The Photo Request has been fulfilled.


Michael Donnelly

Clontarf, County Dublin, Ireland
Death 6 Jul 1850 (aged 27–28)
Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Burial North Arlington, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA
Memorial ID 32749395 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Michael Donnelly was born about 1822 somewhere in Ireland, probably in Clontarf, County Dublin, in the northern part of Greater Dublin, probably the son of Patrick Donnelly and Mary Dougan Donnelly. He had seven siblings. Michael married Nora Winn on October 27, 1844 at Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Clontarf Parish, County Dublin, Ireland. (The couple listed their address as Collinstown, an area in Greater Dublin near Dardistown. Witnesses were John Dardis and Elizabeth Winn.) Their son James was born about 1846. Fleeing the Potato Famine which began the year after their wedding, Michael, his wife, and son James ended up in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey where he worked as a laborer. They probably sailed in steerage aboard the ship Liberty from Liverpool, England to New York City, arriving April 8, 1847.

DNA tests on his direct-line male descendants reveal him to be a Celt descended from the Irish clan of Ui Neill who claimed the Irish High Kingship from 600 to 1000 AD. Niall of the Nine Hostages was one of the most prominent descendants of Conn of the Hundred Battles who was the first high king of Ireland. On one of Niall's raids into Britain, a child later to become Saint Patrick was abducted. The four treasures of Ireland were the Lia Fail (the Stone of Destiny), the Spear Luin (the Spear of Direction), the Claiomh Solais (the Sword of Truth), and the Coire Anseasc (the Cauldron of Prosperity). The Stone of Destiny would cry out when a true King of Ireland stood on it. Conn of the Hundred Battles found the Stone of Destiny. The Spear of Direction was renowned for accuracy, and no one carrying it ever lost a battle. No one ever escaped from the Sword of Truth once it was pulled from its sheath. The Cauldron of Prosperity was bottomless, capable of feeding an army.

With Honorah "Nora" Winn Donnelly Williams, he had two sons, James, who probably died as a child, and Thomas John Donnelly. Michael died days before Thomas' first birthday. He died July 6, 1850 at age 28 of dysentery on East River Road in Newark. Michael's son Thomas became the foster child of Irish immigrants, John and Mary Dardis, who lived in Madison County, New York, then Jennings County, Indiana and later back in Madison County, New York. Mary Winn Dardis was Thomas' aunt (his mother's sister). Nora Winn Donnelly, after Michael's death, ultimately married Elisha Williams of Newark and had more children.

Michael Donnelly was buried at Saint John's Roman Catholic Church in Newark. His remains and the remains of other poor Irish immigrants were later moved to nearby Saint Michael and ultimately to Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, Bergen County, New Jersey where they lie under a large Celtic cross that marks the spot where those buried at Old Saint John's Catholic Church in Newark between 1835 and 1910 were re-buried at Holy Cross in 1960.

The Donnelly family crest that has been passed down for centuries among Michael Donnelly's descendants shows three silver lilies (fleurs-de-lis) on a shield of black with the Latin motto, "Fortiter et Fideliter," or, in English, "Courageously and Faithfully." The black of the shield symbolizes constancy and faithfulness, and the silver of the lilies represents peace and sincerity. The fleur-de-lis symbols represent the Virgin Mary and the Irish Donnellys' sympathies with the Catholic rulers of France and Scotland. So, in addition to representing the Christian Trinity, the three lilies may represent the Catholic Celts of Ireland, Scotland, and France. In the Gaelic language of Ireland, "Donnelly" means "Dark Courage."

DNA testing reveals Michael Donnelly and his direct male descendents are of the patrilineal clan of "Oisin" (pronounced "O-sheen") (Y-chromosome clade R1b). Oisin lived about 40,000 years ago in the Celtic area of Western Europe. Oisin was one of about seventeen men alive at that time from whom all people alive today are descended.

I hope someone can discover with certainty from where in Ireland the Donnellys come.

Thanks to all the Donnelly family researchers for so much of this information. Any errors, however, are mine alone. Please go to the "edit" link on this site with any corrections or additions.

Family Members


  • Created by: Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
  • Added: 8 Jan 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32749395
  • Sharlotte Neely Donnelly
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Michael Donnelly (1822–6 Jul 1850), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32749395, citing Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Sharlotte Neely Donnelly (contributor 19199118) .