O'Shaughnessy

Select
O’Shaughnessy Surname Genealogy

The
Irish surnames O’Shaughnessy and Shaughnessy are both derived from the
Gaelic
clan name
O’Seachnasaigh. The root here is the personal name Seachnasaigh of uncertain origin and
meaning.
Globally the O’Shaughnessy/Shaughnessy name breakdown is
approximately
60/40 today. Within Ireland O’Shaughnessy
has been more common in Limerick, Shaughnessy more common in Galway.
In
Galway
the name has been
pronounced “Shock-nessy,” rather than “Shaun-essy” as it is elsewhere
.

The O’Shaughnessys
were believed to have been the direct descendants of the last pagan
king of all
Ireland, King Daithi, in the 10th century.
The clan was the most prominent sect in that part of the country
known
in ancient times as Ui Fiachra Aidhne and
is now county Galway. It was said that
they defeated their kinsmen the O’Cahills and the O’Clerys to be the
chiefs of
that region
.

Select
O’Shaughnessy Resources on
The
Internet

Select
O’Shaughnessy

Ireland.
The
forebear of the O’Shaughnessy clan was said to have been Seachnasach
mac Donnchadh who flourished in the 11th century.
The
surname O’Shaughnessy really started to come
into use two centuries later as the O’Shaughnessys were becoming the
dominant
family in the Úi Fiachra Aidhne area (the southern part of county
Galway). Their family
members
were
hereditary custodians of
the
St. Colman’s girdle and crozier medieval relics.

The
clan base was the town of Gort. Gort
castle
was demolished by Cromwell. But
Ardamullivan castle
nearby still
stands.

In Tudor times the O’Shaughnessys had adopted a policy of “surrender
and
regrant” towards the English aggressors. Diarmaid
(Dermot) and his son Rusaidhri (Richard) were both knighted by
the English monarch, Rusaidhri being described as “a very obedient and
civil
man and most desirous to hold his lands directly of his Majesty.”

But they
rebelled against English power at the time of Cromwell and had much of
their
land sequestrated. Their lands were
regained after the Restoration only to be lost again in 1690 after
Captain
Roger O’Shaughnessy had supported the failed Jacobite cause against
William of
Orange and lost his life following the Battle of the Boyne.
His son William
O’Shaughnessy
, the last of The O’Shaughnessy, departed for
France.

A legal battle then raged
between the O’Shaughnessys and the Prendergasts, the family who had
been
granted their lands, with the O’Shaughnessys eventually losing the
case. It is thought that the main
O’Shaughnessy line
died out around 1780.

An
exodus from the Gort area had begun by the late 1600’s. Many went
to
Limerick,
which is where the greatest concentration of the name exists today:

  • early
    among them was Thomas O’Shaughnessy from
    a branch of the main O’Shaughnessy line. He settled at Glin along
    the
    river
    Shannon in 1692.
  • Patrick
    O’Shaughnessy established a grocery store in Glin in
    the 1850’s. These premises are now the
    O’Shaughnessy public house.
  • while Robert
    O’Shaughnessy
    was a notable clockmaker in Limerick town in the
    early
    1800’s.

Other
O’Shaughnessys departed for Clare.

England. Francis and Dr.
Richard O’Shaughnessy were descendants of the O’Shaughnessy Gort family
who
made their home in London.From another line came Arthur O’Shaughnessy,
the Victorian
poet and author of that well-known ode We
are the Music Makers
.

America.
O’Shaughnessys were late-comers to America.
The 1840 US census showed very few of that name.

Thomas
O’Shaughnessy from Kildare had arrived
in the 1830’s in Cincinnati where he ran a hardware store along Main
Street. He later operated a cotton mill
along the Ohio river in northern Kentucky until it was destroyed by
fire in
1854. Thomas and
Bridget Shaughnessy also came around that time. They
showed up in the 1840 census in Rochester,
New York. The family then moved to
Chicago and later to Kansas City. Life
was hard for them and Thomas died at an early age, possibly from cholera
.

It was the Great Famine in Ireland
in the 1840’s which had a devastating effect on life in the Galway area
and
drove many more O’Shaughnessys to emigrate. The English author
Thackeray visited
Ireland at that time and remarked: “Between Gort and Oranmore we passed
through
little but the most woeful country.”

The emigrant story in America was for some
a rags-to-riches story.

James Shaughnessy came to work in 1850 in the boot
and shoe factories around Milford, Massachusetts. He
did not stay long. By 1861 he had moved to
northern Missouri where
he opened a shoe store. His four sons were
to
make their marks in very different areas:

  • James
    initially as a journalist and then
    as a well-known advertising executive
  • John
    and Francis as Chicago lawyers
  • and
    Thomas as an artist.

Their
family history was recounted in Colum Kenny’s 2014
book An Irish-American Odyssey – the
O’Shaughnessy Brothers
.

Related to James was John O’Shaughnessy, also a
boot-maker in Milford. His son John
moved to Stillwater, Minnesota in 1860 where he and his wife Mary Anne
raised
thirteen children. When their 13th child
was born in 1885, they had a problem.
The son later recounted:

“By
the time I arrived, mother had run out of
all the regular names like John, James and Joseph.
Being a good Catholic she went to the
Calendar of Saints. So I became
Ignatius.”


Ignatius
Aloysius O’Shaughnessy
– nicknamed Nashe – entered the oil
business and
rode
oil refineries in Oklahoma. Kansas, and Illinois to great wealth, much
of which
he donated as a prodigious philanthropist to Catholic causes
.

Tom Shaughnessy had arrived from
Limerick a little earlier, around 1840, and became a detective in the
Milwaukee
police department in Wisconsin. His son
Thomas migrated to Canada, joining the Canadian Pacific Railway and
then rising
through the ranks to become its President from 1899 to 1918. His grandson Alfred grew up in London and he
and his two sons made their name in British TV work.

Edward
and Patrick O’Shaughnessy had apparently come to the
Little Meadows township in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania as early as
1831. Their descendants have remained a
presence in that community. A later
Edward moved west to St. Cloud, Minnesota where his son Clark
Shaughnessy was
born in 1892. He became a famous college
football coach and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
in 1968.


Australia.
Thomas
Shaughnessy

was transported from Dublin to Sydney on the Telicherry
in 1806. He married there and, on his
release, found
work as a cabinet maker and later as an undertaker.
And a much respected undertaker if the
eulogies on his death in 1837 are to be believed

In
1822 another Thomas
O’Shaughnessy was tried and convicted in Limerick
for being
“idle and
disorderly” and was also transported to Australia.
After his release he farmed in western NSW and South Australia. His son Thomas wandered through various
places in Australia before becoming one of the earliest setters of
Cowra,
NSW. He kept a diary which has recently
been published.


Select
O’Shaughnessy Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:


Select
O’Shaughnessy Names

William O’Shaughnessy was the last O’Shaughnessy chief. He
left Ireland in 1690, fought in the French
army, and became a Marshal in France.

W.B.
O’Shaughnessy
was
the Limerick-born doctor who pioneered the modern treatment of
cholera, introduced cannabis to Western medicine, and, during his stay
in India
in the 1850’s, laid the first telegraph system in Asia
.
Thomas Shaughnessy, the son of Irish famine
immigrants, rose to become President of the Canada Pacific Railway from
1899 to
1918.

I.A. O’Shaughnessy,
the
son of Irish immigrants
inMinnesota, established the Globe Oil & Refining Company of
Oklahoma in
1917. By the 1930’s he was the head of
the largest individually-owned oil company in the world
.

Select O’Shaughnessys Today

  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 4,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)

 

 

 

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply