Friday, December 31, 2010

Abbeystrowry Tithe Applotment transcription now published

Version "1.0" of the Abbeystrowry tithe applotment is now online but has not yet been proof-read and corrected.

There are now four Skibbereen area tithe applotments online:  Abbeystrowry, Caheragh, Drinagh, and Dromdaleague.  They can be accessed here.

A new census substitute in Dunmanway

From West Cork People dated December 2010:

The Dunmanway Historical Society has recently had restored a Parish Accounts Book.  In the words of the magazine:
This is an account of the income and expenditure associated with the building of St Patrick’s Church in Dunmanway during the period 1832 to 1848. This book was maintained by Fr James Doheny who was Parish Priest in Dunmanway from 1818 to his retirement in 1848, and is a testimony to his meticulous accounting of the parish finances as it details all who contributed to the building of the Church. In effect it is a census of all subscribers, street by street and townland by townland.
Fr Doheny also gives a very detailed account of all expenditure for the period, detailing the various sources of the materials used in the building ranging from the various quarries from which the stone was procured to the Altar and altar fittings from Lyons in France. It also gives us the names of all the tradesmen who worked on the church as well as the quarrymen, labourers and horsemen.
This book lay hidden in the presbytery for years until it was discovered last year by Fr. Ted Collins. “It is the most significant and historic discovery in the parish for quite some time”; so said Tommy Collins, Chairman of the Historical Society.
The book has now been expertly restored and preserved for posterity by Mucros Bookbindery in Killarney.
If your ancestors were in Dunmanway around that time, you may want to contact the Dunmanway Historical Society or pay a visit to the Dunmanway Heritage Centre and make further inquiries.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Roots of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa

Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (Diarmuid Ó Donnabhain Rosa 1831-1915), was a well known nationalist and Fenian leader.  In my opinion, he was an Irish genealogist's dream.  In his published recollections he not only devoted chapters to his birth and early upbringing, but there is even a chapter labeled "Genealogy." Okay, I am ignoring the part where he claimed he traced the family back to Biblical times.  He's got enough interesting material to make it worth digging into the recent past.

He mentions so many people and places in his recollections, and not just his family, I thought it would be fun to track some of these people and places down.  (Keep in mind that there are Donovans doing lots of genealogy research who have probably filled in many of my blanks! I'm just doing this to see what records prove useful.)

Here goes.
...On the tombstone it is recorded that Father Power died on the 10th of August, 1831.  I was at his funeral; I heard my mother say she was 'carrying' me that day.  It is recorded in the parish registry that I was baptized on the 10th of September, 1831; that my godfather was Jerrie Shanahan, and my godmother Margaret O'Donovan.  When I grew up to boyhood I knew her as Aunty Peg.  She was the wife of Patrick O'Donovan Rua, and was the sister of my mother's father, Cornelius O'Driscoll.  Jerrie Shanahan's mother was Julia O'Donovan Rossa - my father's uncle's daughter...Jerrie Shanahan is my second cousin, and my godfather.
A look at the church records of ROSSALETTIRI & KILKERAUNMOR (ROSCARBERY & LISSEVARD) shows two babies named Jeremiah Donovan born in 1831 (abbreviated Jerh).  One Jerh Donovan was born in Ross, baptized September 4, father Denis Donovan, mother Ellen Driscol, sponsors Jer Shanahan and Margt Driscol
I am more than three years older than my brother Conn...
Searching the church records for children of Ellen Driscoll and Denis Donovan turns up the following siblings:

John 18 Apr 1828
Cornelius (Cors) 19 Jun 1834

Mary 7 Dec 1837

Well, not quite three years older but close!
The household of Renascreena consisted of my grandfather Cornelius O'Driscoll, my grandmother Anna ni Laoghaire [note: O'Leary], my aunts, Nance, Johanna, Bridget, Anna; my uncles Denis, Conn, and Michael.  Michael was the youngest in the family. He keeps the old homestead now (1896).
It doesn't get much better than that!

Notice that his grandfather was called Cornelius and there was also an uncle Conn. One of these men likely shows up in Griffith's Valuation in the civil parish of Ross in Reanascreena North.  There are other Cornelius Driscolls in the same parish in the townlands of Derryduff, Downeen, and Maulyregan.  Further research would be needed to distinguish them.

The Tithe Applotment for Ross was taken in 1834.  The FHL film number for the civil parish of Ross is 256681.  To pursue this further, I'd have to rent that film at the local family history library and look at Ross in detail.  However, a kind soul out there has provided an online transcription of the Rosscarbery area

I am not entirely certain how to interpret the transcription.  But it looks as if a Cornelius Driscoll was in Downeen and there was one in Rainascreeny (Reenascreena) North.  There is a Denis Driscoll in Downeen (Jeremiah had an uncle Denis Driscoll).  It would certainly be worth looking at the the Ross TA film.

Notice also a Jerry Shanihan in Downeen in the TA, and also in Curriheen [Curraheen]. 

A map is an essential tool for looking at such data. Perusing such a map, it's easy to see that Reenascreena and Carrigagrenane are neighboring townlands.  They lie north of Rosscarbery.  Downeen and Curraheen are also close together, though they are on the other side of Rosscarbery.  In any case, they are all local to each other, which matters.

Here is Jeremiah's uncle Michael Driscoll in the 1901 census.

Continuing with his narrative:

...In the family, had been four more daughters. Mary, married to John O'Brien; Margaret, married Jer Sheehan, of Shanava [note: his baptismal sponsors]; Kate, married to Martin O'Donovan Ciuin, of Sawroo; whose son is Martin O'Donovan of San Francisco; and Nellie, the oldest of the children, married, at the age of fifteen, to Denis O'Donovan Rossa, of Carrig-a-grianaan [note: Carrigagrenane], whose son I am.

Yes, married at the age of fifteen, my mother was, and born thirteen years after she was married, was I.
His mother Nellie (Ellen) Driscoll would have been about age 28 in 1831, so her birth year was about 1803, and the year of the Nellie Driscoll-Denis Donovan marriage was around 1818.  Unfortunately the Rosscarbery church records don't go earlier than 1821, so it doesn't look like church records will help us.  Maybe as more church records come online, we can find information about his parents' siblings.

By the way, the family nickname Rossa comes from Rossmore, not Ross or Rosscarbery.   If I post a followup, I will elaborate on that - and Donovans - in more detail.  In the meantime, here is a Rootsweb thread created by descendants of the Donovans.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mahonys in Skibbereen

I have started snooping around in Bohernabredagh (often just abbreviated Bredagh) because there is a chance my great-great-grandmother Mary Mahony was the daughter of a Denis Mahony of this townland.

Mary Mahony married Daniel Collins 4-Feb-1845 in the old Drinagh chapel in the Roman Catholic parish of Drimoleague & Drinagh.  Witnesses included Denis Mahony, possibly her father.

Daniel Collins shows up in Cullomane East in Griffiths Valuation and the first child I know about, Mary, was baptized 1-Feb-1852. Mahony baptismal sponsors for the Collins children were Kean (Cain), Daniel, Catherine (Kate), and Timothy.

In the 1901 census Mary Mahony Collins was in Cullomane age 75.  The census says she is married but in fact her husband Daniel Collins had died in 1894.  She died in August that census year, estimated age 75, making her birth year possibly 1826, maybe a little before.

There is a Denis Mahony in the Dromdaleague tithe applotment in Bredagh, possibly her father.  A Denis Mahony is in Bredagh in Griffiths Valuation.  It could be the same Denis as in the TA, or possibly a descendant.

