Kilcar Genealogy Home Page

This site is a resource for those interested in finding their ancestors from Kilcar, Co. Donegal, Ireland. It has the following sections.

Where Is Kilcar?

What surnames are found in Kilcar?

Where did people from Kilcar move in America?

Is anyone else working on the same surname?

How can I translate the townland names from Irish to English?

What genealogy resources are available for Kilcar?

More Information

Where Is Kilcar?

Kilcar is a small town in southwestern County Donegal, Ireland. The village itself is surrounded by a variety of townlands, which with the village comprise the Catholic parish of Kilcar. The parish is of similar size to a township in the midwestern United States, with the village of Kilcar at its center. In rural Ireland locations not in towns are called townlands. They are somewhat like townships in the United States, only much smaller. They would generally be at most a square mile. The parish of Kilcar includes some 45 townlands, although the names and exact number have changed over time. Killybegs is to the east, Donegal Bay to the south, Carrick immediately north and Ardara a bit farther north and Glencolumbkille is to the west. The mountains make the road distances much farther than the distances as the crow flies.

John Haughey, a son of Kilcar now living in Texas, has a Kilcar home page that discusses Kilcar as it is today, including some recommendations about pubs and accommodations at .

Carrick is also on the web at

What surnames are found in Kilcar?

Boyle, Browne, Byrne, Campbell, Cannon, Carr, Cassidy, Chestnut, Cunnea, Cunningham, Curran, Doogan, Doran, Dorrian, Dougherty, Dunleavy, Erskine, Gallagher, Gildea, Gillespie, Haughey, Hegarty, Love, Lyons, Malloy, Maloney, McBrearty, McCahill, McCauley, McCloskey, McDevitt, McFadden, McGinley, McHugh, McNelis, McNulty, McShane, Meehan, O'Boyle, O'Donnell, O'Gara, Parks, Raughter, Shovelin, Ward

This list is not exhaustive. Also spelling of these names vary. Dougherty in particular has numerous variations. It is my opinion that nothing in particular should be concluded from that. These names were all in Irish originally and the anglicization of a name varied across individuals and time periods. My own name, Dunn, is an Irish name. Most Dunns in the U.S. today are of Irish origin and almost all spell their name Dunn. Yet in Ireland most Dunns spell their name Dunne. Doogan is the common Irish spelling today. In the U.S., it is almost always Dugan and sometimes Duggan.

Where did people from Kilcar move in America?

Although there isn't a single answer, people tended to go somewhere they knew someone. Many people ended up in coal mining towns in Pennsylvania and mining towns in the west. These places needed a lot of unskilled labor. Once one person from Kilcar went to a place, others followed. Therefore, particular towns had a lot of Kilcar people in them. The list below is not complete by any means. Please send me any additions.

City or town & Surnames of people from Kilcar

Centralia, PA Meehan, Carr, McNelis, O'Gara, Lyons

Jim Thorpe (formerly Mauch Chunk), PA and the adjacent Panther Valley, the most southern of the PA anthracite coal fields. Almost all the Irish in Mauch Chunk, Summit Hill, Lansford, etc. were from Co. Donegal, especially from its SW region. Cunningham, Cannon, McFadden, Boyle, O'Donnell, McGinley, Gallagher, Haffey, McBrearty, Gillespie, McNelis, Curran, McGee, Ferry, McNulty, Harkin, Lyons, Barrons, Carr, Gildea, McLaughlin, Sheridan, Conaghan, Shovelin, Breslin, Barry, Molloy, O'Gara

Wilkes-Barre, PA Dougherty, O'Donnell, many more

Greeley, NE McNelis, Cannon, Byrne (changed to Burns) More information about these people can be found on my McNelis page.

Newcastle, NE Askin, Cunningham

Maryville, MO Doogan (Dougan in the U.S.), McNelis, Cannon. More information about these people can be found on my McNelis page.

