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

1 comment:

sb10 said...

Margaret at Skibbereen Heritage also noted the resemblance of Ceannciele to Kealkill, a little community in the eastern part of Bantry, about 15 miles north of Cullomane.

And just randomly browsing Wikipedia and reading about St. Brendan, I was also struck by the resemblance of Ceannciele to Seana Cill, anglicized to Shanakeel, where St. Brendan built a monastic cell. This is probably out towards Dingle, which is even further away from the home turf.