I have tallied the following names from the Abbeystrowry, Caheragh, Drinagh, and Dromdaleague Tithe Applotments, keeping in mind that the 1845 marriage took place in Drimoleague & Drinagh RC parish:

Cain Mahon(e)y
Clover Hill (Abbeystrowry)
Inchingerig (Caheragh)

Daniel Mahon(e)y
Kilnaclasha (Abbeystrowry)
Lissalohorig (Abbeystrowry)
Minanes (Drinagh)

Denis Mahon(e)y
Baurnagowlane (Dromdaleague)
Bredagh (Dromdaleague)
Clashduff (Dromdaleague)
Ceancullig (Dromdaleague)
Kealanine (Caheragh)
Minanes (Drinagh)
Seehanes (Dromdaleague)

Timothy Mahon(e)y
Cooranuller (Caheragh)
Derreenavarihy (Caheragh)
Minanes (Drinagh)

I know the tithe applotments could be too early for brothers of Mary Mahony named Cain, Daniel, or Timothy to be showing up, but, as is so often the case, closely related families often carry the same names.  When Skibbereen Heritage researched Mary Mahony for me, they came up with two potential Denis Mahonys as fathers:
12-Sep-1823 (Bredagh)
22-Aug-1819 (Lettergorman)

The best concentration of "matching" names is in and surrounding Bredagh.  And although there are no Mahonys in Lettergorman in the TA, Minanes is not far away, where there is another good concentration of matching names.

There are also Cains, Denises, Daniels, and Timothys in various parts of Skibbereen in Griffiths Valuation.  A Denis Mahony is in Lettergorman.

One Timothy Mahony, age 31, died 14-Apr-1864, in Driminidy; brother Cain Mahony of Clashduff was the informant.  Driminidy and Clushduff are within shouting distance of Bredagh.  Cain Mahony, age 92, died 2-Feb-1904, in Clashduff. He was in the 1901 census in Tonafora.  Again, this is within shouting distance of Bredagh.  Within Bredagh, the 1901 census shows Denis Mahony, age 53, HoH, with possibly batchelor brother Cain, age 60.  Cain died 4-May-1910, reported age 82, throwing the question of his age up in the air.  Were I to look for him among baptismals, I would probably start by what the death record estimates.

There is no assurance, of course, that Denis Mahony is the father of my Mary Mahony, but that is all I have to go on at the moment.  It is probably worth noting that the second known son of Mary Mahony and Daniel Collins was named Denis, who happened to be my great-grandfather.

The name Cain O'Mahony stands out, and it may be extremely old (many many centuries).  I have read literature that derives Cain from Enniskean, a place name.  The same name belonged to a man whose family had a store on Townsend Street in Skibbereen, at least from the mid-1800's. He was mentioned in Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa's book.  There is a picture of that gentleman here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Humphrey Collins of Lissane

The Humphreys of Lissane (pdf file here) have put me in an agonizing state of "not knowing" equally as intense as that of the Larrys over in Adrigole - my Grandmom's paternal Collins line. The Humphreys are the paternal Collins line of my Grandfather.

Granddad John Humphrey Collins (b. 1895) was the son of Margaret McCarthy of Tooreen (b. 1860) and Humphrey Michael Collins (b. 1858) of Lower Lissane (m. 1890). Humphrey Michael is nicknamed "Humphrey Mickey", and his father, Michael Collins, is nicknamed Mickey. Mickey Collins married Ellen Driscoll 1854. Mickey and Ellen are in the 1901 census together in Lissane. How lucky for me, as he died a few weeks after. The census gave an age estimate, leading me to believe Mickey was born about 1822.

After the first known daughter Johanna (b. 1856), Humphrey Mickey was the first boy. Another mysterious Humphrey Collins was a baptismal sponsor. An elderly Humphrey Collins died in 1873, with his age estimated as 88, so he would have been born about 1785. The death record shows the mark of a Humphrey Collins, present at death, which got me thinking. Was the old man an informant of his own death?!? Was the informant a teenage Humphrey Mickey? Or was there there another Humphrey Collins about?

Obviously I am joking in the first case. I don't think think Humphrey Mickey was the informant, as he was literate and he could have signed his own name on the death record.  So I am inclined to think option #3.

A Humphrey Collins and Michael Collins were together in the 1827 Caheragh Tithe Applotment. From these facts I have developed the hypothesis that Humphrey Mickey's father Michael's father was probably 1785 Humphrey.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of Collinses in Lissane and the families there have historically been tangled up with each other. Humphrey is the "breadcrumb" trail I have been following, since it is so easy to spot. I have identified a number of Collins families in Lissane in the latter part of the 19th century.

Michael Collins &  Ellen Driscoll (m. 1854)
I'll start with my own direct line, Mickey Collins and Ellen Driscoll. Marriage (28-Feb-1854, Caheragh) witnesses included Humphrey Collins. Children were Johanna (1856, bap sponsor Johanna Collins), Humphrey Mickey (1858, bap sponsor Humphrey Collins), Catherine (1860, bap sponsor John Collins), John (1862), Honora (1865, bap sponsor Mary Brien), Michael (1867), Margaret (1870), and Ellen (1875, bap sponsor John Collins).

I have a theory that 1865 Honora, or Nora, might have been the wife of Michael Lynch of Coolnaclehy (m. 1903), as according to my Aunt Peg, Granddad had Lynch cousins in Coolnaclehy (John and Hannah) who were first cousins. I think these cousins are in the 1911 census. But unfortunately I cannot find the marriage record in the online indexes to confirm Nora's origin.

Son Michael is with Mickey and Ellen in the 1901 census along with sister Honora "Noria" and cousin Noria Driscoll. And I think that is Michael in the 1911 census along with wife Nora, and children Michael, Humphrey, Hannah, and Jamsey, as well as his elderly mother Ellen Driscoll Collins. Michael's son Humphrey is registered 3-May-1903, and his mother was a Hannah Collins. So Michael was widowed with Nora being his second wife.

Humphrey Michael Collins &  Margaret McCarthy (m. 1890)
Humphrey Mickey, the son of Mickey, married Margaret McCarthy of Tooreen (b. 1860).  Humphrey Mickey went to go farm the Tooreen farm, as Margaret's parents Mary and Cornelius McCarthy had no son.  Their children were Michael (bap Oct-1891); Patrick (bap Mar-1893); Cornelius (bap May-1894); John (my Granddad, Jul-1895); Mary Kate (1897); Humphrey (21-May-1898, from civil reg); James (Nov-1899); Ellen (1901); Denis (Oct-1902); and Margaret (6-Mar-1906). Margaret McCarthy died three days after giving birth to baby Margaret, and the baby died that August. My aunt tells me that Humphrey Mickey never got over this, and likely lived in a state of despair until he died shortly after (in 1910).

The orphaned children are in the 1911 census, with their widowed grandmother Mary McCarthy taking care of them (she was there helping out in 1901 too.) The farm went to the oldest son, Michael Humphrey Collins, who married Ann (Nan) Morris, and had several children, among them a Patrick Joseph Collins, (b. Jun-1925, possibly d. Aug-2000 in England), and Michael (d. Oct-2009, Tooreen).

Denis Collins &  Margaret Mahony (m. before 1864)
One Denis Collins married one Margaret Mahony, unknown when or where. Children include, but are not necessarily limited to (from civil registration records): Denis 8-Jan-1866, probably died as infant; James 10-Dec-1866; Margaret 4-Dec-1868; Helena 20-Sep-1870 (may have had a twin Johanna or Honora); Patrick (17-Mar-1872); Timothy (1-Jul-1873 - not confirmed from civil reg yet); and Denis (1876 - not confirmed from civil reg yet). Denis is HoH, age 70 in the 1901 census, Bredagh DED, with wife Margaret, sons Patrick and Denis. In 1911, Denis HoH is age 80, with wife Margaret, sons Denis and Patrick, plus granddaughter Margaret McCarthy.

I think the censuses could have underestimated the age of Denis, as a death record in 1919 shows a Denis Collins of Lissane age 96. Or, the death record might be wrong.

There is more to this story. One Humphrey Collins, born about 1864, emigrated around 1889 and shows up in the 1900 US Census in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. The oldest son in his family is named Dennis. Looking further, the date of Humphrey's immigration can be traced to 7-May, 1890, on the ship Samaria, port of Boston. Looking further still, in the Rhode Island marriage records, the spouse of this Humphrey Collins was a Delia Lydon, they married in 1893, and his parents are listed as Dennis Collins and Margaret Mahoney! According to the Rhode Island death records, Humphrey died 14-Apr-1916.

I've looked, but have been unable to find this Humphrey Collins in the Ireland civil registration in 1864, at least in Skibbereen. Knowing the minefields that spring up in Irish genealogy, I am painfully aware there could be another couple named Denis Collins and Margaret Mahony to confuse the issue, but as the name Humphrey Collins from Ireland is such an uncommon name, for now I am hanging on to the theory that Humphrey Collins of Newport, R.I. was from Lissane.

