Tracing the Edwards-Doughty family from Ireland, Scotland and England to Australia

O’Shannessy Family

This page details the migration of the O’Shaughnessy’s from County Clare in Ireland to Western Victoria (Port Fairy and thereabouts). Note that there are many variations on the names, such as Shaughnessy, O’Shaugnessy, O’Shannessy, O’Shannassy, and O’Shanasy. Our ancestors changed from O’Shaughnessy in Ireland to O’Shannessy in Australia.

O’Shaughnessy’s in County Clare, Ireland

The earliest recorded O’Shaugnessy we have is Daniel O’SHAUGHNESSY (b. abt 1789) from Clonlara, County Clare, Ireland. His parents were Lawrence and Johanna O’MAHONEY (dates unknown). He married Judith Haydon (from Lough Derg, Limerick, Ireland) in 1809. They had five children; James (b. 1809), William (b. 1810), John (b. 1825), Catherine (b. 1828), and Daniel (b. 1830).

The family home at this time was in Shravokee, County Clare. This is just over the river (north) from Limerick City, Co. Limerick. See these places at Google maps.

James married Mary MADDEN on 21 Nov 1837 in Limerick. They had seven children; Roger (b. 1838), Joanna/Johanna (b. 1840), Bridget Agnes (b. 1842), James (b. 1844), Daniel (b. 1846), Catherine (b. 1848) and Mary (b. 1850). The family was also living in Shravokee, but I don’t know if they were sharing a house/property with their parents and siblings. There were three blocks of land in Shravokee listed as being owned by Shaughnessy’s at the 1855 valuations (after the families had left).

More information on the families in this area can be found at “THE LANE FAMILY. From Shravokee County Clare – Ireland“. It also refers to a Griffiths Valuation map from 1855 showing various families in the area, including the three Shaughnessy plots.

Emigration from Ireland

Probably as a result of the Great Famine, James (snr) and Mary decided to leave Ireland for the US. Much of the emigration is detailed in The Diary of James O’Shannessy.I don’t know how accurate the details in the diary are; my uncle has a similar transcription with slightly different details.

James’ brother John sailed “from Plymouth about the 3rd March, 1849 for Australia“, at age 24. His other brother Daniel “left for New South Wales on the 14th March, 1851 but did not sail from Plymouth until the 28th of May“, at age 21.

James (snr), his wife Mary, and their four daughters (Joanna – 11yrs, Bridget – 10yrs, Catherine – 3yrs, and Mary – 1yr) left home for USA on 1st May 1852. There is no record of who the boys (Roger – 12yrs, James – 8yrs and Daniel – 6yrs) stayed with after their parents and sisters left.

The Norden sailed from Limerick on 7th May and then Portsmouth on 28th May. It seems to have stopped at a number of ports on the tip. The trip onboard was rough with his diary talking about storms and most of the 179 passengers getting seasick. Joanna got sick, possibly fever. Mary died onboard at 2am on 29th May 1852. “To me, that was the most sensitive calamity that could befall me. However on reflection, I have and hope I shall lean to the will of God.“.

James and his four daughters arrived in New York 14th June 1852; approximately six weeks onboard.The immigration records show a family of five under the  surname Shaugnesty from Limerick; James – mechanic 40, Johanna – child 12, Bridgit – child 10, Catherine – child 3, and Mary – infant 9months.

The next day they headed north to East Troy, by mistake, then Albany, NY. They stayed there for almost two months and then moved to Chicago (arriving 26th Aug). They were in Chicago for almost two years when James “received a remittance from my Brothers to enable me to go with my children to the Colony of Victoria.

Apparently there wasn’t enough money to pay for James and all four girls. He decided to leave Joanna (then aged 14) in the US “but strongly cautioned her to return to Ireland as soon as possible to her grandfather and that I would have her with me again if possible.“. There is no record of her ever getting to Australia or joining her family.

James and the three other girls left New York on 15th Jul 1854 on the clipper ship “Wings of the Morning” and arrived in Melbourne on 22nd October, a journey of approximately three months. On arrival they stayed with James’ brother John and his other brother Dan came to town. The children stayed with John whilst Dan and James tried their luck at the Forrest Creek goldfields (now Castlemaine) in Nov 1854. “We sought our fortunes there and elsewhere for some twelve months.“.

