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A Kavanagh Family reunited in Dublin

A chance posting on Jimmy Kavanaghs website,, brought a most unexpected answer from Indiana from Dan Kavanaugh, who recognized his own family from the information request made by Celia Kavanagh Boylan,  Tanaiste of Clann Chaomhanach, who was convinced that the family, who had now been separated for 120 years,  must have died out as contact had been lost with them in the early part of the last century.

He promptly alerted his father Frank grandson of Patrick Cavanagh who wrote back and a lot of research went on behind the scenes with the help of Clann Chaomhanach and English Civil records to ensure that this was in fact the right family.  Notes made by Celia's father Edmund Henry Kavanagh and the marriage certificates of both Edward and Martin Cavanagh proved once and for all that they were in fact brothers.  Contact was also made with Patricia Ursic in Florida granddaughter of Francis Cavanagh, Patrick's brother.

In 1881 Edward Cavanagh and his wife Catherine and their sons John (and his wife Bridget), Francis, Edward and Patrick and Edward senior's unmarried sister Maria,  left their Staffordshire home for a whole new life in Youngstown, Ohio.  Wednesbury in Staffordshire had been their home for some 30 years where Edward and the boys worked in the Steel industry.  Youngstown also had a steel works where their new life would begin.

They left behind a large family, brothers, sisters and cousins who had emigrated to England from Galway in the troubled famine years.  One of those brothers being Martin Cavanagh who had moved to Lancashire, the great grandfather of Celia and Joan Kavanagh and their brothers Edmund and Denis Kavanagh.

The message on the website also brought contact with Ruth Cooper of Exeter, England and her daughter Tina Garforth (who now lives in the USA), Ruth is the great granddaughter of Celia's granddad's brother John Thomas Kavanagh of Ormskirk, England, the grandfather of Clann members John Francis Kavanagh of Worthington,  Joe Kavanagh of Preston and Winifred Fagan of Ormskirk.  Ruth had also lost contact with this part of the family in Lancashire where her father John Foster was born.  Celia and Ruth plan to meet up soon.

There are many Kavanaghs who have lost touch with each other belonging to this large Galway family and we look forward to hearing from them, especially the Burns, Bagley and Wigg families of Salem, Oregon we lost contact when their grandfather Frank Burns son of Mary Ann Cavanagh died in 1948.

A Staffordshire-Ohio reunion was possible, as Frank and Dorothy had already booked a holiday in Ireland before their relationship came to light,  news of this wonderful breakthrough brought  James Kavanagh of Michigan, (working in Germany), the Clann Genealogist, who had already planned to visit Celia in England and Jimmy in Dublin during his September break and James F Cavanaugh of Belize and his daughter Melissa of Texas who had also planned a break in Ireland, to this historic and momentous occasion.  Fergus Kavanagh,  Clann Chairman and Jimmy Kavanagh of the Dublin website were also pleased to join in the celebrations in their home town as all had played their part in the families finding each other.

However, just days before the meeting was due, terrorism struck the world and it seemed very unlikely that it could take place.  All the American airports were closed, the weather was so bad on the North Sea that the ferries were cancelled between Germany and England.

As Celia and sister Joan packed their bags ready to go to Dublin, there was still no certainty that the reunion would take place but an eleventh hour e-mail confirmed that Boston airport was now open and Frank and Dorothy may be on their way.  They knew that James F had made it to Texas days later than planned to meet up with his daughter, but would Melissa and Jim make it to Ireland from Houston in time?   Their worries were soon dispelled when a message was left in their room at the Mespil Hotel, saying Frank and Dorothy had arrived and would like them to ring their room as they were having a bit of sleep after their long journey. What was to follow was like a scene from Blind Date!

As the lift descended to the ground floor, there were nerves of apprehension, would they like each other, would they get on with each other, would they even recognise each other?  As the lift doors opened the cousins were revealed,  there was no doubt in anyone's mind,  the ladies quickly hugged the man who looked so like their granddad and his wife, yes this was Frank!  Absolutely, no need for apprehension, when you meet one of your own family there is an immediate bonding, somehow you just know, there is no doubt at all.   Souvenir gifts were exchanged, for Frank photographs of Wednesbury and the church and school attended by his grandfather, for the ladies personal gifts from Ohio.  Greetings and hugs all round were to be followed by yet another pleasant surprise.

As the foursome made their way into the hotel carvery for a welcome lunch, there was someone sitting at the table near the door who could not be mistaken.  Celia looked in shock and total disbelief as she saw Jim Cavanaugh from Casa Maya, San Ignacio, Belize, where he runs a fantastic holiday resort in the Jungle, (search website Casa Maya, Belize) Jim is the Clann Chief Herald and former Clann Chief, he had made it after all and unknown to them was already in the hotel and also hidden behind a pillar was Melissa Cavanaugh Mathis of Midland, Texas, Celia's distant cousin and pen friend of two years who she had never met.   More hugs and kisses followed, this was such a happy day made even more special by the difficulties all had encountered to get together.  The group were soon joined by James Kavanagh Clann Genealogist,  Jimmy Kavanagh of the website and Fergus Kavanagh and  a very pleasant afternoon and evening was spent together exchanging family information.

The following morning brought the goodbyes,  facing the statue and seat dedicated to Patrick Kavanagh the writer who made our name world famous, the Ohio group left on a J J Kavanagh of Urlingford's coach to continue their tour of Ireland.  As Joan and Celia waved to Frank and Dorothy the whole coach load of people from Ohio waved back!  They too were happy to be included in this momentous occasion when the determination of C/Kavanaghs from all over the world could not be stopped even by the very worst in world terrorism!

No doubt there will be e-mails crossing the Atlantic for a good few years now as the family have 120 years to catch up on and Frank plans yet another trip to Ireland to see his own cousin become Chief of the Clann next September in Ferns Co Wexford when many more C/Kavanaghs from all over the world will be reunited with their family at the Clann Gathering September 20th-23rd.

Kavanagh family reunion - Dublin


Back row Jimmy Kavanagh (Dublin, webmaster of the site), Fergus Kavanagh (Dublin), Frank Kavanaugh( Pickerington,  Ohio), Melissa Cavanaugh Mathis (Midland, Texas)
Front row Celia Kavanagh Boylan, (Standish, England) James F Cavanaugh (San Ignacio, Belize), Dorothy Kavanaugh (Pickerington Ohio), Joan Kavanagh Slevin (Wigan, England) James Kavanagh, (Germany, and of Berkley, Michigan)

Footnote:  All are now safely home and well after a very much enjoyed reunion in Ireland