John Collins &  Ellen McCarthy (m. before 1863)
Children in this family include Denis (est 1863); Johanna (9-Jun-1865); Honora (5-Aug- 1867); Catherine (3-Jun-1869); and John (26-Feb-1872). The last known child is super important; on his birth record it says "Humphrey Collins, present at birth."

John, the father, died young, age 55 years, in 1882. That would place his birth year around 1827.

I believe the son Denis is in the 1901 census, with wife Nora. Children listed are Mary E (Ellen?), and Hannah. His elderly mother Ellen is with them.

Hardly a day goes by when I don't scour the Southern Star news archives, and I think this Denis is the "Denis J. Collins" I've seen in news articles.

Who was the Humphrey who was present at the birth of this John Collins?

James Collins &  Honora Collins (m. before 1864)
Known children include Catherine (9-Dec-1864); Honora (15-Nov-1866); Michael (20-Oct-1868); Johanna (10-Dec-1870); Helena (3-Apr-1873); Julia (25-Aug-1874); and James (20-Oct-1876). There is no obvious connection to the Humphreys, except perhaps via the oldest son Michael's name. I'll get to that. James and Nora are in both the 1901 and the 1911 census. In the 1911 census they are in their son Michael's household.


Those are the main family lines out of Lissane that I know about.  Finally, I found a death record for an elderly Michael Collins, d. 1870, age 80, so he was born about 1790. Mary Collins was present at death.

I have gathered much more data on Humphreys in the townlands surrounding Lissane. But for my initial phase of research, I limited my data to these families. (I will post on these other Humphreys another time.) After spending close to a year gathering all this data, I went to Skibbereen Heritage Centre, proposed that 1785 Humphrey and 1790 Michael were brothers or cousins, that Humphrey was the father of 1822 Mickey, and then asked for research on the two lines. Margaret (God bless her) did so quite diligently and spent some time doing it. She checked and rechecked whatever she had available. Her research was a great lesson to me, showing that errors in genealogy records start right on the baptismal and marriage records.

Anyway, this is what Skibbereen Heritage found:

Humphrey Collins &  Johanna Barnane (m. 1820)
One Humphrey Collins married a Mary Bernard at the Old Chapel in Drinagh, 15-Feb-1820.   Bernard can be a form of Barnane, so there isn't any confusion about the surname at this point.  However, further evidence indicates that the bride's Christian name was not Mary but rather Johanna.

One Catherine Collins was born 2-Dec-1820 in Caheragh R.C. parish to John Collins and Johanna Barnane. Humphrey Collins and Catherine Hurley were witnesses.   Spotting another potential error, Margaret was convinced that the father's name John and the sponsor's name Humphrey were transposed, so that Humphrey Collins and Johanna Barnane were the parents. Additional children were discovered with parents Humphrey and Johanna, plus, Margaret was unable to find any baptismals of children to a Humphrey Collins and Mary Bernard.

Other children of Humphrey and Johanna were:   John (1824, Mary Donovan among sponsors); Honora "Norry" (1829); James (1833, sponsor Mary Barnane); and Jeremiah (1835).

One child was discovered with the mother's name Jane Barrett: Patrick (14-Mar-1839). Ordinarily, I might have thought the priest didn't get Johanna Barnane quite right. Barrett and Bernard can sound similar.  Jane is often cited as an interchangeable form of Johanna. But in this case I think there is a possibility Johanna Barnane and Jane Barrett were two different women. Baptismal sponsors were James Barrett and Ellen Barrett, and there was a James Barrett right there in the Caheragh tithe applotment. Unfortunately, I may not be able to resolve this question.

There are more children found, outside of Caheragh, in the R.C. parish of Skibbereen & Rath, born to Humphrey Collins and Mary Brien or Mary Collins. I don't know if 1785 Humphrey had multiple wives, or if there was yet another Humphrey running about. It's kind of late for somebody born 1785 to be having kids in the 1840's, you think?!?   Even Patrick (1839) sounds a bit late for old man Humphrey.  The other children of Humphrey are: Mary (19-Jan-1841); Johanna (2-Apr-1843); and Jerry (23-Oct-1845).

The BIG problem with these records is that Skibbereen Heritage was unable to find a baptismal record for Mickey. So his connection to this family is still not conclusively proven.  There is a convenient slot for him though, between Catherine in 1820 and John in 1824.

Michael Collins & Mary Donovan (m. before 1823)
Margaret was unable to find a marriage record for Michael Collins and Mary Donovan, but she did manage to find several children.  Margaret (27-Nov-1823); James (1-Feb-1829, sponsor Johanna Barnane?); Humphrey (1-Aug-1831, sponsor Catherine Collins); Catherine (15-May-1833); Michael (2-Jul-1837); and Jane (4-Aug-1840, sponsor Jerry Collins).

This son Michael cannot be the Mickey who married Ellen Driscoll, as he would have been alarmingly young (17?!?).  It doesn't fit.

I think this same son Michael is the "Michael W. Collins" I see in the Southern Star archives.


I have a few death records for elderly men named James Collins but neither are in Lissane. It is unclear which family - the Humphrey line or the Michael line - that James in the census came from, but I am inclined to think the Michael line, as the first (known) son of James and Nora Collins is named Michael.


On our recent trip to Salt Lake City, I obtained images of Registry of Deeds memorial #371769, as it mentions a Denis Collins, a farmer in Lissane. It turned out he was only serving as a witness to an agreement between a landlord and a tenant. Still, the date of the agreement (1803) compels these questions. Who were the Collinses of Lissane? Were they related to each other?  Where did they come from?

Margaret was unable to link elderly Denis Collins to 1785 Humphrey and 1790 Michael, but she did notice a Denis Collins over in Tonafora, in the backyard of Lissane. I have filed that piece of information in the back of my brain, knowing there could be a connection to the aforementioned Denis in the Registry of Deeds.

I am hoping that a few of these unanswered questions will be resolved when more church records come online. The most pressing question, of course, is WHY are we unable to find a baptismal record for Michael Collins 1822.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Adrigole brick wall, part 2

Since my last post about the brick wall in Adrigole, much more information has emerged, though not what I need to conclusively prove who my gg-grandfather's family was. 

Skibbereen Heritage did indeed successfully find a marriage between Daniel Collins and Mary Mahony.  After all our unsuccessful searches through the baptismals, poor Margaret at Skibb Heritage was probably starting to think I was deluded about "Danny Larr" my gg-grandfather, but she did find a marriage between a Daniel Collins and a Mary Mahony that took place 4-Feb-1845 at St. Finbarr's in Drimoleague R.C. Parish.  The Daniel Collins recorded came out of Castlehaven parish.  One of the witnesses was a John Collins - which doesn't necessarily prove that this is the same John I currently believe was Danny Larr's brother thought to have been born in Adrigole in 1818 - but at least it is not, say, Timothy Collins, a name I have never seen in my family.

Danny Larr and Mary Mahony somehow ended up in Cullomane East.  I have yet to discover how or why. 

Skibb Heritage found eight children born and baptized in Caheragh R.C. Parish.  I believe the baptismal found for a James Collins (Dec-1866) is an error, somehow confused with a James Collins born to a Denis Collins and a Margaret Mahony in Lissane.  Coincidentally, James could be a distant relative, but on Granddad's side, not Grandmom's side, which is the Adrigole Collinses.  Aunt Peg has never heard of a James among Danny Larr's children.  Civil registration is very clear about who the parents were and the location.  So we are leaving James off the Cullomane branch of Adrigole Collinses.

The oldest Cullomane child was Mary, who also went by Maria.  She was born in 1852.  She married Cornelius Collins in Knockgorm and among the children were daughters Nora McCarthy and Kate Ann Fitzgerald.  Nora married Michael McCarthy of Derryduff, Drimoleague in 1909.  Nora raised Grandmom after Ellen Hurley died.  I am not yet sure when Kate Ann married her husband Dick (Richard).  What I've seen in the civil registration indexes conflicts with what I have seen in the news archives.  I was told that Kate Ann and Dick had a pub up in Clonakilty - the Brewer's Arms, or something like that.  I was also told that among Mary's children was a son Cornelius.  Cornelius may have ended up in Liverpool.  Aunt Peg vaguely remembers a visitor from Liverpool showing up at the family doorstep - Auntie can't remember if they were still living in Bauravilla or Bunalun, but she does remember they could "barely understand a word" said.