Kansas City, MO McNellis, Byrne, Murray, O'Donnell

Omaha, NE Gillespie, Cunningham and Cassidy

Ottumwa, IA and thereabouts Cannon, Doran, Dunleavy, Gallagher, Love, Lyons

Ringgold County, IA Cassidy

Indianapolis, IN Carr, Hegarty, McNulty, Boyle

Terre Haute, IN Byrne, Gallagher

Belvidere, IL Askin, Cunningham, McNellis, Hagerty and Carr

Chicago, IL Meehan, Carr, Cassidy, Cunningham, O'Donnell and many more

Rock Island, IL Cunningham, Doherty

Cleveland, OH Byrne, Doherty and others

New York, NY, especially Brooklyn Byrne, Carr, Love, O'Donnell, and probably almost any other name from Kilcar

Leadville, CO Byrne, McNelis

Butte, MT Byrne, McNelis

Augusta, GA Gallagher, Cunningham, and McCahill

Anderson, SC O'Donnell, McNelis

Asheville, NC O'Donnell

Walnut Creek, CA Cassidy

Is anyone else working on the same surname?

The following people are interested in Kilcar genealogy. Most of them know something about many names, although like me they tend to have most of their information about one or two names. Much of the other information involves things like the name of a spouse back in 1800, with no way of fitting that person into context. Almost without exception, the researchers listed have a lot of information about the descendants of the Kilcar families in America. In some instances I have e-mail addresses and in other instances I have only postal addresses.




Jim Dunn 
212 E. Irvin 
State College, PA 16801

McNelis, Byrne, Meehan, Doogan, Dunleavy, Campbell, Cannon, Cunningham

My Kilcar families are discussed further at my Genealogy home page. In addition, if you have any interest in the name McNelis my McNelis home page discusses this family in much greater detail. Further, any Kilcar baptisms between 1848 and 1910 where one parent is named McNelis are listed at baptisms. I also have a Byrne page that lists my own Byrne family and a Cannon page that lists my Cannons.

Sue Cunningham 
34 Phelps Ave.
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Cunningham, Carr, and McBrearty  from Killybegs and Carrick

Kevin Doogan
University of Bristol
John Dougherty 
136 Forest Rd
Mountaintop, PA 18707 

Dougherty, et al.

Bryan Dunleavy
231 Swanwick Lane
Lower Swanwick
Southampton, UK SO31 7GT 


Matthew Erskine
Co. Donegal


Kevin Gillespie 
1060 N. "L" St. 
Fremont, NE  68025

McCauley, Gillespie, Carr, Cunningham, has information on many others.  Kevin has some Gillespie information at

Brian Gillespie

Huntington Beach, CA

Gillespie and Byrne from Cashel, Kilcar
Sam McFadden
110 El Verano Way 
San Francisco, CA 94127
McFadden, Carr, Dorrian, Gallagher
Doran, has information on many
Jeff McQueen
Rochester Hills, Michigan


Cunningham, McNelis, McBrearty, Gallagher, and O'Donnell.
Peter Askin
2700 Ocean Drive #201
Vero Beach, FL 32963 

Askin, Cunningham, Gillespie, McGinley

Eileen Briggs

Fisher, Campbell

Mike Burke

O'Donnell, McShane

Frank Byrne
104 Overlook Circle
Wimberley, TX. 78676

Byrne, Gallagher

James Byrne
2 Rehboth Place
Dublin 8, Eire.

Byrne, Carr

Kathy Cannon
Cannon (Roxboro)
Anna Carr

Carr, Doogan

Patrick Coleman 

Malloy & Cannon

Brendan McCahill       
Gallagher, Cunningham, and

Patrick McFadden

Portland, OR USA

McFadden ( 2 families) Cunningham, Doherty, Byrne.

various spellings of the names not important.


Mary McGonigle 



Margaret Morley


Carr, Doherty

Hope Carnicle

Cannon, Byrne, Malloy

John Curran

Curran Derryveagh/Glenveagh, Wilkes-Barre and

Susan Cohea
6041 E. Osborn Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Meehan, Carr, Dunleavy
Valerie N. Colvin
Policy Sciences Center
Florida State University
Steve Gallioto
58 Birch Rd.
Southville, Bristol BS3 1PF
Carr, Parks, Cunningham
Wendall J. Burns
5735 Garnett
Shawnee, KS 66203
Timothy A. Carr
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Bob Clements
1020 Prospect Ridge Blvd
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035
(609) 546-8509

Paul Doherty

154 Briarwood Dr.

Schererville, IN  46375

Doherty, Cunningham

Cecilia Ann Donegan

James Gulczynski

W225 S9595 Big Bend Drive

Big Bend, WI  53103-9574

United States

(262) 662-3248 


Michael Donegan/Hannah Haughey (Haffey in US)

