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Monthly Archives: December 2017

Tenants of the Trant Estate in Dingle 1791

By | Genealogy Research, General Genealogy News | No Comments

ky-nli-ms-31561-1-11This rental of 63 tenants in the Dingle area of County Kerry is in the Trant Papers in the National Library of Ireland collection. The Trant family were originally from this area of Co. Kerry but moved in the early 1800s to an estate in Dovea, Co. Tipperary.  They continued to own land  in Kerry until the 1820s.  Information on the Trant family and their estates is in the Landed Estates Database. The tenant names listed below are extracted from several loose-page rentals relating to the Trant Kerry holdings in 1791/92:  the NLI references to these items are Ms 31,561 Items 15 and Ms 31,561 Item 16.  The Trant family also had holdings in several other counties at this time.    The Kerry properties are indicated in the documents as then being the property of William Trant, a minor.  Most of the locations mentioned are townlands in civil parishes on the western end of the Dingle Peninsula, i.e. Kilmalkedar, Garfinny, Dingle and Ventry (all in the Barony of Corkaguiny).  Others could not be identified with any certainty. The holding sizes are very varied, with rents varying from 10 shillings to 60 pounds.  This is a valuable list as there a few other sources for this region at this time.    The earliest Catholic records in the area are in Kilmalkedar (Ballyferriter) in 1807,  while Dingle records do not start until 1825.     Flyleaf Press publish a comprehensive guide to research in this county ‘Finding your Ancestors in Kerry‘.      Ancestor Network will offer 1 free hour of research by a professional researcher to conduct further research on these individuals, and/or to obtain copies of the original documents. Click here and quote ‘Kerry SS27’ in the subject line.

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Kilkenny Women Flax-spinners in 1827

By | Genealogy Research, General Genealogy News | No Comments
Small Sources 26.  Evidence of women in Irish genealogical sources is unfortunately sparse, and those that do occur are often listed only as e.g. ‘Widow Murphy’. We list here 83 women receiving payments in 1827 for spinning and weaving of flax. The documents are in the  Bessborough papers in the National Library of Ireland Ms 29,805 (1).   The family had very extensive estates in Kilkenny and their residence was Bessborough House at Piltown in the civil parish of Fiddown.  The house and estate are now an agricultural college    The family lived in England until 1825 when the 4th Earl of Bessborough and his wife came to live there, with their 11 children.  They were ‘improving’ landlords and encouraged local industry and crafts.   Although residences for the women are not specified, it is logical that the women lived in the immediate vicinity of the estate.  There was no practical reason why the farm management would seek flax spinners further than was necessary.  Almost all of the surnames appear locally in the Griffith Valuation returns (1850) and in the Tithe Applotment Survey.  In particular, 15 of the 83 family names appear in the neighbouring townland of Belline & Rogerstown; 6 in Tobernabrone; 6 in Banagher and 6 in Fiddown.
Flax spinning involved making yarn by spinning, or twisting, fibres of flax into a thread.  It was uniquely women’s work at the time and involved using a spinning wheel operated by a foot treadle.  The yarn was then transferred to the weaver to be woven into linen cloth.   Linen-making was popular as it provided work throughout the year, and also involved several members of the household.  Men were involved in growing and processing the flax, and in weaving.  Women were involved in the spinning and (later in the century) also in weaving.   At the period of this list (1827) the work was still done by hand.  Steam-powered spinning machines later resulted in rapid decline in hand-spinning.  Machine-spinning became centered in large Ulster mills and the cottage-industry gradually disappeared.  Weaving, on the other hand, was maintained partly because of the availability of machine-spun thread.

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