As we begin this history of the Flynn family, it is appropriate to introduce ourselves. We are Henry Flynn, Jr. (1931-aft2012) and Mary Patricia "Pat" Flynn Kyser (1934-aft2012), the son and daughter of Henry Flynn, Sr. (1902-1971) and Lettie Olean Tracy Flynn (1902-1949). Our youngest sister, Carol Ray Flynn Harrell (1936-2008) of Amarillo, TX, died 21 Jan 2008. We were raised in Port Arthur, TX.
Our father came to Port Arthur with The Texas Company (Texaco) in 1929. He remained in Port Arthur most of the rest of his life, except for his final years with Texaco, which were spent in Houston, TX and New York City. At age 65, he retired and moved back to Port Arthur where he died in 1971 at age 69.
Our father was first generation Irish/American, born in Nashua, NH, one of eight surviving children of John James Flynn, Sr. (1860-1934) and Margaret Helen Coffey Flynn (1861-1937). His parents were born in Co Kerry, Ireland and immigrated to this country in the 1880's. We believe his mother arrived in 1883, while his father arrived in 1884. They were married in Nashua, NH in 1888.
Several years after our father's death in 1971, we realized that we knew little about our family history, so we began to talk with family members and do serious research into our heritage.
However, when we began research into the history of our Flynn and Coffey families, we did not realize the potential problems we faced. The first was the usual problem of locating family members who knew something about our history. In our case, few family members had information and those who did had limited data. This was compounded by the fact that some of our family members were not speaking to certain other family members.
Even so, in the beginning, our main sources of family history were: (1) sketchy recollections of our father's comments over the years: (2) our aunts, Alice Flynn Burns (1909-1991), Julia Madden Flynn (1894-1997), and Margaret Flynn Harley (1896-1994); and (3) our first cousin Francis Joseph "Bobby" Sullivan (1926-aft2012), who had visited Ireland, and (4) other family members.
The second and potentially more serious problem was the one encountered by anyone trying to research his or her Catholic roots in Ireland. To understand this later problem, we must look at a brief overview of Irish history, which we will take up in section 1.2.
Now, after about 40 years of research, we are documenting our results of our research in this one volume, The Flynns and Coffeys of Co Kerry, Ireland and Nashua, New Hampshire is divided into five separate, but related parts: Book 1, General Background; Book 2, The Flynns; Book 3, The Coffeys; Book 4, Summary; and Book 5, Appendix and References.