Dan was able to get enough money together to bring James’ three sons from Ireland. The boys (Daniel – 9yrs, James – 11yrs, and Roger – 16yrs) arrived on the Blanche Moore in June 1855. The family was now  together, except for Joanna left in Chicago.

Settling in the Parish of Codrington (Yambuk)

After returning from the goldfields, Dan went to Belfast (Port Fairy) and bought land for himself and John; 77 acres in the Parish of Codrington. The families moved there sometime in 1856/1857. James rented some land north of his brothers’ property for 10 years from 15th April 1857 where his family lived.

The marriages of James’ children were:

  • On 14 April 1863, Bridget married William CROWE, the Crowes having come from the same area in Ireland.
  • On 1st December 1866, Roger married Maria MALONE, “the youngest daughter of Michael Malone of Yambuk
  • On 14th April 1868, James (jnr) married Ellen COLEMAN (or GORMAN)
  • In 1874, Catherine married William Henry BATHER

James (snr) spent his last days between his son James’ property “Tyrendarra” and with his daughter Bridget and William Crowe. He died on 13 March 1890 at age 81. He. along with many of the O’Shannessy’s (and other spellings) are buried in the Yambuk Cemetery or the cemetery in nearby Port Fairy.

James (jnr) and Ellen had twelve children in Yambuk; Michael (b. 1869), Frances (b. 1869), James (b. 1872), Mary (b. 1874), Katherine or Catherine (b. 1876), Ellen (b. 1878), John (b. 1880), Bridget (b. 1882), William (b. 1884), Sarah (b. 1886), Peter Joseph (b. 1889) and Daniel (?).

Michael O’Shannessy married Bridget Catherine MALONEY in 1896. Bridget’s father Thomas had emigrated from Ireland in 1857 on the ship Mindoro with his brothers Edmond, James, and Michael (and another Michael who may have been related). I haven’t been able to trace Catherine MALONEY (nee RYAN).

Michael and Bridget had seven children in Yambuk; Thomas Patrick (b. 1897), Ellen (b. 1900), Michael (Mick) Peter (b. 1906), Bridget Minnie (b. 1908), Mary, Katherine and James (Jim) with DOB’s currently unknown.

Ellen O’Shannessy was my maternal grandmother. She spent much of her early life around Yambuk. She was the publican at the Yambuk Inn (aka. Commercial Hotel) for a few years in the 1930’s. She started going out with George GALLAGHER 1936/1937. The Gallaghers were staunch Protestants and the O’Shannessys Catholic, so when this was discovered by George’s family, Ellen wasn’t allowed into the house. Despite this they were married on 6th April 1937 (age 36) in Ballarat and moved to Melbourne soon after.

They had two children; Brian (b. 1938) and Elizabeth Mary (b. 1940), my mother. Ellen, or Nellie as she was known, lived for many years with George at Orrong Rd, East St Kilda. She passed away on 20th November 1989, a day short of her 89th birthday. She is buried with George and many of her relatives in the Port Fairy cemetery.

38 Comments to O’Shannessy Family

  1. 02/04/2010 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Going by the varoius BDM Certificates that I have gathered, my O’Shaughnessys arrived in Vic from Shanagolden in Ireland around 1870, but I can find no Official record of the Ship’s name or an actual date. They all then seem to have settled in & around Melbourne. But I can learn no more…

    Regards, James

  2. Neil's Gravatar Neil
    17/05/2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I am tracing my family tree
    I believe the William O’Shaughnessy b.1810 could be my wife’s great great grandfather
    I am following the line
    William b. 1810, William b.1837 m Ellen Melican,
    Bridget Mary b. 1871 m John Tobias Purcell,
    John Alloysius Purcell b.20/11/1905 m Florence May Gare

    Do you have anything else??

    thank you Neil

  3. davidedw's Gravatar davidedw
    17/05/2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Neil. I’m afraid not. This is all I’ve gathered on the O’Shannessy’s at this stage.

