Crowley Clan News from Around the World

Skibbereen Heritage Centre, County Cork: (
Skibbereen Heritage Centre is computerising the Skibbereen, Rath and the Islands baptisms from 1814 and marriages from 1837 Roman Catholic records. A copy of the final database will be presented to the parish, as well as being available at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. At present the centre has the 1901 and 1911 census records computerized. The centre can answer queries while the work is in progress.

Elizabeth Burns, FL, USA: (
My maternal grandmother is Kathryn/Katherine/Catherine Frances/Francis Crowley, born July 16, 1883 in Union, PA. Her parents were Bartholomew Crowley, born January 1852 in Erie, PA, and Margaret Crowley, born April 1855 in Canada (from Ireland originally) and his father, Thomas Crowley, born 1820 in Ireland. His mother Mary Crowley was bornnbsp;1835 in Ireland.  All of this is from I have information about my Grandmother's siblings, but very little on her parents. I am sure there are an infinite number of Thomas Crowleys, but I was wondering how I could find out more. My Mom always told me her mom's people came from County Cork. My grandmother was one of eleven, strong Catholic family. I, myself, am the youngest of seven.

Dave Crowley (Dathí ÓCruadhlaoich)Australia: (
I had a y-chromosome test and the result came back R1b. This was no surprise, since R1b reaches about 98% saturation in the north-west of Ireland. I was surprised when I checked the Crowley y-search website. Rather than the Crowleys sharing the same genetic markers, we appear to have several ancestral origins. When Trinity College Dublin did a survey of the O’Neils, they discovered a high frequency of one set of genetic markers, which they named the Northwest Irish haplotype. They concluded this haplotype goes back to Niall Noigíallach (Niall of the Nine Hostages). This was exciting news because it gives scientific backing to the semi-mythic genealogies. For more go to

According to our clan history we are descended from Diarmaid MacDiarmada, one of the MacDermotts of Moylurg in Roscommon. His exploits earned him the title "an Cruadh Laoch", the hardy warrior. He was ruler of Moylurg 1215-1218. The designation an Cruadh Laoch was remembered when our sept parted company from the MacDermotts shortly afterwards, and we derived our surname from it, ÓCruadhlaoich.

According to the old genealogies the Crowleys are descended via the MacDermots from Brion, halfbrother of Niall Noigíallach. You would expect the Crowleys are Northwest Irish haplotype like the O’Neils.

Our clan marched south around 1280 to our traditional lands of Kilshallow in West Cork. In February 2006 Dr. Ken Nordtvedt identified a cluster of people carrying a distinctive haplotype centered although not exclusively in southern Ireland. It is tentatively called the "South Irish" haplotype, and is the set of genetic markers carried by our old allies the MacCarthys. You might expect that we have adopted some genetic material from our neighbors during our 400 years together as a clan in Kilshallow and some Crowleys will test for this instead of the NW variety.

We had assumed we are a kinship group, related in the male line and descended from the one eponymous ancestor (Diarmaid an Cruadh Laoch). But the results so far say our clan was more a social grouping. It would seem that in ancient times people of various different genetic lines were included in the clan for social and political reasons. It may not be the blood that binds us, but a common history and clan allegiance.

In case any of your readers share closer kinship with me, I'll introduce my ancestors:

  1. Bryan Crowley, born in Paul Street, Cork City, 1791; press-ganged into the RN 1807; died in Cornwall 1855.
  2. Edward William Crowley, born in Cannon St, Devonport, Devon 1837; jumped ship in Melbourne 1852; died in South Melbourne 1916.
  3. Denis Brian Crowley, born in Emerald St, South Melbourne 1866; worked a gold miner; died in Melbourne 1928.
  4. Denis Thomas Crowley, born in Martin St, South Melbourne 1902; served in Royal Australian Navy; died in Sydney 1976.
  5. David Patrick Crowley, your correspondent.

The Crowley Clan Newsletter is
compiled by Marian Crowley Chamberlain