The second Cullomane child was named Diana, born 1854.  Since Diana (or Dinah) Collins is a practically non-existent name coming out of Ireland and one of my "breadcrumb" names, I have tried to trace her.  A Diana Collins from Ireland, age 20, arrived on the ship Manhattan in New York in September of 1893.  After that her trail goes cold.

I don't know anything about the third Cullomane child, Jeremiah, born 1856, other than that he may have gone by William.  A William Collins was a witness to the marriage of Denis Collins and Ellen Hurley in 1904.

Margaret, the fourth Cullomane child, was born 1858.  I may have a clue about what happened to her, and will get back to her momentarily.

The fifth Cullomane child, born 1860, is my great-grandfather, Denis, or Denny Dan Larr, who died in late 1930.

After Denis came Johanna, born early 1863.  She shows up living with Denny Dan Larr and his first wife in the 1901 census, after that nobody knows where she vanished to.

The youngest Cullomane child was Daniel, born 1865.  We know quite a bit about Daniel now, who went on to join the Royal Irish Constabulary.  I have been in touch with one of his grandchildren.

There are two odd facts emerging from this group of children.  One is the gap between the marriage (1845) and the first child Mary (1852).  The famine undoubtedly played a role here, and may have had to do with the family ending up in Cullomane East.  There may have been other children born elsewhere, leading to the second odd fact that there is no obvious child named Lawrence in this branch of Larrs, even though this branch produced Lawrences (including some in generations that I don't publicly publish).  I am hoping that the church records that come online at the end of the year will shed some light on these puzzles.

There are odd Lawrences and Dianas popping up elsewhere whom I cannot place into the family tree.  There was a Lawrence Collins in the Kilmcabea tithe applotment, I believe out of Coornishal.  News stories mention Collins cousins out of Coornishal. 

A Lawrence Collins married a Mary Hayes in 1866, and their marriage record says they were each living in Ballyriree.  His age is given as 24.  I think they went on to live in Ballyvoureen in the Rosscarbery area - they show up in censuses.  I don't know how they fit or whether they fit into the Adrigole puzzle.

Another interesting family producing a Lawrence Collins came out of Licknavar and may have lived in Gortshanecrone, south of Skibbereen town.  I don't know how they fit in.  In the 1911 census this family so closely resembled Grandmom's family that for a while I was confused thinking it was her family.
The Licknavar/Gortshanecrone family is a different family from the family of James and Catherine Collins in Knockaphreanane, whom I do know about and who are related, though I am unaware of any sons named Lawrence.  In part 1 I confused this family with the Knockaphreanane family.

Diana Collins of Adrigole, whose father was named Lawrence, married Timothy Sullivan of Clooncugger in 1868.  A Jeremiah Collins was a witness.  This Dinah Sullivan died in 1892, age 54, placing her birth around 1838 if that is accurate.  Daughter Bridget was present at death.  There was a Jeremiah Collins baptized in 1846 to a Lawrence Collins and Catherine Neil.  It is not conclusive that Dinah Collins Sullivan was his sister.  There is no baptismal record linking Diana to Catherine Neil.  The relatively late birth dates of Dinah and Jeremiah suggest to me that there was a Lawrence who was a son of Larr (and a brother of Danny Larr).  Otherwise I would have to consider the possibility that Larr was churning out children at least between 1814 and 1846 - over a 32 year range - not likely.

Yet more news archive stories turned up Donovans in Ardagh, Rosscarbery, who were cousins of Adrigole Collinses.  Further research in the online church records turned up parents Johanna Collins and John Donovan, married probably before 1856.  Among their children was a Dinah Donovan.  For the time being I have placed Johanna Collins as a daughter of Larr (therefore a sister of Danny Larr), though I have no conclusive proof of that.

Following more breadcrumb Dianas, I obtained the birth record of a Diana Collins born in 1893 to a Margaret Collins and a John Collins.  This was in Cullomane, right in our backyard!  I am waiting for the marriage record of a John Collins and a Margaret Collins in Bantry to see if this Margaret was the fourth Cullomane child of Danny Larr.  If this is the correct marriage record for John Collins and Margaret Collins in Cullomane, and it confirms that Margaret's father was Danny Larr, this could be important.  Margaret's daughter Dinah is probably the Dinah associated with Roggie and Pitchie whom Aunt Peg remembers when she was just seven years old, and she visited Cullomane East when Denny Dan Larr was ill.

In the census, there is also a son Denis in 1901 who apparently morphed to "Bob" in 1911.  Grandmom's brother Denis was also nicknamed Bob, which may be further evidence that these Cullomane families were related.

The Larrys chart is here, and the pdf is here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hurleys of Coolnagarrane, part 2

I wasn't planning to turn my attention back to the Hurleys for a while, but this has landed in my lap and I have to take what comes.  If you are interested in Hurleys from Coolnagarrane, you can read part 1 here.

My Hurley family tree can be found here.   John Hurley, son of Michael Hurley and Bridget Cahalane (married 25-May-1838, Leap, Kilmacabea), had three brothers we know about.  John (b. 1839) is the oldest.  Patrick (b. 1841) is somewhat questionable, only because the mother's surname shows up as Coughlan, not Cahalane (maybe a recording error by a priest who was hard of hearing).  Then Daniel (b. 1843) and finally Michael (b. 1849).  Notice the gap - maybe the famine had something to do with it?!?

It is Daniel that I am looking at.  There were descendants of Daniel Hurleys in Coolnagarrane early in the 20th century, according to the Southern Star archives.  Sorting them out is a work in progress.  In part 1 I said the Hurleys were a lonely bunch but by the early 20th century there were enough of them to be confusing!

A Daniel Hurley married Honora McCarthy, probably early 1852 or before, and had Ellen bap 17-Dec-1852; Catherine bap 29-Apr-1855; Honora bap 13-Sep-1857; Daniel bap 3-Jun-1860; and John bap 6-Mar-1864.  (Thankfully, these records are all online.)  My Hurley family had names Ellen, John, and Catherine so the two families do look confusingly similar.

I think this son Daniel married Julia McCarthy 22-Apr-1894 (witnesses John Hurley and Hanoria McCarthy) in the R.C. Chapel of Drimoleague.  The age recorded for Daniel was 28, when it should have been 34.  The marriage record says his father's name was Daniel (dead). 

Ordinarily I would have thought that there were two different Daniels (one age 28, one age 34), but the 1901 census shows Daniel age 40 in Coolnagarrane, along with wife Julia and children, and they show up again in 1911.  So the census corrects the age. 

Julia, from Drominidy according to the marriage record, died in 1917 and was a McCarthy-Sowney according to the Southern Star news of 3-Feb-1917.   Her husband Daniel was already deceased.

If Daniel the younger was born 1860, then who was Daniel his father?  Daniel Senior was likely not gg-grandfather John Hurley's younger brother (b. 1843), he would have been an incredibly young father, not impossible but improbable.  Perhaps Daniel Senior was a cousin of John's, his father Michael's nephew?

To add to the mystery, there is an older Daniel Hurley in the 1901 census with wife Nellie.  If the census age is correct his birth year would have been around 1832.  They don't show up in the 1911 census - at least where I looked, in Coolnagarrane - so presumably they were both deceased.  In the 1901 census is a daughter Mary Ellen, age 28.  She's all I have to go on so at some point I will look for her birth record (circa 1873), which I should be able to do at the Los Angeles FHL.  Maybe from there I'll be able to approximate when her parents married.   I was thinking this Daniel was gg-grandfather John's uncle - a brother of ggg-grandfather Michael.  But if the 1894 marriage record is correct, this older Daniel cannot be the father of Daniel who married Julia.  So how are these people all related?

Julia McCarthy may be worth my pursuit too, as she could be distantly related through my Granddad's McCarthy-Sowney lines.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This is why you must verify online information

I've been researching the family tree descended from one Lawrence Collins of Adrigole (b. 1783, d. 1867), and have been chasing Larry Collinses all over Ireland and even a few who emigrated to the US.  In the process, I discovered a Lawrence Collins b. 1878 to a Jeremiah Collins and a Mary Donovan.  So I decided to investigate.

