John Lynn and Mary O'Kane
1830 to 1855
From Film P5472
Ahoghill Parish records
Baptisms Marriages and Deaths 1833 to 1863
Baptisms 10 Jan 1864 to 1880
Marriages 3 April 1866 to Dec 1880

Birth: John Lynn
Parents: John Lynn & Mary O'Kane
Of: Kilcurry
Minister: Charles Quin
Witnesses: John O'Kane and Mary Diamond
Bapt. date: 21 Nov 1864
Birth date: 18 Nov 1864

Birth: James O'Neill
Parents: Bernard O'Neill & Rose Lynn
Of: ?
Minister: Charles Quin
Witnesses: Walter Lynn and Agnes O'Neill
Bapt. date: 11 Dec 1864
Birth date:

Birth: Anne Lynn
Parents: John Lynn & Mary O'Kane
Of: Upper Kilcurry
Minister: Charles Quin
Witnesses: John Kane and Mary Anne Diamond
Bapt. date: 22 Apr 1867
Birth date:

Birth: John Lynn
Parents: John Lynn & Mary Kane
Of: Kilcurry
Minister: Charles Quin
Witnesses: Michael Kane and Mary Kane
Bapt. Date: 6 Feb 1870
Birth date:

Birth: John Lynn
Parents: John Lynn & Mary Mooney
Of: Ahoghill
Bapt. date: 13 Nov 1870
Birth date:

Birth: Thomas Lynn
Parents: John Lynn & Mary Kane
Of: Kilcurry
Minister: Charles Quin
Witnesses: Michael Diamond and Catherine McErlane
Bapt. date: 29 June 1872
Birth date:

Birth: William Lynn
Parents: Neil Lynn & Jane Duggan
Of: Kilcurry
Minister: Charles Quin
Witness: Alice O'Neill
Bapt. Date: 21 Aug 1873
Birth date:
Noted as illegitimate

Marriage: Arthur Moor & Jane Lynn
Fathers: John Moor & Michael Lynn
Of: Duneane & Kilcurry
Date: May 11 1867

Marriage: Patrick Mallon & Sarah Lynn
Fathers: Henry Mallon & Henry Lynn
Of: Randlestown & Kilcurry
Date: 15 Mar 1876

Marriage: John Lynn & Mary Kane
Date: 18 July 1856
Witnesses: Hugh & Teresa McCourt

Marriage: Edward Lynn & Maria O'Hara
Date: 28 July 1856
Witnesses: Mr McCourt & Arthur O'Hara (?)

Based on his wedding date and the birth dates of his children, John Lynn was born between about 1830 and 1836, probably near Kilcurry in Co. Antrim, see the Lynn family origins. At this stage we do not know who his parents were, although using the Irish naming conventions, it is likely that his father was James and his mother Anne or Mary.

John married Mary O'Kane 18 July 1856 in the Ahoghill Parish. Unfortunately their parents names are not recorded in the church register. The witnesses were Hugh & Teresa McCourt (note that the grandparents of Frank McCourt of Angela's Ashes, Francis and Mary, were from nearby Moneyglass).

Mary was born about 1830 in Casheltown, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Her birthplace is recorded as Castletown on her gravestone, but this is almost certainly a mistake. Mary was the daughter of Michael O'Kane and Nancy Connery.

John and Mary probably lived in the Clooney Road in the Kilcurry Townland, Co. Antrim, where John was a farmer. Note that Clooney Road runs into the Carmagrim Road which is the main road in the Casheltown Townland and leads directly to the Augnahoy church.

It is almost certain that the family church was the Augnahoy Roman Catholic church on the road between Portglenone and Ahoghill. While this is further from where they lived than the Ahoghill Church, there are many Lynn, O'Kane, McCorley and Graffin graves at Augnahoy and virtually none at Ahoghill. Some gravestones of interest from Augnahoy are recorded in the footnotes.

Church_Aughnahoy_RC_Co_Antrim (57K)
Aughnahoy Church, Portglenone, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
Both Augnahoy and Ahoghill churches were part of the Ahoghill parish and fortunately many of the church records are preserved. Unfortunately they do not appear to record which church the events took place at.

The panel on the right shows some of the Lynn / O'Kane records from the parish records which we recorded during a brief visit to the NLI in Dublin in April 2006. Unfortunately time did not allow us to spend enough time to read the older records on the microfilm or to look thoroughly through all of the records and so more research is needed in this area.

