My great grandmother, Mary Flood,
had three husbands. They were firstly Patrick Mulvihill, then
a Mr. Ryan, and thirdly John Doherty.
Mary had at least four children:
- Jeremiah Mulvihill (b. circa Jan
- Honora "Nora" Mulvihill (FitzMaurice)
(13 Jan 1868 - 19 Mar 1951)
- Margaret Doherty (Quinn) (1874
- Oct 1927)
- Mary Agnes Doherty (McCarthy) (b.
22 Feb 1880)
Since Nora's daughter recorded in 1914 that she had only two
aunts, Maggie Quinn and Mary McCarthy, it is unlikely that Mary
Flood (Mulvihill) (Ryan) (Doherty) had more than three daughters
who survived beyond infancy. The wide spacing between children,
however, suggests that Mary Flood had other children who died
The three daughters emigrated one-by-one to Chicago as the family
gradually saved enough money for the trip.119 Nora,
the oldest, went at age 16.
ORIGINS OF "FLOOD" 84
Some families by the name of Flood are of English extraction
but in Ireland the name is mainly derived from the Gaelic Ó
Maoltuile or Mac Maoltuile. Tuile means flood but probably it
is here for toile, genitive of toil, meaning will, i.e. will
of God. Thus, Maoltuile means servant of the will of God.
In parts of Ulster, Flood is used for the Welsh Floyd. Floyd
is normally a variant of Lloyd which comes from the Welsh word
LLwyd meaning grey.
In Munster, (including Limerick), however, Floyd is sometimes
synonymous with Flood.
Since Mary Flood's eldest daughter, Honora, spoke "a little
Gaelic", Mary herself probably spoke a little more. In the
Gaelic-speaking community, Mary Flood would have been called
Máire Ni Maoltuile.
REGISTER OF MARRIAGES FOR THE CATHOLIC PARISH OF ARDAGH
31 May 1865 Patrick Mulvihill of Ballinlahane to Mary Flood.
Witnesses, Maurice Flood and Johanna Ryan.
Patrick Mulvihill was apparently illiterate since he used an
X as "his mark" to sign the marriage register.
REGISTER OF BIRTHS IN IRELAND
20 Feb. 1868, Ballinal ..., Ardagh, Hanora Mulvihill, female,
father Patrick Mulvihill of Ballinlehane, labourer.
mother Mary Mulvihill, formerly Flood.
REGISTER OF BAPTISMS FOR THE CATHOLIC PARISH OF ARDAGH.
16 Jan 1866 Jeremiah son of Patrick Mulvihill and Mary Flood
Sponsors, James Flood and Margaret Mulvihill.
21 Feb 1868 Honora, daughter
of Patrick Mulvihill and Mary Flood of Ballinlahane.
Sponsors, Brien Salmon and Helen Mulvihill.
Note: The date in the register of
births is apparently the date of entry and not the date of birth
since we know that Honora Mulvihill was born on 13 Jan.
The official spelling of Ballinlehane or Ballinlahane is Ballinloughane,
derived from the Gaelic, Baile an Locháin, meaning
"town of the small lake". The townland has an area
of 195 acres and is situated 2-1/2 miles West of Newcastle. It
is in the barony of Shanid, civil parish of Ardagh. The corresponding
Catholic parish is also called Ardagh.214
A recent listing on the Internet213 says that Ballinloughane
is in the barony of Shanid, civil parish of Dunmoylan, and Poor
Law Union of Rathkeale.
ORIGIN OF "MULVIHILL"84,106
(O)Mulvihill or (O)Mulvihil comes from the Gaelic name Ó
Maoil Mhichil (devotee of St. Michael), the eponymous ancestor
being so called because of his devotion to St. Michael. The sept
was of the same stock as the MacBrannans, and located with them
on the west bank of the Shannon in the modern county of Roscommon;
both were styled chiefs of Corca Sheachlainn or Corcachlann.
Ó Mulvihil and MacBrannan are eulogized together in O'Dugan's
"Topographical Poem", written in the fourteenth century,
but the Ó Mulvihils disappear from history at an early
date - the last to find a place in the "Annals of the Four
Masters" being Gillananaev O'Mulvihil, who was one of the
leading men responsible for the assassination of the son and
heir of the King of Connacht in A.D. 1189. In the census of 1659,
the O'Mulvihils are recorded as among the most numerous families
in Co. Longford. In modern times the representatives of this
sept are scattered, being found in places so widely separated
as Kerry, Donegal, and Wicklow, but nowhere in large numbers.
The chief representative of the sept in 1874 was then seated
at Knockanira, Co. Claire. The family acquired that property
in 1712 from the Earl of Thomond. Doon, formerly Doonmulvihil,
is a place in the civil parish of Inchicronan near Ennis, which
indicates that the Mulvihil family of Knockanira, just referred
to, was established in Co. Clare long before that date. Mulvihils
are still in Co. Clare. Some members of the sept have changed
their name to Mulville and Melville in Clare and Galway and to
Mitchell in Ulster.
