The Callan Family of Ireland is a website devoted to the study of the genealogy and history of the Callan Family.

Recently with the advent of reasonably priced DNA testing genealogists now have a wondrous tool at their disposal to go along with documented family histories. Although many view this as a threat to their long held beliefs of who and where their family belong, I take the opposite approach and want to know the truth about my forebears. Brickwalls are crumbling with affordable DNA testing and the future is very bright with each new advance in genetic genealogy.

There are three unrelated septs of Callans in Ireland. The first in the ancient territory of Oriel (comprising the modern counties of Armagh, Monaghan and parts of South Down, Louth and Fermanagh). The second, County Limerick was the original homeland of the Munster sept.  A third sept was located in County Roscommon.

Included with this study will be articles, bible records, census returns, DNA studies,  immigration records, land record, and links to other websites and sources.

If anyone has information to share, questions or comments you can always reach me at stancourtney@hotmail.com.


Books on the Callan surname and coat of arms

DNA Project

Facebook – I’m a Callan

Irish Records

U.S. Census

Owen Callen / Courtney

The Genealogy Triangle

There is a revolution going on within researching one’s family tree. Fifteen years ago genealogists used oral history and written records to compile their family histories. Then in the early 2000’s genetic genealogy came on the scene. Things immediately got more difficult to understand with new words like haplogroup, STR’s, SNP’s, and different types of DNA testing, i.e. YDNA, mtDNA and autosomal.


So if you are a member or you are wanting to join the Callen DNA Project what is the progression of testing for your direct male line?

A. Traditional genealogy never ends. The admins of the project are here to help you with your genealogy but I learned it is a mistake to make any bold statements until after initial DNA testing.

B. STR testing. Many people start with 12 marker tests, it is the cheapest test and you can always upgrade later using your provided sample. However it is advisable to upgrade to 67 markers as at that level your non-relatives, that were prevalent at 12 and 37 marker levels have been filtered out. 67 marker testing is considered the “gold standard” for STR testing.

C. SNP testing. With your initial 12 marker test Family Tree DNA will give you a predicted haplogroup usually, R1a, R1b or I haplogroups. Predicted haplogroups in the charts are colored red, while tested haplogroups are colored green. Over the last fifteen years new SNPs have been discovered bringing the age of the SNPs closer and closer to the present times. With the introduction of NextGen testing there has been a literal SNP tsunami of SNPs. The Big Y was first released on the 9th of Nov 2013 and although expensive has been received with great enthusiasm by thousands who have welcomed the new technology. The Big Y looks for all SNPs, known and unknown and usually gives the tester a large group of SNPs that are unique to them. So for the first time SNPs are coming down to written genealogy. STR values can be quite variable and mutate back and forth wile SNPs are a one time mutation.

There are 3 steps in SNP testing:

1 – individual SNPs
2 – SNP packs can have over 100 individual SNP’s
3 – The Big Y tests for thousand of known and unknown SNPs

Please ask an admin for advice on which SNP to order.

So modern genealogy is a tripartite endeavor. We can think of modern genealogy as forming a three sided triangle: traditional genealogy – STR testing – SNP testing.

How is your triangle, are you missing one leg or perhaps even two?


For a more in-depth look at STRs vs SNPs please check out:

STRs vs SNPs, Multiple DNA Personalities from DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy



Callan Castle

CANDLER NOTES from files of
                        Linda Sparks Starr

                                                  JUL 1996

Several years ago Kay Baganoff sent a copy of a  handwritten  let
ter and  enclosures  she  received  from  a  lady  who  lives  at
Westcoast, Callan in County Kilkenny, Ireland.  The letter is  un
dated; some of the  handwriting,  including  the  writer's  given
name, is difficult to decipher; I'll give it my best shot:  

Dear Mrs. Baganoff,
    Your letter dated 26/7/84, addressed to  The  Cander  Family,
Callan Castle was passed on  to  me  by  the  Postmistress,  Mrs.
Phelan as there is  no  such  name  and  address  in  this  town.
Strange to relate I was in receipt of a somewhat  similar  letter
in Jan 1980 from Georgia 30501 U.S.A. signed by a  Mrs.  Morrison
Junior who was also trying to trace her family background and Wil-
liam Candler in particular, who she said received his castle from 
Cromwell as a bounty in 1653.  I replied in a somewhat  patriotic
tone stating that the name of Cromwell or any of his  lieutenants
was not venerated in Ireland and that I had never heard of Callan 
Castle, although there were a number of ruins & other castles  in
the locality -- mostly of Norman origin -- before Cromwells time. 
As far as I can recall, I referred her to Kilkenny  Archaelogical
Society, Rothe House, Kilkenny City who may  have  been  able  to
give her some explanation regarding the Chanler family.  I do not 
know if this was done as I had no reply although I sent her a num-
ber of photocopies relating to known castles in the vicinity.

