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Parnells Of Kings County (Offaly), Ireland

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Location: County Offaly, Irelandmap
Surnames/tags: Parnell Offaly
Profile manager: Cliff Parnell private message [send private message]
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The purpose of this page is to serve as a hub of information for any and all persons & families with the surname Parnell that have lived in King's county, Ireland. Parnell records and Kings county resources will be listed, with the goal being to gather enough data points to create new profiles, and make connections between family members. For privacy reasons, we will not deal with the records of any living persons.

A Brief History of the Parnell Name in Ireland

The surname Parnell is originally an English name, not Irish as many people think. The confusion comes from the notable Irish line of Parnells, including the poet Thomas, several Judges, Lords, and Members of Parlament, and of course the famous "Uncrowned King of Ireland" Charles Stewart Parnell. Those "famous" Irish Parnells were all a result of a Thomas Parnell who relocated from Congleton, England in 1660. This page does NOT include any of the famous, wealthy, Protestant Parnell family, and I have found no connection of the famous line to King's county whatsoever. The King's county Parnells found so far are mostly poor, Roman Catholic tenant farmers, laborers and soldiers. The occurrence of the name is quite small compared to the typical Irish surnames, with maybe a few dozen Parnells in Kings county, and a few hundred in the whole of Ireland at a given time. The more common Kelly, Murphy, or O'Brien would easily number in the thousands at any point within the last 200 years.

Existing Parnell WikiTree Profiles Connected to King's County

If any profiles are determined to portray a Parnell who already has a profile, they can and should be merged so we have only ONE version of each individual. Please send me Cliff Parnell-953 a message if you believe this is the case, and include the WikiTree ID of the 2 profiles, and the source of your proof that they are the same person.

Parnell - Parlon Identity Crisis

An odd connection seems to exist between the surnames of Parnell and Parlon, especially in southern King's county, and the border area near Roscrea, Tipperary, Ireland.[1][2][3] Several families living in southern King's county, including dozens of individuals are seen in records as Parlon in one record, and Parnell in another, or vice-versa. Also, several civil records of births and marriages where one name has been crossed out, and the other one written in. Several explanations have been suggested so far, such as Illiteracy, conforming to religious or class distinctions, or the tendency to "assimilate names to those of distinguished persons."[4] The distinguished person in this case being the famous Irish statesman Charles Stewart Parnell, who had been active and popular in the 1880s & died in 1891. The large family below will illustrate the point:

  • Family of 14, farmer father Michael Parnell-1580, born about 1830-1840, wife Anne (Delany), and 12 children, including son Lawrence Parnell-1581, Ellen, Mary, Katie, Janie, Michael, and 6 more. The couple was married in 1867 as Parlon, they had many children, born as Parlon, then after the death of the "Uncrowned King of Ireland", they show up in the 1901 & 1911 census using the name Parnell.

This next case of 4 siblings, living just a mile from the large family above, illustrates the change going the opposite way, starting out as Parnell in the 1901 census, and then listed as Parlon in the 1911 census. Were they trying to distance themselves from the Parnell name? Were the names just being used interchangeably? Is there some other logical explanation?

The following family seems to go back and forth, with some records having one name crossed out and the other written in.

  • Family of 8, living in Birr Michael Parnell-1584, born about 1856, wife Mary (Casey), children Mary Jane, Michael, Patrick, Edward, Thomas, and Mary Josephine.

Random, Isolated Parnell Records NOT Connected to the Above Existing Profiles

These are the random data points that have been collected in order to match-up and create new profiles. The Idea is to add new Parnell sightings and try to link them together.


The Parnell name did appear in a few Irish records in the 1600s, but the name was very rare in Ireland. These deposition transcripts show the Parnell name in Ireland as early as the 1640s in several counties, Dublin and Waterford (none found in King's).

The significance of these records is that they precede the arrival of the famous line that came to Ireland a few years later.

The famous Parnell line arrived in Ireland at the time of the restoration of the monarchy in about 1660. The counties eventually inhabited by these wealthy, Protestant Parnells were primarily Dublin, Queen's, Wicklow, and Armagh. None are known to have settled in King's county.


Roman Catholic Parish Records for a few parishes may be found, but no Parnell sightings yet.


  • 1821 Ireland census, Matthew Parnell age 30, farm labor, townland of Fortell, parish of Birr, barony of Ballybritt.
  • 1824 Pigot's directory for Birr, shows Thomas Parnell, a publican on Connaught st.
  • Tithe Applotments
  • Roman Catholic Parish Records vary by parish, most from early 1800s to late 1800s.
  • Griffith's Valuation was conducted in King's county in 1854
  • Very limited Census records from 1821-1851.
  • Petty Sessions Court Records
  • Dog Licenses


The vast majority of census records collected before 1900 have been destroyed. Only the 1901 and 1911 remain intact and available to search. By law there is a 100 year privacy buffer, and the 1921 Ireland census was canceled due to war, so the 1926 is the next to be available to the public. This is scheduled to happen in 2027, unless public demand prompts early release.

  • The 1901 Census of Ireland
  • The 1911 Census of Ireland
  • Civil Registration of Births, Marriages & Deaths
  • Petty Sessions Court Records
  • Dog Licenses


Research Notes


  1. Parlon-Parnell connection https://forebears.io/surnames/parlon#meaning
  2. Surnames & Christian Names in Ireland -Index https://www.google.com/books/edition/Varieties_and_synonymes_of_surnames_and/uS7JDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=parnell+Parlon&pg=PA58&
  3. Parlon history https://www.houseofnames.com/parlon-family-crest
  4. Surnames & Christian Names in Ireland by Robert Matheson 1890 https://www.google.com/books/edition/Varieties_and_Synonymes_of_Surnames_and/azhoAAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=parnell+Parlon&pg=PA14&

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