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A History of McCrohan(James McCrohan of Texas, U.S.A.)


  
World-wide home of McCrohan Genealogy

An encyclopedia of McCrohan Research - James McCrohan
The NameThe following documents are taken from the survey carried out by James McCrohan of Dallas, Texas throughout the 1980s. Firstly, Jim's letter of introduction, followed by some notes and thoughts as McCrohans the world over began to send him documents in response to his invitation to tell their story...

From the research of James McCrohan, Dallas, Texas. Table of Contents The following documents are taken from the survey carried out by James McCrohan of Dallas, Texas throughout the 1980s. Firstly, Jim's letter of introduction, followed by some notes and thoughts as McCrohans the world over began to send him documents in response to his invitation to tell their story.  Lastly, copies of those responses can be found here.  As publishing these documents here requires 'scanning' them into electronic format, this will take some time, so do come back from time to time and you'll find that more and more documents have been added.   Although James McCrohan probably did not anticipate McCrohan.Net, his research was a precursor to our website today, and his undertaking was far greater, and I'm sure required more patience, as it had none of the convenience or immediacy of today's Internet to facilitate communications.  I believe that all those of us interested in McCrohan Genealogy, owe Jim an immense debt of gratitude.     Dear McCrohan Family member:
My name is Jim McCrohan. I live in Dallas, Texas'.- I got your name and address from a special publication --The McCrohan Family Heritage Book prepared by Beatrice Bayley, Inc. in the state of Pennsylvania. Basically the book is a how-to treatise on geneological research along with a listing of a large percentage of.all individuals with the McCrohan surname in the u.s. and their addresses. The source: a national data bank of 70 million names derived from city directories and telephone books.     The McCrohan name is a rare one as you probably already know.  There are only 138 McCrohans listed in the directory out of the full data base, and many are husband/wife listings. That's roughly one in 500,000.  I enclose a table from the McCrohan Heritage Book, which shows the distribution of the names around the country.   Surprisingly - to me anyway - Texas has the most McCrohan listings 34 - followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey and California.  Most states have none.   My purpose with this letter, and under the Heritage Book guidance, is to begin to prepare something of a family history.  Because of the rarity of the name it's an easier task than might be in the case with, say, a Smith or Jones but it will still take some doing.  So I solicit your assistance.   As a general background, it's my understanding the McCrohan name has its origin in the County Kerry in far off Ireland, and specifically in the general vicinity of the town of Cahirciveen.  That is in the far southwest of Ireland, on the Atlantic Ocean and to this day a remote (though incredibly beautiful) region of the country.  The name has been there some time.  I've seen maps indicating that same area was the home stomping grounds of the McCrohan Sept of the O'Sullivan clan back in the 17th century when they were at daggers drawn with the Cromwellians.  And Lord knows how many eons before that.   I would be interested in any light you could shed on the family history; such as when your McCrohan parents, grandparents and even great grandparents came to this country, and what information you might have on their history and development on both sides of the water.  Horse thieves as well as poets and scholars may be included (and indeed may be one and the same.)     Whatever information I do come up with from any source,  I will in turn share with all contributors (and even non-contributors who ask nicely.)  For this purpose, you can utilize the enclosed business reply envelope and the forms although feel free to do anything you'd like to send freehand.   How to begin?  Well, here's one approach - my own.  My father, Michael McCrohan, was one of three brothers - the other two Timothy and John - who migrated to this country in the teens and twenties of the century from the Cahirciveen area and settled in the Midwest - Chicago and Detroit to be precise.  A fourth brother, Patrick, stayed on the family land which he farmed up until his death in the 1960's.  At present the land is no longer being cultivated, and the farm home is boarded up, or at least - that was the case when last I inquired.   The three emigrant brothers all raised families, and their children and grandchildren today live mainly in the Chicago and Detroit areas. Beside the brothers, there were also three daughters born to these seminal McCrohans.  Grandad's name was Patrick, by the way, and Grandmom's, Katherine (Welsh.) The girls' names: Minnie (?), Bridget and Annie.  The latter two daughters remained in Ireland, in the Cahirciveen area, and raised families there under the Sugrue and Sullivan names.  Minnie, the oldest of the daughters, emigrated-to Chicago around the turn of the century and had her family there under the Burnside name. Descendants of these seven siblings are found today in the Midwest, under the McCrohan name, of course, but also under the Bernhardt, Poole, Aherne, Clifford and Johnson names, among others.   