Thomas Connelly is the first Connelly family member that we have any information. He was born about 1801 in the Civil and Roman Catholic Parish of Ballinakill in the County of Galway. Specifically, Thomas was from the Civil Registration District of Clifden, Barony of Ballynahinch.
While in Ireland, Thomas Connelly married Ann Nancy, and they had three children, the first three, Patrick (born 1830), Peter (born 1845) and Michael (born 1847), were born in Galway, Ireland. We believe that Thomas came to America multiple times before sending for his family in 1851. Thomas’ family most likely left because of the Great Potato Famine. This was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852 during which the island's population dropped by twenty to twenty five percent. Approximately one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland. The proximate cause of famine was a potato disease commonly known as potato blight. Migration from Ireland to America was not easy. Ann traveled to Liverpool, England with all three of her children and several other Connelly family members names Thomas, Patrick and Mary. This group of eight boarded a ship by the name of Charles Chaloner and sailed to New Orleans, Louisiana. The Charles Chaloner was one hundred and fifty feet long by thirty two feet wide. On May 21, 1851, the family finally arrived on American soil.
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