Small Sources 9: The list below is of the County Carlow tenants of the LaTouche estate in the Civil Parish of Dunleckney, Co. Carlow. These tenants are signatories to a letter of Sept 1856, sent to the Knight of Kerry, Peter Fitzgerald, requesting that he not sell the properties on which they held land. The background to this is that Peter Fitzgerald had recently inherited the estate from Lt. Col. LaTouche, who was his uncle. The tenants, fearful of the possibility of a rapacious landlord buying the estate, wrote the letter asking him not to sell it As reasons, they cite the relationship they had developed with his uncle, and the improvements they had made to their properties at his behest.
Our article describing estate management practices is available here. The letter, and the tone that the tenants adopt in its wording, indicate the power of landlords at the time. This was to change in the coming decades. The letter, and a favourable reply, are in the National Library of Ireland (Ms. 5948).
Very unusually, we have found photographs of several of these tenants in the same file (Ms. 5948) , which also includes a scrap-book. Examples are above and below. These photographs are not directly associated with the letter, and would appear to be the work of Peter Fitzgerald, who had a personal interest in photography. It is not clear why he decided to photograph these tenants, as he also had tenants closer to his home in Kerry who were not featured in his collection.
It is noteworthy that the signatories are not all big farmers. Analysis of Griffith Valuation shows that their holdings vary from 18 to 225 acres and that they are located mainly in the Civil Parish of Dunleckney, Co. Carlow. The photos above are (left to right) tenants Patrick Kearney, Robert Kehoe, John Tenant and Terrence Byrne. The latter, for instance, held 76 acres in the townland of Ballywilliamroe. If you can make a connection with anyone on this list, we would be interested to hear, and we can also share the other photos. Those for which we have photos are indicated as (P) below.
The images of the document above and below were created by Ancestor Network in the National Library of Ireland and are reproduced here through their courtesy. If you need help in following up on anything related to this source, or any other Irish research, you can outline your requirements here and we will let you know what we might be able to do for you. Ancestor Network will offer 1 free hour of research by a professional researcher to conduct further research on these individuals, or on other tenants of the Fitzgerald estates. We can also obtain images of the original documents and photographs. Click here and quote ‘Carlow SS9’ in the subject line.
The tenants are listed below. ‘P’ indicates those for which we have a photograph.
John Tennant (P)
William Ruddock (P)
Robert Kehoe (P)
Patrick Kearney (P)
Terrence Byrne (P)
Edward Rose (P)
Further Carlow and general articles in our series on Irish Family History sources include:
- Petty Sessions– the records of local courts
- Catholic Church records
- Grand Jury Presentments – records of local councils on payments for public works and staff
- Rentals – management of tenants by estates and the records created
- Middle names – the use (or non-use) of second or middle names in Irish records
- How comprehensive are Irish Civil Records?
- Census returns in Gaelic or Irish language
- 70+ blogs with names extracted from manuscript sources from many counties. A handy map index to these is available here.
- The Myshall Yeomen of Carlow in 1796
- Labourers in Co. Carlow in 1793/4
- Tenants in Dunleckney Parish,Carlow in 1856