This was a letter recieved by my sister in 1986, from the Clare Heritage Center, Corofin, Ireland.
2nd May, 1986
Civil registration only commenced in 1864 andprior to this date we depend almost entirely on church records to provide details on family histories. The age and condition of these records varies very much from parish to parish, Kilrush begins in 1828 and unfortunately we would not have baptismal information on others born here prior to this date. The Spellissey surname was quite common in the Kilrush area and because they were so numerous it is very difficult to establish exactly who was related to who. No fewer than five John Spellisey’s were married in Kilrush between 1831 and 1843. Another interesting feature is that out of 27 families of this surname in Kilrush only four occur later than 1850. John Spellissey’s married Nora Hartney on February 12th 1839. The witnesses were Pat and Anne Spellissey (probably brother and sister to John) and Mary McInerney. The address for both John and Nora is given as Ballykett. The record also shows that John Spellissey’s father was also John and that Nora’s father was Denis Hartney.
John and Nora had three children baptised in Ireland-
Matt Baptised 20-6-1841 Sponsers ; James Killeen, Anne Spellissey
Mary Baptised 05-01-1844 Sponsers ; Pat & Mary Sullivan
Anne Baptised 22-04-1846 Sponsers; John Mangin , Mary Daly
It appears that all of John Spellisseys immediate family must have been born prior to 1828. Our records do however show the last two members of Nora Hartneys family. This record shows her parents as Denis Hartney and Bridget Doyle. The children on our records are Sinon baptised April 8th 1828 and John baptised April 19th 1831. There is no further record on any of this family who appear to have emigrated or moved elsewhere before 1850.
Three other Spellissey families are show in Ballykett. These are Tim Spellissey and Mary Carmody who had three children between 1828 and 1834. John Spellissey married to Mary Lillis had four children between 1836 and 1845 and Patrick Spellissey married to Bridget O’Dea had seven children between 1853 and 1868. While we have already assumed that John had a brother Patrick it is unlikely that this last family were closely related.
Gerard Kennedy, Director
Then next we have a report compiled by my sister “Spellacys of Ohio”
The following Spellacy Family history has been received from Margaret Spellacy Kraft
Our Irish correspondent, Sean Spellissy, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland, believes all those with the last name Spelliscy, Spellacy, Spellissy, or any other spelling of the name , are related if they claim any areaaround Ennis, County Clare as their Ancestral home.
1. John Spellacy, immigrated from Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland abt. 1848 with his wife Honora (Hartney). It is believed they arrived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and John began working for the railroad. Family tradition has it that the Spellacys worked well with horses in Ireland, and handled the horses well, so it is probable they used this talent in Canada, and America.
John and Nora (Honora) later settled in Portmouth, Ohio abt. 1860. They had six children.
2. Timothy Spellacy; A brother of John Spellacy who is said to have immigrated to America shortly after John
3. Patrick Spellacy; A brother of John and Timothy who also is said to have immigrated to America Shortly after John.
Note; One of the above brothers settled in California and this branch of the Spellacys was referred to as the “Gold Spellacys”, The other brother settled in Colorado, and this branch of the family was referred to as the “Tin Spellacys”. The branch of the Spellacys which remained in Ohio and worked on the railroads, were referred to as the “Dirt Spellacys”
And finally I have found in my newspaper archive searches so many facinating stories of Spellacys of every calling, Soldiers and Spy’s, Attorneys and Senators. Oil men and Gold prospectors. Quite a remarkable group. I think my Great Grand Dad’s obit said it best…Strong Men and Gentle Women. Look them up online you’ll be in a state of wonder…I’m related to these characters?! You can go to “Google Books” and put the Spellacy/Spellissy name in the search engine and just be amazed at what comes up. Or, go to www.newspaperarchive.com sign up, you can look up 3 articles a day for free. Some really neat stuff out there. That’s where I found some really old obituaries, and they were just the start on other family names I needed. Happy Hunting!