Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Kickham - Contents

  The Cromwellian origin of our family

The Fenian's family / Our family

Kickham of Kilvemnon


Kickham of Mullinahone, Co.Tipperary




Sources yet to be consulted

The Cromwellian origin of our family

Our Kickham family (the Fenian's family) is of SE Co.Tipperary.
Of the area of Fethard (Fethard par) and Mullinahone (Kilvemnon par, near border with Co.Kilkenny).

Page 242 of [Maher, 1955] says the family originated in Kirkham, Lancashire, NW England.
In England the commonest form is Kirkham, with variants Kirkam and Kerkham [Comerford, 1979].


Cromwellian settler

Our Kickham family (the Fenian's family) is said to descend from a Cromwellian settler of the 1650s.
He was Protestant, of the name Kickham, or Kirkham.
[Heffernan, 1958] says he was born in Lancashire.
He was a farrier-sergeant in the Cromwellian army in the Irish Confederate Wars (1641-1653).
A military farrier was "an important position involving responsibility for the welfare of the horses in a cavalry regiment, but it was not sufficiently prestigious to ensure admission to the ranks of the colonial gentry" [Comerford, 1979].
He received land in Ireland.

[Heffernan, 1958] says that a Kickham was Town Clerk of Cashel, Co.Tipperary, in 1672.
Though p.242 of [Maher, 1955] seems to say that the Cashel municipal archives say "Kirkham".


Link to Cooke and Barton

[Heffernan, 1958] says the original Kickham continued to practice as a vet in Co.Tipperary, under the patronage of these two families:

The problem with the original Kickham settler being involved with Cooke or Barton is that Cooke did not live at Kiltinan until 1681, and Barton did not acquire Grove until 1752. So maybe these are linked to later Kickhams rather than the first settler.
[Cusack] links Barton to James Kickham of Knockelly in the early 19th century.
[Comerford, 1979] says "the tradition of the professional horse-handler survived in the family for a surprisingly long time".

The Cooke seat, Kiltinan Castle.
From 1887 to 1913 map.
Now Kiltinan Castle Stud.
See modern satellite view and street view of SW entrance.


Trying to identify an actual Cromwellian settler

This Kickham family is meant to descend from Kickham, or Kirkham, a Cromwellian settler.

There is a "Robert Kirkam" of London listed among the Cromwellian adventurers for land in Ireland in 1642 to 1646.
Whether he is the ancestor of this family is not known.


Robert Kirkam, of London, bowyer.
Listed among the Cromwellian adventurers for land in Ireland in 1642 to 1646.
The "adventurers" paid to get future lands in Ireland.
After the Cromwellian victory in 1653, Irish lands were confiscated and handed out to the adventurers.
From pp.401-403 and p.415 of The Cromwellian settlement of Ireland by John P. Prendergast (died 1893), 3rd edn, 1922.


The Fenian's family / Our family

It is now proven that our family is the same as the Fenian's family.

Proof that Charles Kickham (born 1752) is our ancestor

I call it as proved that Charles Kickham of Mullinahone (born 1752, died 1815, grandfather of the Fenian Charles Joseph Kickham) is our direct ancestor.
In particular his son Edward Kickham is our direct ancestor.
The proof is as follows.

  1. Start with family records:
    • Family records showed we descend from Mary Kickham, daughter of Edward Kickham.
    • Our Kickhams were said to be close relations of the Fenian.
    • Pat Lavelle had a family tree showing the connection. She said our Edward Kickham was uncle of the Fenian.
    • Bee Sheahan (born 1876) stayed with Kickham cousins in Mullinahone as a child (would be 1880s). She had a goat called Charles, after the Fenian (who died 1882). It was said that: "Family didn't approve" (Of what? The Fenian? Or disrespect to the Fenian?)

  2. External records confirmed it:
    • Looking through external records strongly confirmed this story.
    • We soon discovered proof that Mary's father was an Edward Kickham of Mullinahone.
    • There is no Edward Kickham listed among the Fenian's uncles in [White, 1955]. However we discovered that only lists some of the uncles.
    • We discovered [Deed, 1812], which showed the Fenian's uncle Edward Kickham, the eldest son.
    • Edward is listed with his brothers in [Clonagoose Deed, 1817].
    • So there was an Edward, uncle of the Fenian, son of Charles Kickham (born 1752) of Mullinahone.
    • Our Edward Kickham had children baptised in Mullinahone 1812 to 1820, so he is the right generation and location to be this Edward.
    • At the baptism of our Edward's son Charles Kickham in 1812, the sponsor is "Charles the grandfather". If it was maternal grandfather they would say Charles Armstrong. So it must be Charles Kickham the paternal grandfather. So our Edward was son of Charles. Note that Charles Kickham, born 1752, died in 1815.
    • Maybe I should have regarded it as already proven, but I still looked for final proof.

  3. DNA proves it:

Our matches to the Fenian's family are as follows (ones above 11 cM marked):

Person in our family Person in the Fenian's family Match in centimorgans (cM)
Frank McGrath Edward Blatchford 12 cM
Frank McGrath Edward Blatchford 12 cM
Derval McGrath Edward Blatchford 8 cM
Nuala Duggan Emma White 7 cM

I believe that the DNA, on top of the paperwork, has finally proved this link, unless very strong evidence emerges to the contrary.
That evidence would have to include another candidate for Charles Kickham who has son Edward Kickham who has children bapt 1812 to 1820.

