Saturday, October 17, 2009

Batting Zero today on the research!

I drove all the way down to the Orange Family History Center. This was my worst day down there, ever!

First of all, my beloved first roll of film from the the 1901 Ireland census in Cork was mistakenly sent back, even after I had put a hold on it. So I have to get it back. (sigh)

I searched the entire second census roll on hold for age-appropriate Ellen McCarthys (nothing - but plenty of McCarthys and plenty of Ellens!). I also took note of a few Hurleys.

That first roll might have my age-appropriate Ellen McCarthy on it, so I have to get it back.

Then the roll I ordered for Kilmocomoge parish is the wrong one. Oh yes, it's got part of Kilmocomoge, but only the parts of the parish that lie in Bantry Rural and Bantry Urban District Electoral Divisions. The catalog does not give you that fine detail (another sigh). So I ordered two more rolls of film with the rest of Kilmocomoge parish on them. I need the Kealkill D.E.D. That's where John Hurley and Catherine Sullivan lived, maybe with their daughter Ellen!

I told the FHC that I would be happy to purchase film for them to just put in the permanent collection. It would spare me the grief of having to keep putting film on long-term hold. I don't know why they don't do that!

When you do this kind of research, you have to keep track of who does NOT match as well as who does. Because otherwise you'll forget if you've chased down a particular record or not. And that gets to be a huge job. Unfortunately I got sloppy keeping track of all the Ellen Hurleys. I need a break. (third sigh)

There is always the alternative of sending an Ellen Hurley research request to GRO. It's something like 4 Euro per lookup and 6 Euro if they make a copy of something in a register. It's far cheaper than spending 40-50 Euro per certificate through one of these online genealogy certificate services. It takes about six weeks, but they'll pound the pavement for you. The alternative is to scour all the LDS birth index rolls, but you have to order those rolls first. That could take weeks. Then you go through those and make a list of entries that match what you are looking for, and then you have to order the actual register film. That takes many more weeks. So GRO really does provide a great service!

McCarthys McCarthys everywhere!

I have a few notes about McCarthy relatives from cousin Michael and Uncle Denis, plus what cousin Jeanne passed on from Aunt Eileen. So I thought it was about time to start tracking down McCarthys in Granddad's family.

Cousin Michael said that Granddad's mom Margaret "had many sisters" and one "was called Ellen." So that was a start. I had Margaret McCarthy Collins' death record and had an approximate year of birth. In addition, the marriage record of Margaret McCarthy and Humphrey Collins says that her father's name was Cornelius. And I knew from the 1901 and 1911 census records that her mother's name was Mary. So that should be plenty to go on, right?

I started searching the Internet, and lo and behold, there is a lady named Leila descended from a McCarthy family in Lissane, like mine. Father's name was Cornelius. The mother's name was Mary Collins. A daughter Margaret was born 1862, which would have been close to the time Granddad's mom was born. She had a sister Ellen, born 1854. Okay, this sounded extremely promising!

I emailed Margaret at Skibbereen Heritage Centre and asked her to search the baptismals for McCarthys from Lissane. I emailed her information about the family tree I found on the Internet, and concluded with a smiley face and a "This should be easy!"

Famous last words. This all happened before I talked to Aunt Peg.

Aunt Peg said that sister Ellen was Ellen McCarthy Maher. And that her daughter Mary Maher used to babysit my mom when she was an infant. Hmmm.

I searched the 1911 census for Mahers. Sure enough, there is Ellen Maher in Maulbrack, with her husband Patrick and daughter Mary. But something was not quite right. This Ellen was only about 40 in 1911.

She and Patrick got married in 1903. And it looks like she died in 1931.

I panicked when I realized I might have sent Skibbereen Heritage Centre on a wild goose chase. I emailed Margaret as fast as I could - "WAIT! That's not the right Ellen McCarthy!"

I corresponded with Leila, and we swapped information. After looking at her family tree, I concluded that we must somehow be related, but we are somehow off by a generation. The names are so similar and the hometown is the same! But I need an Ellen McCarthy some 15-20 years younger than her Ellen McCarthy to fit my family profile. Our family trees must be tangled up together somehow!

On a good note, Margaret at Skibbereen Heritage Centre found the baptismal records of Humphrey Collins and at least some of his siblings, and also the marriage date of the parents. His father was Michael Collins and his mother was Ellen Driscoll.

Well now, on my USB drive I have a 1901 census record of an elderly Michael and Ellen Collins, with her niece staying with them. The niece is a Driscoll. They live very close by Humphrey and Margaret.

