Saturday, August 29, 2009

Research Updates

I have the following requests in with GRO Ireland:

Photocopies of the following births:

-- Mary COLLINS Colomane, 18-Jun-1906 (Grandmom)
-- Ellen HURLEY Drimoleague?, 25-Feb-1876 (father John Hurley, mother Kate Walsh)

Lookups and photocopies of the following marriages, if found:

Humphrey COLLINS + Margaret MCCARTHY, Apr-Jun 1890, Skibbereen
John HURLEY + Ellen DONOVAN, 1871, Skibbereen
Denis COLLINS + Mary MAHONEY, 1852, Tipperary
Denis COLLINS + Mary MAHONEY, 1851, Rathkeale or Waterford

Lookups and photocopies of several marriages in which one party is Daniel Collins, which I won't bother listing here. I asked for copies only in which his father is Daniel, Lawrence, or Denis.

Lookups and photocopies of these deaths, if found:
Margaret COLLINS, 1906 (one mother, one infant)
Humphrey COLLINS, Jul-Sep 1910
Ellen COLLINS, Apr-Jun 1912

I am reiterating my uncertainty about Ellen Hurley. Margaret at Skibbereen Heritage Centre gave me information for "the only Ellen Hurley she could find baptized in Skibbereen whose father was John Hurley." According to family folklore, Grandmom had brothers Daniel, Denis ("Bob"), and Lawrence, her mother's maiden name was Hurley, and her father was "Danny Den Larr" (Daniel) and his father was "Denny Dan Larr" or something like that. I am reasonably certain that the 1904 marriage record is correct, plus the 1911 census record in Cullomane East is the correct one for Grandmom's household, as all the brothers match. In the census record, the father is Denis, but "Denny Larr" differs from "Danny Larr" by only one vowel. It then follows that Greatgrandmom's name is Ellen Hurley.

I should mention that there are OTHER records in the 1911 that are NEAR matches, and I rejected them for various reasons. I will list the near matches here and why I rejected them:


The father might be Daniel and there is a brother Daniel but Mary is too young and nothing else matches.


Father is Denis, mother is Ellen, there are brothers Dan and Denis but no brother Lawrence, plus additional other brothers plus Grandmom did not have sisters. Note: the absence of one sibling is not always a reason to reject a record, as I discovered with Granddad's 1901 household census record. Granddad was nearly six years old and he was not even listed! Was he legitimately absent? Or was the census taker incompetent?


There are brothers Daniel, Denis and Laurence, but Mary is too old and there is another brother Cornelius.


Father is Daniel, there are children Mary, Daniel, and Denis but no Lawrence, and two extra sisters.

So Cullomane East is our best match, and Ellen Hurley is Greatgrandmom. I have the following 1875 Ireland Birth films on order so I can take a closer look at eligible Ellens: #0255933, #0255938, and #0255043. Even if one of these is our Ellen, there is still no way of linking her with the marriage record, 1911 census record, or even the Ellen COLLINS death record that I ordered. So I have started researching Ellens in Bantry and Skull, though I haven't ordered any film yet.

According to the Irish Times, there was a heavy concentration of Hurleys in the Fanlobbus Civil Parish in 1851. This might be out towards Dunmanway, and that's an area I haven't started researching yet. There were some Hurleys in Drinagh and some in Dromdaleague, but there were no Hurleys in Skull, Kilmocomoge, or Killoe parishes (these are in the Bantry district, I think).

I may never be able to conclusively identify an Ellen Hurley from the birth records alone - hence a plan B is in the works to try and contact Hurleys currently in Coolnagarrane, Derrylugga, and Colomane and see if they are willing to tell me anything about their family histories.

TO-DO LIST FOR ELLEN (these aren't ordered yet except where noted):
1872, #255865, #255866, v20, p638, Skull
1872, #255855, v10, p28, Bantry
1873, #255887, v15, p32, Bantry
1875, #255933, v10, p39, Bantry **already on order**
Jan-Mar 1878, #256001, v5, p22, Bantry
Jul-Sep 1878, #256019, v5, p22, Bantry
Search 1870's births for Ellen Hurley in Dunmanway.

