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…”
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)
Ballyargus (Civil Parish of Moville Upper)
Cannon, Chas. (possibly Gannon)
Doherty, Shan.? B.
Harkin, John (crossed out)
Louge, James (co-tenant with Edwd. Shane)
Louge, John (presumably a variant of Logue)
McConaway, Neal (crossed out)
McGowan, Shane (crossed out) James written in
McGrorty, Phil. (Michl. McGrorty written in)
McLagelin, Thos. (presumably a variant of McLaughlin)
McLaughlin, John & Patk. (written in on holding McCane, Ann)
McOwen, Wm. (‘or Smith’ written in)
Shane, Edwd. (co-tenant with James Louge)
Ruskey (now Roosky – Civil Parish of Moville Upper)
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)
McLaughlin, Danl. (written in)
McLaughlin, Peter (crossed out)
McLaughlin, Manus (Manus is a relatively common name in Ulster)
Porter, G. (crossed out)
Porter, James (took over from G Porter)
Wilson, G. ( ‘now’ written in)
Crehennan (Now Creehennan – Civil Parish of Moville Upper)
Adams, John (crossed out)
Braton, James (appears to be new tenant in place of G Simpson)
Butler, Widow ..?
Crawford, Saml. (crossed out – co-tenant with Andrew Gourley)
Doherty, Chas.? C.
Doherty, Con. & partners
Doherty, G, H and J.
Doherty, L & B.
Doherty, Michael & Charles
Ewing, Robt. & partners
Lafferty, Wm. (sharing with John Park)
McCorriston, Jas. (sharing with G Simpson)
Park, John (sharing with Wm. Lafferty)
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. (crossed out)
Simpson, G. (sharing with Jas. McCorriston)
Simpson, Jno. (co-tenant with Thos. Walker)
Taylor (no first name – co-tenant with John Doherty)
Walker, Thos. (co-tenant with Simpson, Jno. )
Cabry (Civil Parish of Moville Upper)
Carmichael, William (noted as late tenant of Lepper tenancy)
Donaghey, Thos. (sharing with Neil Faulkner)
Faulkner, Neil (noted as current tenant of Cochran tenancy)
Faulkner, Neil (sharing with Thomas Donaghey)
McCrossen, Michael & Thomas
Clare and Finmount (Clare is a townland in CP of Moville Upper; Finmount is a house in Civil Parish of Moville Upper)
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Further articles in our series on Irish Family History sources:
- 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.