Edward and Annie were always thought by my family to have had 17 children, and a list of 16 names was provided by their granddaughter Lizzie Rooney when she was visited by my father John Stafford O’Neill in Glasgow in 1985. Three of the names, however, are yet to be otherwise confirmed: Manus, Agnes and Mary. Of the children, four went to New Zealand (Neil, Andy, Ned and Sarah), three went to New York (Lettie, Henry and John), Annie married in New York but died in Glasgow, and three died in Donegal (Kitty, Margaret and Willie). See the genealogy database for a full list of the children.
There were at least two other Kearney families in the neighbourhood: one included a Manus Kearney; the other was that of Neal Carney and Mary Ewing, but no exact links have yet been made to these two families. Another unresolved link is between the family of Henry Carney, living in New York, and that of Anna Carney Gunning.
The spelling of the family surname varies between Carney and Kearney: sons Andy, Henry and John, for example, used the name Carney, while sons Neil, Ned, Daniel and Willie used the name Kearney.
This c. 1890 photo of Edward and Annie was obtained from a copy made by the Alexandra Museum, in Central Otago, in 2007; the copy was donated to the Museum by their granddaughter Eileen Forrest; original not yet located 🙁 (This is the only case where I have a photo of my great-great-grandparents.)
Annie’s much younger sister Margaret McCool came to New Zealand, where she married John Dougherty in 1872.
Over the years, the New Zealand side of the family maintained links with one another, and also with cousins in the USA:
- Mary Dougherty, Sister Mary Alonzo, a Sister of Mercy in Dunedin, used to write to a first cousin who was also a nun, probably Annie Carney, Sister Mary Elizabeth, a Sister of Mercy in New York;
- Sister Alonzo also kept in touch with Lizzie Rooney in Glasgow, but after Sister Alonzo’s death in 1969, contact was lost until restored through a Redemptorist Fr Kearney in the early 1980s, and Lizzie, who had grown up in Ardaganny, received a visit from John and Elizabeth O’Neill in 1985.
- All Black captain Bob Stuart visited his great-uncle Willie Kearney in Ardaganny on 1 January 1954, the day before the All Blacks played a 5-5 draw against Ulster at Belfast (I will find the photo in due course…).
In 2007, around the time of the Dougherty Reunion at Gimmerburn, New Zealand, I began to research the Doughertys and Kearneys again, and just as I was searching US Census records on ancestry.com to try to locate Henry Carney, I received an email from Henry’s grand-daughter Peg Luecke asking if I was related to her—Peg had found my now-long-gone website doughertyreunion.net.nz. From this contact with Peg, I was quickly able to retrace most of the US Kearneys.