Okay, so much for Ellen. What else did I do today at the FHC? Besides start to copy down all the townlands in the District Electoral Divisions for the Bantry area, I again searched the marriage records on film for the early 1850's looking for a Denis or Daniel or Lawrence Collins. There are very few. I also looked for Great-great-granddad Michael Collins' marriage record, based on a snippet of court testimony, I believe from his widow, in 1909, saying that she was married "the year after the big snow." That was about 1853 or 1854. The film did not show anything, but the LDS PILOT database online had two Skibbereen records of interest, so I ordered them:

Michael COLLINS (Greatgranddad Humphrey Michael's dad) Marriage Records:
1865, #101474, v5, p848, Mick Collins
1866, #101478, v10, p363, Michael Collins

And what about Ellen's husband Denis, and his family? The LDS birth index starts in 1864, but fortunately a few siblings were born after that. Daniel Collins, his brother, was baptized in 1865. That was a RARE name for the time, so I ordered the one match I found in Skibbereen:

Daniel COLLINS (Grandmom's uncle) Birth Record:
1865, #101114, v15, p552

Over and out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The mystery of Ceannceile

One of the points in Grandmom's family story that has really been bothering me is the name of her parents' farm. According to the story, it is Ceannceile.

I have googled until the cows come home and there is no such place that I can find. I've searched for some kind of Ireland farm directory, to no avail. I searched the Irish news archives - nothing. I tried splitting it into two words. Cean or ceann can be a Gaelic word but ceile is not.

I thought this had to be a misspelling. So I asked some Irish language experts. One suggested it could be ceann choille "head of the wood" and that it could be the name of a townland. So that lead me to discover the townland of Ceancullig.

Another expert noted that Céile is the beginning of céileabhair "the warbling of birds."

Still another expert noted that ceann céille means "a head of sense."

Margaret at Skibbereen Heritage mentioned that Ceannceile "sounds very much like Kealkill, a little village/community on the eastern side of Bantry."

And apparently St. Brendan built a monastic cell at Seana Cill "old church" - anglicized to Shanakeel, out near Dingle.

So all I can do for now is keep this list of possible names for this farm - and consider the possibility that Ceannceile - or whatever it is - could have been its location.

Drimoleague and Dromdaleague

This email that I sent to the website for the village of Drimoleague illustrates why doing genealogical research can be so incredibly difficult:

I am glad I came across your website. As a novice
to the area researching her family's history, I
would love to see some additional information put
up on your web pages. It might help others doing
genealogical research.

This is what I think I know, and I'm sure some of
it is wrong:

1) If Google Maps is to be trusted, Drimoleague,
the modern day village, is at the intersection of
R593 and R586. This is not to be confused with
Dromdaleague, which is east of Drimoleague, near
Baurnahulla, off of R586.
Google Map

2) The signs I saw during my recent visit to
Skibbereen saying "Drom Dhá Liag" were
referencing Drimoleague, not Dromdaleague.
Picture of a Sign

3) Dromdaleague North and Dromdaleague South
were District Electoral Divisions in the 1901
census of Skibbereen. In that census, the
townland of Dromdaleague was contained in the
Dromdaleague South D.E.D.
Skibbereen Heritage Census Page

In the 1911 census, there is something called
"Dromaleague Village" in the D.E.D. of Bredagh
and the Civil Parish of Dromdaleague.
Skibbereen Heritage 1911 Bredagh D.E.D.

