Tenants in Moville Civil Parishes, Donegal: 1823-26

Small Sources No. 79.  Rentals are the records of the landlord on the holdings and payments of their tenants. This rental lists 198 tenants of an estate in the Civil Parishes of Moville Upper and Lower, Co. Donegal.  These parishes are on the eastern side of the Inishowen peninsula. The identity of the estate owner is unknown, but the rental shows the transactions in the years 1823 to 1826. The original document is a single large book in the National Library of Ireland (reference Ms. 42,766 (50)).   There are also other notations on each tenancy which are difficult to read  (see samples in Fig.1,  and in Fig. 2 at the end of this blog).  As new tenants took over a holding,  a new tenant was added and the old tenant’s name was crossed out. A full description of the format and content of rental documents, and their potential family history relevance, is in another blog on this site available here. The modern name of each townland (if different to that now used) and the Civil parish is shown in brackets in the list below.  Below is a list of the  tenants in 1823 only.  The tenant  are listed alphabetically below according to the townland in which they are have a holding.  Based on the names, the tenants would appear to have been a mix of native Gaelic names (Doherty, McLaughlin etc ) and ‘planter’ or so-called Scots-Irish or English families (Taylor, Brown etc).

Although the estate owner is not identified in the rental, based on the ‘immediate lessor’ information in Griffith Valuation,  it may have been the Cary family, whose papers are mainly in the Public Record Office of N. Ireland (ref D2649/5/3).

The tenant names in the rental are generally those associated with County Donegal including Doherty, Boner (or Bonner), McLaughlin and Harkin. Other less common names found in this rental are Quig, Herreld, Tossell, McCon and Lepper. Further information on some of the families listed may be included in our publication ‘Sources for Irish Family History 2021‘ which lists books and articles on over 2,500 Irish families. This e-book is a listing or bibliography of 6,500 books, articles etc on 2,500 Irish families. These sources have been collected from local history journals, genealogy magazines, library catalogues and published book lists.

Samuel Lewis in his ‘Topographical Dictionary of Ireland’ 1837 describes the parish of Moville Upper as follows: “Here the system of rundale is still kept up, and the land, being divided into very small holdings, is much neglected, nearly all the population being employed in the weaving of linen cloth and fishing, combined with agricultural pursuits: the produce of the land is chiefly corn and flax…

Fig. 1. A sample extract from the rental document showing the format.

Some common abbreviations are used in the list, including Jno. = John; Danl. = Daniel; Wm. = William; Edwd. = Edward; Robt. = Robt; Thos. = Thomas; Chas. = Charles, and Berd. which is presumably Bernard etc.  The personal name Nocher also appears. This name, usually spelled Naher, is very specific to Donegal. For instance, in the 1901 census there are only 14 Nahers recorded, all of them in Northern counties and 11 in Donegal. An identical name, of Biblical origin is sometimes found in non-Irish records, but is not related.

The images were created by Ancestor Network and are reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. 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 estate. We can also obtain images of the original documents. Click here and quote ‘DonegalSS79’ in the subject line. We also publish an eBook ‘A Guide to Tracing your Donegal Ancestors‘ by local historian Helen Meehan – see cover below.

Tenant Name   (Notes )

Braddyglen – now Bredagh Glen (Civil Parish of Moville Lower)

Gilland, Berd.  (probably abbreviation of Bernard)
Bradly, Chas.
Doherty, Danl.
Doherty, Fras.?
Doherty, Hugh
Doherty, Jno.
Doherty, Neil
Foster, George
Gallagher, Patrick
Gilland, Jno.
Gilland, Peter
Harkin, Jno.
Harkin, Jno.
Harkin, Neil
Hegarty, Michl.
Kelly, Aus?
McConologue, Frank
McDaid, Thos?
McDaid, Henry
McGinnis, Daniel
McGinnis, Danl.
McGinnis, Jno.
McLaghlin, Owen
Quig, Jno.
Quig, Edwd.
Quig, Jas.
Quig, Neil
Quigley, Chas.
Quigley, Patk.

Ballyargus (Civil Parish of Moville Upper)

