Family History
Monaghan is the most common anglicized version of the Irish word Manacain, meaning "Monk."  Other versions would be Monahan, Manahan, Maynahan, Magnan, and the full English translation Monk.  O'Manacain  is the Gaelic or Irish Family name and is literally pronounced O'Veenacon.

The family name of Monaghan is chiefly found in the counties of Mayo, Galway, Monaghan, Sligo, and Fermanagh, all of which are not far from the original habitat of the O'Monaghans in that part of County Roscommon which lies between Elfin and Jamestown.  The Annals of the Four Masters record O'Manacain chieftains as Lords of the "Three Tuaths" of Roscommon and indicates they were a power in the land from the 9th to he 13th centuries.  In 1249 AD, they were supplanted in the lordship and declined in influence and power.  The O'Monaghans were also chiefs of Breech Magh which was a district in the parish of Kilmore May on the eastern bank of the May river in County Sligo.  There is a remarkable Monaghan tomb in the Dominican Church at Athenry in County Galway.

The family crest includes the Latin motto "Felis demulcta mitis" and the usual translation is "Gentle in peace, fearless in war."  The motto is actually an Irish proverb which literally translated means "the soothed cat is gentle."  The crest itself is made up of a gold chevron and three gold stars on a background of blue with an armored soldier above.

Some Monaghans in history include Manacain, a noted Connacht warrior from the ninth century in the area of what is now Galway and Mayo.  Dick Monk also known as Richard Monaghan fought with the Irish rebels in the battle of Arklow in 1798.  James Clarence Mangan was a famous Dublin poet born in 1803.  James Henry Monaghan was a controversial Catholic Attorney General during the Young Ireland Movement who later became the Chief Justice that tried the fenian rebels.   James Monaghan was a noted Irish American poet born in 1862.

The known history of our family only goes back to our Great-grandparents, Thomas And Bridget Ann (Groark) Monaghan and Charles and Bridget (Murtaugh) Quinn, all living in the small village of Bohola in Country Mayo in about 1860.  Bohola is a village of less than a thousand people and is not on most maps of Ireland.  It is located five miles south of Swinford and ten miles east of Castlebar.  At the old crossroads of the village there is a post office, a Catholic church, and three pubs.

Our cousin, Delia Byrne, believes that Thomas may have originally come from Sligo and that his father may have been named Patrick and his mother may have been a McManus.  Thomas would have been born prior to the famine that devastated Ireland and caused the disintegration of many families with over one million deaths and another million leaving the country.  Families were split apart at that time and family members were left to fend for themselves with many traveling the roads looking for food and work.  Many were put in poor houses or put to work on country roads in return for food.  The west of Ireland was the poorest part of the country and the hardest hit by the disaster.

County records found in Castlebar indicate that Thomas Monaghan was a tenant farmer living in an area of Bohola known as Toocannanagh. I visited the Toocannanagh site in 1976 and there was still the cornerstones of the cottage that they lived in.  His wife, Bridget Ann (Groark), died of diphtheria at the age of 36 on June 2, 1880.  The children of this union were:

Thomas J.  Born on 12/2/1860 married Bridget Dacey and came to America
Ann Born on 8/9/1863 married John Berry and came to America
James J.   Our grandfather who was born in 1868 and came to America in about 1890 returned to Ireland in the late 1890's and married Mary A. Quinn  on 6/6/1901 in the Bohola Catholic Church.  They then came to Belleville, New Jersey.
John   Born on 4/9/1871 married a Kate and came to America
Myles  Born 3/9/1873 married Margaret O'Hara and came to America
Mary M.  Born 2/27/76 married Peter McCrane and came to America.
Andrew  Born 11/10/1878

At about the same period of time a Charles Quinn married a Bridget Murtaugh and they lived on the Quinn owned farm in an area of Bohola known as Clooneen. Charles Quinn died at an early age leaving the farm to Bridget.   The marriage produced the following children:

James who died in childhood
Thomas who died in childhood
Michael   Came to America and married Bridget Kilgallon
Mary A.  Our grandmother born 10/20/1878 married James J. Monaghan in Bohola and came to America.
Bridget Delia   Born 2/7/79 and known as Bee and came to America.

 Click here for picture of Thomas Monaghan and Bridget Murtaugh Quinn

Some time between 1880 and 1883 Thomas Monaghan then married Bridget Murtaugh Quinn and moved to what now became the Monaghan Farm in Clooneen with his youngest children.  The following children then came from this marriage:

Ellen   Born 1/9/1884 who married Thomas O'Connor and came to America
Martin   Born a twin?  10/12/1885
Thomas  Born a twin?  10/18/1885
Catherine (nothing known)
Timothy  Born 2/1/1887 married Celia Jordan and eventually inherited the Monaghan Farm in Clooneen Bohola.

James J. and Mary A. (Quinn) Monaghan came to America in 1901 or 1902 and settled in Belleville, New Jersey.  Their first known house was a small two bedroom rental on Bridge Street behind St Peter's Church and Cemetery (The house was destroyed by fire in the late 1970's).  James was a laborer who worked in some of the many Newark factories of the time.  Mary was a housewife and mother.  As the family grew, they found a much larger three story house at 64 Union Avenue that supposedly was purchased for five dollars down and payments.  Here is where the majority of their children were born and reared.

They had a total of twelve children.  Five of the children died in birth or at an early age.  They were Thomas and Katherine (twins), Michael, Vincent, and Patrick , who drowned in a swimming accident at the age of fifteen.  The children that survived were as follows:

Mary Geniveve born May 1, 1902 and married John Gallagher
James who married Constance White
Timothy William born in 1909 and married Helen R. Kaminski
Myles Charles born on January 9, 1911 and married Marie Lillian Rapp on April 27, 1940
Andrew born in 1915 and married Kay Kelly
Mildred Esther Cecelia born on October 1, 1916 and married to Carl Hugger, M.D.
John born in 1919 and married to Hallette

At some point in the mid 1920's James and Mary decided to build and open a small store on the front of the Union Avenue house.  It was called J. Monaghan Confectionery and would have been a convenience store of today  selling  soda, milk, bread, candy, newspapers, etc.  Mary ran the store with the help of the older children.  All of the children went to St. Peter's Catholic School through eighth grade with some going on to business school for two years and others on to Belleville High School.

In the mid 1930's with most of the children grown, James and Mary sold the property on Union Avenue and purchased a house in a quieter area several blocks away on DeWitt Avenue.

Mary died in 1940 and is buried in St. Peter's Cemetery along with James, who passed away in 1944.

Family Photo Album
(click on titles)

 Union Avenue House
 James and Mary Monaghan with kids
 Young James Monaghan Sr.
 Union Avenue Confectionery Shop
 Map of Belleville, New Jersey

It is hoped that each cousin will write the history of the seven Monaghan siblings and that it will be added to the links below.  Don't forget to visit (click on) the Monaghan Clan and Ireland 2000 web sites below!

(click on any title)

 Mary Monaghan Gallagher
James Monaghan
Timothy William Monaghan
Myles Charles Monaghan
 Andrew F. Monaghan
   Mildred Monaghan Hugger
John Monaghan
Ireland 2000