4) Drimoleague is also the name of a Roman
Catholic Parish in the diocese of Cork & Ross
that contains the Civil Parish of Dromdaleague.
Parish List

5) At one time Drimoleague was a Registrar's
District, as referenced on this marriage
Drimoleague as a Registrar's District

6) The Registrar's District of Drimoleague was
combined with that of Skibbereen by law in 2004.
Irish Statute

If you could enlighten some of us researching
family history and include it on your website
it would be incredibly helpful. In what Civil
Parish has Drimoleague, the village
historically been situated in? In which
registration districts has it been situated in?
What is "Dromoleague Village" in Bredagh, etc,
etc. Simply straightening the geo-political
boundaries of these similarly-named entities
would be of tremendous help!

Go raibh maith agat.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Research Update

Where do I begin? Very shortly after the June 3 posting I immediately realized that I said Ireland finished putting its 1911 census records online, which isn't quite true. But County Cork records were completely put online, which is essential for my purposes.

Also, shortly after that post, cousin Jeanne contacted her sister Maura and obtained much more information on Granddad's and Grandmom's families. From this information, I learned:

-- Nora was not stillborn, but died probably under the age of a year
-- Granddad and Grandmom were both from the Skibbereen area, although that can be nebulous. For now, I am assuming that registration district is equivalent to Poor Law Union.

I had already found the 1911 census record for Granddad's household, but from additional information about Grandmom's parents and brothers I think I was able to find Grandmom's 1911 household census record - although I have some misgivings about it which I discuss below.

I learned that that "Bob" was indeed a weird nickname for Grandmom's brother Denis. So much for that elusive Robert Collins.


It turns out that many of the LDS films I had ordered for viewing I ended up not needing, since 1911 Cork census records went online. The equivalent film to the online records is #1952210, items #3 - #5.

I checked #0257980 (births, Q4 1904, vol 5) and #0257990 (births, Q2 1905, vol 5) for Grandmom's birth record - no dice.

Film #1952210 contains the 1911 Cork records. Skibbereen is in item #5 - the very end of the film, of course!

On June 6 I ordered #0817270, item #2, to view the 1901 census. Once I got it I caught a glimpse of Granddad's household and copied the information down. Granddad himself is missing from the record. Why? Was the census taker incompetent? Where would a six year old be otherwise?!?

Stupidly, I didn't keep a long-term hold on this film, and will need to reorder it. I'm a little skeptical that the 1901 Cork census records are going to be online before the end of this year. We'll see. There are a lot of 1901 households I want to look at. Collinses, Hurleys, McCarthys. I want to make a copy of Granddad's household. Grandmom's household did not exist at the time, so I want to look for Collinses that might contain Grandmom's father Denis Collins or her mother Ellen Hurley. This won't be easy, and that's why I need the film around for a while.


I asked Genfindit to look for certain records, and although the researcher there sincerely apologized for some bungling, I cannot say I am entirely happy with their service and I will not be using them again.

I had asked them to search the 1896 birth records for Granddad, providing LDS film index volumes and page numbers, and although I told them WHERE he was born and WHO the parents were, I was sent all the non-matches initially without the corresponding LDS film index references (I had to ask for that info!) They did not find Granddad - it turns out I had the wrong year. But I found it rather annoying to be sent all these non-matching records without the BMD index references.

Genfindit also said at first they couldn't find the marriage record for Denis Collins and Ellen Hurley; I insisted they look for it again, and then they realized they had it.


During my Ireland visit, I got to talk to Uncle Denis and Aunt Theresa, plus meet Aunt Bernie (late Uncle Brendan's widow) and cousin Michael (Granddad's brother Humphrey's son) as well as Margaret, the genealogist at the Skibbereen Heritage Centre, and even my hosts at Bunalun Farm B&B - Seamus and Teresa Crowley. Between all those sources, I added over 30 names to my genealogy charts. Prior to my visit, I had asked Margaret at Skib Heritage to 1) look for a Roman Catholic church marriage record for Denis Collins and Ellen Hurley, and 2) look for a church marriage record for Humphrey Michael Collins and Margaret McCarthy. She was unable to come up with exactly what I was asking for, possibly because these ancestors got married in a Roman Catholic parish that Skib Heritage did not have records for.