One difficulty encountered in developing a family history is that McCrohan females lose their name upon marriage (unless they're really ardent feminists) - and hence don't show up in the Bayley database.  If you are aware of any such lost McCrohan ladies, send me their addresses and I'll pop them a questionnaire too.   I've two first cousins, Michael McCrohan, of Garden City, Michigan, and Timothy McCrohan, of Blue Springs,  Mo'. who are assisting me in preparation of the family history. Their addresses are listed below, and you may feel free to contact them as well as myself, if you would like more information about this project .   My wife, Helen, is concurrently doing research on the Biggs, her maiden name. The difficulty here is that there are literally thousands of Biggs scattered across the U.S., whereas McCrohans come in much smaller quantities. Perhaps that touch of exclusivity is some compensation for the terrible problem people have in spelling our name.  My dad often lamented to me about not having adopted his mother's name, Welsh, when he came out to this country where the natives had such a struggle with our Gaelic surname, emerging with McCrocken, McGrodin, McCroomie and so on.   The thought has occurred to me that possibly some day we might have a McCrohan clan get-together at some central location I mean, if the Finks can do it, why can't we?  Such might give us the opportunity not only to get together socially but to delve into the family history collectively.   Anyway, I hope this finds you in good health and spirits, and I look forward to hearing from you.   Very truly yours,   Jim McCrohan   4626 Alta Vista Lane, Dallas, Texas 75229 Phone: Office (214)233-5577 Home (214) 363-0645   Michael McCrohan 1012 Cardwell Garden City, Michigan 48135 Phone: (313) 427-7236   Timothy McCrohan 4720 S. Valley View Road Route 3 Blue Springs, Missouri 64015 Phone: (816) 795-1803     MCCROHANS' REIGN
By An. Br Peader
'Tis my grief - that Patrick Loughlin is not Earl in Irrul still.      And that Brian Duff no longer rules as lord upon the hill And that Colonel Hugh MacGrady should be lying dead and low,      And I sailing, sailing swiftly from the County of Mayo.     Tomas Lavelle, the Mayo poet, was not the only Gaelic poet to regret the downfall of his over-lords as he accompanied them into exile following the broken Treaty of Limerick. From many a port, not least from those of Kerry, defeated and dispossessed, they followed King James, most of them to France, "Wild Geese rising on clamorous wing to follow the flight of an alien king." But not all. The MacCrohans who once ruled in their castle of Letter as "lords upon the hill" left it to sail out of Valentia harbour for a refuge in Spain. Spain, no doubt, they would have known from trading, perhaps smuggling between Valentia and the many southern ports. In Spain, as we shall see presently, they prospered, and there their descendants are still to be found.   Dispossession and confiscation were nothing new to the Clann Criomnthain.   Following their defeat by Cromwell's forces, when they fought and some fell on the rebel side, "Conogher MacCrohin of Littur" set forth in Certificate No.989, was ordered to appear before Cromwell's commissioners sitting at Loughrea, which he did the 14, December, 1658, to report that he hath 1168 persons, 23 acres of somer corn (Cromwellian spelling!), 18 cowes and sheep. " The purpose of this accounting of cattle and means was that an equivalent might be assigned to those who, as in the case of MacCrohan, were to be transported to Connacht.  The lands assigned to Kerry transplantees were in the Barony of Boyle in Roscommon, that of Inchiguin Clare, and also in Clare in the Burren of which it was, and could still be said "there was not wood enough in it to hang a man, water enough to drown him, or earth enough to bury him."   Not all listed for transplantation were in the end sent off to Connacht and of those sent, many returned at the Restoration of Monarchy, and regained portions of their old estates.     The MacCrohans were either left undisturbed or regained their lands following Cromwell's death, for again in the wars of King James, they were again on the losing side. This time there was to be no return. And in any case it would appear that they were in possession of part of their lands only, for we find the English King, Charles II, (Calendar of State Papers, 1669-70) confirming to the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, "the North and South Reynolds, (Renard), and the lands of Letters" .   There is no mention in this case of Letter Castle which no longer stands, even as a ruin, though its memory is preserved in the place-name. It may not have been a large castle; the MacCrohans were themselves a branch of the O'Sullivans, as appears in the rolls of James I., where there is reference to "the castle, lands and town (Caher was not even thought of at the time!) of Littur MacClan Crohan, the estate of Conor Mac Owen O'Sullivan, otherwise called MacCrohan.   (Caher probably refers to the town of Cahersiveen)   ARTICLE COURTESY OF ANNA FULLAM.   page two
McCrohans' Reign
