Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What not to do

Up to now, I'd been assuming that Ellen McCarthy was a sister of Granddad's mom Margaret, and they would therefore have the exact same parents. Well, from the looks of their marriage records, it looks like two different Cornelius McCarthys could have been their fathers.

If I had to make a wild guess, I think Ellen's father and Granddad's mom could have been siblings. Margaret McCarthy Collins was born around 1862, which so closely matches Leila McCarthy Mayberry's research.

Aunt Peg said something over the phone about Ellen McCarthy having a sister Margaret, who in turn was the mother of some distant cousin Jack McCarthy. Well if that is true then obviously this Margaret McCarthy could not have been Granddad's mother.

So why did I title this post "What not to do?" Because, when I placed a research request with the GRO, I was still assuming that Greatgrandmother Margaret McCarthy and Ellen McCarthy were sisters, having a mother named Mary (which I have off of census records). So I asked GRO to look for an Ellen McCarthy born between 1870 and 1874 whose father is Cornelius and whose mother is Mary. That was too restrictive, and they came up empty handed.

When I placed the order, I should have paid slightly more money and had GRO send me the images of the Ellen McCarthy births they looked at. I did not, so now I am empty handed and have to revisit all this territory.

I therefore placed the following order for films from LDS:

Ellen McCarthy, Skibbereen, births
101194 1869 v15 p588,597
101199 1869 v20 p578
101204 1870 v5 P725
101209 1870 v10 P742,749,761
101219 1870 v20 p621
255816 1871 v5 p751,772
255824 1871 v10 p762
255831 1871 v15 p575
255838 1871 v20 p603,605
255847 1872 v5 p751,763
255855 1872 v10 p727
255860 1872 v15 p568
255865 1872 v20 p606,621
255866 1872 v20
255873 1873 v5 p699,702
255898 1874 v5 p662
255906 1874 v10 p712,728
255913 1874 v15 p581
255919 1874 v20 p551

This only covers up through part of 1869. There are more Ellen McCarthy births in Skibbereen in 1869 and up through 1868. If If I have to, I'll eventually order those leftovers, but I'll eliminate these first.

Aunt Peg said something about Ellen and her sisters being "close in age", so on the off chance that father Cornelius got married not long before Ellen was born, I want to look at the following marriage records:

Cornelius McCarthy, Skibbereen, marriages
101474 1865 v5 p825,826
No Skibb marriages 1866,1867
101525 1868 v5 p749
101542 1869 v5 p687
101546 1869 v10 p348
101559 1870 v5 p797
1871 no marriages.
1872 no Skibb marriages
1873 - order from GRO

Marriage films only go through 1870, so I will order the 1873 Skibbereen marriage record from GRO.

To strengthen Grandmom's family tree, I went ahead and ordered film for the registry entry of the birth of her youngest paternal uncle, James Collins (Dec-1866):

James Collins, births
101139 1866 v20 p571,573

There is some confusion out on the Internet about this James Collins. Apparently in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) there is a James Collins born around late 1866 to a Denis Collins and Margaret Mahoney in the Drimoleague area. I suspect that "Denis" is really "Daniel" and "Margaret" is really "Mary". The birth record will help clarify this.  I already have brother Daniel's record from 1865 and it shows father Daniel and mother Mary.

How am I doing on the Hurley end? I've been asking questions about Grandmom's cousin Annie Sullivan. I turns out her married name was Donovan, and she died around August 2008, not 2007. Aunt Peg was in Ireland that summer and went to her funeral. I checked a website of obituaries called RIP and there is an Annie O'Sullivan O'Donovan from Drinagh listed. That's her.

Now I need to find out who her parents were, specifically her mother. If I know the name of her mother, I will know the name of one of Ellen Hurley's sisters. Arggh!

