Chapter 3: 1860 – 1880: Hugh Coyle of Ards Beg, Hugh Connaghan, Father McFadden and the Australian Immigration Deposit Journal


Our Clan’s researched history can only be verified back to our Great-Great-Grandfathers and GG Grandmothers. So far!

Those GG Grandparents were Hugh Coyle & Margery (Duggan)* or Ards Beg, Parish of Tullaghobegly, Donegal – father and mother to Denis Coyle: On the maternal side –Bridget Curran’s parents were James Curran & Sarah (Brogan) of Killult, Donegal.

There is no information about a relationship between Denis Coyle & Bridget Curran prior to leaving Ireland.

Denis Coyle was born in 1860 as the 2nd son to Hugh & Margery. Hannah was the 1st born in 1857 followed by John in 1859. John, as the eldest son, is presumed to have chosen (or been obligated) to stay in Ireland, as he is present in the Ards Beg family home in 1901 with Hugh & Margery in the census for that year. There were at least another 4 Coyle siblings including James (1865), Ellen (1867), Mary (1870) & Bridget (1873).**

Hugh Connaghan from Meenlaragh married the eldest daughter of Hugh Coyle, Hanorah (often called Hannah or Norah) in 1878 or early 1879. They made their plans for a new life in Australia. Whether this was at the instigation of Hannah’s father, the Connaghan clan or the very proactive Father McFadden – is a matter of speculation.

Father James McFadden was promoting the Assissted Passages and still involved with what remained of the Donegal Relief Fund. There were also many agents for the shipping lines – travelling between the villages –  touting the low cost of emigration via their nearly monthly voyages.

The record of Hugh Connaghan’s voyage to Australia is not evident as yet. The details that can be found state that their own 1st born son, Denis Connaghan was born in January of 1880. So, for the sake of this story we are assuming that Hannah was pregnant by March or April of 1879 and that Hugh then sailed to Australia before October of that year. Because it is then recorded in the Australian Immigration Deposit Journal that Hugh is arranging for the passage of his wife, child and our Denis Coyle.

What is clear from the records held in New South Wales under the Immigration Deposit Journal is that the entire community centred around Gortahork helped each other to get to Sydney, by use of the Assisted Immigration Schemes. There are entries listing the sponsorship from Sydney, and the vouching from Ireland, including Hugh Connaghan, Hugh Coyle, Denis Coyle, Father McFadden, James Curran & Mary Curran.

deposit journal - denis

Many of those family names turn up in the subsequent records as creating their own community in Balmain. Their chosen homes in Crystal Street may have been home to a mini enclave of the Irish Diaspora. It is very clear that they helped each other settling in their new land.

But before Denis Coyle and his sister and infant nephew made it here they had to endure – the Journey !!

Continued in Chapter 4….


*In various records the wife of Hugh Coyle is recorded as Margery/Margaret/Magey & Mabia and her surname is also listed as being either Duggan, Dugan or Doogan.

** It is coming to light that attempts were made to bring out other Coyle siblings – we think only Mary Coyle made it, on her 2nd attempt. Her story will be included later on further kin.


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