    In 1981 a volumn of books was republished on the History  and
antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory (A Diocise is  a  large  ter
ritory under the jurisdiction of a Bishop).  One of  the  volumns
contained information on the Castle you referred to and I was com-
pletely unaware of this  when  writing.   I  know  of  Northcourt
Diocease and Mansion, which was destroyed by  fire  in  the  late
1920's.  It had been ______ into flats or appartments at the time 
being owned by a man named Loraingior.  I enclose the information 
I refer to on two sheets of photocopy.  It was never rebuilt  and
only small pieces of masonary now exist.  There is no  sign  what
so ever of the castle and the location is also unknown.  Although 
my address is Westcoast, I live immediately opposite the entrance 
to the old demesne.

     Now, about the other photocopy which I  enclose.   Mrs.  Mor
rison may have witten to  the  Archaeological  Society  and  that
could have resulted in the preparation  of  the  History  of  the
Chandler family (Mrs. Morrison had spelt it CANDLER).   No  doubt
you will now be able to procure the information you  desire  from
some of the people mentioned in the article.

     Hoping your quest will be successful, but before  concluding
I think I should give you the address  of  Mrs.  Morrison  Junior
which is 1271 Dixon Circle, N.E., Gaines,  Georgia  30501  U.S.A.
There is no need to  reply  to  this  letter.   Yours  sincerely,
Seamus O'Brien

Kay followed up with a letter to Mrs. Morrison who didn't provide 
anything which Kay hadn't already seen in published  books.   Now
to Ms. O'Brien's enclosures:

A picture of the Chandler "Coca Cola" Family presenting a copy of 
their book to the Rothe House Museum and  article  was  published
page 15 [and apparently goes on, but this was the only page sent] 
of _Kilkenny People_ published the week ending Friday,  September
25, 1981.   Headline  reads:   He  gave  the  world  Coke!    The
specific name of the Chandler family history is not given in  the
article which briefly goes over the highlights of the family move-
ment from Ireland to Atlanta.

Ms. O'Brien also included pages 317 and 318 from _History and  An
tiquities of the Diocese of Ossory_, no author or  other  publica
tion detail provided.  Under the section on the  "Parish  of  Cal
lan" is an article on "Westcourt".  
     "Part of this townland is included in the  township  of  Cal
lan;  the  remainder  is  sub-divided  into  Westcourt   Demesne,
Westcourt Commons, Westcourt North and Westcourt South,  and  has
an area of 698 stat. acres.  In Irish  it  is  called  _Coorth-an
Eethd_ (Cuirt an Fhaoite), that is, White's Court.  In  17th  cen
tury documents it is sometimes called Whitescourt, and  sometimes
Westcourt, and once (May  1669),  "White's  Courte,  alias  Weste
     There can, we think, be no doubt whatever that the  original
tract of land, or townland, called Callan, lay altogether on  the
north bank of the King's River, and consisted of  Westcourt,  the
part of Callan town north of the Bridge, and  the  Abbey  Meadow.
It appears to be no less certain that the original  Irish  Baile,
town, or village of Callan,  stood  at  the  north  side  of  the
Bridge, under the shelter of Callan Moat.  The part of  the  town
south of the Bridge was, most probably, planned out  and  founded
by Earl William Marshall, the elder.
     Callan Moat is situated in Westcourt Demesne, about 40 or 50 
perches from Callan Bridge.  It is a huge mound of  earth,  about
40 ft. high, and 46 yds. long, at top, and 24 yds. wide.   Though
it may have been sepulchral, it also served  the  purposes  of  a
fort, and was, probably, at one time crowned by a castle.  At the 
opposite end of the town, there was a smaller Moat about  10  ft.
high, and known as Cromwell's Moat; it stood  partly  within  the
Fair Green, and partly on  the  track  of  the  present  road  to
Cooliagh; it was levelled about 1850.
     Westcourt Castle, of which some traces remain  at  Westcourt
Ho., was the old manor house of Callan.  It passed  from  the  de
scendants of Earl Marshall to the Earl of Ormond  in  1391;  from
the Ormond family to Lord  Desart,  about  1700;  and  from  Lord
Desart to George Agar, Lord Callan, during the second half of the 
18th century.  Mrs. Thomas Shelly believes that  this  castle  of
Westcourt was the strong Butler castle of  Callan,  mentioned  in
connection with the siege of Callan by the Cromwellians in 1650.
     [page 318]  It was occupied by Colonel John  Butler  in  the
beginning of the 18th century.  The Colonel was nephew of  James,
1st Duke of Ormond, and uncle of Dr. Christopher Butler, Catholic 
Archbishop of Cashel (1711-57).  By his will ...  [the  page  con
tinues with changes of ownership through 1793.  Last paragraph]
     Westcourt appears to have been so named  to  distinguish  it
from Coorthpheerish (Pierce Butler's Court), which stood  at  the
opposite side of Callan town, at the east end of Mill Street."