Pat Lavelle was right. Edward Kickham is uncle of the Fenian. Nothing else is plausible.

The Cromwellian farrier above is ancestor somehow of:

The standard theory is that Charles and James are Protestant.
But see below for a theory that the Kickhams may have converted to Catholicism in an earlier generation.

Kickham tree from Pat Lavelle (died 1966) in [PAT/7, no.1] and [PAT/13, no.4].
She shows our Edward Kickham as uncle of the Fenian.
Over 50 years later, in 2019, DNA analysis finally proved this is true.

Kickham tree in [PAT/13, no.2] also shows our Edward Kickham as uncle of the Fenian.
Though she attaches Armstrong to the wrong generation. Armstrong is definitely Edward Kickham's wife.
In [PAT/13, no.1] and [PAT/12, p.18] she shows George Cashel's wife as aunt of the Fenian instead of the correct relationship, 1st cousin.

Mullinahone, Co.Tipperary, on 1887 to 1913 map.
Callan St (also called Chapel St) is now Kickham St.
See Griffiths Valuation map (and full size).
See modern Google Maps.

Kickham of Kilvemnon

The below Kickham family are of Kilvemnon (some distance S of Mullinahone, where the graveyard is).
This family have a tradition of being related to the Fenian Kickham family of Mullinahone.
We would easily believe that any Kickham family in the neighbourhood is related. It is not a common name.
And now we have strong DNA matches which suggest the two families are very close relations.


Proof that Kickham of Kilvemnon are related to our family (and the Fenian's family)

There are multiple DNA matches between Kickham of Kilvemnon and our family. They are as follows (ones above 11 cM marked):

Person in our family Person in Kickham of Kilvemnon Match in centimorgans (cM)
Kathrin Riordan Kathleen O'Donnell 16 cM
Donal Duggan Matt Sheumack 14 cM
Nuala Duggan Kathleen O'Donnell 13 cM
Niall Humphreys Matt Sheumack 12 cM
Frank McGrath Kathleen O'Donnell 11 cM
Derval McGrath Kathleen O'Donnell 11 cM
Nuala Duggan Matt Sheumack 10 cM
Frank McGrath Kathleen O'Donnell 10 cM
Frank McGrath Colleen Kickham 10 cM
Nuala Duggan Colleen Kickham 10 cM
Nuala Duggan Jacob Hale 10 cM
Derval McGrath Matt Sheumack 9 cM
Frank McGrath Matt Sheumack 9 cM
Mitrina Ryall Matt Sheumack 9 cM
Derval McGrath Colleen Kickham 9 cM
Malachi Spain Jacob Hale 9 cM
John Lavelle Jacob Hale 9 cM
Helen McGrath Colleen Kickham 8 cM
Niall Humphreys Ann-Maree Hackett 7 cM

So our family is related by DNA to both Kickham of Kilvemnon and the Fenian Kickhams.
The two families are related, and very closely.


Do we descend from Kickham of Kilvemnon?

The DNA matches of our family with Kickham of Kilvemnon are actually better than our matches with the Fenian's family. If DNA was all we had, my theory would be that we descend from Kickham of Kilvemnon, and are closer to them than to the Fenian's family. The Fenian's family would be close relations, but Charles Kickham (born 1752) would not be our ancestor.

But DNA is not all we have. We have documentary evidence that we descend from a Charles Kickham who has a son Edward Kickham who has children bapt 1812 to 1820. This perfectly fits the Fenian family. It does not fit the Kilvemnon family. Such a tree cannot fit in below Laurence of Kilvemnon (born 1770).

Maybe another Edward son of Charles will emerge. But the most realistic theory is that we have found the Edward son of Charles, and it is just by chance that we have better matches (so far) with Kickham of Kilvemnon, who must be very close relations to the Fenian's family.

Laurence of Kilvemnon (born 1770) must be very closely related to Charles (born 1752), maybe a younger brother. Note that the eldest son of both appears to be Edward. According to the Irish naming pattern, it looks like the father of Laurence and Charles would be Edward Kickham.


Did the Kickham family go Catholic earlier?

The DNA suggests that Laurence of Kilvemnon is probably a brother of Charles (born 1752).
But then consider the brothers' religions:
  1. James Kickham of Knockelly Castle: Protestant. Though maybe identical with his supposed son James Kickham who marries a Catholic and has Catholic children.
  2. Charles Kickham (born 1752): Protestant. Marries a Catholic and has Catholic children.
  3. Laurence Kickham: Marries a Catholic and has Catholic children.
  4. Maybe Thomas Kickham: Marries a Catholic and has Catholic children.
Aren't there a lot of Protestant Kickham brothers marrying Catholics?

Perhaps a simple explanation is that none of these Kickhams are Protestant. But rather the conversion of Kickham to Catholicism happened a generation earlier.

Probably a brother of James and Charles above:

Laurence is probably a close relation of the following Thomas.
Why? Because Thomas and Laurence baptise children on the same day, 8 May 1816.
Laurence names his son Thomas. Thomas names his son Laurence.
They are probably brothers.


The double baptism on 8 May 1816.
From here. And here.

The old Kilvemnon graveyard, Kilvemnon townland, S of Mullinahone.
From 1829 to 1842 map. Click through to map to see location of Kilvemnon townland, a couple of townlands S of Mullinahone.
See modern street view.
Both Protestants and Catholics are buried here.


Miscellaneous Kickhams


Family trees




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