Some years ago one of the Clan Crohan, herself born in the MacCrohan lands and possessed of that quality now too rare amongst us, the "mortas cine", Mrs. Fullam, now resident in Naas, went "ag cur tuairisoe a cine", to seek her own people in the sunny land of Spain.   And there she found them. "Do you know", she writes, "that there are a lot of McCrohans in Spain? In the heart of old Madrid lives Don Juan McCrohon (sic), whose ancestor, McCrohan,-went out to Spain after the Wild Geese. Lieutenant James married Leonora O'kyan of Palma, of Mallorca, or Majorca, as most now spell it. His sons and grandsons rose to high rank in the armies of Spain. You will find a lawyer in Zaragoza today whose mother was a McCrohan. And there are businessmen in Barcelona called McCrohans (they spell it McCrohon) - sons of Don Juan Ignacio McCrohon in Madrid.   "Dona Pilar McCrohan in Madrid devotes herself to charitable works. She has a farm in Movata de Tajuna, twenty or thirty miles from Madrid. It is a small, dusty town, and early this century, Manuel McCrohan married Catherine Jarava. They had four sons and two daughters. Manuel and his wife both died of the 'flu' of 1918, and the children were brought up by uncles and aunts. The old Jarava house in Movata was given to the village as a school. Manuel was a 'cliamhan isteach', and there up on the wall of the school is a profile of Manuel and Catherine McCrohan.  In the village is a small war-memorial stone to those killed in the Civil War, 1936-39"and among the fourteen or so names I read "Manuel McCrohan and Diego McCrohan" killed by the Reds. " It moved me considerably" says this loyal daughter of Clann Criothain, "to see the name, 'McCrohan' prominent in that little Spanish town." And Mrs. Fullam asks what has all this to do with Valentia? And she answers her own question, for the view from where Letter Castle once stood includes the Island, the Harbour, and the Goilin of Valentia. And then we have an honoured branch of the McCrohans of our own among the staunchest supporters of an t-Oileaneach.   One more story of interest our correspondent tells, of Joe McCrohan, who died in Cahersiveen about five years ago. He was, during the first World War, an Admiralty Clerk in the British Navy. One day strolling through one of the Spanish towns, he saw, over a shop door,-the name McCrohan. Joe knew no Spanish, but he rushed into the shop and seized the shopkeeper, who apparently knew no  English, brought him out and pointed to the name over the door, and then to himself.  The shop owner must have understood, for he bowed graciously to Joe, who bowed an equally gracious bow in return.  And then they parted, the two McCrohans, whose ancestors once ruled over the lands between Letter and the harbour of Valentia and all the way westwards to Rinn Caharach.  Alas that "the McCrohan no longer rules as lord upon the hill", but his people are still in the land of their fathers.  Long may they be so.   Our thanks are due to Mrs. Fullam for her interesting, and to any Irishman worthy of the name, inspiring information.  We hope to hear from her again.  
INFOCOM ASSOCIATES ADVERTISING & PUBLIC RELATIONS Suite 317 Carillon Tower East 13601 Preston Road/Dallas, Texas 75240 {214) 233-5577   SUBJECT: MCCROHANIA   Dear McCrohan Family member {and respondee to my original letter:)   It's taken me a while but I have completed a preliminary report on the doings of McCrohan clan members since that first venturesome individual left the friendly soil of the County Kerry and headed for foreign parts. It's by no means comprehensive but does include a rundown on each and every person and family who responded to my original letter more than two years ago.   Out of the 100 or so letters I sent out initially, I've gotten about thirty responses, some relatively brief, others with considerable detail. Most respondees have an awareness of the connection between the McCrohan name and the County Kerry in Ireland, even though they may be three or four generations removed themselves.   Although I've already acted as a middleman in exchanging portions of the information I received from various sources with those McC's I thought might be interested, most of your are in the dark as to what the clan in general has been up to all these decades and centuries.
Accordingly, based on the data I've received from responding McCrohans and from several other sources, I've prepared a brief history of the McCrohans back in old Ireland, and then a summary of the doings of those of the name as they've sent it to me in response to my initial request.   If anyone has any additional information or documentation that would further flesh out the record, by all means send it on to me. I'm just beginning the work. I hope to be able to slip off to Ireland one of these years and do a little on-site research, perhaps walk the ruins of Letter Castle somewhere south of Cahersiveen and muse on the ghosts of those staunch McCrohans who once held sway over the surrounding lands.  Hopefully, I can talk with the authorities there to see if they can shed additional light on those Irishers of the name in the past. They probably can. One of the principal exports of Ireland is history, and especially family history.   I've greatly enjoyed reviewing the response from, and the contact I've had with you as I've engaged in this research project.  Hopefully at some future date we can organize something of a clan get together from all interested McCrohans.  I've sort of targeted 1988 as a good year such an effort but nothing is set in concrete.  I'd welcome any thoughts or suggestions from any, or all of you. Cordially,   James McCrohan 4626 Alta Vista Dallas, TX 75229 (214) 363-0645   THE McCROHANS: THE EARLY TIMES