Items of interest:

Note the two Johns. My suspicion is that the first, born 1864, is actually Michael. The minister may have made an error and written down his father's name. However countering this argument is the absence of the three oldest children. This may suggest that the family moved away from the Ahoghill parish (or attended a neighbouring parish) from 1856 until about 1864 during which time the three older children and perhaps Michael were born. In this case presumably John b 1864 died before 1870 when the second John was born. Michael more or less confirms this in his two poems on the death of his brother Pat, in both he refers to "Annie, John and little Tom", implying the order of birth.

In either case Michael's brother John, who later emigrated to Australia must be the one born in 1870.

Some Interesting Connections
There are two interesting connections to the family in Antrim:

The first is the possibility that we are related to Rody McCorley, hung by the British on the bridge at Toome in Antrim in 1800 following the 1798 rebellion. He was immortalised in a ballad. Mike Camden was told by relatives in Antrim that Rody was one of the McCorleys related to the family, presumably to the O'Kanes. It is interesting to note that he was betrayed by a McErlane (note 3), but the families must have made the peace, as a McErlane was a witness at Thomas Lynn's christening.

My impression is that this is story is probably wrong because McCorley was a Presbyterian, see Note 3.

Dad set the twins on the road and held out his arms to Malachy.  Now the twins started to cry and Malachy clung to Mam, sobbing.  The cows mooed, the sheep maaed, the goat ehehed, the birds twittered in the trees, and the beep beep of a motor car cut through everything.

A man called from the motor car, Good Lord, what are you people doing on this road at this hour of an Easter Sunday morning?

Dad said, Good morning, Father.

Father? I said. Dad, is that your Father?

Mam said, Don't ask him any questions.

Dad said, No, no, this is a priest.

Malachy said, What's a ----? but Mam put her hand over his mouth.

The priest had white hair and a white collar. He said, Where are you going?

Dad said, Up the road to McCourts of Moneyglass, and the priest took us in his motor car. He said he knew the McCourts, a fine family, good Catholics, some daily communicants, and he hoped he'd see us all at Mass, especially the little Yankees who didn't know what a priest was, God help us.

The second is the link with the McCourts: the witnesses at John and Mary's wedding were Hugh and Teresa McCourt and at Edward Lynn (John's brother?) and Maria O'Hara's wedding a Mr McCourt. Both weddings were in July 1856.

Some initial research shows the McCourts may have been related to the family of Frank McCourt who lived in the Moneyglass area, just south of Kilcurry. If so they were close neighbours.

The father of Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, Malachy McCourt, was from Roguery Rd near Moneyglass. A passage from Angela's Ashes mentions this, the family returns to Ireland from the USA and is walking to McCourt's grandparents house (see the sidebar)...

There is a website The McCourts of Moneyglass giving some family history. The grandparents, Francis (b 1863) and Mary McCourt were from the next generation to Hugh and Teresa, and so it is feasible that Francis could have been their son or nephew. Unfortunately the site does not go back an additional generation and there is no way of knowing who the author is or of contacting them.

The website says: "Grandpa McCourt's house stood on the corner of Loup Road and Roguery Road in Moneyglass. The road junction was (and still to this day is) known locally as "McCourt's Corner". Grandma McCourt ran a little grocery shop at the side of the house." This is only a few miles from the Lynn's house on Clooney Road and even closer to the O'Kanes on the corner of Carmearny and Kilcurry Roads (see the map).

1856 to 1872
Between about 1856 and 1872, John and Mary had at least 7 children, 5 boys and 2 girls. The births of the last three are also listed in Portglenone, Antrim, Ireland (IGI records), with only the 1864 John recorded. In the following I will assume that John was born in 1870.
G2 John (ca 1830- ca 1895)
= ca 1855
Mary O'Kane
(ca 1830-1916)
G1 James Lynn
(ca 1856-1917)
Patrick James
(ca 1860- )
(ca 1862-1945)
(ca 1863-1941)
(13/11/1870 - )
1872 to 1898
Little is known about the family's life in Ireland although one of Michael Lynn's poems, Lough Beg Shore, gives some indication of his life there.
1876 - James Emigrates to New Zealand
In 1876 their oldest son James emigrated to New Zealand (see note opposite, re other emigrations in that year) and most of the family followed him over the next 22 years. James left Glasgow on the "Oamaru" on the 23rd Sept 1876, arriving at Port Chalmers in Otago on the 17th Dec 1876. He spent some time exploring the country, finally settling in Hastings in the Hawkes Bay about 2 years later. He wrote to his family recommending that they too should emigrate.
1878 - Patrick Follows
Patrick emigrated next, in 1878 on the "Adamant", also to New Zealand. He became ill with TB and returned to Ireland where he died (the year is not yet known).