I started in the church records, and from there turned up the following:

Cornelius, ,8-May-1861,Rosscarbery
Michael,Barrack Lane,28-Sep-1864,Rosscarbery
Maurice,,9-Jun-1874,Cork South Parish

I quickly poked around in the online censuses, and in the BMD index at Family search, and found the following:

1901, in Ballynidon, Kinsale Rural DED
Jeremiah Collins, age 68, HoH
Mary Collins, 62, wife
Patrick, brother, 66
Denis, son, 34
Julia, daughter, 30
Jeremiah, son, 26
Lizzie, daughter, 21
Mary Mehigan, granddaughter, 8

In 1911 Jeremiah HoH was deceased and the family was headed by son Denis.

Patrick in Rosscarbery (from the baptismals, above) *may* have ended up in house 28, Burgatia, Rosscarbery DED.

Name      Michael Collins
Gender     Male   
Birth Date     27 Sep 1864
Father's Name     Jeremiah Collins   
Mother's Name     Mary Donovan

So far I have found three references on volume 20 for Clonakilty.  This looks like it might be on volume 15.

Name      Margaret Collins
Gender     Female   
Birth Date     08 May 1866
Birthplace     0079,ROSS CARBERY,CORK,IRELAND   
Father's Name     Jeremiah Collins   
Mother's Name     Mary Donovan

I found one reference on volume 10 for Clonakilty.

Name      Jeremiah Collins
Gender     Male    
Birth Date     09 May 1868
Birthplace     Cork, Ireland   
Father's Name     Jeremiah Collins   
Mother's Name     Mary Donovan
Reference Number     v 10 p 113   

That one is pretty straightforward.

Name: James
Gender: Male
Baptism/Christening Place: 118, ROSSCARBERY, CORK, IRE
Birth Date: 20 Apr 1870
Birthplace: Rosscarbery, Cork, Ire
Father's Name: Jeremiah Collins
Mother's Name: Mary Donovan

Very obscure reference number, and multiple entries in the BMD index in the CLONAKILTY district.

Name      Ellen Collins
Gender     Female   
Birth Date     25 May 1871
Birthplace     Cork, Ireland   
Father's Name     Jeremiah Collins
Mother's Name     Mary Donovan   
Reference Number     v 10 p 487

Straightforward, hopefully.  She was registered in the KINSALE district.

Name      Mary Collins
Gender     Female   
Birth Date     03 Jun 1872
Birthplace     , , IRELAND
Father's Name     Jeremiah Collins   
Mother's Name     Mary Donovan

She was registered in the CORK district.  Not sure if volume 10-1 or 10-2, but on page 208.

Maurice Collins - CORK
Gender     Male   
Birth Date     06 Jun 1874
Birthplace     Cork, Cork, Ireland   
Father's Name     Jeremiah Collins   
Mother's Name     Mary Donovan
Reference Number     v 10-1 p 208   

Straightforward, hopefully.  He was registered in the CORK district.

Honora Collins
Gender     Female   
Birth Date     11 Jun 1875
Birthplace     Cork, Ireland
Father's Name     Jeremiah Collins   
Mother's Name     Mary Donovan
Reference Number     v 10-2 p 478

Straightforward, hopefully.  She was registered in the KINSALE district.

Laurence Collins
Gender     Male   
Birth Date     06 Jan 1878
Birthplace     Cork, Ireland   
Father's Name     Jeremiah Collins   
Mother's Name     Mary Donovan Collins
Reference Number     v 5 p 415

Straightforward.  He was registered in the KINSALE district, and (sadly) died later that year.

From all of this very hasty preliminary research, I believe that there were at least three different families in County Cork with parents of Jeremiah Collins and Mary Donovan in the research period from the 1850's and beyond.  Family #1 appeared to be based in the Rosscarbery area.  Their events would have been registered in Clonakilty.  Family #2 was in the Cork area.  Their events were registered in Cork. Family #3, the one where 1878 Lawrence was from, would have registered their events in Kinsale. 

All too often, I've seen family trees out on the Internet that might have thrown all three groups of children into the same family.  Without checking up on each of these references, I would end up attaching people to the family tree who weren't my people!  As it stands, I have no idea if the Kinsale family is related.  That's for further research in the years ahead.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Roggie and Pitchie of Cullomane East

My 87 year old aunt has an amazing memory.  Even though no family history has been written down until now, she has been able to tell me about her maternal granddad and his siblings.

Auntie was born in 1923, and she remembers when Denny Dan Larr Collins died in Cullomane East in late 1930.  She remembers her mother taking her and brother Humpsey (Humphrey) by horse and cart to Cullomane, and how the river was swollen, and how her mother drove the horse right into the swollen river and how terrified she was seeing the water rise up around the cart.

The visit was certainly burned into her memory.  She remembers two children nicknamed "Roggie" and "Pitchie" (that's my best shot at spelling) that were somehow associated with somebody named Dinah.  She can't remember Pitchie very well, but she remembers Roggie a curly haired boy and red-haired.

Grandmom's side of the family had many flaxen-haired and red-haired people in it, indeed, Grandmom's hair was a shade of golden red.  I reminded her that Denny Dan Larr had an older sister named Diana, and Auntie thinks that could be the association.  There certainly isn't anything conclusive about the Diana Collins, age 20, on the shiplist for "Manhattan", 10-Sep-1873, from Queenstown-Liverpool to NY, except that she was from Ireland.  If Roggie and Pitchie were related to Denny Dan Larr's sister and they were children in 1930, they would have had at least been her grandchildren.

This is something no genealogist would know, and the local papers don't print this kind of information. Only some older people locally residing in the area would know.  So if the nicknames Roggie and Pitchie are familiar to you and you remember those children living in or visiting Cullomane East, please let me know!  Better yet, Roggie or Pitchie, if you are out there, please get in touch!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Caheragh, Drinagh, and Dromdaleague Tithe Applotment Transcriptions Online

They have not been completely proofread by a local expert yet, but there are transcriptions of the Tithe Applotments for the civil parishes of Caheragh, Drinagh and Dromdaleague available.   Refer to this page.

There is work in progress on transcriptions for other parishes, though it may take me a few months to publish them.  First I want to coordinate with my proofreader and hope I don't overload him.  Second, I will be heading to Salt Lake City for vacation/genealogical research in mid-October to continue research on my own family, to get familiar with other genealogy resources, and to continue developing resources for my own County Cork pages, the tithe transcriptions being part of that effort.  Third, I have been taking a much-needed break from driving the 70 mile round-trip to the nearest open Family History Center, and am waiting for the grand reopening of the Los Angeles FHL, which is supposed to happen in late October/early November.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The family tree of General Michael Collins (1890-1922)

No, I am not going to publish it here, but I often see questions about it out on genealogy forums so I will post on how to obtain a copy of it, as it is copyrighted material.

You can send a message to copy-orders at (replace at with a @) and inquire about the family tree compiled by Michael Collins-Powell.  It is document #40,430/17.  There is a small fee for copying and sending it back to you by regular mail.

By the way, never take somebody's word for it over the Internet what his, or anybody's family history is.  Check on sources yourself.

Update: If you are looking for information on General Michael Collins, post your questions on public genealogy forums. You'll find a list of forums on this page. You can also use Google to find such forums.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Miss Marple's guide to genealogy

One of my favorite Agatha Christie novels was a Miss Marple story called "A Murder is Announced."  The second victim of the murderer was killed because she knew something about where the murderer was supposed to be at the moment when the first victim was killed, only the murderer wasn't where she *should* have been.  Victim #2 exclaimed to her roommate, "She wasn't THERE!" 

Miss Marple asked witnesses, "HOW did she say it?  Did she say, 'Well, SHE wasn't there.' or did she say, 'She wasn't THERE!' "  In the first place, the stress is on SHE, as if the speaker was enumerating the people who were at the party (the scene of the first murder), saying A was there but B wasn't there but C was there.  Whereas in the second case, the stress on THERE suggests the speaker thinks a person was supposed to be in a specific place, and was surprised to find that the person was NOT.