So the next thing I need to do is order birth records from GRO. I have the following two in mind:

Name: Anne Sullivan
Registration district: Skibbereen
Record type: BIRTHS
Registration date - quarter and year: Jul - Sep 1922
Film number: 101229
Volume: 5
Page: 359

Name: Annie Sullivan
Registration district: Bantry
Record type: BIRTHS
Registration date - quarter and year: Oct - Dec 1923
Film number: 101229
Volume: 5
Page: 21

There is an interesting census record in Coolnagarrane in the 1911 census. It is interesting not only because it is filled out in Irish, even though the occupants of the household spoke "Bearla" (English). But the household name is O'Sullivan, spelled the more traditional way. There was a famous Irish politician named Gearóid O'Sullivan, and he came from Coolnagarrane. He would have been 20 in 1911, and there is definitely a "gap" in the children between the ages of 16 and 22 in this census record. Could Gearóid O'Sullivan have come out of this household?

Aunt Peg said something about Annie being from Coolnagarrane. So could Annie Sullivan have been a daughter of one of these sons, being a niece of Gearóid O'Sullivan?

The nice thing about the film order above, is that the date range 1869-1874 coincides with many of the Ellen Hurley's on my list, so I'll be able to knock off a bunch of Ellen Hurley lookups at the same time:

 Ellen Hurley, births
101219, 1870, v20, p614, Skibbereen
255824, 1871,  v10, p736, Skibbereen
255831, 1871, v15, p567, Skibbereen
255838, 1871, v20, p253, Dunmanway
255855, 1872, v10, p28, Bantry
255860, 1872, v15, p225, Dunmanway
255873, 1873, v5, p280, Dunmanway
255898, 1874, v5, p265, Dunmanway
255913, 1874, v15, p234, Dunmanway
255913, 1874, v15, p579, Skibbereen

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lots of blind alleys

I have had many conversations with Aunt Peg and it is no surprise that she and her siblings were about as confused as I am about family relationships. The names keep repeating generation after generation. She said the only person who *knew* who everybody was was Granddad.

(Sigh) GRO sent back my Ellen McCarthy request with no matches. Apparently my request for an Ellen McCarthy with a mother named Mary was interpreted as Mary COLLINS, which they could not find. So I'm not sure where to go from here...

GRO did send me the Ellen McCarthy-Patrick Maher 1903 marriage record as well as Ellen Maher's death record. It shows Ellen living in Tooreen at the time of the marriage. The Mahers were not "indigenous" to the area and came from further up north. Patrick Maher, like his father, was a steward, whatever that meant. The marriage record lists Ellen's father Cornelius also as a steward, which has me confused. On the Margaret McCarthy-Humphrey Collins marriage record from 1890, Cornelius McCarthy is a farmer. So... did he change careers? Or are we talking about two different Cornelius McCarthys? Were Ellen and Margaret really sisters? Or were they perhaps cousins? Or was Ellen a niece of Margaret's?

I banged around the 1911 census records again and thought about widow Mary McCarthy in Lissane Upper. I found what I suspect is the corresponding record in 1901, only she was married to a Daniel McCarthy, not Michael. So this is not Greatgranddad Denis's oldest sister Mary, as far as I can tell.

I kept looking around the Bredagh D.E.D. area of the 1911, and stumbled across a Michael and Norah McCarthy in Derryduff. They were married 2 years, had no children. Norah is listed as 34 years old. That would make her birth year about 1877.

Derryduff sounded familiar. So did Nora McCarthy. Sure enough, on Grandmom's and Granddad's marriage record, there is a Nora McCarthy who witnessed the marriage. And the place of residence for both Grandmom and Granddad at the time of the marriage is Derryduv (Derryduff). It has to be the same Nora.

Only there is a new problem. The family folklore states that Grandmom was raised by paternal aunts. I don't know of any aunt named Nora. At least Skibbereen Heritage Centre did not provide me one! So either Greatgranddad Denis had a sibling named Nora I just don't know about, or perhaps she is the daughter of his older brother Jeremiah (AKA "William") or maybe one of Greatgranddad's sisters married a Collins and had Nora.