To father dear I send my love
Please to accept the same;
Tell Annie, John and little Tom
I often think of them.
At the time of Patrick's death Michael was in New Zealand and wrote a poem home, In Memorium, (a snippet is in the side box) showing that Mary and John and their three youngest children, John, Annie and Tom, were still in Ireland at that time, dating the death between 1883 and 1898, probably about 1890.
1883 - Michael and Mary Emigrate to New Zealand
Next to leave were Michael, his sister Mary and her husband Patrick Graffin who left London on the "SS British King" on the 1st November 1883, arriving in Wellington on the 22nd December (they probably left the ship in Napier or Gisborne - check).
John emigrates to Australia
Their 4th child, John was born on 13 November 1870. He emigrated (probably between 1883 and 1890) to Australia (most likely to Sydney).

From family records and the New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages we can make some good guesses about his family. NOTE that these need to be validated by purchasing the certificates!

John was married to Elizabeth (Aloysius?) (Campbell?), probably in Ireland as there is no sign of the marriage in the excellent NSW or the Victoria BDM or immigration records.

From family history, John Lynn and Elizabeth Campbell had at least two children, Tom and Jack:

Thomas (Patrick?) born 1899 (record 27260/1899) to John and Elizabeth Lynn Sydney, was possibly married to Eileen Lilian Thompson at Marrickville (near the airport, Sydney) in 1942 (record 31301/1942) and probably died in 1959: LYNN, THOMAS PATRICK, father: JOHN, mother: ELIZABETH ALOYSIORS, place: KATOOMBA (Blue Mountains, NSW) (record 6923/1959).

John (Joseph?) born 1901 (record 7483/1901) to John and Lizzie Lynn in St Peters (central SSW Sydney), was possibly married to Mary Margaret Gannon at Sydney in 1937 (record 12021/1937) and probably died in 1962: LYNN, JOHN JOSEPH, father: JOHN, mother: ELIZABETH, place: SYDNEY (record 18777/1962).

John probably died in Newtown (central SW Sydney) in 1922 (record 6933/1922).

Elizabeth probably died at Randwick (central E Sydney) in 1945 (record 5147/1945): LYNN, ELIZABETH ALOYSIUS, parents THOMAS and ANNIE.

`The rest of the family emigrate to New Zealand
Finally Mary (O'Kane) came out to New Zealand with her two youngest children, Annie and Thomas in 1898 (emigration details unknown). There is no record of John Snr emigrating, implying he died c. 1897.
The reason for their emigration to New Zealand rather than the USA was probably a combination of a depression in the US and a scheme at the same time to attract immigrants to New Zealand. In 1873, a major financial crisis in the United States dramatically reduced emigration to that country for several years. Many earlier immigrants even returned to their homelands if they could. This roughly coincided with New Zealand's decision to establish an immigration and public works scheme, the so-called 'Vogel Scheme', to hasten the development of the country's road, rail and telegraph networks and to open the bush-covered central North Island. Although intended to attract British immigrants, the scheme also sought some from the Continent, especially Germans and Scandinavians. Increasing the European population quickly in light of the recent New Zealand Wars was another consideration. Although adopted in 1870, the Vogel Scheme did not attract immigrants on any scale until 1873 when the magnetic lure of the United States temporarily lost its appeal.

It is also worth considering another possibility. This area of Antrim was a center of the Fenian movement at that time, and John Lynn would have been raised on stories of Rody McCorley (see Note 3) - which must have had a strong influence on him, especially if McCorley was a relative. Michael Lynn's poem Lough Beg Shore can also be interpreted as him having Fenian leanings. Therefore, there is a distinct possibility that the boys were leaving to 'escape' British attention.

Summary of the family's emigrations:
GlasgowOamaruPort Chalmers
LondonBritish KingWellington
LondonBritish KingWellington
Johnca 1890  Australia

It is interesting to note that several other families connected to the Lynn's also first emigrated in about 1876.
Patrick Dimond and Mary Ann McSwigganBallymaguiganOct 1876Inverness
Bernard WallsBallymaguigan1876 
James LynnKilcurryDec 1876Oamaru
William John WallsBallymaguiganFeb 1878Carnatic
James Mackle (Dunedin Mackles)Derrinraw1875/76 
Walls (Dunedin Walls)Ballymaguigan1876/78 
c. 1898 to 1916
John Lynn probably died in Ireland between 1895-1898. The most likely date was shortly before Mary emigrated in 1898.

The lives of James, Mary and Michael are covered in more detail in other sections.