Circa 1980, I read a genealogical report from Ireland which stated
that one branch of the Mulvihill families was known as "the
black Mulvihills". In the U.S., we might assume that the
word "black" (when referring to a person) described
either skin color or moral character. In Ireland, however, the
word "black" had many additional uses. The male name
"Kyran", the name of at least five saints, comes from
"Ciarán" which means Blackish or Blackie (as
in Boston Blackie).
Honora Mulvihill [M2S] (13 Jan
1868 - 19 Mar 1951)
Nora came to the United States alone at the age of 16.119
During most of her working life, she worked for the School Department
of the City of Chicago. Her job had something to do with caring
for crippled children.
Although Nora had lived only 15 miles from her future husband's
home in Ireland, they never met until after they had both emigrated
to the United States.119
Nora married John Joseph FitzMaurice [M2] on 14 Sep 1892. They
had three children:
M2.1 John Aloysius FitzMaurice (29 Jul 1893 - 27 Nov 1954)
M2.2 Mary Veronica FitzMaurice (14 Oct 1895 - 5 Aug 1984)
M2.3 H. Emmett I. FitzMaurice (28 Nov 1897 - 4 Dec 1937)
John Aloysius [M2.1] resembled his mother [M2S] while Emmett
[M2.3] had a stronger resemblance to their father [M2]. Mary
Veronica [M2.2] was a mixture.
My sister Loretta said that our grandmother, Nora Mulvihill FitzMaurice,
falsified her age in 1913 when applying for a job with the City
of Chicago at age 45. Nora said that her age was 35, the maximum
acceptable for a new employee. Nora worked 10 years beyond the
normal retirement age of 65 in order to compensate for her earlier
misstatement of her age. She retired at age 75 and died at age
Loretta also said that Nora got the job through the patronage
of Tom Curran. Nora's son John and Tom's daughter Laura married
My sister Veronica told me that it is Nora Mulvihill and her
ancestors who are responsible for the fact that I have no
moons on any of my fingernails.
Nora was a religious woman who had no hesitation in acknowledging
a miraculous event in her personal life. Circa 1930, she told
me that she had left her window open one warm day and a dove
flew in. Soon thereafter, she received a letter telling her that,
on the very same day that the dove had flown in her window, her
mother had died in Ireland. She had no difficulty assigning a
connection to these events.
Nora was also a very modest woman. She once consulted a doctor
concerning her knee. The doctor said, "Let me see your knee."
Nora replied, "Can't I just tell you about it?"119
I remember that my grandmother cooked her meals on a wood-burning
stove and always baked two or three loaves of bread when I stayed
with her. This would have been in her home at 1105 Racine Ave.
circa 1931. I have never tasted bread as good from any store
or restaurant. Although I favored her raisin bread, I thought
that all her bread was delicious.
I also recall helping her make a fruitcake several weeks in advance
of Thanksgiving Day. My job was to mix the stiff batter. She
covered the finished cake with cheesecloth and, at least once
a week, poured a little whiskey over it to keep it moist until
it was eaten.
Nora never missed the Irish Hour on the radio. It had a mixture
of news and music but less music than I would expect in a similar
She had a Victrola on which she loved to play her favorite record,
"When You and I Were Young Maggie".
Nora's life was not a bed of roses. It was far better than living
in Ireland under English rule but it could not have been easy
during the many years when her income had to support her disabled
husband, herself, and their three children. During those years,
she had to make most of the important decisions for her family.
She was never able to break the habit. Twenty years later, she
was still inclined to express forceful opinions on decisions
that had to be made by her children. Not everyone received her
opinions with gratitude.
In 1980, Nellie Curran (Cahill) remembered being visited by Nora
three or four times while Nellie lived on the fourth floor at
18th Street and Allport across from St. Procopius Church in Chicago.
Nellie recalled that Nora was a daily communicant. Nellie described
Nora as being "very mild and even tempered".
Nora told Nellie that she spoke "a little Gaelic".
Nora had a photo album that was always to be seen in her living
room. The album was two or three inches thick and had heavily
padded covers. The pages might have been 8" x 10" or
8 ½" x 11" and 1/8" thick with about four
photos on each side of each page. I don't think that there was
a name or other identification associated with any of the photographs.
The photos that I remember showed the upper part of the body
down to a point about four or five inches above the navel. In
each case, the subject was turned about 45 degrees away from
the camera. I recall Nora pointing to photos of her parents and
This treasure has now disappeared. It was probably inherited
by Nora's daughter, Sister Mary Veronica FitzMaurice, BVM. Circa
1980, Sister Veronica told me that she had given all her photographs
to my sisters Veronica and Loretta. They have both said that
they do not have the album. However, Veronica has Nora's wedding
Nora died on 19 Mar 1951 as a result of a fall.
Chicago Daily News, Mon., Mar. 19, 1951, page 23
FITZMAURICE - Nora Mulvihill Fitzmaurice,
beloved wife of the late John J., devoted mother of John A.,
Sister Mary St. Mildred, B.V.M. and the late Emmett, grandmother
of Mrs. Dolores Laurie, Mrs. Loretta Martino, John, Veronica,
Thomas, Francis, Emmett and Loyola Fitzmaurice, great-grandmother
of five. Funeral Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. from chapel, 5911 W. Madison
- st. at Mason - av. to St. Malachy Church. Interment All Saints
Cemetery. Please omit flowers.