Now what on earth has all this to with family history?

After 17 months of doing genealogical research, I have concluded that good research has as much to do with establishing who your ancestors were NOT as who they were. I have done most of the "easy" research and am now starting to grope in the dark researching ancestral lines my family knows nothing about. One of these lines is Driscoll. 

Ellen Driscoll married Michael Collins of Lower Lissane 28-Feb-1854 in the Roman Catholic Parish of Caheragh.  So clue #1 is that Ellen was from the Caheragh RC parish area, as the groom typically went to the bride's parish for the wedding.  Given the number of Driscolls in the area, that's not much to go on, regrettably.

James Driscoll was a baptismal sponsor of the oldest girl Johanna (1856); Johanna Driscoll sponsored Catherine (1860); Dan Driscoll and Mary Driscoll sponsored John (1862); Margaret Driscoll sponsored Michael (1867); and James sponsored Ellen (1875).  So clue #2 is that perhaps Ellen had brothers named James and Daniel, maybe sisters named Margaret, Mary, and Johanna.  Knowing that Margaret was often abbreviated to look like Mary, I am also keeping in mind that Margaret and Mary could have been one person.

The oldest girl was named Johanna, and Ellen may have had a sister named Johanna.  Could Ellen's mother been named Johanna?  That is clue #3.  If we stretch the traditional Irish naming pattern a bit further, the second son was named John.  Could Ellen's father have been named John?

There is one John Driscoll in the tithe applotment of the civil parish of Caheragh.  He was in Coarliss (spelled Corless in the tithe applotment), well within the boundaries of the Roman Catholic Parish.  I am filing this piece of information in the back of my brain.

Admittedly these are all thin clues.  Although some could exist, I have not seen baptismal records state the relationship of sponsors to the family.  And the Irish naming pattern was not law.

There is only ONE solid clue in my records.  It is in the 1901 census.  Michael Collins and Ellen Driscoll Collins were then 80 and 70 years old respectively, living in Lower Lissane.  It so happened that Ellen had a niece Noria Driscoll, age 10, staying with them at the time of the census.

If Noria was a niece, she would have been a daughter of one of Ellen's brothers.  Perhaps given the age difference, she was a grand niece.  But the important thing is there was another Driscoll body in the household, and it's recorded on paper.  (It is a possibility that one of Ellen's sisters or sister's daughters could have married a Driscoll and Noria could have acquired the same surname another way.  Even worse, the relationship could have been through a sister of Michael, who could have married a Driscoll.  I will keep these possibilities in mind in case my hunt is not successful.)

So the next task became to look for Noria's birth record.  That is not as easy as it sounds. My searches for Honora, Nora, or Noria born in 1891 in the FHL PILOT program. turned up Nora b. 1886 in Coronea (father's name Daniel); Norah b. 1888 in Ballingowan in the Whitechurch district of Dungarvan in Co Waterford (father Patrick); Norah b. 1889 Lackarour in Clonakilty (father's name Dan); and Norah b. 1892 in Bantry (father Timothy).  None of these sounded right.

I set aside the task of finding Noria for a while, then tried searching PILOT again.  Only THEN did I realize that Hanora (with an A) is not indexed to Honora (with an O).  So I turned up some additional matches:  Hanora b. 1890 in Skeagh (father Patrick); and Hanora b. 1890 in Currabeg (father Michael).  These sounded better.

My next task was to match all these birth records to families in the 1901 census and to make sure that all Noras were with their families, in other words, that all Noras were where I EXPECTED THEM TO BE, much like how the second victim in the story I mentioned expected a person to be in a particular place at a particular time.

Present and accounted for in the 1901 census:
Nora, in Coronea, is age 15,
Norah, in Whitechurch, is Norah, age 13,
Norah, in Lackarour, is Hanora, age 11,
Norah, in Bantry, is Nora, age 8,
Hanora, in Skeagh, is Nora, age 11,

But Hanora, Currabeg, wasn't THERE.  Just like in the story. 
Her sisters are listed, her father Michael was a widower, but Hanora was missing.

By no means does this prove that Noria Driscoll staying in Lower Lissane was the daughter of Michael Driscoll of Currabeg, but this is the ONLY lead I have that makes sense.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Brick Wall in Adrigole

I have made  strides in reconstructing the Larrys from Adrigole. Unfortunately, I have run smack into the proverbial genealogy brick wall due to lack of vital records.

The Larrys "started" with Lawrence Collins, who died in 1867, a widower, with a Jeremiah Collins present at death.  From a calculation off his death record, Larr was born around 1783.  He was my triple-great-grandfather.

Great-great grandfather Daniel Collins was known as "Danny Larr" - a son of Larr.  Danny Larr died in 1894 and from a calculation off his death record was born around 1814.  Danny married one Mary Mahony and they were settled in Cullomane East, near Bantry.  Danny was there in the Caheragh Tithe Applotment in 1852.

There was a Jeremiah Collins who died in 1903 in Adrigole at the age of 82, a well-known agriculturalist and a long-time member of the Board of Guardians.  He was married to Mary Hourihane.  Their first son, Lawrence, was baptized 13-Sep-1857.  I think Lawrence may have at one time run for the Board of Guardians seat his father once had, but I don't think he won the seat.  If I have the relationships worked out correctly, this Lawrence eventually moved to Brade and married Elizabeth Sullivan from Reen in 1904.  The marriage record shows two Hourihanes as witnesses.  In 1924 Lawrence moved from Brade to Lissard (south of Skibbereen town) and he died in 1929.  As for the other children, the first daughter was Catherine, who went on to marry a James Collins from Knockaphreane (down towards Baltimore); they eventually moved to Lick (I think this is Licknavar, just southwest of Skibbereen town).  Son Jeremiah married Elizabeth Mary (Lily) Wilson from Corron, Leap 17-Apr-1919.  Son Daniel became the Very Reverend Daniel Canon Collins, who spent time in Glasgow; he died in 1934.  Son John became the Rev John Collins and served as the "estimable curate" of Clonakilty.

From a calculation off of Jeremiah's death notice, I figured he was born about 1821. 

Another known Adrigole Collins family is that of John Collins and Catherine Shiely - or Sheahy, or something like that.  Their first son was also Lawrence, baptized 4-Jun-1854.  John died in 1886, Catherine died in 1905.  Unfortunately, things get very confusing in Catherine's funeral write-up in the Southern Star.  It says her brother-in-law Jeremiah of Adrigole was one of the mourners.  Jeremiah died 2 years earlier, so a Jeremiah there could have been her son or her nephew by marriage.  And it says another brother-in-law mourner was Lawrence in Brade.  This would have been her nephew by marriage - Jeremiah's son. 

From a calculation off of John's death record, I figured he was born about 1818.

Lawrence son of John had a baptismal sponsor Lawrence Collins.  I don't have a further clue as to the baptismal sponsor's identity - though I am aware of a Lawrence Collins
of Ballyriree, Kilmacabea parish who married Mary Hayes in 1866 when he was 26 (Ballyriree Lawrence's father was named John).

Assuming that my family is correct about great-great-grandfather Daniel "Danny Larr" Collins being a son of Larr, I thought there was a good chance John and Jeremiah were also sons of Larr, and asked Skibbereen Heritage to do a search.  I thought Danny Larr would have been too old to be in the baptismals, but surely John and Jeremiah would be there.


Skibbereen Heritage couldn't find any Collinses in Adrigole around those dates, though Larr is clearly in the 1825 Castlehaven Tithe Applotment with a "Jerry."

Even if the years had been slightly off I would have expected to at at least found the youngest - Jeremiah, in the baptismals.  My conclusion for now is that the Larrys were transplants from elsewhere.  And to find out more about the Larrys, I will probably need access to some rather unconventional historical records, such as Board of Guardian meeting notes. 

I am starting to wonder about Rosscarbery as their origin, as I've seen Collinses named Jeremiah and Lawrence out of there.  Lawrence Collins and Mary Hayes may have moved to Rosscarbery.  There was a Rosscarbery Jeremiah Collins married to Mary Donovan, and they had a son Lawrence in 1878.