Mary Lynn (nee O'Kane)
Mary died of old age on 9 August 1916 in Manutuke, west of Gisborne in New Zealand aged 86. She was buried 2 days later in plot 3, Block G of the nearby Patutahi Cemetery.

Sacred to the memory of our dear mother Mary Lynn.

Relict of John Lynn

born at Castletown, County Antrim, Ireland, died at Te Arai, 9 August 1916 aged 86 years

Jesus give eternal rest to her soul and her beloved children, Annie Lynn, 1867-1937 and Thomas Lynn, 1872-1954.


Note that it quite is certain that Castletown should actually be Casheltown.


At her residence, Te Aria, on August 9th, Mary, relict of John Lynn, County Antrim, Ireland, aged 85 years. RIP. The funeral will leave the Catholic Church, Patutahi, tomorrow (Friday) at 10:30 after requiem mass, for Patutahi cemetery.

The death occurred yesterday at her residence, Te Aria, of Mrs Mary Lynn, relict of the late Mr John Lynn. The deceased lady was an old resident of this district, and her kindly disposition won for her the esteem and respect of all who came in contact with her. Mrs Lynn, who had attained the ripe old age of 86 years, was a native of County Antrim, Ireland.

From the Poverty Bay Herald, 10 August 1916:

Died9 Aug 1916, Manutuke, Poverty Bay
CauseSenile decay and bedsores
DoctorW S Kidd, last seen 25 6 1916
BornCounty Antrim, Ireland
Immigrated18 years in New Zealand
Buried10 August 1916, Patutahi Cemetery, Poverty Bay
Age dau's50 47
Age sons58 54 46 45
MotherNancy Kane nee Connery
FatherMichael Kane, farmer
MarriedAge 25 in Ireland to John Lynn
Funeral directorT Haisman, Gisborne
Death Certificate of Mary Lynn nee Kane [sic]

Block G, Patutahi
Plot purchaser: Thomas Lynn
Address: Te Arai, 10 8 1915

Lynn, Annie. Age: 65
Date interred: 8 Mar 1937, address: Manutuke, plot: 2

Lynn, Thomas. Age: 82
Date interred: 19 Jul 1954, address: Te Arai, plot: pathway

Lynn, Mary. Age: 86
Date interred: 11 Aug 1916, address: Te Arai, plot: 3

Anne Lynn
Annie never married and continued to live at Manutoke with Thomas. She died 5 March 1937 and is buried with her mother in the Patutahi Cemetery, Gisborne.

From the Poverty Bay Herald, 6 March 1937:

On March 5, at the residence of her brother, Mr T Lynn, Manutuke, Annie Lynn:aged 65 R.I.P. The funeral will leave the Patutahi Catholic Church immediately after a requiem mass at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 8, for Patutahi cemetery.

Miss Annie Lynn
At the residence of her brother, Mr. T Lynn, Manutoke, the death occurred yesterday of Miss Annie Lynn, aged 65 years. The deceased was born at Kilcurry, County Antrim, Ireland, and in 1898 accompanied her mother and other members of the family to New Zealand. Miss Lynn, who left many friends in this district, had been ailing for the past seven months. For a time she was a patient at the Mater Misericordae Hospital, Auckland. She was a devoted member of the Catholic Church and had a kindly and generous nature. Deceased is survived by a sister, Mrs J Griffen {Mary?}, Makauri, and two brothers, Mr M Lynn, Hastings and Mr T Lynn, Manutuke.

The funeral will leave the Patutahi Catholic Church immediately after a requiem mass at 9am on Monday for the Patutahi cemetery.

Thomas Lynn
Thomas also never married. He died 15 July 1954 and was buried with his mother and sister Annie in the Patutahi Cemetery.

From the Gisborne Herald, 17 July 1954:

On 15th July at Gisborne, Thomas Lynn, in his 82nd year. R.I.P. Requim mass will be celebrated in the Catholic Church, Patutahi, at 10 am, Monday, 19th July, after which the funeral will leave for the Patutahi Cemetery.
Notes & References
  1. Sources: Michael Camden, IGI, Gisborne District Council
  2. Aughnahoy Gravestone Records

    James Lynn: Mason
    Who departed this life April ??
    1845 aged 72 years
    Walter Lynn Cullybackey
    died 18th Mar 1924 aged 85 years
    Is this the Walter who was a witness to James O'Neill's birth in 1864?