  4. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    24/07/2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi, my name is Katherine O’Shannessy,

    I live in Tasmania and I am extremely interested in finding out more about my family roots,

  5. jan crowe's Gravatar jan crowe
    10/12/2010 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    catherine shanassy married william henry bather in 1874. I have a photo of Bridget OShannasey Crowe if you are interested

  6. Megan McKenzie's Gravatar Megan McKenzie
    18/02/2011 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    I hadn’t realised there were so many of the Clan name living near here (Mt. Gambier) where my ggrandfather settled in the mid 1860’s. He maintained Shaughnessy as his spelling, as did my grandfather John, and his brothers all changed theirs to Shanasy, and my ggrandmother is buried under that spelling also. I am the former President of the O’Shaughnessy Society (Worldwide) and one of our members has researched the different spellings and last I knew it was over 200 so one needs to keep an open mind re spelling, which you obviously have done. Keep up your good work.

    Megan Shaughnessy McKenzie.

  7. julie O'shannessy's Gravatar julie O'shannessy
    14/09/2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Hi i am trying to find the parents of James o’shannessy 1844 who married margaret murrihy 1845, The son that our line follows through on is john william o’shannessy b 1889 married to thelma pickett. are you able to help with any information re james and margaret…

    thankys julie

  8. jenney gray's Gravatar jenney gray
    27/11/2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I didn’t realise there were 5 children, I am a descendant of James m Mary Madden. I know nothing of Willliam. What happened to him? Did he come to Australia? The O’Shaughnessy name changed with my grandfather to O’Shannessy. I have a copy of James’ diary. Thank you for the info.

  9. Des Lynch's Gravatar Des Lynch
    15/01/2012 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    To Jan Crowe.
    Bridget O’Shannessy Crowe was in fact my great grand mother. Their son Daniel was my grandfather. Jan I would appreciate a copy of Bridget’s photo if that is possible. Jan where do you fit in to the picture.
    Des Lynch

  10. Amanda's Gravatar Amanda
    26/01/2012 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Wow I can’t believe I’ve stumbled across all of this info. I’m from Roger and Maria’s family.. email me and I’ll fill you in.

  11. Aerin's Gravatar Aerin
    23/03/2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I never really realized so many of this clan out here, from what my father has told me the O’Shaughnessy’s are related to my grandmother on my fathers side in the family. I’m just glad to here there are more of us. 🙂

  12. tom crowe's Gravatar tom crowe
    30/04/2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if Jan’s photo of Bridget was just for you or if anyone could apply. I would like one if possible as she was my great grandmother, and I would also like to contact Jan as we seem to be in the same branch of the family and I’ve never heard of her. If you can arrange either request I’d be most grateful.
    Tom Crowe (ph.)0355271547

  13. Alison.Shepherd's Gravatar Alison.Shepherd
    25/07/2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Dear Jan Crowe
    My grandfather was William Crowe son of Bridget Oshannasey Crowe and I would be very grateful for a copy of her photograph if you still have one. William married Alice Conolly they lived in Western Australia and one of their daughters,Mary Patricia(Molly), was my mother.

  14. james o,shannassey's Gravatar james o,shannassey
    23/11/2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I’m trying to find my family roots, that’s started by my grandfather from Clare county, to my father cedrick o’shannassey, changed during the ww2 in Europe fighting with allies against the german . Yet something took place thathe changed his name from cedrick o’sha…… to shedrack o’Shanna. My father since passed away in 2002. Age 88. Left me with sense of wonder and confusion with family hidden secrets, that are of mind prepelxing as to what when who, question that are far outweigh the answers. Can any one help me to trace my family roots. I’m in NSW Sydney Australia.
    If any one has anything to add in helping me to find my family ancestry. I go by the name of James o’Shanna, when I been told its James o’shannassey

  15. Paul Francis Crowe's Gravatar Paul Francis Crowe
    31/12/2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Hi jan.
    Bridget Crowe is also my great grand mother.
    My father was Patrick Kevin Crowe,son of Roger Joseph Crowe, son of William & Bridget Crowe.
    I would also love to have a copy of Bridget’s photo (and William’s as well if you have one)

    My tel is 03 94996340 and mobile is 0414619973. I would love to talk to you if you wish to swap info. Etc.

    Regards Paul F. Crowe.

  16. John Ungvary's Gravatar John Ungvary
    30/01/2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s great to have the opportunity to share here. I have photos of many of the O’Shannessy’s from Ireland that I believe settled in Victoria. My grandfather James Aloysius O’Shannessy came from Victoria and made his fortune on the goldfields in Kalgoorlie before settling down in Arrino, near Three Springs in Western Australia. He married Daisy Hackett. I have many photos taken in the early 1800’s.