After hitting the LDS records again, I did find a Nora Collins born in 1878, in Ballintotis, which is just beyond the city of Cork. And her father is ... William Collins.

William did not stay on the farm in Colomane East, which is a mystery as traditionally that's what the oldest sons did. Why did William leave Colomane? Perhaps he came back to the area, as he is a witness in the 1904 marriage of brother Denis to Ellen Hurley. I am driving myself crazy with more questions.

I sent away for the marriage record of Nora Collins and Michael McCarthy. It will say what her father's name was and where she was from.

Along those lines, I sent away for the death record of a Humphrey Collins in 1873. I am wondering if he is Granddad's paternal greatgrandfather.

I've also sent away for Greatgranddad Denis's death certificate. Aunt Peg told me she distinctly remembered traveling by cart to go see him around the time he was dying. She was a little girl, and Mom was an infant or toddler, babysat by Mary Maher. That would put Greatgranddad's date of death around 1929 or 1930. We were under the impression he died much earlier.

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.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Still on the hunt for Ellen Hurley

I am still waiting to hear from Ireland GRO regarding the list of research requests I sent. Nobody has even charged my credit card yet so either they are working on it or my request is still sitting on somebody's desk in Roscommon.

In the meantime, I put together a more comprehensive list of Ellen Hurleys born in the 1870's in Skibbereen, Bantry, and Dunmanway. I won't bother with Skull. My list has 36 entries.

And here I thought Ellen Hurley would be easy - much easier than Grandmom Mary Collins. Was I wrong!

Anyway, here is my list. I am asking some Internet genealogy friends with the Ireland BMD CD that LDS no longer sells to look some or all of these up, and let me know which Ellens have a father named John. If they can't or won't do it, this will be the next list I send to Ireland GRO, after I get something back from the first list I sent.


1) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1870
INDEX Film #: 101047, Volume: 20, Page: 614,
REGISTRY Film #: 0101219

2) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1871
INDEX Film #: 101048, Volume: 10, Page: 736,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255824

3) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1871
INDEX Film #: 101048, Volume: 15, Page: 567,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255831

4) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1871
INDEX Film #: 101048, Volume: 20, Page: 253,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255838

5) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1872
INDEX Film #: 101049, Volume: 5, Page: 290,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255847

6) Bantry, - quarter and year: 1872
INDEX Film #: 101049, Volume: 10, Page: 28,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255855

7) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1872
INDEX Film #: 101049, Volume: 15, Page: 225,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255860

8) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1873
INDEX Film #: 101050, Volume: 5, Page: 280,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255873

9) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1873
INDEX Film #: 101050, Volume: 10, Page: 306,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255882

10) Bantry, - quarter and year: 1873
INDEX Film #: 101050, Volume: 15, Page: 32,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255887

11) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1873
INDEX Film #: 101050, Volume: 20, Page: 566,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255892

12) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1874
INDEX Film #: 101051, Volume: 5, Page: 265,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255898

13) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1874
INDEX Film #: 101051, Volume: 15, Page: 234,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255913

14) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1874
INDEX Film #: 101051, Volume: 15, Page: 579,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255913

15) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1875
INDEX Film #: 101052, Volume: 5, Page: 257,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255926

16) Bantry, - quarter and year: 1875
INDEX Film #: 101052, Volume: 20, Page: 28,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255943

17) Bantry, - quarter and year: 1875
INDEX Film #: 101052, Volume: 10, Page: 39,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255933

18) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1875
INDEX Film #: 101052, Volume: 10, Page: 717,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255933

19) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1875
INDEX Film #: 101052, Volume: 15, Page: 613,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255938

20) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1875
INDEX Film #: 101052, Volume: 20, Page: 550,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255943

21) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1876
INDEX Film #: 101053, Volume: 5, Page: 265,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255950

22) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1876
INDEX Film #: 101053, Volume: 5, Page: 623,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255950

23) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: 1876
INDEX Film #: 101053, Volume: 5, Page: 666,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255950

24) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1876
INDEX Film #: 101053, Volume: 15, Page: 238,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255961

25) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1877
INDEX Film #: 101054, Volume: 10, Page: 282,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255985

26) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: 1877
INDEX Film #: 101054, Volume: 20, Page: 244,
REGISTRY Film #: 0255996

27) Bantry, - quarter and year: Jan - Mar 1878
INDEX Film #: 101055, Volume: 5, Page: 36,
REGISTRY Film #: 0256001

28) Bantry, quarter and year: Jan - Mar 1878
INDEX Film #: 101589, Volume: 5, Page: 22,
not sure about this reference

29) Bantry, - quarter and year: 1878
INDEX Film #: 101050, Volume: 10, Page: 30,
REGISTRY Film #: ?

30) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: Apr - Jun 1878
INDEX Film #: 101055, Volume: 5, Page: 271,
REGISTRY Film #: 0256007

31) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: Apr - Jun 1878
INDEX Film #: 101055, Volume: 5, Page: 681,
REGISTRY Film #: 0256007

32) Bantry, - quarter and year: Jul - Sep 1878
INDEX Film #: 101055, Volume: 5, Page: 22,
REGISTRY Film #: 0256013

33) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: Jul - Sep 1878
INDEX Film #: 101055, Volume: 5, Page: 244,
REGISTRY Film #: 0256013

34) Skibbereen, - quarter and year: Jan - Mar 1879
INDEX Film #: 101056, Volume: 5, Page: 658,
REGISTRY Film #: 0256025

35) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: Jan - Mar 1879
INDEX Film #: 101056, Volume: 5, Page: 266,
REGISTRY Film #: 0256025

36) Dunmanway, - quarter and year: Apr - Jun 1879
INDEX Film #: 101056, Volume: 5, Page: 285,
REGISTRY Film #: 0256031

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Family Research So Far...

Last night I was informed that Ireland has completed putting its 1911 census records online. This is a major cause for celebration, and I'll talk about it later in this post. But I created this blog in order to document the progression of my family research, so let's begin at the beginning.


This expedition began when I (perhaps foolishly!) had my mitochondrial DNA tested. To make a long story short, mitochondrial DNA is passed only from mothers to their children. So my mitochondrial DNA results would be the same as my mother's, and her mother's, and her mother's, and so forth. In addition, my sister and my cousins who are the children of my mother's sisters have the same DNA pattern.

In theory, a matrilineal line can be traced back over millennia. Scientists have worked out matrilineal classifications of European ancestry, of which there are roughly seven. These classifications are called haplogroups. I say "roughly" seven haplogroups because it turns out that some haplogroups have many subdivisions, called subclades. Scientists are still working to establish which are the older haplogroups and subclades and which are the newer ones. The older ones are maybe 40,000 - 50,000 years old; the newer ones might be 10,000 - 15,000 years old.

What I understand of mtDNA testing is as follows. There are three types of matrilineal DNA testing one can undergo, depending on how deeply one wants to test. The theory is that when somebody matches your DNA pattern, you share a recent common ancestor. "Recent" has a lot of wiggle room, but the more detail you have that matches another person's DNA pattern, the more recent the ancestor that you and the matching person share.

Assuming one has European ancestral origin, hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) testing will likely result in an assignment to one of the seven major European haplogroups. I am in Haplogroup H. Roughly 40% of native Europeans fall into Haplogroup H, so this is of little help.

Therefore, I went ahead and tested my hypervariable region 2 (HVR2). Now the number of matches I have in Family Tree DNA have plummeted because of the constraint of additional criteria. I am down to only about 27 other matches. So my DNA pattern is rather uncommon.

By the way, my Family Tree DNA kit number is N73108, and my DNA pattern is as follows:

HVR1: 16362C 16482G

HVR2: 239C 263G 315.C

The third type of test is the Coding Region test.

The full genomic sequence (FGS) is assessed when all three tests are completed.

