Kavanagh – Sharkey connection?

This post is about another puzzle we haven’t been able to solve yet, but putting it out here, somebody from Derry may know the answer!

It started with the newspaper death notice below. Mike Campbell was researching his Sharkey ansestors when he came across it, and he messaged me about it as he saw this blog, and that I had Kavanagh ancestors.


You can see Mike’s own blog and post about it here: https://mikecam123.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/323/

He was wondering if I knew what the connection was – Charles Kavanagh is listed as Catherine Sharkey’s nephew, and he is also my husband’s 3x-great uncle. Both Charles and his brother Patrick lived on Bridge street for a while (Charles is listed living on Foyle street by 1901 and Miller street in 1911, while Patrick stayed on Bridge street for many years).

The death certificate for Catherine Sharkey shows she is 56 years old and never been married. So Sharkey must be her father’s name.

1889 death certificate for Catherine Sharkey, age 56, Bridge Street. Source: Website https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/

And here is the problem – Patrick and Charles parents were Charles Kavanagh and Mary Ann Begley.

The Sharkey name does appear few other times too –

  • Sara Ann Charkey is  the godmother of Patrick Kavanagh in 1860,
  • Francis Sharkey and Catherine Sharkey are the godparents of Charles Kavanagh in 1863 and
  • Catherine Sharky is the godmother of John Kavanagh in 1864.

And finally, another member of the Sharkey family, Francis Sharkey, who died 1912 is buried in plot MC642 in Derry City Cemetery owned by Charles Kavanagh. This also suggests a close relationship between the Kavanagh and the Sharkey families.

However, we still don’t know how exactly do they relate!

(I’m also not 100% sure about the informant on Catherine’s death certificate – Bridget Fahan maybe? I can’t find anybody by that name around that time

Edited: There is a Bridget Graham living on Bridge street in 1901, maybe it’s her, not a relation so far.)


Derry City Cemetery records reveal Mary Ann Begley’s parents

I’ve recently decided to renew my subscription for rootsireland.ie for a month and within hours got so much information! RootsIreland is a website that offers transcriptions of births, marriages and deaths – both civil and church records, as well as gravestone inscriptions, and more! They provide only transcriptions, no actual images, but it has much better search options than some other sites – and my favourite – street addresses are also indexed! Family members often lived together, so for example I can run a search for an address and see who else was born, married or died there – then follow checking if they are related to the family which I’m researching.



For example, these are the results for the gravestone inscriptions  for “46 Bridge” street  in the period 1895-1905. Some of those names I recognise (Sarah and Ellen are the daughters of Patrick and Mary Ann Kavanagh who died as infants), for others I’m not sure yet if they are related.

Browsing the site I also noticed that they list Plot number for Derry City Cemetery, and I found few family members listed in the same plot (0745). Super excited, I emailed the cemetery to check how can I find out more. (I had since then found out that all graves in Derry City Cemetery seem to be indexed with Plot number 0745 on RootsIreland, but at the time I contacted the cemetery I didn’t know that)

The reply from Dublin City Cemetery was very quick, less than a day, and in their email they included the plot numbers of two separate plots, the names of the plot owners, and a total list of eighteen (18!) people who were buried in those two plots. Some of the names were familiar, others I had no idea who they were.

But the very first name broke through a brick wall!


Mary Ann o Kane, 46 Bridge St died 1/8/1893 ages 46yrs – Parents: James and Margaret Begley


I wasn’t sure how the surname O’Kane relates, but the parents I knew – Begley was the maiden name of Mary Ann Begley who was married to Charles Kavanagh.


I wasn’t sure how Mary Ann O’Kane is related to my Mary Ann Begley, but they had the same first/middle name and were similar age – maybe one name was misspelled and they were sisters?

The death record for Mary Ann held the key – the informant was P. Kavanagh, her son, also living at 46 Bridge Street.


I knew Mary Ann’s first husband, Charles, died prior to 1890 as he was listed diseased in their son’s Charles marriage certificate, and looks like she re-married – her second husband was William Kane, shoemaker and they were married in 1875.

I’m still looking for a record of Charles’ death, which I’ve now narrowed down to be sometime between 1864 (birth of last known child) and 1875 (when Mary Ann re-married).

The last really exciting piece of information that first record in the email from the cemetery contained was the names of Mary Ann’s parents – James and Margaret!

I will be working through the rest of the names in those two graves over the next few days, really excited to see what else will come up!

Kavanagh descendants

My one hour of hobby-indulging today produced the following chart of the KAVANAGH descendants in Excel (click for a higher resolution image):


I’m still struggling to find any connection to other BEGLEYs in Derry, as well as death records for lots of people on this branch. I also have no idea what happened to Patrick’s brother – Joseph Kavanagh – it would be pity if the direct male line had ended with the three brothers.

An hour well spent – now back to “real” work 🙂

Patrick Kavanagh and Annie Cooper

Patrick Kavanagh and Annie Cooper were my children’s great-great-grandparents. Mary Ann was their second-eldest daughter, she married Richard McManus in 1909 in Londonderry.

Patrick and Annie were married on 19th Feb 1887, he was 26 and she was 19 years old. Annie was born in Glasgow, but both her parents were from Derry and they came back home with the children probably sometime before 1881.

Marriage record for Patrick Kavanagh and Annie Cooper, 19th Feb 1887, Londonderry

Patrick and Annie had a large family of only daughters. According to 1911 census they had 8 children, 5 still living:

  • Catherine (1888-?)
  • Mary Ann (1890-1971)
  • Elizabeth “Lizzie” (1891-1920)
  • Agnes (1894-?)
  • Rosena (1896-?)
  • Ellen Columba (1898-1898) and
  • Sarah (1900-?bef 1901)
  • Unknown (? – ?)

There is one child which I haven’t been able to find any record of yet, he/she has to have been born and died either prior to 1901, or between 1901 and 1911 to have not been recorded in either census.

The family lived on Bridge street since they were married, however from the addresses recorded on their children’s birth certificates it can be seen they changed houses regularly. That seems to have been a very common thing those days and I’m not sure yet why – was it that only short term tennaments available, did landlords increase rents… But families would usually move either in a different house on the same street, or to a street nearby. The change houses number of times between 1888 and 1896, until they seem to have settled at 46 Bridge Street.

  • 48 Bridge Street (1888)
  • 56 Bridge Street (1890)
  • 27 Bridge Street (1891)
  • 49 Bridge Street (1894)
  • 46 Bridge Street (1896 and after)

They were living on Bridge Street when the 1901 and 1911 census were taken, and Patrick was listed as a Labourer.

1901 census, Bridge Street, Londonderry – Kavanagh family

Source: http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Londonderry/No__3_Urban/Bridge_Street/1529406/

1911 census, Bridge Street, Londonderry – Kavanagh family

Source: http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Londonderry/Londonderry_No__3_Urban/Bridge_Street/600272/

And finally, one newspaper article which I have a very strong feeling is related to the family, especially since those names appear either as names of sponsors or future spouses. It will be interesting to follow up and see if there is any further information what was that disagreement on Bridge street about 😉1899_newspaper_cooper_kavanagh_faulkner_duffy_mcafferty