Lavelles from Achill to Cleveland

"Land rich, cash poor" and "You cannot live off the scenery".  Those were among the reasons why so many left Ireland.

Achill Island, from where many Cleveland Irish came, had rocky hills for sheep grazing, peaty bogs for harvesting the cold damp weather's fuel, and shiny black shale beaches.  

Some of the Lavelles from Dooega and other villages on Achill, upon arrival by ship in New York, stayed there and settled in. Others pushed on to Cleveland, Ohio, others to Chicago, Illinois and others to points further west.

Of the Lavelles that settled in Cleveland, 44 unique families have been documented. 

The feature family on this web site are descendants of Anthony Lavelle & Margaret Gallagher  of Dooega, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland. Their daughter Annie Lavelle Cafferkey left Ireland in 1891 to join her son in Cleveland, Ohio. Annie's niece Mary Lavelle, daughter of John "Stoneen" Lavelle,  followed them to Cleveland in 1898. They were later joined by Mary's siblings: Owen (1905), Margaret (1908), Peter (1914) and John (1915).

In 2003, the special relationship between Achill and Cleveland was celebrated with a twinning ceremony. See the photos in Cleveland and Achill  representing this event. There is evidence that emigration from Achill to Cleveland was in progress in the 1880’s. This continued into the 1960’s.

It is estimated that a quarter of the 800,000 population in Cleveland (as of 2003) claim Achill ancestry and the Island is well represented at all levels in Cleveland business and public life as well as the Trade Unions and the construction industry.

In 1922 during the Irish civil war, the anti-treaty troops seized the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI), resulting in its destruction by Irish troops and the burning of a vast collection of public records held there. 

Consequently, in order to document Lavelle Family History within Ireland, family oral history and records transcribed by William G. Masterson and his wife for County Mayo, Ireland, Parish of Achill records have been relied upon. These transcriptions include: (1) County Mayo Ireland Parish of Achill records:  Births, Marriages and Tithes from 1824 -1901, (2) County Mayo Ireland Parish of Achill Roman Catholic Baptismal records 1868-1891,  (3) County Mayo Ireland Parish of Achill Roman Catholic Baptismal records 1892-1911, (4) Irish Census Records for 1901 and (5) Irish Census Records for 1911.  

For Lavelles who eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio,  the Social Security Death Index as published on the Internet, the Cleveland Public Library Necrology Files and the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Probate Court Marriage Index and U.S. Federal Census records as posted by have been researched.

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Last Updated:
Friday, July 09, 2010 09:46:19 AM