My DNA pattern matches a number of others who have been assigned to subclade H6. So if I were to do the Coding Region test that is what I'd look to confirm (or refute). It turns out that H6 is a big mystery. It is thought to be a very old branch of H. It shows up a little bit in Ireland, is less common in the UK, pops up again in Scandinavia, and has a substantially heavier presence in the Balto-Slavic areas and the middle East. Go figure. Here is a great webpage on the subclades of Haplogroup H.

Seeing what a European misfit I was, it certainly started me thinking about Grandmom. Where did she come from? It was time to start digging into her's and Granddad's family histories.


Here is the information I started with that I was 100% certain of:
  • Mom grew up in Bunalun (Bunalunn), Skibbereen, the third oldest child of John and Mary Collins.
  • The children were (not sure about the birth order): Margaret (Peg), Humphry, Mary (my mother), Eileen, Denis, Brendan, and Teresa.
  • Granddad had been in the IRA prior to the formation of the Irish Free State.

The rest of what I know is with varying degree of uncertainty:

  • There was either a stillborn or a child who died shortly after birth named Nora.
  • Grandmother was 16 and Granddad was 28 when they married.
  • Grandmother and Granddad were cousins. Grandmother's maiden name was also Collins.
  • I initially did not know with certainty if both Grandmom or Granddad were originally from Skibbereen.
I visited Ireland once with my parents, in July 1974. I vaguely recall visiting my Grandmother's brother "Bob." He lived around Bantry Bay. I remember the visit, because Mom started shrieking to him "You're left-handed!" Yes, I am ciotógach. Neither Dad nor my Mom could figure out where the left-handedness came from, until the day she witnessed her Uncle Bob slicing a loaf of bread.

I confirmed Grandmother's age at marriage in a rather amusing way. During that 1974 visit, I was not yet 16. Grandmother said something to me about 16 being too young to date. "But," I said, "You were 16 when you got married!" I don't remember how Grandmom responded but I do remember Mom smirking.


I started out by getting a copy of Mom's birth certificate. The first thing I learned was that she was born in Bauravilla, up the road from Bunalun. So the family lived in Bauravilla before Bunalun. This was completely new information to me.

The Southern Star is the Skibbereen newspaper. I spent two days querying the Southern Star news archives, searching for everything I could find about any Collins in Bauravilla or in Bunalun. I expanded my search to more Collinses in the Skibbereen area in general, and I extended my search backwards to about 1900. I have a stack of printouts from all these endeavors.

From these searches I was able to determine that the family "materialized" in Bauravilla prior to 1930 and moved to Bunalun roughly around 1940.

I was also able to find obituary notices for not only Mom, but also Grandmom and Granddad. I sent away for Grandmom's death certificate, but the certificate does not provide much background information. It did say she was a "Drinagh worker's wife." I had thought she was 69 when she died, but the death certificate said 71. (The death certificate does not provide a birth date, only the age at death. Aunt Peg was the informant.) Granddad's obituary notice provided details on his military service, but perhaps more importantly gave his middle initial "H." Right now I am assuming that stands for Humphry.

The news archives are a goldmine of information in a number of ways. When a funeral was written up, the newspaper often provided a list of mourners and their relationships to the deceased. This was particularly true 80 years ago, but unfortunately that quality of reporting has deteriorated over time. From funeral information I was able to work out some partial family trees of other Collinses in the Skibbereen area (which I hope to join one day to my own family tree).

Second, if a family relative was in the Roman Catholic clergy, that family got press.

Third, if somebody got ticketed by the police (garda), even for the trivial offense of driving a vehicle with expired tags, that often made it into the newspaper. In my case it was practically a Collins family tradition! I am pretty sure I have found instances of Granddad, Uncle Humphrey, and Uncle Denis all being cited.

Fourth, Granddad and Grandmom were farmers. They turned up in the papers in agriculturally related endeavors. Grandmom entered produce and agricultural products in local agricultural fairs. She and Granddad also posted advertisements for cows, straw, eggs, etc.

