Just a reminder that we have posted over 30 blogs with original records not otherwise available on-line. These are in our ‘Small Sources’ series which lists almost 3,400 individuals from 12 counties. These lists are items we have found among manuscript sources during our research. Most are too small to be included in the big data-sets being put on-line by the major companies, but must nevertheless be useful to some of you out there. Read More
All posts by Jim Ryan
Small Sources 32: Below is a list of 18 tenants of the Colclough estate in the townlands of Curraduff (probably the townland now spelt Coorduff) and Ballycreen (also called Boolycreen or Boolygreen) in the parish of St Mary’s Newtownbarry, Co. Wexford. Read More
If you think Irish research is already too complicated, look away now! As you are aware, on-line access to the 1901 and 1911 census returns has been one of the great developments in Irish genealogy. However, perhaps you are one of those who have not been able to find your family on the census? Read More
Small Sources 17: This document lists 71 tenants on 57 holdings on the estates of Hon. Francis Prittie (Lord Dunalley) during March and May 1826. Note that some are in joint tenancies. It indicates the townland, rent and arrears for each (only the rent amount is shown here). The list is in the ”Dunalley Papers, of the Prittie family Lords Dunalley, 1665-1937” in the National Library of Ireland; NLI Ms 29,808 (2). Read More
This list of 131 tenants is from the index to a rental of the Woulfe & Mansfield estate in the period 1783–1811. The original is in the National Library of Ireland, NLI Ms. 9632. The Woulfe & Mansfield families had separate estates in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary (Woulfe) and Rathgormuck, Co. Waterford (Mansfield). Read More
Small Sources 31: The Catholic records of Wexford in the early 1800s are particularly poor, mainly due to the destruction of Catholic churches by militia that followed the rebellion of 1798. However, records of 144 Catholic marriages from 1800-1807 in the Parish of Kilanerin have survived in a notebook in the Franciscan Library, Killiney, Co.Dublin (Ms.C104 – Marriages). Although a monastic order, the Franciscans were the parish clergy in this county (and therefore maintained the Birth and Marriage records) until the 1840s. For more information on this archive see www.franciscans.ie/friaries/killiney. Read More
Small Sources 30: Useful records are created in all sorts of strange circumstances, and none are more unique than this one. In the 1820s a new priest, Michael Crotty was appointed to the Catholic parish of Birr, in King’s County (now Offaly). The town was then called Parsonstown. He turned out to be a difficult and divisive person who fell out with his bishop and the other priests of the parish. However, he was also a charismatic and popular priest who gradually lead a significant proportion of his congregation (reportedly about 6,000) away from the Catholic Church into a separate church and attempted to take control of the parish church building. There followed a bitter dispute between Crotty’s faction and the remaining members of the congregation that lasted several years. The dispute involved legal proceedings, military interventions and verbal and physical battles over access to the church. The breakaway congregation eventually merged with the local Presbyterian church, but almost all later drifted back to the Catholic Church and Michael Crotty eventually became an Anglican clergyman in England. Accounts of the so-called ‘Birr Reformation’ are widely available, including a book written by Michael Crotty himself which can be read on-line. Read More
Extract from Grand Jury Presentment of Dublin City 1806/07.
The relative shortage of Irish sources makes every record linking a name to a place useful. One of the obscure sources which can be used are the Grand Jury Presentments. Grand Juries were the forerunners of the modern County Councils. They were a panel of major landowners established in each county to make decisions on legal and other matters. Although originally responsible only for the Justice system, but this was gradually expanded to commissioning of local public works, i.e. building of roads and bridges, and maintenance of public buildings (infirmaries, courthouses, jails etc). It funded these works by means of a county tax on land, known as a cess or ‘rates’. Catholics could not legally serve on grand juries until 1793, and even after this date the jury lists were still predominantly Protestant. They met in spring and summer, just after the regular Assizes (local court) sessions. In these sessions they would hear ‘presentments’, i.e. proposals for grants for the construction or maintenance of roads and bridges etc; and they would also hear consider and approve payments to public officials for services rendered. The family history relevance of these documents is that (a) the proposals usually include the names of proposed contractors and (in some counties) the names of the persons providing services (see example from Dublin above) ; and (b) on occasion, they specify the work to be done by reference to the property of individuals. For example ‘to build a bridge over the river Lingane at Maurice Shea’s house’ or ‘to repair .. the mail coach road.. between Timothy Duggan’s ditch and Thomas Butler’s gate, all in the townland of Ballydrihid’ (Both from Limerick Grand Jury Presentments of 1831). These references usually include not only approved projects, but also those proposed, but not approved, for funding.
Small Sources 28: This little list of 14 labourers working on the farm of the Hart family of Kilderry House, near Muff, Co. Donegal in 1758 and 1759 is in the National Library of Ireland Ms. 7885. It is interesting for several reasons, not least being that Donegal records are rare, particularly for the 18th century, and lists of labourers are even rarer. In the book ‘The Hart family of Donegal’ by Henry Travers Hart, the author notes that in this period “the whole of the fields were rigidly cultivated by a staff of labourers … and by this means Kilderry House was rendered more tenantable on account of the better drainage of the soil..”. It also notes that there were large numbers of labourers employed, so why these 14 are specifically cited in the records is not clear. It may be that they were only occasional workers. The records show that they were paid for around 60 days within a 6-month period.
The list is notable secondly for the occurrence of some interesting names. The forename Tadgh (pronounced teig; or hear its pronunciation here) is not uncommon in Ireland. Tadhg Furlong is one of the current heroes of the Irish Rugby team, for instance. However, it is usually converted to Timothy in older records. Its popularity in some parts of Northern Ireland led to the name (rendered as Taig) being used as a pejorative term for Catholics. The other unusual name is Nahor or Naher (spelt Knogher in this record). A Knogher Dogherty is also listed among the tenants of the estate. This name is very specific to Donegal. For instance, in the 1901 census there are only 14 persons of this name recorded, all of them in the Northern counties and 11 in Donegal. An identical name, of Biblical origin is sometimes found in non-Irish records, but is not related.