The Larrys were terrific agriculturalists (Grandmom was an amazing grower and so was Uncle Denis when he was actively doing so), so the Rosscarbery Agricultural Society and annual fair immediately come to mind. Therefore, to successfully dig deeper back into this family, I may eventually have to dig up old Society notes to see if the Larrys were involved.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Hurleys of Coolnagrane

My ancestral Hurleys of Coolnagrane were a rather quiet mysterious and lonely bunch.  Unlike the legal scrapes and brawls that my Collinses may have found themselves in, there isn't anything like that about the Hurleys in the Southern Star archives (one was victimized by the theft of a good suit, but that's a long story).  The descendants of one Daniel Hurley got most of the press, with the girls winning butter-churning contests! I call the Coolnagrane Hurleys "lonely" because they were not surrounded by lots and lots of Hurleys, unlike my Collins and McCarthy ancestors in Lissane.

The Abbeystrowry Tithe Applotment (1835), which was incredibly faded and practically impossible to read, indicated only a John Hurley in Coolnagrane.  There was a Daniel Hurley indicated in what I think is Kilnaclasha (too faded to read the townland name).  Those were the only two Hurleys I could scrape out of Abbeystrowry.  There are more Hurleys in Castlehaven, Caheragh, and other surrounding civil parishes.

In trying to find a death record for my great-great grandfather John Hurley, I had to get a copy of a death record for just about every man named John Hurley in Skibbereen, from 1880 on, but I finally found it.  (1880 was the year John's youngest child Annie Hurley was born.)  I was fooled by the  1901 census, as he is not on the household record, but his wife Margaret did say she was married, not widowed.  John died 1-Apr-1908, age 70, four years to the day exactly before his daughter Ellen died.  Son John was present at death.

From the death record I was able to estimate the birth year (1838) and have Skibbereen Heritage dig up John Hurley's family, since we knew about his father Michael.  John was baptized 23-Feb-1839. His mother was Bridget Cahalane.  Skibb Heritage said the Hurley residence was not noted on the records (only Skibbereen & Rath RC parish), and they were unable to find a marriage record.

It looks like John had three younger brothers:

Patrick, bap. 2-Mar-1841
Daniel, 31-May-1843
Michael, 15-Jan-1849

Those winning the butter-churning contests were possibly descended from Daniel.  I am not sure, because I find two Daniel Hurleys in the 1901 census, one age 40 and one age 69.  I think the older one (the dairy man) is John Hurley's brother.  Since he was a dairy man, his descendants were probably the prize-winning butter-churners.  I don't know whose son the younger Daniel is.

I hold a slight question mark over Patrick only because the record says Coughlan, not Cahalane.  These are two distinct names with different origins.  But from having stared at many hundreds of illegibly written records I wouldn't be surprised if there were a transcription error picked up on the way.  And, Bridget apparently went by Biddy.

The Coolnagrane John Hurley in the 1835 Tithe Applotment is an unknown, speculatively the next Hurley up the patrilineal line from Michael (the Michael married to Bridget Cahalane).  Perhaps Daniel of Kilnaclasha? was John's brother.  I can only theorize.

Griffiths only shows Michael Hurley in Coolnagrane.

My Hurley chart is updated:  Hurleys of Coolnagrane

My quick scan of the BMD index available from the LDS library only turns up one Bridget Hurley death record of interest.  She sounds too old to be Bridget Cahalane - she would have been about 46 when John was born!.  But the estimated age at death could be wrong so I will give that one record a shot just to eliminate it as a possibility.

Of course the question remaining, which may not be possible to answer is, where did this little cluster of Coolnagrane Hurleys come from?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Grandmom's uncle Daniel Collins, 21-Sep-1865, of Cullomane

Denny Dan Larr's youngest brother was Daniel Collins, whose birth was registered around 21-Sep-1865 in Cullomane. Thanks to Aunt Peg I finally know what happened to him.

The whole topic came up when we were discussing my 2009 trip to Ireland. I had sent some photos of Kenmare to my cousin, and Aunt Peg said on the phone one day, "Did you know we have cousins down in Kenmare?" When my ears perked up she laughed.

When she was about 17, Peg went down to Kenmare and met a cousin named Laurence, who was about 10 years older. He had a brother named Denis. Laurence had a chemist's shop (a pharmacy) and Denis was a schoolteacher. Aunt Peg also said something about a policeman.

It turns out there aren't that many Collinses in Kenmare, and my initial online search turned up a Daniel and a Denis born in the 1870's, plus a Laurence born in 1913.

From Laurence's birth record I learned that Daniel Collins was his father and Elizabeth Lavery was his mother. Daniel was listed as an ex-R.I.C. Constable. I did some further searching at the LDS Family Search but have not yet turned up another child named Denis. The family residence was listed as Direen. There is a Direen on the Ring of Kerry.

I searched the 1911 census online - nothing.

At the church record website Irish Genealogy, I did turn up evidence of an older child named Mary Ellen, born 1906.

I tried again to search the 1911 census for Daniel, Elizabeth, or Mary Ellen Collins. Nothing.

I was starting to think that the family lived in some special kind of construction that was tallied on certain forms that did not get digitized for the census online. Or that they lived in England. I searched some UK census databases, but could not find anything that really matched.

I tried to match Elizabeth Laverys to Daniel Collinses in the PILOT at Family Search, in the hopes of coming up with a marriage record. No luck.

The name Lavery is very rare in Southern Ireland, and is far more frequently found in the northern counties or even Dublin. I was starting to think that Daniel married Elizabeth up there, and that their marriage record was buried in the church records up north.

In the meantime, I finally obtained the death record of Daniel and Denny Dan Larr's father, Danny Larr. Danny Larr died 14-Jul-1894 in Cullomane.

Daniel, the son, was the informant. For informant residence, there is a somewhat illegible scrawl followed by "Co Kerry."

A post to Co Kerry Roots Chat soon attracted someone who was able to identify the place as Templenoe, a civil parish in Kerry. He provided a link about Templenoe at Genuki. This very informative page says that Templenoe was segmented between the district electoral divisions of Dromore, Greenane, Kenmare, Reen, and Loughbrin.

I tried the 1911 census again. In Greenane, there is a placename called Derreenfinlehid. Well, that starts with Derreen, which sounds like Direen.  Geographically, it is close to Sneem, which is rather far away from the other Direen I had spotted earlier.

In Derreenfinlehid, there is a Domhnall Ó Coileáin. The household census return is in Gaelic. His wife is Eilís ní Choileáin, and his daughter is Máire Eibhlín. There is another son called Domhnall Sheosaiph.

On the form, which was filled out in Gaelic, somebody had handwritten "pensioner" for Domhnall's occupation and "schoolmaster" for Eilís's occupation.

Never would I have imagined that their census return was in Gaelic!!!

The 1911 census says that Daniel and Elizabeth were married nine years. That would put the marriage date around 1902. Still no luck finding the marriage record.

I did find Lizzie Lavery in the same place in the 1901 census. She and her sister were teachers. Elizabeth was born in Sneem in 1870 and the Lavery parents were also teachers.

Why can't I find the marriage record of Daniel and Elizabeth at Family Search? And when and where was their son Denis born? Or is Daniel Joseph really Denis?

And who were Daniel and Denis in the 1870's, born to John Collins and Mary Houlihan?  Are they somehow related?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Wow, it's been ages since I've written! 

I've been spending my time looking at birth films, year by year, casting the net looking for potential ancestors.  I've also been looking at 1901 census films and at Tithe Applotment films. 

I have obtained a few books on Irish names and I've learned that the name Owen, to my surprise, is interchangeable with Eugene.  That explains why, in the Hourihane records Margaret at Skibbereen Heritage sent me, Owen is listed as Eugene.  I also learned that Marty, Murty, and Morty have all been used for Mortimer.


I found an article in the Ireland news archives about Daniel McCarthy, the schoolteacher whom Aunt Peg remembers.  The article did not give the names of the member of his nuclear family, but it mentioned his first marriage.  His first wife's name was Margaret Fitzgerald, and they married in 1888. 

I figured from that piece of information I would get Daniel's father's name and the townland he lived in before he got married.  So I sent away to the GRO for a copy of that record.

The 1911 census shows his elderly mother living with the family - his mother's name was Kate.