Came to USA about 1887/1888

Teelin originally

St. Columba's Church in Carrick


Daniel P. Dougherty
4862 S.E. Devenwood Way
Stuart, FL 34997-2163

 Dougherty and  McShane, esp. in Teelin

James B. Gillespie
12 Hawthorne Ct.
Maple Shade, NJ 08052


Molly Harmoney
2139 S. Nugent Rd.
Lummi Island, WA 98262 

Cannon, Cunningham, Kennedy. Molly's Cannons are found, in part, at Cannon.

John Haughey
1522 Yorkshire Dr.
Richardson, TX 75082

Haughey, Deane

Susan Innocenzo

McBrearty, Byrne

Carole Jenkins

Barron, Byrne

Joyce (McBreairty) Landean
12 Northwood Drive
Downingtown, PA 19335

McBreairty and Gallagher

Georgette Love

Chestnut, Love

Sandra McDevitt

McDevitt, O'Donnell, Cunnea

Trevor McBrearty
McBrearty, Erskine, Gillespie,
and O'Donnell

Kate McNeal

Carr, McNelis, Haggerty (Hegarty?) Kate has a web page at 

Tom McNulty
Indianapolis, IN
McNulty, McNelis, Ryan, Gillespie, Doherty, Dorian, McGinley, Fawcett.

Further details about Tom's family are my McNelis page

James M. Moore
1924 Fairmount St
Wausau, WI 54403
Doogan, Cannon. Jim's Cannons and Doogans are partly shown at Cannon.
Michael Moore
52618 Woodmill Drive
Macomb, MI  48042-5664

Boyle, McLoone, McNelis and Moore

Norman Parkes


Patrick Parkes

Cassidy, Carr, Cunningham, Parks

Bill Parks
Fairfax, VA
McNellis, Parks
Jack Riley
Erskine, Askin, Byrne, Cannon

Nick Shelley

Doogan, Boyle

Brian Southwood
(link not working)
Cunningham, O'Donnell
Barbara Byrne Varanese

Byrnes, McShanes,Dohertys, Cunninghams, Wards, O'Donnells, Currans and many more

Barney Barry
St. Louis University
Byrne, McNelis, Murray
Liz Breadon

Maxwell, Chesnut and Walker families from the Glencolumbkille / Carrick and Kilcar

Mike Carr
49- 70th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11209-1113  
Carr, Doogan, Byrne, McNelis, Gillespie, and more
Nina Joan Cobb
7704 Arboretum Dr., #101
Charlotte, NC 28270

McShane and O'Donnell

Joe Doran
Doran, Cannon
Kathleen Gallagher Ewen

Gallagher, Conaghan, Breslin, Melly, McGlinchey, and O'Donnell Ardara/Iniskeel/ Lettermacaward

John P Garrah
300 17th St.
Honesdale, PA 18431- 2024
O'Gara (Garrah), Lyons
Jay Hartman
Cannon, Malloy
Earl Gillespie
Starkville, MS
Gillespie, McGee
Cheri Greenlaw 
9 Delphi Place 
Coogee 6166 West Australia
Dunleavy and Greenlaw (Killybegs)

Laurel Harvey

Gallagher and McNelis (Rockwell, IA)

Jim Hegarty
13 Southwatch Lane 
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055  

Hegarty, Gara, Gillespie, Carr, and McNulty

John Hegarty


Patrick Hegarty
Hegarty, Browne, Byrne,

Peter Hegarty 

Hegarty, McGill (Carrick), and Doherty (Ballard, Glencolumcille)

Liz Houk 

Cannon, Doran, Lyons

Philip Jordan
Sawyer, Michigan

Conaghan, Meenan of Malinbeg/Carrick/ Glencolumbkille

Sue Kuhn

Blue Ridge Summit, PA

 Patrick Murray / Mary Patten family from Derrylaghen and the John Murray / Catherine Sweeney family

Thomas Mulgrew
11034 W Crestbrook Drive
Sun City, AZ 85351

McCauley, Gallagher

Kathy O'Leary
422 S. Peck
LaGrange, IL 60453 
Heeney and Haughey (spelled Haffey in U.S.)Teelin.
Stephen J Serfozo