At this point I had found out all I could about John and Mary Collins from these information sources. I purchased a genealogy software package and started entering everything I could about my family, as well some of the other Collinses I encountered from the newspaper archives.

I started searching around on the web for further genealogy resources, and started looking at the resources provided by the Mormon church (LDS). The Mormons have incredible resources! But I knew I needed to seek out some blood relatives and get information from them before I started looking around for John and Mary.


Happily, I found cousins over the Internet! It was amazing to talk to them after not seeing them for 35 years.

Cousin Jeanne was able to provide me a crucial clue. Apparently, Granddad had two brothers named Michael and Humphry. This ended up being extremely valuable information.


One of my immediate goals was to search the 1911 census records (courtesy of LDS) in the hopes of finding either Granddad's or Grandmom's household. In order to search the census, one has to know the District Electoral Division (D.E.D.) a townland is in. (D.E.D.'s do not necessarily have the same boundaries as the local civil parishes. They are somewhat like U.S. Congressional districts, which can get shifted over time.) Skibbereen Heritage Center got me started with that information. With listings of townlands in each Skibbereen D.E.D., I was then able to search the LDS 1911 census index and obtain D.E.D. numbers. With the help of the folks at the Orange Family History Center (OFHC) here in Southern California I was able to figure out what other LDS films made sense to look at in order to find my grandparents.

Skibbereen is a big place, and I wanted to improve my odds of searching the right townlands for Collinses, so starting from the Woodfort D.E.D., which includes Bauravilla and Bunalun, I wanted to spread out from there. Another resource I thought would be helpful is the surname frequencies listed by civil parish in the 1851-1853 timeframe, provided by the Irish Times. Enter Bunalunn, and a record comes up for the civil parish Caheragh. Click on Caheragh, scroll to the bottom, and you'll see the most common surnames in that parish back in the 1850's. (I am assuming that the relative proportions of surnames stayed pretty much the same by the time 1911 rolled around.) The Collins surname is #3, so yes I want to spend lots of time poking around in the Caheragh civil parish. Scroll further down and you'll see the civil parishes adjacent to Caheragh. Click on Kilmocomoge, check the surnames, and you'll see that Kilmocomoge, has NO Collinses. I don't want to spend my time looking around in Kilmocomoge.

During my visit to the OHFC I went ahead and ordered census record film for some of the Skibbereen D.E.D.s. I also looked at Irish birth index records. This was quite tedious. Even with an approximate year of birth, there are just too many Johns and too many Marys. The index does not give middle names or initials; it does not say WHERE in Skibbereen somebody was born; it does not give the exact date of birth, only the quarter of the year of birth (three month period); it does not provide any parents' information. Even worse, it turns out that from this source of information, birth record details are just not available between 1881 and 1900. I don't yet know if this means that it is 100% impossible to ever get a birth record from the Ireland civil registration for somebody born in that time period. But this blackout period is a bummer.


And then last night, I got a wonderful piece of news. At this point I have been waiting to get the LDS film of the 1911 census. I found out last night that Ireland has completed putting 1911 census information online, and that now includes County Cork.

I thought I'd give the search a try and entered: Collins, John, Cork, left Townland and D.E.D. blank, age=17, Male. Miraculously, I found a household in the Bredagh D.E.D. in Tooreen with not only a John but a Michael and a Humphry.

Eureka! Even though Granddad is a few years younger than I expected, I think this is him. Knowing the names of some of the brothers helped me identify the household. What really helped is that Humphry is a rare name.

The Bredagh D.E.D. was on some of the films I ordered from LDS, so if these records had not come online, I still would have found the correct census record by looking at the films.

Oddly, there are no parents listed in Granddad's household record. Brother Michael is listed as the head of the household. Were Granddad and his siblings orphans? The only other adult listed is a grandparent, Mary McCarthy. Is Mary McCarthy listed by her maiden name or her married name? If she is listed by her maiden name, she could either be Granddad's paternal or maternal grandmother. If she is listed by her married name (which I think is more likely for Ireland), then she must be his maternal grandmother. Argggh! More unanswered questions!