Kay also sent me copies of  pages  from  _Tap  Roots_  which  she
received from Rachel Wyche in 1982.  Rachel didn't provide  publi
cation data, but "Asa Griggs Candler"  appears  on  the  lefthand
pages where author's names  are  sometimes  found  --  especially
since the title appears on the right hand pages.  This  book  men
tions only two children of Col. William and Anne Candler  --  the
sons Thomas and John and then follows the line of Daniel who came 
to America c1735.  It even says there aren't any specific records 
to tie this Daniel to the line of Thomas, son  of  Col.  William.
Normally I wouldn't give this book much thought, but what  struck
me was the similarity of Daniel's supposed route to  America  and
that of the MOORMANs and Penelope Johnson's alleged  relationship
to Lord Shaftesbury.

page 7:  "There are hints that Daniel, as did so many of  the  ex
patriates of his generation bound for America,  sailed  first  to
Barbadoes.  If so, his stay there was brief.   He and his  family
landed in Charleston, South Carolina,  probably  about  the  year
1735, and went at once to the province of North  Carolina,  whose
charter had originally been granted by  Charles  II  to  Daniel's
great-uncle, Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, and to  seven  other
English noblemen and gentlemen. ... Daniel did not long remain in 
Carolina.  With his family, and for reasons about [page 8]  which
we can only conjecture, he went  almost  immediately  to  Bedford
County, Virginia, near the site of the present city of Lynchburg, 
and lived there until he died, thirty years later."

The author then turns to the MOORMAN and CLARK  families,  but  I
want to make  a  couple  comments  first.  I  was  a  Scots-Irish
researcher long before I moved into tidewater VA.  In  1735  most
ships leaving Ireland went to Philadelphia rather than Barbadoes. 
By 1735 was there any reason to go  to  Barbadoes?   I  know  I'm
being picky here, and some of you are thinking, "there  she  goes
again", but this is a perfect example of  not  taking  everything
that has been published as "proof" of  fact.   Candler  obviously
took the Moorman family legend -- even down to  saying  elsewhere
Daniel and family were converted to  Quakerism  during  the  long
voyage -- and "gave" it to Daniel  along  with  Penelope's  close
relationship to Lord Shaftsbury  --  himself  one  of  the  seven
English gentlemen along with Clarendon.

The book goes on to record the  family  of  William  Candler  who
married Elizabeth Anthony, granddaughter  of  Christopher  Clark.
This is the "Coca-Cola" family, but is not the book presented  to
the Rothe House Museum for the author's  [AGC]  father  was  born
1851; this book, then, was surely published earlier.

Kay also sent me copies from _Colonel William Candler of Georgia: 
His Ancestry and Progeny_ by his great-grandson Allen D. Candler. 
This was published in Atlanta GA: 1902. This is the book Doug sum-
marized so well earlier. However, in light of the  above  O'Brien
findings, I found one other thing to pass along.  In the introduc-
tion the author lists the books he consulted and  drew  upon  for
his historical facts and conclusions; according to this  same  in
troduction, his family data is based on a "brief  manuscript  his
tory of his family, written sixty years ago, by Ignatius A.  Few,
LL.D., a grandson of William Candler..."  I SUSPECT this  is  the
basis for subsequent CANDLER / CHANDLER genealogies.  Has  anyone
seen it?  Does Few cite his sources?

Although the specific book where the following information  comes
is not specifically given, the author names five "European" books 
consulted, two  of  which  are  Burke's.  The  other  three  are:
Pendergast's  _Cromwellian  Settlement   of   Ireland_;   Baker's
_History of Northampton County_; and Walford's  _County  Families
of the United Kingdom_.  I suspect the historical info in the fol-
lowing footnote in Chandler's book comes from Pendergast:  

Page 16:  "This William Candler  first  appeared  in  Ireland  in
1648, while Oliver Cromwell was Lord Lieutenant, as a captain  in
the regiment commanded by Sir Hardress Waller.  Afterward he won, 
by meritorious conduct, promotion to a lieutenant colonelcy,  and
after the subjugation and conquest of the island, he  settled  in
Callan Castle.  Callan Castle was  a  strong  fortress,  Cromwell
says in his account of his campaign, sixteen miles from the  town
of Kilkenny.  It was de- [page 17] fended by  a  wall  and  three
castles, Butler's castle, Skerry castle and "the  Great  Castle."
It was invested by Cromwell in person...In the  division  of  the
spoils, the barony of Callan fell  to  Lietenant-Colonel  William
Candler, one of the conquerors, and to this day it, together with 
its  frowning  castle,  its  fertile  acres,  and   its   ancient
cathedral, is in the possession of his descendants.  A few  years
ago, in excavating for a building at Callan, vast  quantities  of
human bones were discovered in a trench in which  the  bodies  of
the brave defenders of Callan were buried, more than two  hundred
years ago."