Cannon, Gaffaghan

Joe Turner
17828 Mill Creek Drive
Derwood, MD 20855
(301) 963-5789

Carr, McGettigan

Glenn Brash
488 Grand Trunk Ave
Kingston Ontario
Cunningham, McNelis

Pat Youngberg
1609 Lakeview Drive
West Plains, Mo. 65775
McFadden, Byrne, Meehan, McNelis, O'Donnell
Caroline Wilkins
Bee's Cottage
Lot 1, 120 Grand Boulevard
Montmorency, VIC 3094
Breslin, Cunningham, Carr, and Gillespie


How can I translate the townland names from Irish to English?

The parish records from St. Cartha's in Kilcar list the townlands in Irish script. The microfilm of the records are available at your nearest Mormon Family History Center. Between the difficulty translating the names, the difficulty recognizing the letters in the script, and the quality of the penmanship of the writer, deciphering these names is a real challenge. Below is a list of the names in English and in Irish using the regular alphabet. Thanks to Lillis O'Leary and Sam McFadden, I have a sheet that shows the script counterpart to these names. The pdf file here shows the script - townland pdf
Townland Name in Irish Townland Name in English
An t-Earagal Arrigle
Babhdhun Bavin
Baile n Droichid Kilcar
Baile'Ac Phaidin Ballymacfadden
Baile na Mona Ballymoon
Baile an Teampaill Churchtown (called the townland of Kilcar in Griffiths)
Bogach Bogagh
An Caiseal Cashel
Caiseal an Carn Cashelcarn
Na Caislini Cashlings
Caonachan Keenaghan
An Charrig Carrick - this is a neighboring town but it appears occasionally
Cill Kille
Cill Beag Kilbeg
Cill Chartha Kilcar
Cill Chathasaigh Kilcasey
Cladach na gCaorach Cladnageerach
Coguis Coguish
Cnoc Chartha Cruckcarra, a place with a name in Towney
Crannceo Crannceo
Croibh Crove, a hamlet on the north side of the parish
Croib Bawn Crowbane
Croib Dub Crowdoo
Criob Eighter Croweighter
Criob Lair Crowlar
Cro na Rudda Cronroad or Croanrudda
Cro na Saileog Crownasillagh
Cruach Beag Croachbeg
Cruach Chaorach Crowkerragh
Cuiscreach Cuskry
Na Currai Curris
Dachtan Largydachtan
Doire Leathan Derrylahan
Droim na Fionngaile Drimnafinagle
Droim Riabhach Drimreagh
An Duinin Doonin
Gort tSaile Gortalia
Gortna gCoilleach
Glencolumbcille Glencolumbkille - once again a neighboring town
An Leargan Mor Largymore
Leiter Leiter
Min a'Chanann Meenacannon
An Min Bhui Meenboy
Minte Caorachan Meentakeeraghan
Mucros Muckross
Port Eachrann Roxborough
Rua Loch Rolach
Sealbhai Shalwy
Seanath Shannagh
Srath Braonach Strabrinna
Srath Laoi Fheoil Straleel
Srath na Circe Strankirka
Tamhnaigh Towney
Teilann Teelin - a place across Teelin Bay
Umascan Umiskin

Source: A Collection of History and Heritage of Kilcar. Aislann Cill Chartha. 1995.

What genealogy resources are available for Kilcar?

There are several sources of family information about Kilcar. Most are available through the Mormon microfilm collection and may be rented for a nominal fee at your nearest Family History Center. The microfilm numbers are in parentheses. Others are only available in Ireland or Northern Ireland. I don't know them all but here is a start.

1901 Census. (0824876, 0824882) Earlier Census records were destroyed.

Church records of St. Cartha's Catholic Church. (1279236) Begin in 1848. Only baptisms for most of the period. Mormon records go until about 1910. Those in Dublin go to about 1875.  Burial records are available for Kilcar from about 1906 to 1950s and marriage records from 1901-1921. The microfilm # which can be ordered at any Family History Center is the same for all 3 lists (1279236).  All of the Morman library index material is now available on line at

Church records of Kilcar Church of Ireland. Begin in 1819.