Several respondees to my initial letter were able to reference the McCrohans back a considerable period of time. A Massachusetts McCrohan, John by name, averred that he had heard of a McCrohan serving in the Imperial Guard of the late Julius Caesar...

That seems unlikely -Ireland, as we know, and unlike the Isle of Britain, was never conquered by the Romans -but it's certainly the stuff of legends. Other respondees report name sightings back to deep medieval times, the 11th and 12th centuries. Could be. One historian reports the origin and migration of the original McCrohans from the county of Kilkenny- roughly the south central area of Ireland -to the county of Kerry, which is of course in the far southwest of Ireland.

By our standards- Kerry can only have been a wild and. wooly place at that period in history. There was considerable bloody clan warfare between the principal families of that era, the O'Sullivans, McCarthys and Fitzgeralds among others.
Early McCrohans constituted a sept, or clan, that was associated with the major clan of O'Sullivan Mor (as distinguished from O'Sullivan Beare.) Indeed, to this day, every other Kerryman seems to be named: O'Sullivan or Sullivan. Two other clans similarly associated with the O'Sullivans Mor were the McGillicuddys and the McGlincheys, two names which like McCrohan are uncommon surnames, certainly in the U.S. (To the McGillicuddys, however, we owe the distinctive place name for the range of mountains in Kerry's mid-section which are known as McGillicudy's Reeks. (Great title! Eh!)

On social organization! We, or at least I, have got little to go by. Generally speaking, from sometime in pre-history the Gaelic, or Celtic families of Ireland ruled the native peoples they found there in the path of Celtic migration from Mainland Europe. The Celts were great Viking-like warriors who brought their own language and their own modes of social organization. However, it's also likely that foreign Celt and native Firbolg blended into a more or less homogenous society over the centuries, as did the Normans and Saxons in early Britain. And speaking of these early Englishmen they showed up in Ireland at roughly the year 1100 A.D. -Strong Bow was the first such rascal history identifies -and he commenced the 600 year long struggle by the English to conquer the island. Which as we will learn had its impact upon the McCrohan clan fortunes, and is probably the reason most of us are in the U.S. today.

