I think we are the only two Jeff Cunniff's
in the U.S. I have seen your name several
times in master lists of the Cunniff name.
I called your home one evening, but no
answer, and figured some day we might cross
You ask about John P. Cunniff. Of this particular John Cunniff I don't have any
knowledge. However, my grandfather was a
John A. Cunniff, the son of Martin Cunniff
born about 1848 in Glenamaddy, Co. Galway.
Martin left Ireland and journeyed to Oregon
to met up with his older brother John and
sister Mary. He came to Montana, worked
for the Northern Pacific Railroad, eventually
homesteading at Cunniff Basin (still on the
map) when Montana was still a Territory.
It is listed however as Cuniff.
Martin died in 1953 at 104 and is buried in
the cemetery at Augusta, Montana (about 50
miles west of Great Falls, and 20 miles north of Cuniff Basin).
During the summer of 2000 my brother Greg
and his wife, my wife and myself and my
parents did a two week tour of Ireland. The last two days were spent in Belmullet, Co.
Mayo and in Glenamaddy to see where my great
grandparents were born.
Martin's wife Norah Lavelle was born in
Belmullet and came to Butte, MT to work as a cook for the NP Railroad. There she met and
The cemetery in Glenamaddy is filled with
headstones for John Cunniffe, Martin Cunniffe
lots of Ellen Cunniffe's and some spelled
Cunniff. As best as I can research Cunniff
is the orginal translation into English of
the name meaning black hound.
In a conversation this past fall with a lady
in an Irish store in Appleton, WI (our son
goes to college in Green Bay) she said this
was not uncommon. Families had disputes over
land and other family matters. To dis-
associate themselves from that part of the
family they oftentimes changed the spelling
of the their last name, thus Cunniffe,
Conniff, Cunliffe, etc.
We had a great time on our trip and we all
would like to return. Probably somewhere
down the geneology line we are related. If
not you have a GREAT name.
Give me a call sometime. I was born here in
Great Falls in 1948 & graduated from the U.
of Montana in 1970 in history. I have worked
the past 19 years as a stockbroker with
Dain Rauscher here in Great Falls.
My work number is 1-800-365-5033 and my
home phone is 406-727-6267. An e-mail would
also work. Hope to hear from you.
Jeffrey L. Cunniff
Great Falls, MT
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