Griffith's Valuation. (0844980 basic list, 0832525 and 0832527 updates) This is a list of heads of households, originally done in about 1857 and updated regularly until the early 1900s. It is useful for knowing when people died or emigrated, assuming you can figure which Francis Carr is your ancestor. It also identifies particular properties, which can be matched to the ordinance survey map of that period so that you can figure out which house was your ancestor. This worked great for me. The maps are held at the valuation office at Irish Life, Centre Abbey Street, Dublin 1. Telephone No. +353-1-8171000 but the copies of the maps are not being made until they work out the best method of preserving the originals and making the copies. and information can be sought from . The maps are now scanned and held in TIFF format on the office server and copies are available to the public for a fee.

Tithe Applotment. (0256624) A similar list of heads of households from about 1836. It arranges the households in some other manner than Griffith. It also has other inconsistencies. However, both can be used to figure out what townland your ancestor lived in, or at least what the possibilities are. It also may be used to figure who was on the property 20 years before Griffith (assuming you can identify the same plot). You don't know how Manly McNelis in 1836 is related to Edward McNelis in 1857, but you can develop a hypothesis anyway.

Murry-Stewart rent rolls. The Murry-Stewart family owned most of the area and so most families were their tenants. The rent records for part of the 1842-59 period are in Belfast (I believe). I haven't seen these but I would like to.

County records. Births, deaths and marriages were supposed to be recorded after 1864. They weren't always, but those that were are in Stranorlar. They are indexed after a fashion, although I have never seen this index. The Mormons have it, or you can write to Stranorlar. John Dougherty and Susan Cohea have found things from these records. Since the parish records only have baptisms for 1848-1900, this is the only source for marriage and death records.

Donegal Genealogical Committee. This branch of the national genealogy project is indexing parish records for all of Donegal. I have no idea how far they have gotten on this project, but if they are far enough, this would be a wonderful source. They are located in Letterkenny.

Spinning Wheel Census. (1419442) This 1796 list shows people with spinning wheels. It doesn't include a lot of names in Kilcar, but you could get lucky.

Townland Maps. (6342441) There are several places where you can get a map showing the townlands. This is one. Griffith's Valuation identifies particular houses and tracks them over time. With the appropriate map, you can identify the exact location of your ancestor's property. This is not that map.

More Information

Pat Conaghan has written two books that are relevant to those interested in the history of Kilcar and southwest Donegal. His first book Bygones: New Horizons on the History of Killybegs discusses a variety of issues relating to the town of Killybegs, most of which have a counterpart in Kilcar, which is the next town to the west. His recent book The Great Famine in South-West Donegal 1845-1850 tells of the potato famine, which began the waves of immigrants from Kilcar to the United States and elsewhere, and for most Irish Americans is one of the defining moments of Irish history. One chapter deals explicitly with Kilcar, but the entire book tells of these terrible times that our Kilcar ancestors experienced. Both of these interesting books are available from Pat. His postal address is Aghageevoge, Killybegs, County Donegal, Ireland


In "Glencolumbkille: 300 B.C. - 1885 A.D.," Aidan Manning discusses the area and its history. 

Kevin Gillespie has created a complementary page to this which lists many books that could help you get started on your family history as well as history books, biographies, and other references for someone interested in southwest Donegal.

Another page that has a variety of useful information is at Donegal


Pat Gillespie of Omaha, Nebraska died in early November, 1998. His interest in Kilcar genealogy and his efforts over many years saved much oral history that would otherwise have been lost. He spent many hours writing letters, talking to people, and trying to sort through all of the Carrs and other frequently occurring names. This page is the direct result of his suggestion that it should be possible for those of his with Kilcar heritage could find one another and compare notes. He will be missed.

What you see is the result of help from a lot of people. Many of the people listed under other researchers with a Kilcar interest have helped me a lot. This group includes, but is not limited to, Susan Cohea, Susan Cunningham, John Dougherty, Kevin Gillespie, Pat Gillespie, and Sam McFadden. These wonderful people are part of what makes genealogy so much fun. Thank you so much.

Unfortunately spammers have been using this page for illicit purposes.  In addition, I no longer have time to maintain the page.  Therefore, it will remain on line to provide such insights as you may get from it, but I am unlikely to make further revisions.

or if you prefer the postal service, at

212 E. Irvin Ave.
State College, PA 16801