and Hannah Norah. John, the oldest, stayed in Ireland. Minnie (b. abt. 1860) m. Charles Dougherty and lived as an adult in Philadelphia. She brought most of the rest to America. Alice m. Mr. Lindsey and had at least three daughters Mary McGee, Anne McGinley, and Loretta Moran. Grace m. Frank Eliff and lived in Norristown, PA, where they had children Mary, Grace and Cornelius. Andrew (b. Oct 31, 1862, d. Sept. 5, 1924) was a machinist and lived in Philadelphia. James (b. 1873, d, Jan. 19, 1916) was a boilermaker in Philadelphia. Both he and Andrew were married, but had no children. Mary (b. Apr. 6, 1879, d. Nov. 11, 1951 in Philadelphia) never married. Cecelia (b. 1880, d. May 20, 1902, Philadelphia) was also single. Hannah Norah (b. May 14, 1875, d. Nov. 27, 1956) m. Patrick Donahue in 1901. They had six children, Anna, Cecelia (Betty), Mary Alice (Marie), Noretta (Loretta), James, and Charles. Marie is the grandmother of Tim Gass
According to Tim, Mary McNelis had a farm in Leckenagh in 1828. She is presumably a relative of Cormack. Similarly Patrick McNelis (b. 1879) farmed in Leckangh in 1911, so he is probably related as well, perhaps another of the many children or Cormack and Mary.
In addition to the family information below, a variety of information from Census records, Social Security Death Records, and other places may be found in Pennsylvania Records. Joe McNellis compiled a summary of the McNelis families found in the 1880 Pennsylvania Census. It may have a few omissions. Bob Greer has provided a list of McNelis marriages that he has copied from the marriage registration books for Philadelphia. They cover mainly the period 1887-1916, although some later entries are there as well. Bob has also contributed information on McNelises in Allegheny County.
Daniel McNellis was born in Donegal in 1850. He emigrated about 1873, first to Michigan, and then to Freeborn County, Minnesota. He married Catherine Farrell in 1881 in Minnesota and they had two children, Michael (1881-1976) and Mary Angeline (1885-1970). Michael married Catherine Carew and they had children Mary Catherine, Francis James, and Thomas Joseph. This is the family of Mary Catherine McNellis, 3675 Highland Ave. Apt D-31, White Bear Lake, MN 55110.
McNelis Families in Tennessee
James Anthony McNeelis born in Donegal, Ireland around 1860. He immigrated in 1880 and was naturalized in 1887. He was married to Lilly Alice (Burney (?)) and had following children James Dewitt McNeelis (b 1912), Lilly Eunice McNeelis (b 1913), Lowrey Joseph Burney (b 1905 stepson). The Census lists James P. McNeelis (b 1860) and Patrick McNeelis(b 1868) in Memphis. Their father is listed as Patrick and mother as Mary. Family tradition says James Anthony had brothers Dominick and Patrick. James Dewitt McNeelis, Sr, (b. 1912) in turn had a son James Dewitt McNeelis, Jr. and daughters Rosa, Sarah, Lilly, Lois, & Mary. This family lived in Tennessee.
John McNealus (b. 1835, VA?, d. 29 Sept 1869, Fredericksburg, VA) m. Mary Jane Wharton abt. 1856 in Virginia and they had son William Linwood McNealus (b. 1858, VA, d. 7 Oct 1887 Baltimore, MD). William m. Mary Agnes Magee in Fredericksburg, VA 13 Nov 1879 and had son William Chandler McNealus (b. 23 Apr 1887, Baltimore, MD, d. 16 Oct 1957 New York NY). William Chandler McNealus m. Edna May Flynn in 1915 in New York, NY and had children Arthur McNealus, Charles McNealus, and Lorraine McNealus. These families and many of their descendants lived in New York.
McNelis Families in Minnesota
McNelis Families in Missouri
McNelis Families in Maine
Bill Parks has his great grandfather's first cousin XXX Parks married a Thomas McNellis from County Donegal (she was from Donegal as well). They lived in Portland, Maine.
