O’Sullivan Family Tree

Elizabeth Amy Perry

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O’Sullivan name
O’Sullivan family tree
Mary Ellen O’Sullivan
Cornelius O’Sullivan
Cornelius and Agnes’ children
Jane’s Royal Credentials
John and Ellen’s children


The Sullivans of south-west Ireland have a long history, it is suggested that the roots of the Sullivans can be found originally among the Celts of central Europe.

The exact date of the arrival of the Gaelic Celts in Ireland is unknown; however, all credible sources maintain that it occurred before the age of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). The Sullivans are said to have arrived in Ireland from Iberia in the early first millenium.

The first part of the name derives from the word ‘suil’, which means eye. The surname is suggested to derive therefore from either one-eyed or hawk-eyed.

O’Sullivan (Ó Súilleabháin, Súileabhánach) is an Irish Gaelic clan based most prominently in what is today County Cork and County Kerry. It is the third most numerous surname in Ireland – somewhat unhelpful for our purposes! Due to emigration, it is also common in Australia, North America, Britain, and the rest of the world.

By the late 12th c the English Normans were battling with Sullivans and McCarthys in Tipperary, Cork and Kerry, driving the O’Sullivans into two cadet groups – the O’Sullivan Beare’s settled in West Cork on the Beare Peninsula. These clans defeated the Normans in 1261 at the battle of Caisglin near Kilgarvan, just north of Kenmare, and were again victorious the following year. These two battles settled the boundaries between the Normans of north Kerry (the FitzGeralds) and the three Gaelic families of south Kerry and west Cork.

During the Elizabethan (QEI) wars, the English sacked the western counties of Ireland, defeating the Irish lords one by one, for example, Munster was sacked in 1580. The last independent ruler of the clan was Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beare, who was defeated in the Nine Years’ War of 1594–1603. Despite Spanish assistance they were heavily defeated in 1601.

Notable O’Sullivans include: Phillip O’Sullivan Beare (1590-1660), was a soldier in the Spanish army, known more as a historian; Colonel John O’Sullivan (b. 1700) a companion to the ‘Young Pretender, who led the Irish Brigade at Culloden in 1745; Peter O’Sullivan famous reacing commentator (1918-2015).


O’Sullivan family tree

We managed to trace the Sullivans back only to GGF3:

GGF1 – Thomas Sullivan Perry 27 Feb 1864-
– Carrigaline District, Cork, Ireland
GGM1 – Mary Ellen O’Sullivan 1864-
– Derrycreeveen, Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
married ?

GMElizabeth Amy Perry 1880-1967
GGF2 – Cornelius O’Sullivan 1827-1899
– Bantry, Cork, Ireland
GGM2 – Agnes McFeely 1841-1914
– Ballinspittle, Cork, Ireland
marriage 13 Jun 1856 at Bantry, Cork, Ireland
John Stephen O’Sullivan 1857–
Agnes O’Sullivan 1858–1892
GGM1 – Mary Ellen O’Sullivan 1864-
Cornelius James O’Sullivan 1861–1932
Elizabeth O’Sullivan 1863–
Jane O’Sullivan 1864–
Michael Francis O’Sullivan 1867–1950
[m: Mary Ann O’Connor – three children inc. Cornelus Thomas 1896-1939]
Thomas James O’Sullivan 1869–1957
Anne O’Sullivan 1870–
Kathleen O’Sullivan 1873–
John Christopher O’Sullivan 1874–
GGF3 – John Sullivan Snr 1806-

GGM3 – Ellen Bohanne Rearden 1806-

married 1822
Catherine O’Sullivan 1824–
GGF2 – Cornelius O’Sullivan 1827-1899
Martha O’Sullivan 1829-
Ellen O’Sullivan 1832–

The Sullivans we are seeking are not from GGF1 – Thomas Sullivan Perry (1864-) (for his tree follows the Perrys) but instead the tree for his wife, GGM1 – Mary Ellen O’Sullivan.


Mary Ellen O’Sullivan

GGF1 – Thomas Sullivan Perry was born on 27 Feb 1864 in Carrigaline District, just to the south of Cork but his wife, the O’Sullivan of the partnership, GGM1 – Mary Ellen O’Sullivan (1859-1886), came from Derrycreeveen on Bere Island. This is 140 kms to the west of Cork, and that’s a journey of two-and-a-half hours on today’s roads. Presumably they met up in Cork?

Their daugter Elizabeth Amy Perry 1880-1967 was born in Bath. Mary Ellen died in 1886, the place is stated as Wiltshire, but the outskirts of Bath were often designated as Wiltshire back then.

For the 1901 census, Thomas Perry is recorded as crew living aboard the 106-ton steamship, No 6 Ribble Hopper (112604), a Mud Hopper that worked with dredgers in the Ribble river. It operated from Preston Lancashire. See more on Elizabeth Amy Perry here – losing her mother at six years old, with an absentee father in her late teens would have moulded her.


Cornelius O’Sullivan

Cornelius O’Sullivan (1828-1899) was born in Dunnen, Cork and served in the UK’s military from 1845-1854. Cornelius first became Bantry Bay’s shoemaker, and was subsequently appointed the town’s Postmaster onan annual salary of £110. He is listed in corkpastandpresent.ie as the 1871 postmaster.