It's amazing, when you get one little piece of information, how so much can fall into place so quickly.

And thank God I have ancestors named Humphrey Collins. It's a rare name in Ireland, but not in my family. Thank you, ancestors, for naming at least a few of your children with rare names so I could track them down on the computer! :) I am drowning in Marys, Margarets, Ellens, Denises, and Daniels. It would be so nice to see an occasional Bridget. Or a Nora. A Sheila. A Bernadette. A Sean. How about some more Patricks? Anything!

In the meantime, I've done some initial lookups on the birth records of all the Ellen McCarthys born in Skibbereen and Dunmanway districts between 1865 and 1875. I've sent a list of 17 references from 1870 to 1874 off to the GRO, with instructions to look them up and send me only those matches with father = Cornelius and mother = Mary. (Sigh.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Research Updates

I was able to find a birth record for Grandmom's uncle Daniel Collins for September 21, 1865, which definitively shows that Grandmom's paternal grandmother was Mary Mahoney (not Margaret).

I found the household of Grandmom's dad Denis Collins in Colomane East in the 1901 census. At the time his first wife Kate was still alive. Sister Johanna (Hannah) and mother Mary Mahoney Collins were living with them.

Grandmom's granddad Daniel Collins is definitely in Colomane East in Griffith's Valuation.

I poked around the 1901 census records, but without further information am utterly unable to identify which records are those of relatives. There are five McCarthy households in Upper Lissane and four Collins households in Lower Lissane. I am only certain of Granddad's household in Tooreen.

I got a nice stack of paper back from the Ireland GRO. I now have information about: Ellen Hurley Collins death, Humphrey Michael Collins death, Margaret McCarthy Collins death and that of her daughter, Margaret Collins; and Humphrey Michael Collins and Margaret McCarthy marriage. This last one was super-important because it had the name of Margaret McCarthy's father, which was Cornelius. Also of note is that Humphrey was living in Lower Lissane, while Margaret was living in Upper Lissane. This information has been updated in charts on the Collins website.

I thought that maybe Grandmom's uncle Daniel might have been married in the 1890's, and I tore through the GRO records looking for any marriage record that showed a Daniel Collins groom in which his father was Daniel, Denis, or Lawrence (Laurence). I am certain at this point that Grandmom's granddad was Daniel, but I thought I would look anyway. With a history of names like "Danny Den Larr" I wasn't sure what to expect. What a goose chase. The marriage records don't usually report the ages of the bride and groom, which makes this even more difficult. There is one Daniel, son of Daniel, married in 1892 in Rath, Skibbereen to Kate Sheehan. (Rath is sort of south of Skibbereen town, out on a peninsula.) Another one is married in February 1895 and says he is 28 years old; that would put him at 1867, about 17 months after the real birth date. The bride was Ann Driscoll.

One of the questions on my mind of course, is, what happened to the older brother of Denis Collins, Jeremiah (or William, as he may have gone by)? Why did he not stay on the Colomane East farm, as it was usually the eldest son who did this, and the younger ones left. It looks like he was a witness at the 1904 wedding of Denis and Ellen. I will probably never know why he left Colomane East.

I sent letters to people in Colomane, Colomane East, and Colomane West along with some genealogical documents asking them if they knew anything about Ellen Hurley and Denis Collins. One person actually responded, and thinks the Collins property was sold back as far as 1930. He believes the family moved to Castledonovan, then to Dunmanway, and thinks that people in Dunmanway might be able to help me. So that is still another lead I need to pursue.

I have a news clipping of a court proceeding in which Humphrey Mickey Collins and a "Mrs. Collins" testified. This was after 1906 (when Margaret McCarthy died) and before 1910, when Humphrey Mickey died, so this definitely looks like Granddad's dad. The question is, who was "Mrs. Collins?" It couldn't have been his wife, since she was already dead. I thought perhaps that she was his mother. A solicitor asked her when she was married, and she said something about how it was around the "year of the big snow." The solicitor then said that would be 1854. So I have to think how I am going to go about looking for marriage records from the mid-1850's.

All research is getting much more difficult now. I still have Ellen Hurley to track down. The McCarthys are a research project unto themselves. I thought at one point Uncle Denis said that Granddad had cousins named Maher, which I have not looked into at all.

It's getting to the point where I may have to wait until I have time to spend a few days in Dublin at the National Library so I can search Roman Catholic records.