Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Link to Chicago Mayor Kennelly?

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 8/12/2009
Last September, when I first moved to Chicago, I threw together a blog post of my genealogical connections to the city.

The most interesting and ironic link from that list was that my great-grandfather Wallace Kanalley came to Chicago looking for work in 1920 at the age of 18, not far away from my coming at 23. He spent time as a watchman, but obviously didn't stay, as he was in Buffalo a few years later (where I grew up), and had my grandfather Kenneth in Buffalo in 1932.

Since then, I've also learned that some of my Bulger relatives came from Canada to Chicago in the late 1800's (not listed in that original post).

And tonight, an old video triggered an old memory.

The video is literally old, though I found it in the most new media of ways. A YouTube video depicting 1948 night life in Chicago, I came across it while doing work with Twitter during my internship today at the Chicago Tribune.

At 1:39-1:43, the video mentions Colonel McCormick, former Tribune publisher, who @ColonelTribune was inspired by.

Interestingly, the man introduced in the video right before Colonel is "the honorable Mayor Martin H. Kennelly." Mayor of Chicago from 1947 to 1955, the name immediately brought back memories.

Chicago Mayor Martin H. Kennelly, 1947, Photo by Time (OK for personal use)

About five years ago or so, long before I knew I'd ever come to Chicago, a distant relative of mine said they had heard we're related to a Mayor Martin Kennelly. I knew he was from Chicago, but I didn't know when he served. How ironic I came across him in the video...

INTERESTINGLY, the guy in the video pronounces the surname the way I pronounce mine, and even more interesting I think, I know for a fact my name used to be spelled Kennelly in Ireland. I'm very confident there's a link.

I did a little digging. He was born in Chicago in 1887 and his father is said to have come from Ballylongford, Co. Kerry, according to genealogy forums. County Kerry neighbors County Limerick, where my ancestor Thomas Kennelly was born in about 1820. Again, I'm sure there's some kind of connection. It's even possible that Thomas had a brother who was Martin's grandfather, making the former Mayor and my great-grandfather Wallace just second cousins.

So here's the video... watch from about 1:34-1:39.

5 comments on "Link to Chicago Mayor Kennelly?"

Anonymous said...

Martin Kennelly was one of 4 children. He had a sister, Ella, and two brothers, Jerry and John.
His brother John Kennelly was my grandfather. My grandfather died before I was born so Martin "adopted" our family and acted as our grandfather. I saw him many times for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas until his death in 1961. He was also my godfather and I was baptised in 1950 while he was Mayor of Chicago. He was a fine gentleman, quiet, gentle and generous.

Jerry Martin Kennelly

Anonymous said...

So Craig, with your interest in geneology, were you able to track a direct connection between your family and ours? ( I am Jerry Kennelly's older sister). I would be very interested in any thing you may have confirmed.

My brother's description of our "Uncle Marty" is exactly as I remember him.

Marilyn Kennelly

Anonymous said...

To Jerry Martin Kennelly,
Did Martin have any children. I am researching the ancestors of Herman John Kennelly Sr. I was told by Herman John Kennelly Jr daughter Linda that Martin was her great grandfather but I can not find any evidence to support her information.

Vicky Swaton Langlois

Parley Kennelly on October 11, 2016 at 11:40 AM said...

As far as I know Martin H. Kennelly, Mayor of Chicago, never married, nor had children. My dad is cousins with Marilyn and Jerry. If you have any documentation that might connect our two families that would be wonderful.

Kathleen Pope on December 7, 2016 at 6:19 PM said...

I was born Kathleen Ann Coughlin in Evanston, IL. My Grandmother was Margaret Kennelly, my Grandfather Jeremiah Coughlin. I was raised hearing that Mayor Kennelly was my Great Uncle. But, I guess since he had no children, he may have been a 2nd uncle to my Grandmother. On my Grandfather's side...Bath House John Coughlin was an uncle...the family was so ashamed, they had changed our last name to Conklin for a while. LOL Maybe we might be related. My Father is Jeremiah Coughlin, my Mother is Rasma. If you have any info...please email me. Thanks!


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