Genealogist finds Tim Kaine also has Irish roots in Cork

Woman who unveiled Obama’s ancestory finds new link in VP candidate’s family tree

US Democratic vice presidential candidate senator Tim Kaine has never been shy about proclaiming his Longford and Kilkenny roots but a leading genealogist has also found ties with Cork.

According to Megan Smolenyak, who traced US president Barack Obama's Irish ancestry to Moneygall in Co Offaly, Mr Kaine (58) seems more acquainted with his ancestry on his father's side than that of his mother.

He has spoken of his ties to his paternal great-grandfather’s home of Longford.

“I am about as stone Irish as you get for somebody whose family has been in the country for 150 years. All four of my grandparents were born to Irish immigrants,” he said in March, as he outlined his family connection with Longford.


Mr Kaine told how, in his first year as governor of Virginia in 2006, he and his wife, Anne and their teenage children drove to Killashee in Co Longford.

Here, they found the ruins of the house where his great-grandfather PJ Farrell was born and he told his children “this is where we come from”.

Mr Kaine's paternal great-grandmother Mary Catherine Fleming was born in Canada but has roots in Co Kilkenny, while his maternal grandfather, Leo Burns was born to Michael and Bridget Burns, who had been born in Illinois and Missouri to Irish parents.

But American genealogist Ms Smolenyak has unearthed further Irish links on his mother’s side.

She has traced his maternal great-great-grandfather, Richard Hannon to Annakisha parish between Mallow and Shanballymore in north Cork, where he was born on January 15th, 1839.

"Richard was born to Patrick Hannon and Catherine Jones who were married in Mallow parish on March 20th, 1838," she said.

"There is a Patrick Hannan listed as living in Carriganaltig in Castletownroche, which borders Shanballymore, in 1839, so I believe that's Richard's father," Ms Smolenyak said.

"Richard emigrated from Ireland and arrived in New York on November 28th, 1851 at the age of 11 on a ship called Florida. There were no other Hannon/Hannan folks on board, so my guess is that the James Jones, two lines above him on the register, might have been an uncle.

Strong ties

“Richard apparently spent a few years in New York before going to Illinois where he married and had a few children before moving on again to


where he died in 1910.

"I know Tim Kaine has connections with Cork and frequently visits Courtmacsherry in west Cork after his parents, Al and Kathleen, visited there 25 years ago but it appears from my research he has strong ties with north Cork, too, so maybe visiting Cork was a sort of homecoming for him as well."

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times