The Connollys & Bells

The Connolly Family

The Connolly side of my family basically begins with Jeremiah Connolly. He was born in County Cork, Ireland around 1815. His father Daniel was a soldier and Jeremiah also joined the army but in 1837 was court-martialled for violence to a superior officer and transported for life to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania, Australia).

Little is known of Jeremiah's life in Ireland. The Connollys were spread throughout County Cork although they were most prevalent in the south west around Drinagh. Were they a family of soldiers? Possibly, but it was also common for convicted republican rebels to be allowed to join the army as an alternative to jail or transportation. Jeremiah certainly wasn't part of the failed uprising of 1798 and Daniel probably wasn't either, unless he was quite old when Jeremiah was born. Nevertheless, I like to think of them as rebels rather than mercenaries.

GENERATION 1

Daniel Connolly m. Mary

Jeremiah arrived in Tasmania aboard the Marquis of Hastings on 18-7-1839. After a number of years at Port Arthur and other Tasmanian penal settlements, he was given his freedom and moved to Victoria where he worked as a clerk. There he married Louisa Gurnett, the daughter of another former soldier, George Gurnett. Shortly after, Jeremiah accepted a position as a clerk back at Port Arthur in Tasmania where all of their children were born.

GENERATION 2

Jeremiah Connolly m. Louisa Gurnett 13-1-1854 Pentridge VIC

The mid 1880s were tragic for the family. Jeremiah's oldest daughter Annie died in 1884, Jeremiah himself died in 1885 and third son Jeremiah Thomas died in 1886. 1887 finally brought some good news when son James married Lily Bell. Lily, although born in Tasmania was also from an Irish family. James followed in his father's footsteps somewhat, working as a clerk in various prisons and institutions in Hobart. Tragedy was never far from the family, however. In 1898, Lily died suddenly. Then in 1901, James's daughter Margery burnt to death when her dress caught alight while she was playing with fire.

GENERATION 3

George Connolly m. Bridget Daly 30-7-1890 Hobart

James Connolly m. Lily Bell 16-2-1887 Hobart

Norah Connolly m. George Bennett 22-11-1898 Lyell TAS

James's third son James Bell Connolly had a successful career as a politician. He held a seat in Tasmania's upper house from 1948 to 1968 and was a minister in the Labor Governments of that era. Fourth son Hilary (later known as Paddy) ran away to sea while still young and ultimately settled in Sydney and had a family. Oldest son Robert also moved to Sydney and has numerous descendants living there today. Oldest daughter Annie's husband Thomas was an Australian cricket selector and her children constituted an ideal Catholic family. Two became priests, one a nun, and the other three had around 30 children between them. Information on subsequent generations is not published to protect the privacy of living members of the family.

GENERATION 4

Annie Connolly m. Thomas Carroll 4-11-1914 Hobart

Robert Connolly m. Dorothy Ritson

James Connolly m. Clytie Chew 5-2-1914 Hobart

Hilary Connolly m. Ivy Bassett 15-4-1933

The Bell Family

The Bells came from County Antrim in the North of Ireland. They were probably farmers there since they took up farming when they arrived in Tasmania. This may have been the cause of their emigration since Ireland was hit by a severe famine in the late 1840s when huge numbers of Irish left for England, America and Australia. The fact that they were Catholics in predominately protestant Ulster could also have played a part in their decision. The Bells arrived in Tasmania in a couple of waves. Robert appears to have led the way. John, wife Margaret and four children arrived aboard the Great Tasmania in 1857 and settled fairly quickly in Franklin, south of Hobart. The other brother James and mother Margaret appear to have arrived later.

GENERATION 1

??? Bell m. Margaret (c1792 Antrim -- 19-4-1868 Franklin)

GENERATION 2

John Bell m. Margaret Holmes

James Bell m. Elizabeth O'Neil 25-4-1854 Hobart

GENERATION 3

Thomas Bell m. Harriett Brittain 1-6-1868 Franklin

Margaret Bell m. James Daly 6-9-1871 Franklin

Jane Bell m. Robert Clark 18-6-1885 Hobart

After Jane's death, Robert married Alice Pratt and had three more children, John, Ida and Victor.

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