    In Loving Memory Of
    my dear wife SARAH
    died 3rd May 1986 aged 85 years
    also her loving husband JOHN
    died 29th July 2000 aged 92 years
    Erected by Elizabeth Lynn
    In Memory of her husband
    John Lynn
    who died 4th Nov. 1928 aged 65 years
    Also her Son Neil Lynn,
    who died August 1904 aged 17 years
    Also the above named
    Elizabeth Lynn
    who died 24th April 1937
    In Loving Memory of
    Mary McCorley
    died 25th March 1825 aged 26 years
    Also her niece Jane Graffin (nee McCorley)
    died 8th September 1925.
    and her husband Henry Graffin, died 15th Jan 1929
    their son John Graffin, died 1st May 1960
    his wife Margaret, died 30th Jan. 1984.
    their infant daughter Rosella, died 16th Jan 1941.
    their daughter-in-law Mary, died 26th Nov. 1983.
    her husband Henry Joseph died 21st Jan 2001
    McCorley Graffin
    by Michael O'Kane
    in loving memory of my dear father
    Michael O'Kane
    who died 25th May 1906
    aged 70 years
    The witness at John Lynn's baptism in 1870?
  3. Roddy McCorley

    The Story of Rody McCorley is hidden in a mix of legend and romantic poetry, but the story documented here (click the link) is probably close to the truth.

    Was Rody McCorley related to the Lynn / O'Kane family?

    He certainly was born and lived in the right area, as the place names mentioned in the ballad (consistent with other sources) show

    he was born and raised in Duneane

    "In sweet Duneane this youth was born and reared up tenderly,
    His parents educated him, all by their industry..."
    and lived in Drumaul
    "Farewell unto you sweet Drumaul, if in you I had stayed,
    Among the Presbyterians I ne'er had been betrayed..."
    Duneane is the most South-westerly parish in Antrim from the shores of Lough Beg and Lough Neagh up to Ballyscullion parish and Drumaul is the next parish to the east, including Randalstown. These lie immediately south of our family's territory in the Kilcurry - Casheltown area.

    He remained in the area, at Ballyscullion

    "In Ballyscullion I was betrayed ..."
    and was hung at Toome rather than Ballymena where he was imprisoned and convicted
    Soon young Rody was conveyed to Ballymena town,
    He was loaded there with irons strong, his bed was the cold ground,
    And there young Rody he must wait until the hour has come,
    When a court-martial does arrive for to contrive his doom.
    presumably as a lesson to friends and family in the area.

    From this it is clear that he came from the correct area to be connected with the Lynn / O'Kane family, living only a few miles away.

    This leaves the Presbyterian connection as 'our' McCorleys were certainly Catholic, probably buried in the Catholic cemetery at Aughnahoy.

    The Ballad supports the Presbyterianism (the McErleans may well have been his mother's family who were most likely protestant):

    "Farewell unto you sweet Drumaul, if in you I had stayed,
    Among the Presbyterians I ne'er had been betrayed,
    The gallows tree I'd ne'er have seen had I remained there
    For Dufferin you betrayed me, McErlean you set the snare."
    and (the Defenders being Catholic, whereas the United Irish were mainly protestant)....
    "In Ballyscullion I was betrayed, woe be unto the man,
    Who swore me a defender and a foe unto the crown,
    Which causes Rody for to lie beneath the spreading thorn,
    He'll sigh and say 'Alas the day that ever I was born'."
    however, Vincent Peters' argument (extracted from the above) raises some doubts:
    The religious background of his mother, née McErlean, is undisputed Presbyterian, whereas the religion of his father is at least questionable. According to some sources Rody's father, a corn mill owner, was a rather prominent member of the Defenders. This piece of information is as inconsistent as it can get. If he actually owned the mill he was most likely Protestant, because Presbyterians as well as Catholics were subject to the same Penal Laws. Protestant and Presbyterian Defenders, on the other hand, were extremely rare because the organisation was almost exclusively Catholic. We have to bear in mind the possibility that somewhere down the road of history the phrase worked at a mill became miller and eventually mill owner. In addition McCorley is known as a Catholic surname. In conclusion Rody's father might have adhered the Catholic religion.

    Even more puzzling is what had become of McCorley's father. Some assume that he was arrested and hanged for stealing sheep. Others suggest that he was caught making pikes and subsequently transported. Whatever the case might have been, Rody's father apparently just vanished from history and his mother got remarried with a irrefutable Presbyterian man from Oldtown.

    The chronology is problematic, but there's a good chance that Rody McCorley was raised in the Catholic tradition. This dissident idea is supported by Rody's association with the Defenders and the appearance of Father Devlin in the second last verse.

    So, is there a connection? Given the evidence, all I can say is that it is a possibility.
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