He married Agnes McFeely 1841-1914 in Bantry in 1856. They had thirteen children:

John Stephen O’Sullivan 1857–no data on spouse or issue, there is a possible request for USA naturalisation, and a UK 1911 census return that are suggestive.
Agnes O’Sullivan 1858–1892
John McCarthy 1841-1903
married 1877
Catherine Katie McCarthy (1878–)
John Francis McCarthy (1879–1898)
Joseph Francis McCarthy (1879–1884)
Agnes Mary McCarthy (1880–1956)
Charles McCarthy (1882–)
Ellen Nellie McCarthy (1887–)
Patrick Joseph McCarthy (1888–1944)
Jane Frances Patricia McCarthy (1892–)
GGM1 – Mary Ellen O’Sullivan 1864-
GGF1 – Thomas Sullivan Perry 27 Feb 1864-
GMElizabeth Amy Perry 1880-1967
Cornelius James O’Sullivan 1861–1932
Bridget Mary Byrne 1863- 1934
married 1903
James O’Sullivan (1887–1905)
John Joseph O’Sullivan (1890–1957)
Ellen O’Sullivan (1891–)
Dennis O’Sullivan (1898–1975)
Norah O’Sullivan (1901–1901)
Elizabeth O’Sullivan 1863–no data on spouse or issue
Jane O’Sullivan 1864–no data on spouse or issue
Michael Francis O’Sullivan 1867–1950
– see below
Mary Ann O’Connor 1865-1940
married 1893 Hackney London
Cornelius Thomas O’Sullivan 1896-1939
Kathleen M. O’Sullivan 1898-
Norah Theresa O’Sullivan 1905-1987
Thomas James O’Sullivan 1869–1957 – see below
Agnes Cecillia Hefferman 1868-1944
married 1901
Thomas became a tram driver in London
Mary Liguori ‘Maureen’ O’Sullivan (1902–1970)
Agnes Cecilia O’Sullivan (1903–1981)
Cornelius Christopher O’Sullivan (1909–1966)
Anne O’Sullivan 1870–no data on spouse or issue
Kathleen O’Sullivan 1873–1966
Owen Leonard Connellan 1876-1919
married 1904
– also lived in Leyton
Eileen Patricia Connellan (1906-1973)
John Christopher O’Sullivan 1874–no data on spouse or issue

Cornelius’s reign as the town’s Postmaster was ended when Post Office inspectors performed a spot-check of his operation and found his accounts ‘in disorder’, ‘a large amount of official correspondence had not been opened’. He was fired for ‘mismanagement and neglect of duty’ and sentenced in 1886 to 18 mths, that he served in Cork Jail.

Cork Jail

The shame of the conviction of Cornelius led his son, Michael Francis O’Sullivan 1867–1950, to supervise a move of he and his family to England in the 1890s, They moved to Leyton Essex. Cornelius and Michael’s younger brother Thomas James O’Sullivan 1869–1957 followed him to Leyton. It is unclear if Agnes came with Cornelius, who died in 1899 in Leyton, while she died in 1914 in Cathermore, Cork.



It was Michael that gives Jane her royal connections – Michael’s son Cornelius Thomas O’Sullivan 1896-1939 became a bank inspector. His daughter Mary Kathleen O’Sullivan 1934-2005, had her own daughter Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones – who became the Countess of Wessex, upon marrying HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, KG GCVO CD ADC.


The parents of Cornelius, were GGF3 – John Sullivan Snr (1806- ) and GGM3 – Ellen Bohanne Rearden (1806-1890). They were married in 1822 at Bandon, Cork, both were just 16 years old.

They had four children:

Catherine O’Sullivan (1824–)no data on spouse or issue
Cornelius O’Sullivan (1828–1899)
Agnes McFeeley (1841-1914)
married 1857, Bantry Ireland
John Stephen O’Sullivan (1857–)
Agnes O’Sullivan (1858–1892)
GGM1 – Mary Ellen O’Sullivan (1859–1886)
Cornelius James O’Sullivan (1861–1932)
Elizabeth O’Sullivan (1863–)
Jane O’Sullivan (1864–)
Michael Francis O’Sullivan (1867–1950)
Thomas James O’Sullivan (1869–1957)
Anne O’Sullivan (1870–)
Kathleen O’Sullivan (1873–1966)
James Christopher O’Sullivan (1874–)
Martha O’Sullivan (1829–1917)no data on spouse or issue – may have died in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA
Ellen O’Sullivan (1832–)no data on spouse or issue

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Back to Jane’s Family Tree Introduction

2 thoughts on “O’Sullivan Family Tree

  1. Looking for info on ;
    John Joseph Sullivan & wife Margaret Sidley , they had 10 children , my grandmother was the 7th , Eileen Marie Sullivan , b. 1915.

    1. It is tough to find anything pre-1921 in Ireland, pre the Three Courts fire. I haven’t seen anything about your family – perhaps if you gave me more about them, locations and dates, I might be able to find a connection. It does seem that Sullivan and O’Sullivan was used quite randomly at this time, which doesn’t help. I’ve always been disappointed with what I was able to find on my wife’s family – so am keen to investigate.

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