  17. 02/04/2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    wow. this is a lot of information.

  18. John Lane's Gravatar John Lane
    06/06/2013 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Hi David; Fyi: Catherine O’Shaughnessy (b 1828) also came to Australia and married Thomas John Lane (1833-1900) in Warrnambool in 1868. Catherine died in 1904 at Killarney.

    Do you have any additional information regarding William (b1810)? I have a William O’Shaughnessy & wife Bridget McGrath who had a daughter Mary in 1831 in County Clare. Mary also moved to Warrnambool. Not sure if it’s the same William.

  19. Marie Tunks's Gravatar Marie Tunks
    29/07/2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Hi David, Your information is very interesting. I too am researching the O’Shaughnessys. I am descended from Michael O’Shaughnessy from County Clare. Michael b abt 1788 married Johannah Bingham. He had a brother Danniel b abt 1785 who married Judith Haydon. Their parents were Thomas O’Shaughnessy and Mary Canny. I feel sure that Michael came from Clonlara. He and Johanna Bingham arrived in Geelong on board the Lady Peel ex Plymouth 17 Jan 1854 with their 7 children, Margaret b abt 1828, Mick b abt 1831, Johannah b abt 1834, Mary b abt 1836 Ann b abt 1839 Catherine b abt 1841and Bridget b abt 1844. I have also located, in Victoria, three children of Daniel O’Shaughnessy and Judith Haydon, they are John b abt 1824 d 1873, Daniel b abt 1830, d 1900 Yambuck and Catherine b abt 1828, m Thomas Lane 1868, d 1904. It seems there are some similarities in our research and it would be good to get to the bottom of them. Thanks for all your effort.

  20. 18/08/2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    hi- my g,uncle was a james o,shannessy-married alice waterstreet-1911 albury,n.s.w they had over8 children–eg-norman goerge o,shannessy-married dulsie weston 1938 cooma-dulcie died 2006-90yrs–paul waterstreet

  21. Kath Walker's Gravatar Kath Walker
    30/11/2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink


    The O’shannessy’s in my family came from Co Clare in Ireland, and i think Thomas O’shannessy came to Australia in the late 1800’s. He married Mary Morony or Moroney who also came from Ireland. This branch of the family seems to have settled in Benalla area in Victoria.I think Thomas is my GG grandfather, His daughter Maria married John Moroney in Benalla and thier son Edward Moroney is my mum Teresa’s father. Anybody know any of the O’shannessys around the Benalla area?kath

  22. Lesley's Gravatar Lesley
    10/01/2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    My grandfather, Ernest May, remarried in 1942. Records show his wife’s name was Marion Jessie O’Shannessy. They were married in Parramatta, Sydney in 1942.
    Does anybody know anything about Marion Jessie O’Shannessy?

  23. Mike O'Shaughnessy's Gravatar Mike O'Shaughnessy
    21/03/2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink


    While researching my mother’s maternal grandfather, Dr John Sampson LEVIS who was a MD in Portland Victoria, I found this unhappy coincidence.

    Portland Guardian Monday 17 March 1890 Page 2

    OBITUARY.—An old resident of Tyren-
    darra named James O’Shaughnessy
    expired on Friday, and as no doctor had
    been in personal attendance on the de-
    ceased for some time prior to his death
    the matter was reported to the police.
    Dr. Levis attended O’Shaughnessy some
    eight months ago and we understand that
    he has been bedridden for a long period,
    so that taking his age, over 8O, into con-
    sideration, death was without doubt due
    to natural causes. As, however, the
    doctor could not certify to the cause of
    death a magisterial inquiry was held on
    Saturday before Mr. D. N. McLeod.
    After hearing the necessary evidence the
    magistrate returned a verdict that the
    deceased died from old age and general

    My own O’Shaughnessy ancestor was John, born Tullyleague, Co Limerick.