I showed Margaret my copy of Denis and Ellen's GRO marriage record. It indicates that at the time of the marriage, Denis was living in Caheragh, and Ellen was living in Coolnagarrane. There is no question that Coolnagarrane is a townland, and Caheragh is too. But Caheragh is also a civil parish (not to mention a district electoral division), so this can quickly get horribly confusing.

The GRO marriage record shows that Ellen's father was John Hurley and Denis's father was Daniel Collins. Margaret found an Ellen Hurley, 23 years old, working as a cook in a Skibbereen town banker's house in the 1901 census. The only Ellen she could find baptized with a father named John Hurley was with a mother named Ellen Donovan; this family was in Derrylugga in the 1901 census.

I need to find more information on Ellen. There are many more Ellen Hurleys than I anticipated. Ellen is very important because she is in my direct matrilineal line, where the rare mitochondrial DNA comes from!

Aunt Theresa mentioned that right across the street from her in Cobh, the B&B is run by a Pat Hurley who is supposed to be a distant relative.

Margaret did give me the names of the siblings of Denis Collins along with their dates of baptism, along with the name of their mother. Skib Heritage has a baptismal index, and Margaret can quickly scan for *all* children baptized who were born to a parent with a name that you provide. So this is a great way to locate siblings of a person, as well as perhaps discover the name of that person's other parent.

By doing this, Margaret was able to tell me that Denis Collins' mother was Mary Mahoney.

In addition, Margaret discovered the name and birth year of the 10th child in Granddad's household who died either during or shortly after birth. Her name was Margaret, and she was born and died in 1906.

I also picked up from a few people that Grandmom had a cousin named Annie Sullivan, and I think I heard that Granddad had cousins with the surname Maher. Yet more places to go digging!

Uncle Denis was able to lay his hands on Granddad's birth certificate plus Granddad's and Grandmom's marriage record. Eureka!


I came back from Ireland feeling much clearer about Granddad's family because I got to talk to cousin Michael.

But I still feel unsure about Grandmom's family. According to the original family folklore, Grandmom's father's name was Danny-Larr (Daniel Lawrence), but there was some confusion about that or Denny-Larr (Denis). I turned up the Cullomane East record from the 1911 census and it shows a Denis Collins as head of household but otherwise certainly seems to fit.

But the family folklore mentions that Denis and Ellen had a farm called Ceannciele. The farm is probably still in existence with descendants of one of Grandmom's brothers on it. I have googled; searched Ireland maps; looked for farm directories; searched for farmers markets; searched Ireland yellow pages; I cannot find anything about a farm with that name. I tried splitting the word in two - ceann and ciele. Ceann is definitely an Irish word; it occurred to me that ciele could be misspelled or missing a fada. Some Irish language experts suggested to me that the "proper" spelling might be closer to Cian na Coille, which means something like "head of the wood." More research turned up the placename Ciancullig in Dromdaleague civil parish in Skibbereen, and the original Gaelic comes very close!

Ciancullig is about 7 miles east of Cullomane as the crow flies. There seem to have been Daniel and Denis Collinses at least since the 1850's, when you look starting from Griffith's Valuation of Ireland. So right now I am just feeling unsure if I really did find Grandmom's family in the 1911 Cullomane East census record.

Cousin Michael carefully explained to me that among the Collins groups, there were "the Humphreys", which was Granddad's branch, and "the Larrys", which sounds like Grandmom's branch. But to add to the confusion, the Larrys seem to have come out of Adrigool, so if I continue this chase at some point I will want to link these family branches to the Collinses in Adrigool.

Family folklore also states that Grandmom was raised by paternal aunts (sisters of Denis Collins) after Ellen died, among them a Mrs. Michael McCarthy. She was known as "Sissy." The McCarthy home and Granddad's home were just "a field apart." Based on that information, I searched the 1911 census again for McCarthys in Skibbereen. This is not easy, as McCarthy can be recorded as: M'Carthy, MacCarthy, Mc Carthy, or McCarthy. Finding a Michael + Mary McCarthy household was very difficult, and I didn't really succeed in finding anything that fit the family folklore.

