Saturday, August 15, 2009

Connollys and Conleys

Climbing to the top of the Conley family tree in the US takes one to the year 1828 when Bryan Connolly/Barnabas Conley/Bernard Conley (all one in the same) immigrated to the US, by way of New York. A naturalization document held in the Cambria County archives at Ebensburg, Pa. states the following.

October Term 1835.....
Fancis McGrath, a person who knows Bryan Connolly swore in open court that Bryan Connnolly resided in the US for the past five years and in the State of Pennsylvania one year;
"that is to say he the said Bryan Connolly resided the whole time in Pennsylvania which place is within the constitution of the United States and that during his residence within the United States he has behaved as a man of good moral character; attached to the constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and has findings of the same. Francis McGrath has sworn and subscribed in open court this 6th October 1835."
Bryan appeared in court July 3, 1832 to petition the court for naturalization. The following is from the naturalization document. "The petition of Bryan Connolly honorably showeth your petitioner was a natural of Ireland and heretofor and a subject to the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Ireland and he arrived at New York in the state of New York in October 1828."

Bryan Connolly, born about 1807, was married twice, his first wife was Bridget Green (birthdate unknown.) It is unknown as to the nationality of Bridget or where she was born. I am assuming that with a name like Bridget Green, she was Irish. Bridget and Bryan were married at St. Patrick's Church in Newry, Cambria Co., Pa. on May 21, 1830 (as per Rev. Ledoux Books)

Bridget and Bryan Connolly had children: John b. abt 1830, Thomas b. abt. 1832, Christopher b. abt. 1834, James b. abt 1836, Bernard b. abt. 1838, Elizabeth b. abt 1841, and Mary b. abt 1843. It is assumed that Bridget died prior to Jan 1844 due to the marriage date of Bryan and his second wife.

Bryan's second wife was Catherine Reilly (born about 1810-1815) in Ireland. I have no information as to when she came to the US. The couple had children: Mariam b. 17 Feb 1845, Bridget b. 30 Mar 1846, Catherine b. 05 Nov 1847, Patrick b. 01 May 1850, Ann b. 1851, Margaret b. 08 Oct 1853, Matthew b. Abt. 29 May 1855, Michael G.b. 1857(my direct ancestor), Francis b. abt 1859

That makes a total of 16 Conley children (his estate papers list 14-see below)!

On the 1850 Summerhill Twp. census Bryan's name is written as Barnabas Conly, he is listed as 46 yrs old and a blacksmith, Catherine as 40 yrs. old. Children listed include: John, Christopher, James, Bernard, Thomas, Elizabeth, and Mary

On the 1860 Summerhill Twp. census Bryan Connolly's name is recorded as Bernard Comelia (not uncommon for names to be butchered by the census takers.) In 1870

Bryan/Barnabas/Bernard passed away 14 Sep 1864, so it's obvious he no longer appears on the census records.

From his estate paper held at the Cambria County Archives in Ebensburg, Pa.:

"The petition of Catherine Connelly, widow and execution of the last will and testament of Bernard Connelly late of Summerhill Township in the said county deceased. Humbly ____ that the said Bernard Connelly died on or about the 17th day of September A.D. 1864 leaving a widow and 14 children to wit. Bernard, Thomas, Patrick, Mathew, Michael, Francis, William, John , James, Mary, Elizabeth, Bridget, Catherine, and Margaret. That there was no personal estate of the said deceased wherewith to satisfy his debts and that there are debts against the estate of the said decendant whereby it is necessary that his real estate or part thereof be sold to satisfy the same, as by the statement herewith produced appears."

Bernard owned land consisting of 121 acres and 133 perches. The document was date 1 March 1866.

The discrepencies in the number of children and their names could be due to deaths of children prior to the writing of the will or that nicknames were used or that I can find no record in the Rev Ledoux books (Catholic Vital Records of Central Pennsylvania) of these children being born.

Bernard and Catherine's some Michael G. Conley, born 1857 is my direct ancestor. I don't have much information on him at this time. His obituary from the Johnstown Tribune Dec 12, 1923 reads:

"Wilmore, Dec. 12 -Funeral services for Michael G. Conley whose death occurred at his residence here yesterday aftenoon, willbe conducted at St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church at 9:30 o'clock Friday morning. Mr. Conley was 67 years of age and the sone of the late Bernard and Catherine Conley he is survived by his widow Mrs. Rebecca Conley and the following children: Andrew Conley, Altoona; Thomas and Leo Conley, both at home; Bernard Conley, this place, Michael Conley, Portage; Charles Conley, Blairsville, and Rose (wife of Chist Boast,) Lilly."

Michael G. Conley (b. Aug. 1857 d. Dec 11, 1923) married Rebecca Barbara Burnheimer b. Nov 4, 1887(daughter of Peter and Rebecca Burnheimer.) They had children: Bernard, Andrew, Thomas, Leo, Michael, Charles, and Rose. Their son Bernard Augustus Conley is my direct descendant.

Bernard A. Conley (b. Aug. 30, 1889 d. Nov 5, 1957) married Esther Susan Bendon (b. Oct 31, 1893 d. Aug 3, 1934). The couple had children: Emily, Merle, Margaret, Kenneth, William, Mae, and Lawrence.

Obituary for Bernard Conley from the Johnstown Tribune, Nov. 6, 1957 reads:

"Conley, Bernard A. 68 of 919 Conmaugh Ave., Portage, died November 5th, 1957 at home. Born August 30th 1889 in Wilmore. Son of Michael and Rebecca (Burnheimer) Conley. Preceeded in death by wife former Esther Benden. Survived by these children: Mrs. Margaret Kordish, Portage; Kenneth and Merle both of Lilly; William, Mrs. Mae Ratosky, and Mrs. Emily Davenport, all of Barberton, Ohio, and Lawrence, Johnstown; 22 grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Brother of Mrs. Rose Boast, Lilly; Charles, Cleveland, Ohio; Michael, South Fork, and Thomas, Wilmore. Last employed by PRR. Friend received after 10:00AM Wednesday in Beck Funeral Home, Portage. Requim mass at 9:30AM Friday in St. Jospeh's Catholic Church, Portage. Interment St. Bartholomew's Cemetery,

Daughter of Bernard and Ester Susan Conley, Margaret Conley was my Grandmother. Margaret (b. Aug. 22, 1914 d. Feb 18, 1987) married Joseph Kordish (b. Dec. 25, 1911 d. Oct 16, 1989) son of Andrew Kordys/Kordish and Mary Kaszics. Their children are: Joseph, Donald, Judy, and Ronald Kordish.

For more than you'd ever want to know about the family you can look at the family tree on line at On rootsweb, go to the familytree tab then search for Andrew Kordys and my tree (kingcarsontree) will be the only one that comes up. You can then look at all of my postings.

Previous postings about this family line can also be found under the posting I uploaded in March titled "Cleaning Up the Elders." It begins with the Elder family and how they connect to the Conleys.

Enjoy and please leave a comment,


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