McCrohans were identified in writings in the 15th and 16th centuries as being involved in the textile trade near the town of Killorglin, a southwest Kerry community today well known for its "Puck" Festival. These McCrohans were also identified as maintaining "fleets" of ships for trade with the Spanish, an enterprise which may also have had some smack of smuggling, depending on the interpretation. In any event, the evidence suggests that these were bourgeois McCrohans, somewhat distinct from the, feudal Gaelic clans that claimed most of Ireland at that time outside the English "Pale" surrounding Dublin.

During the course of the 17th century the final (almost!!) defeat of Gaelic Ireland occurred. Armed McCrohans participated in the battles of the Great O'Neil/O'Donnell rebellion, which ended in the defeat at Kinsale in Cork in 1602. In the rebellions in the 1640's and in the Cromwellian wars other McCrohans fought, and many fell, in the numerous battles that occurred in Munster, often indeed under the leadership of the famed Chief of the Gaelic forces, Owen Roe O'Sullivan. Towards the end of the 17th century the last battles were lost, and the infamous Treaty of Limerick signed in 1693. Along with the other 'Wildgeese' , many McCrohans left Ireland for service in the armies of Continental nations, especially France, Spain and Austria, and many McCrohan families relocated en toto to those parts, especially to Spain. Those who remained lost title to their lands and were condemned to servitude as tenant farmers at best, homeless wanderers at worst. The 18th century was a hard time in general for the Irish folk, and we have no reason to doubt but that the McCrohans suffered also.

Incidentally, it was about that time that the preferred spelling of the name began to fasten on "McCrohan" in the English, or the very close "McCrohon" there being many earlier variations such as Macrehan, MacGroghan and so. In the archives for the 18th century there are approximately 30 McCrohan families identified as residing in various parishes of southwest Kerry, all spelled properly. The name continues to spring up in numerous documents throughout the 18th and 19th century in its modern form.
Which brings us to the 1840's and the great famines which struck especially hard in Kerry and Cork in the southwest of Ireland, and forced the massive emigration that sent the McCrohans, and many others, to the U.S. and other
remote parts of the world. Exiles, the Irish today call these folks, and the term is probably accurate, for few probably would have left the country except for the multitude of ills oppressing it and the economic difficulties that overwhelmed it.

MCCROHANS WORLD WIDE
The modern diaspora of the McCrohans began in the mid 19th century. The earliest of these emigrant McCrohans that we have record of is Eugene McCrohan, the father of Dave McCrohan, early settlers in New Mexico and Texas. The most recent is the late James McCrohan, of Oakland, California, and other cities, who came out to this country from his home in Kerry around 1950.

The Bayless book of McCrohans listed about 150 entries of the name, including both husbands and wives. Which means of course that the name's exceedingly rare, occurring with a frequency somewhere between are in 500,000 to one in 1,000,000. In addition to these U.S. McCrohans of course we have reports of the name in Spain, Canada, Australia and England. There may.well be McCrohans in other countries of Europe and Latin America whose name spelling has been altered to meet the grammatical needs of the of the home language (just as McCrohan is the English version of the Gaelic pronunciation of the name - In fact, our surname sounds quite a bit different when you hear it pronounced in the native tongue.)


WELL KNOWN MCCROHANS
The author of the clan is Tomas O'Crohan, a resident of the Great Blasket isle, just a mile or so off the Dingle Peninsula. He wrote, with the skill of the true story teller, the book, "Islandman"' in the Gaelic which was published in the 1920's and later translated into English by Robin Flower, (Blaheen in the Gaelic), an English scholar. It's a beautiful book, though not likely to be a starring vehicle for James Bond. The life style he commemorated has totally vanished, and indeed the Blasket Isles are now abandoned.

Another literary clansman is Maxwell McCrohon, now general manager of United Press International and previously editor-in-chief of the Chicago Tribune. Maxwell, I understand, is an Australian, which country has spawned some strong journalists in recent times.
The Spanish admirals, Manuel McCrohan and Manuel, Jr., are cited in the materials put forward by Anna Fullam. And various other McCrohans in this country has achieved recognition if not celebrity for their efforts in commercial and cultural areas. However, I don't think the country is ready for, say, a president named McCrohan. It would put too great a strain on the collective national tongue to try to wrap itself around that identifier.