According to the list of siblings given to me by Skib Heritage, Greadgranddad Denis had an older sister Mary baptized around New Year's, 1852. For the 1911 census, that would have made her at least 59. There is a widow Mary McCarthy in Lissane, which is about "one field away" from Tooreen. She is 60. This fits the information I was given. I was assuming Michael McCarthy would still be alive in 1911, which made my search fruitless. If I can find more information about this Lissane household, i.e., a marriage record for Michael McCarthy and Mary Collins, this will bolster the case that Denis Collins and Ellen Hurley were indeed Grandmom's parents and give evidence to the family folklore.

For my next visit to the Family History Center, which will probably occur sometime on or after August 26 (the date of my next big software demo at work), I need to work through the following films:


* not likely to find match
** somewhat likely to find a match
*** highly likely to find a match

== Grandmother's birth record ==
(I now think 1906)
0258013 - Q2 1906, vol 5, p 486
0258019 - Q3 1906, vol 5, p 427, 428, 429, 433
0258025 - Q4 1906, vol 5, p 440 (Mary Kate - not likely)
0258032 - Q1 1907, vol 5, p 442
0258038 - Q2 1907, vol 5, p 440 (Mary Ellen)

== Ellen Hurley's birth record ==
(Since I am an unsure which Ellen Hurley is the right one, I will take copies of all Ellen Hurleys with father=John in Cork)
0255950 - 1876, vol 5-1 to 5-2
0255956 - 1876, vol 10-1 to 10-2
101050 - 1873, vol 20, p 566
101051 - 1874, vol 12, p 664, vol 15, p 579
101052 - 1875, vol 10, p 717, vol 15, p 613, vol 20, p 550
101053 - 1876, vol 5, p 623, p 666

== Ellen Collins death record in 1912 ==
(Is this Ellen Hurley...?)
101605 Apr-Jun 1912 - vol 5, p 332

== Margaret McCarthy Collins death record ==
101603 - vol 5, p 351

== Margaret Collins (infant) death record ==
101603 - vol 5, p 330

== Humphrey Collins + Margaret McCarthy marriage record ==
101256 Apr-June 1890 - vol 5, p 282

== Humphrey Collins death record ==
101604 Jul-Sep 1910 - vol 5, p 317

== John Hurley + Ellen Donovan marriage record ==
101251 - 1871, vol 5, p 724

== Mary Mahoney marriage record - is the groom Daniel Collins ?!? ==
101244 1852 - vol 10, p 89

== 1901 census ==
0817270 to 0817273

McCarthy - Tooreen, Lissane - (Michael McCarthy + Mary Collins + 8 kids)
Collins - look at all households in Tooreen, Lissane, Cullomane East, Ceancullig, Adrigole
Hurley - Derrylugga, Coolnagarrane, Cullomane (John Hurley + Ellen Donovan + 9 kids)

== Michael McCarthy death records (Skibbereen) ==
b. 1861, d. Oct-Dec 1901 age 40, LDS# 101601, v5, p343
b. 1823, d. Apr-Jun 1903 age 80, LDS# 101602, v5, p369
b. 1841, d. Jul-Sep 1904 age 63, LDS# 101602, v5, p324
b. 1829, d. Apr-Jun 1906 age 75, LDS# 101603, v5, p382
b. 1834, d. Jul-Sep 1906 age 72, LDS# 101603, v5, p329

== Mary McCarthy death records (Skibbereen) ==
b. 1850 d. Jan-Mar 1921 age 71, LDS# 101608, v5, p343
b. 1851 d. Jan-Mar 1925 age 74, LDS# 101736, v5, p324
b. 1853 d. Apr-Jun 1923 age 70, LDS# 101736, v5, p318