  24. Teri Lauder's Gravatar Teri Lauder
    16/04/2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I am also an Oshaughnessy descendent my gg grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Oshaughnessy married name Laurie from Braidwood NSW, then Gympie Qld, her father was John and her mother Joha. (nee Hourigan) Mary was born in 1844 and died 1910 apart from that I have no other information Any information would be really appreciated. Thanks teri

  25. Mary Hanrahan's Gravatar Mary Hanrahan
    21/09/2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    A letter tells me that a Lady Stapleton married the village school teacher, O’Shaunessy and had a place Cloggerwood in Rylane, Carahan Ennis, Co. Clare. Their daughter, Mary A. married a John Hanrahan and had children. Their children Thomas, Charles and Patrick came to the United States settling in NH. Thomas was my great-grandfather. They probably had other children also, possibly an Anna who married a Morgan and stayed in Ireland. Does anyone know anything more about this line? Thanks!

  26. marie shannon's Gravatar marie shannon
    13/12/2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi, i am thr g, g grand daughter of James O’Shannessy and Margaret Murrihy. I am trying to find out more about his father, William. Did he go to America?

  27. 15/05/2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    You late a little with this.

  28. gerard madden's Gravatar gerard madden
    15/06/2015 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    This would appear to be your Rodger Shaughnessy standing for this Madden Child in 1852 in Parteen

    Church Baptism Record

    Name: Patrick Madden Date of Birth:
    Date of Baptism: 13-Jan-1852
    Address: Churchlands Parish/District: PARTEEN
    Gender: Male County Co. Clare
    Denomination: Roman Catholic
    Father: Michael Madden Mother: Catherine Nunan
    Sponsor 1 /
    Informant 1: Roger Shaughnessy Sponsor 2 /
    Informant 2: Catheribne Cross

  29. Mike O'Shaughnessy's Gravatar Mike O'Shaughnessy
    16/06/2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    An invitation to all male O’Shaughnessys (of whatever spelling) .. please consider joining the FamilyTreeDNA O’Shaughnessy surname Y-DNA project. The more data we have, the better.

  30. Bernard O'Shannassy's Gravatar Bernard O'Shannassy
    10/11/2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    My grandfather Daniel David O’shannassy lived at Yambuk and Codrington until abt. 1898, he then moved to Corunnun on the east side of Lake Corangamite .Daniel married Ellen A’Hearne and they reared 8 children and their descendants are living in the Colac district today

  31. 03/12/2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    My relation are Joseph o,shannessy/o,shaughnessy-married catherine Nolan 1875 in Beechworth,Victoria-5 children-James b,1875my relation m alice Waterstreet 1907 in Albury –his brother michael john,sisters Annie,May ,Mary–any help on there arrival in Victoria before 1870

  32. 11/01/2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    My search is for information on a Catherine O’Shuagnessy who was born about 1862 in the Registration district of Limerick and married Matthew Henry Broggy in 1901.

    I believe Catherine died in 1940.

  33. John O'shannessy's Gravatar John O'shannessy
    28/01/2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi, My father was John Joseph O’Shannessy born in Donald Victoria, one of 10 children connected somehow to the family group in StArnaud. Any infomation regarding family history would be APPRECIATED. Family history of 2 brothers from Limerick i believe ?

  34. Roz's Gravatar Roz
    26/03/2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    My Great Great grandparents were from Sixmilebridge rd tomfinlough County Clare. Jane O’Shaughnessy and Anthony Moore. They had twin daughters Catherine and Elizabeth born in 1852. Elizabeth ( lizzie ) is my gg grandmother. I have been trying to locate when and how they came to Australia without luck. Does anyone know of them. Lizzie married in Australia. Any help would be great Thanks.

  35. Nicole O'Shanassy's Gravatar Nicole O'Shanassy
    29/09/2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi Everyone. Catherine O’Shaughnessy is my G-G-Grandmother circa 1834 to 10/12/1904 – from Clare to Australia marring Thomas John Lane. I’m not sure that the Catherine born to Judith and Daniel is my GGG, rather a niece or another relationship. I’m still looking to work it out and will provide any information I fine. I guess I’m lucky! Catherine O journey’s down my ancestry line on my mother’s side and I’m an O’Shanassy on my fathers side (from Galway/Gort, Patrick O’Shanassy of circa 1810 and Mary Brosser. I believe my Catherine’s mother to be nee Ryan (Mary) and Catherine baptised in Limerick Aug 13th 1834, her father is listed as William O’Shaughnessy and wittness’ are Timothy and Margaret Ryan.

  36. Robbie O'shaunessey's Gravatar Robbie O'shaunessey
    20/02/2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    hi i am looking for any information about fancis james o’shaunessey he is my grand father he live in parramatter in the 1970

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