THE ANCESTRAL HOME: LETTER CASTLE.
As you'll observe in the various materials attached, there was a McCrohan castle in Letter, (a small castle, we're told, but that's still better than a mud hut) an area south and west of Cahersiveen, which was the home base of the ancient Clan. Alas, the castle was apparently destroyed and levelled by the Cromwelllans during the wars of the mld-17th century. There are standing ruins of a sister castle directly across the river Firth known as Ballycarbery which exist most picturesquely to this day, but I think Cromwell had it in for the McCrohans and so the Letter castle was evaporated. However, there are locals in the area, I'm told, who can still show you the site and identify the boundaries et al so don't fail to stop by if you're in that area. Remember also, it could be the ideal spot for a clan reunion, though somewhat off the beaten track.

MCCROHAN NAME ORIGIN
How did the McCrohan name originate? A good question. Deidre McCrohan out of San Francisco says it derives, she believes, from an early Gaelic term for fox. Well, l've known some foxy McCrohans. I do also recall reading several years back in an Irish paper that the clan named derives from a flower found only in the region of the Dingle and Iveragh peninsulas. Could be. I think we'll have to leave it one of those unresolved questions of history.

MCCROHANS AND MUSIC
Several respondees have noted, or alluded to the McCrohan proficiency in music. James McCrohon of Shrewsbury, Mass., operates a piano tuning business and also plays in an Irish folk music group. Jim McCrohan of St. Helena, California, plays the oboe with a symphonic group out west. My own father played the accordion. Maybe there's something to the claim. I myself am as musical as a platypus but perhaps others out there can give better testimony. Let me know.

CROSSINGS OF PATHS AND REDUNDANCIES
In the responses by various McCrohans we noticed in many cases copies of similar historic references and notes. So don't be concerned if we're not 100 percent accurate in our credits. It's just a matter of brevity. Also in some cases poignant tales emerged between the lines that became evident as we overlaid responses. For example, the situation of Pat McCrohan of Cahersiveen who wrote an extremely fine letter to Margaretta McCrohan on the family history just before going off to a Dublin hospital for heart surgery. And, as we learned from another respondee, a surgery from which he never recovered.

IN MEMORIAM:
I'm sorry to report the death of my first cousin, Timothy F. McCrohan, this past October, at the age of 51. He resided for some years in the Kansas City area, but most of his life was spent in Detroit, and he died there. Timmy had a deep interest in the background and traditions of his family, and over the years I had many conversations with him about our mutual roots.
Timmy, or Ty Og as he was sometimes called (translation: young Tim) was admired and loved by all who knew him, and will be sorely missed by his widow, Carol, his family and friends.

Note from Jerry McCrohan: I have begun to collate the data from James McCrohan's research, which you can access by clicking here.
Posted on Sunday, 26 August 2001 @ 16:26:21 EDT by Admin

 
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Re: An encyclopedia of McCrohan Research - James McCrohan (Score: 1)
by Meggie on Wednesday, 28 November 2001 @ 21:05:39 EST
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Dear Jim McCrohan,
I'm 13 and doing extensive geneology research for a school report. I read your article and found out that you must be cousins with my grandmother, Margaret McCrohan Ahern. I wanted to let you know that your uncle John McCrohan came to Chicago and got married to Margaret O'Connell. They had 1 daughter, Margaret, who got married to Edward Ahern. Margaret (d. 1999) was a professional cartoonist in several newspapers worldwide. Her comic strips included 'Speck the Altar Boy', 'Little reggie' 'Our Parish' and 'Beano'. Thought you might be interested. In turn, if you have any information about my great-grandfather, John McCrohan, this would be greatly apprciated.
~Megan




Re: An encyclopedia of McCrohan Research - James McCrohan (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Monday, 25 February 2002 @ 18:19:57 EST
My name is Fiona McCrohan from Killarney, Co. Kerry in Ireland. I really liked your website as i didnt know there were so many foxy ladies out there . GO FOXY LADIES



  

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