John McNellis lived 1821-1901, having emigrated in the late 1840's to Canada, married Ellen Brady( also from Ireland). Their first son, Charles, was born in Canada in 1851, and then the family moved (probably in 1852, to Greene County, Ohio. John McNellis was naturalized there in 1859, and was counted in the 1860 census there. Charles McNellis lived 1851-1914, most of the time in Chicago. Charles married Harriet Simmons in Chicago in 1879 and they had 13 children. Their oldest son was Frank McNellis(1880-1950 ), and his son was Frank McNellis Jr.( 1905-1971). This is the family of Donald McNellis
James L. McNelis, b. 8 Sep 1865, Mt Vernon, MO., m. Mattie Jane Moore, b. 27 Jan 1870, Mt. Vernon, MO. They had 11 children. James father, Butler McNelis (discussed further in McNelis Families in Missouri) said to be a stowaway on a ship from Ireland. The children of James and Mattie are: (1) J. Emory (b Aug 6, 1890 Kinnison, Indian Territory, d. 1919, Welch, OK), never married; (2)Zada Zenobia (Feb 2, 1892 Kinnison, IT, Jan 17, ????, Welch, OK), m. Mack Bert Jones; (3) Bessie Lola (b.Oct 31, 1893 Kinnison, IT, d. April 1982, Welch, OK), never married; (4) Lela Ellen (b. Dec 16, 1895 Kinnison, IT, d. Mar 7, 1985. Welch, OK), m. James Abbott Corn; (5) Ira Elbert (Pat) (b. Aug 19, 1897 Kinnison, IT, d. Nov 1980, Welch, OK), m. Opal Rogers; (6) Leslie William (b.Dec 29, 1899 Kinnison, IT, d. Mar 24, 1995 , Welch, OK), m. Rena Maude Loshbaugh; (7) Cecil Rex (b. Nov 25, 1901 Kinnison, IT, d. May 30, 1997, Tulsa, OK), m. Edna Fox; (8) Annie Jewel (b. Jan 6, 1904, Kinnison, IT, d. 1919, Welch, OK), never married; (9) Clinton Thomas (b. Feb 12, 1906 Kinnison, IT, d. Jan 30, 1993, d. Colorado), m. Opal Miller; (10) Ina Minnie (b. Jan 8, 1909, Welch, OK, d. Mar 9, 1988, Wichita, KS), m. Harry Immich; (11) an Infant Girl (b. & d.1911, Welch, OK); and (12) Wilma Gladys (Billie) (b. Jul 17, 1914, Welch, OK, d.1919, Welch, OK). Cecil R. McNelis had a son Donald Lee McNelis, born 1931 in Oklahoma (Maybe Miami?), who has a daughter Kathleen Anne McNelis .Also listed in Craig County is Jemie McNelis, 29, b. 1891, Oklahoma, (daughter of David M. Bacon), and Jennie McNelis, 29, b. 1891,(who may be the same as Jemie above?). Karen Back is a descendant of Ira Elmer McNelis. Also interested in this family is Rachelle McCord , who is descended from Lela Ellen McNelis.
Quite a few McNelis families passed through Montana, especially Butte. John McNellis remained. He is discussed under McNelis Families from Carrick.
McNelis Families in Texas
James McNellis (b. Jan. 3, 1873, Indiana, d. Nov 8, 1927, Vernon, TX) was the child of a McNellis born in Ireland and his wife (nee Dodson). He married Florence and had children Vernon, Jewell, Owen, and Zela. This is the family of Catherine McNellis Bucher.
Philip McNelis (born 1873) was the son of Andrew McNelis and Margaret McGinley, both born in Ireland. Philip was married to Sarah McFadden, both immigrated from Ireland (exactly when not known). They lived in San Francisco, California starting around 1903. Philip died in 1926 in San Francisco. They had at least five children, the youngest Anthony (d. San Francisco, 1958) is Aaron Manwill's grandfather. There was a Francis and Andrew McNelis that were living with Philip and Sarah in 1917. They may have been siblings, cousins or even children of Philip and Sarah.