Barr, Owen
Boner, Chas.
Bradley, Wilm.
Bradly, Patk.
Breslin, Patk.
Brown, James
Brown, John
Cannon, Chas. (possibly Gannon)
Cavanagh, Wm.
Collins, Chas?
Dermond, Hugh
Dermond, Nocher
Doddy, Nurse
Doherty, Cathn.
Doherty, Danl.
Doherty, Owen
Doherty, Patk.
Doherty, Shan.? B.
Duffy, Hugh
Duffy, Michl.
Duffy, Patk.
Gillen, James
Harkin, James
Harkin, John
Harkin, John (crossed out)
Henry, James
Herreld, Neal
Little, Frans.
Little, John
Louge, James (co-tenant with Edwd. Shane)
Louge, John  (presumably a variant of Logue)
McAleny, John
McAleny, John
McAuley, Chas.
McCane, Ann
McColgan, Danl.
McColgan, Shane
McConaway, Neal (crossed out)
McCurriston, Neal
McCurriston, Patk.
McGowan, Shane (crossed out) James written in
McGrorty, Hugh
McGrorty, Phil. (Michl. McGrorty written in)
McGruddy, John
McLagelin, Thos.   (presumably a variant of McLaughlin)
McLaughlin, John
McLaughlin, John & Patk. (written in on holding McCane, Ann)
McLaughlin, Michl.
McOwen, James
McOwen, Wm. (‘or Smith’ written in)
Mooney, Hugh
Murphy, Owen
Murphy, Peter
Quigley, Hugh
Shane, Edwd. (co-tenant with James Louge)
Sheils, Patk.
Tossel, Wm.
Toy, Neal
Wark, John
Wilson, Wm.

Ruskey (now Roosky – Civil Parish of Moville Upper)

Devlin, Richard
Doherty, Bryan
Doherty, Mary
Dunbar, T. (crossed out)
Farren, John (co-tenant with Bryan Doherty)
Gallagher, Geo. (written in as co-tenant with Bryan Doherty)
Hargan, (no first name) (co-tenant with Richard Devlin)
Hargan, Michl.   (possibly a variant of Harkin)
Henderson, David
Layle, Wd.
Lisle, Andr.
McCon, John
McDivitt, Mary
McGowan, Danl.
McLaughlin, Danl. (written in)
McLaughlin, Edwd.
McLaughlin, John
McLaughlin, Owen
McLaughlin, Patk.
McLaughlin, Peter (crossed out)
McLaughln, Edwd.
McLaughln, Ann
McLaughln, Henry
McLaughlin, Manus   (Manus is a relatively common name in Ulster)
Porter, Andrew
Porter, G. (crossed out)
Porter, James (took over from G Porter)
Porter, Robt.
Ramsey, Danl.
Ramsey, John
Wilson, G. ( ‘now’ written in)

Crehennan (Now Creehennan – Civil Parish of Moville Upper)

Adams, John (crossed out)
Benson, Wm.
Braton, James (appears to be new tenant in place of G Simpson)
Breslan, Jno.
Breslin, Jno.
Brookins, Jno.
Burns, Wm.
Butler, Widow ..?
Campbell, Jas.
Campbell, Saml.
Cannon, John
Crawford, James
Crawford, Saml. (crossed out – co-tenant with Andrew Gourley)
Devlin, Patk.
Doherty, Chas.? C.
Doherty, Con.
Doherty, Con. & partners
Doherty, G, H and J.
Doherty, John
Doherty, L & B.
Doherty, Michael & Charles
Doherty, Wm.
Doherty, Wm.
Duff, Edwd.
Ewing, Robt.
Ewing, Robt. & partners
Gourley, Andr.
Gourley, Jas.
Hunter, Thos.
Irwin, John
Lafferty, Wm. (sharing with John Park)
McCorriston, Jas.
McCorriston, Jas. (sharing with G Simpson)
McLaughlin, Patk.
Merchant, Wm.
Miller, Eliza
Miller, Wm.
Montgomery, Jas.
Park, John (sharing with Wm. Lafferty)
Porter, Thos.
Porter. Thos. (appears to be new tenant in place of John Adams)
Quigley, Charles (written as ‘Quigley’s park’)
Quigley, Chas. (Chas. Quigleys Park)
Simpson, G.
Simpson, G. (crossed out)
Simpson, G. (sharing with Jas. McCorriston)
Simpson, Jno. (co-tenant with Thos. Walker)
Simpson, Joseph
Simpson, Wm.
Smyth, Jas.
Taylor (no first name – co-tenant with John Doherty)
Taylor, Wm.
Taylor, John
Walker, Thos. (co-tenant with Simpson, Jno. )

Cabry  (Civil Parish of Moville Upper)

Carmichael, Robt.
Carmichael, William (noted as late tenant of Lepper tenancy)
Cochran, Geo..y.?
Coyle, Neil
Crossan, Phil.
Crossan, Thos.
Donaghey, Thos. (sharing with Neil Faulkner)
Faulkner, James
Faulkner, Mary
Faulkner, Neil (noted as current tenant of Cochran tenancy)
Faulkner, Neil (sharing with Thomas Donaghey)
Lepper, Robt.
McAleny, Danl.
McCrossen, Michael & Thomas
McDaid, Edwd.
McDaid, Jno.
McDaid, Phil.
McGinnis, Jas.
McMaugh, widow
Quin, William
Reid, Alex.

Clare and Finmount (Clare is a townland in CP of Moville Upper; Finmount is a house in Civil Parish of Moville Upper)

Caldwell, Mrs.
McGee, Ml?
McSheffrey, Jno.

Fig. 2. Another example of the rental format and content – townland of Braddyglen.

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Further  articles in our series on Irish Family History sources:

Donegal Sources