From the online census you get information not only about the family but even the neighbors. Leave all search fields blank except townland=Tooreen, D.E.D.=Bredagh, and you'll see that there were lots of McCarthys and Hourihanes (two major southern Ireland clans) as well as Kingstons, Lynches, and others. There was a Michael McCarthy next door to Great-great-grandmother, Granddad and his siblings. What was Michael McCarthy's relationship to Granddad's household?

Not having parental information in a household census record is abnormal. So where do I go from here? I want to recheck the birth indexes from the 1890's. While I was busily scanning for John Collins and Mary Collins in Skibbereen, I noticed that there were numerous Collinses named Denis, or Michael, or Jeremiah, or Cornelius, something else, but not Humphry (or Humphrey). So I want to go back and look for a Humphry Collins, born around 1900. He might have been born after that "blackout" period, so I might get lucky. The other avenue I want to pursue is the 1901 census. If I can turn up the 1901 household record surely it will list the parents. I'll start with LDS film #865092, index of townlands for the 1901 census. According the Ireland census office the National Archives are working on putting 1901 records online also. But I am too impatient to wait!


Grandmom was the whole reason I started this trip! The only piece of information I have about her, other than possible birth years, is that she had a brother she called Bob. If Bob was her brother and Bob was a nickname for Robert, this might be helpful. Robert is almost as rare as Humphry in the 1911 online census.

Searching for Robert Collins in Cork turns up five records, three which are of interest. Robert in Wolfe Square, Bantry Urban was apprenticed to a non-family household. Where did he come from? Robert in Canning Place, Monkstown (across from Cobh, I believe) had a younger sister named Mary (about the right age). Robert in Ballynidon (alt: Ballyidon), Kinsale Rural not only had an older sister named Mary Kate (also about the right age), but the father was Denis. If this is indeed Grandmom's family, I find it interesting that Uncle Denis could have been named after the father. The only thing that does not "fit" is that these matches are outside of Skibbereen.

There are plenty of other Marys about the right age in the online database, only there are no Roberts or Bobs in those households.

I hope when I visit in July either Denis or Teresa can provide a few details. In the meantime, what I have constructed so far for Granddad is available on my website.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Resources (home made)

Check back periodically for updates to this resource page.


1911 District Electoral Divisions (D.E.D.) for Skibbereen.

Resources (external)

ATTENTION: These resources have been moved to my Cork genealogy web pages, where there are many more links.

Births, Marriages, Deaths

Certificates - Buy online
LDS film numbers for births, marriages, and deaths. Click Info.
Registration districts and subdistricts as of 1871 (pdf file)

Church Records

Churches of the Skibbereen area (historical) - map
Introduction to Church Records (pdf file)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Cork and Ross
Roman Catholic Parish Maps - Irish Times
Roman Catholic Parish Register Catalog - NLI

Data, Research, Researchers

Family Search PILOT (courtesy of LDS)
Genealogists and Heritage Centres in Ireland
Information Wanted (Boston College) - missing people advertisements 

Shared Tree (search Skibbereen, Co Cork, Ireland)


Francis Guy's county and city of Cork Directory (1875)

Internet Forums

Cork at Ancestry.com
Cork at British Isles Genweb
Cork at Ireland Roots
Cork at Roots Chat
Cork at IGP

Newspapers, Special Collections

Cork Archives
Cork County Library Newspaper Archives
Irish News Archives. The Southern Star is based in Skibbereen.

Places: Townlands, Civil Parishes, District Electoral Divisions, etc.

Civil Parishes, 1851-1853, with surname frequencies - Irish Times
District Electoral Divisions of Cork, with their corresponding LDS film numbers. Partial listing.
Irish Place Names Etymology
Placenames Database
Townlands Database.  Search by Barony, Civil Parish, Poor Law Union.

Societies, Organizations, etc.

Cork Genealogical Society
Cork Past and Present
Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) publishes "All Ireland Sources" newsletter