McNelis Families in New Jersey
Neil McNelis (b. 1918, d. 1981) emigrated from Ardara in 1947. Most, if not all, of the McNelis families in Australia are of this line. They are discussed further under Glencolumbkille. The contact for this family is Denise McNelis, 23 Rolling Hills Rd., Churnside Park, VIC 3116, Australia.
The following records of participation in the armed forces in the United States is provided by Bob Greer. The records for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and any other conflict will be included if I get them. Their omission at this point is certainly not a reflection of the contribution those people made to their country. The lists may be incomplete and for Vietnam includes only those who perished. Additions, corrections, or identification of the persons on this list would be appreciated. Please send the information to Jim Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org
The following men died in the Vietnam War while in service to their country.
Last name: MC NELLIS, First name: ANTHONY FRANCIS Home of Record (official): ALTOONA, State (official): PA Date of Birth: Tuesday, April 28, 1931, Sex: Male Race: Caucasian, Marital Status: Married, --- Military ---Branch: Air Force, Rank: MSGT Serial Number: 13382522, Component: Regular Posthumous promotion as indicated, Pay grade: E6 MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): Unknown/Not reported, --- Action --- Start of Tour: Saturday, December 2, 1967 Date of Casualty: Thursday, July 18, 1968 Age at time of loss: 37 Casualty type: (C2) Non-hostile, died of illness/injury Reason: Illness, disease (Ground casualty) Country: South Viet Nam, Province: Khanh Hoa The Wall: Panel 51W - Row 007 Anthony is part of the McNelis family of Altoona, PA.
Last name: MC NELIS, First name: PATRICK ROBERT Home of Record (official): MC KEESPORT, State (official): PA Date of Birth: Monday, March 17, 1947, Sex: Male Race: Caucasian, Marital Status: Single, --- Military ---Branch: Navy, Rank: HM2 Serial Number: B406910, Component: Regular, Pay grade: E5 MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): HM2, --- Action ---,Start of Tour: Wednesday, April 23, 1969 Date of Casualty: Friday, May 16, 1969 Age at time of loss: 22 Casualty type: (A2) Hostile, died of wounds Reason: Gun, small arms fire (Ground casualty) Country: South Viet Nam, Province: Quang Nam, The Wall: Panel 24W - Row 025
Last name: MC NELIS, First name: FRANK CHARLES JR Home of Record (official): PASADENA, State (official): TX Date of Birth: Monday, July 23, 1945, Sex: Male Race: Caucasian, Marital Status: Married, --- Military ---Branch: Navy, Rank: AO2, Pay grade: E5, Serial Number: 5989067, Component: Regular MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): AO2, --- Action ---Start of Tour: Unknown/Not reported Date of Casualty: Saturday, July 29, 1967 Age at time of loss: 22 Frank McNelis, Jr. died on the fire on the carrier Forrestal off the coast of Vietnam. Country: North Viet Nam, Province: Unknown/Not Reported The Wall: Panel 24E - Row 036
Other submissions or additional information about these men is invited.
Two men who died in World War II are: Lt James P McNellis - Capt. of Austin High School Basketball Team, Halfback with Trojan Football Team, Austin. Killed in action on 17th June 1944. His brother SSgt Lawrence F. McNellis was killed in action on the 10th December 1944. He was also involved in the above football and basketball teams. They are related to the McNelis families of Carrick.
The following is a partial list of McNelises who served in the U.S. Military during the Spanish American War. (Please add to this list when information becomes available)
The following is a partial list of McNelises who served in the U.S. Military during the American Civil War. (Please add to this list when information becomes available)
******************* UNION ARMED FORCES *********************
*************** Confederate Armed Forces **************************
THE FOLLOWING IS A PARTIAL LIST OF PRIESTS CONNECTED IN SOME WAY TO THE MCNELIS FAMILY, EITHER BY BLOOD, BY NAME OR BY MENTION IN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS. PLEASE ADD TO THIS LIST WHEN INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.
“The History of Ireland” written by Abbe McGeoghegan, was published in 1844. On page 538 there is this item from 1603.
“A vessel was sent in the
mean time by the court of Spain to Kilmkillock near Ardea, to discover
212 E. Irvin Ave. State College, PA 16801