The marriage record said that he was 25 at the time of the marriage and that his father's name was Cornelius.  His residence was Curraghalicky in Drinagh.

In my research notes from film-scanning I found a Catherine McCarthy born in 1865 in Curraghalicky to a Cornelius McCarthy and a Catherine Burke.  What luck that I found a sibling born late enough to get recorded in the general registration!  Now I had the surname of the mother. 

In addition, the marriage record showed a Michael McCarthy as a witness.  I figured that might be a possible brother.

Armed with all that information, I contacted Skibbereen Heritage.  Margaret immediately found the family, in neigboring Garryglass.  She was unable to find a marriage record, so where Catherine Burke was from is a mystery, as it assumed that Cornelius went to Catherine Burke's Roman Catholic parish to get married.

I may have to resort to more letter-writing to Daniel's descendants, to see if anybody knows anything about his parents, particularly his father's family.  We think that Daniel's father was possibly a brother of Mary McCarthy, Granddad's grandmother.  I am in the process right now of looking for the death records of Mary and Cornelius.  From those records I will get their estimated age and therefore the approximate years they were born.  But it would be nice to know a little more before venturing into another search.


I was contacted by somebody who is probably a distant Hourihane cousin, named Pat.  Pat's great-grandfather was named Mortimer Howard, and there is reason to believe that Irish emigrants often changed the name from Hourihane to Howard upon arrival here.  This Mortimer Howard emigrated during the famine, in the late 1840's.  Pat also mentioned that there was a brother named Eugene.  Because of the similar family names, Pat thinks that his great-grandfather is somehow connected to the Hourihanes of Clohane, and I think it is true. 

Unfortunately, there are huge gaps in the records and therefore in our knowledge.  We don't know the details about the families of the Hourihanes listed in Clohane in the Caheragh Tithe Applotment, which was taken in 1827.  We only see the names of the men who were farming.  And unfortunately, Griffiths Valuation just adds to the confusion. People started getting creative with the spelling so Hourihane became Hourahan in the Clohane area. As I keep searching birth, death, and marriage films, perhaps something will illuminate this family.


I had to split my Larrys folder into two folders - one for Collins out of Colomane East, and one for Collins out of Adrigool, in Castlehaven.

Colomane East

Aunt Peg mentioned on the phone one day that "we have cousins down in Kenmare."  They are Collinses out of Colomane East.  There aren't many people named Collins in County Kerry when compared to Cork, and in Kenmare the name is rare.  Somebody named Laurence Collins is about as rare as Haley's Comet, so I was easily able to find the birth record of somebody named Laurence, born in 1913.  Aunt Peg said something about a policeman.  Laurence's father, Daniel, was an ex- R.I.C. (Royal Irish Constabulary) constable.  The mother's name was Elizabeth Lavery, which is not nearly as common a name in the Irish Republic as it is in Northern Ireland.

I searched and searched but was unable to turn up anything in the 1911 census for Daniel and Elizabeth.  I don't know if he had already left the R.I.C. and if not, what sort of living arrangements that constables had.  I did find a baptismal record of Laurence's sister Mary Ellen in 1906, on a website called Irish Genealogy, but I was unable to locate a marriage record for Elizabeth and Daniel.  It is strange how Daniel and Elizabeth stayed off the radar.

Who is this Daniel?  Is he Great-granddad Denis's youngest brother, born in 1865?  Or is he the son of another brother?  How are Laurence and Daniel related to Grandmom?


I am trying to figure out the Collins families from the 1900's and work backwards from there.   I continue to follow the trails of Larrys.   The death record of Laurence Collins, who died in 1867, shows a Jeremiah Collins present at death.  This is probably a son.  A Jeremiah Collins of Adrigool died in 1903, age 82.  Unfortunately, that does not neatly match the Jerry Collins I found farming with Laurence in Adrigool in the Castlehaven Tithe Applotment, taken about 1828.  Either the newspaper obituary underestimated the age, or there is another Jeremiah Collins wedged in there.

The Tithe Applotment also shows a William Collins and a Daniel Collins.  Grandmom's Granddad Daniel is "Danny Larr", son of Larry Collins.  Again, the ages don't match.  Could there have been another generation wedged in between Daniel and Laurence, maybe another Daniel, who would have been Danny Larr?  I think it is odd that Great-Granddad Denis did not have a brother named Laurence, at least, not one that I am aware of!  I have been going through scads of Daniel Collins records and so far I have been unable to turn up anything about any Daniel Collins in our family!  Who was Daniel in this Tithe Applotment and when did the Daniel who was Grandmom's granddad go to Colomane East?

There was a John Collins married to a Catherine Shiely.  They had three children I know about, including John J, born in 1871.  I think John J. Collins shows up later in the newspapers, and he purchased land in Smorane.  Was he somehow related?!?

In 1866, 26 year old Laurence Collins of Ballyriree (just northeast of Adrigool) married 24 year old Mary Hayes.  His father was John Collins.  Was this John Collins from Adrigool?  Was Laurence named after his paternal grandfather?  From the IGI, it looks like Laurence and Mary moved to the Rosscarbery area and had several children.  I have not found one named after the dad.

The Jeremiah Collins I am puzzling over married Mary Hourihane (a different bunch of Hourihanes), and had several children.  I *think* they could have had a son Laurence born in 1857 but I am not sure.   A Laurence, son of Jeremiah, married Elizabeth Sullivan in 1904.  This Laurence was living in Brahed (Brade), Myross at the time of the marriage.  But this does not match what I find in news archives.  There was a Lawrence Collins in Brade but his wife's name was Mary, they moved to Lissard in 1924, and he died in 1929. 

As you can see, there are several jigsaw puzzles to solve.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Drimoleague graveyard Treasure Hunt

Margaret at the Skibbereen Heritage Centre informed me today that she is trying to get local volunteers to help her identify unknown tombstones in the Drimoleague cemeteries.

She plans to be in Drimoleague Sunday, May 2, 2010 to look at tombstones.  If you are in a position to help her I encourage you to participate!  If you know people who can help her, please encourage them to do so!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hourahan, McCarthy, Collins, Tithe Applotment

I am continuing my strategy of casting my net wide and searching the birth films starting from 1864 in the hopes or piecing together some of the nuclear families of interest in the Lissane and Tooreen areas for Granddad's relatives as well as looking at Adrigole for some of Grandmom's family.  To speed things I am limiting my search to the Drimoleague registration sub-district, which will include Granddad's areas, and I want to start looking out towards Dunmanway and look at McCarthys.  I'll even start looking for Driscolls in the general Drimoleague area.

Aunt Peg provided an excellent lead on McCarthy cousins when she mentioned that Granddad's maternal grandmother Mary McCarthy came from a family of schoolteachers whom she thought were from Drinagh.  In the 1901 census I found the household of Daniel McCarthy, schoolteacher, who had many children.  Aunt Peg recalled visiting the family when she grew up - it was a major event to go out and see the McCarthys!  Bridget McCarthy married Paddy Connolly and they had a B&B in Owenahincha, where Mom and Aunt Peg stayed back in 1971.  Eileen McCarthy became Eileen Daly, and I think later in life she was well acquainted with Aunt Eileen.

Unfortunately, I don't know much else about Daniel (Donal) McCarthy's origins, other than to note that his mother Kate is on the 1911 census record.  I tried searching the news archives but so far have not found a funeral notice.  I have searched half the relevant 1864 birth rolls, and one Daniel McCarthy with a mother Catherine turns up in Dunmanway town, but it says the father was a weaver.  If this is supposed to be a family of scholarly professionals, I don't think that's him. 

I did find a wonderful 1996 article about a 'Master' McCarthy family reunion in the Southern Star.  It gives details about his first wife, her accidental death, and the date of his marriage to his second wife.  The daughter from the first marriage is not mentioned, but the eleven children from the second marriage are. 

To find out his father's name and where he lived prior to Carrigbaun, I can send away for one of his marriage records, or I can contact one of his descendants (or both).  The article says he died August 8, 1945 at the age of 82, which would put his birth year as 1863, so if this is accurate then I won't find him on LDS birth film. But if he had younger siblings, I would eventually find them.

Ellen Hurley's mother was Margaret Hourihane, daughter of Owen.  According the to 1867 marriage record of Margaret and John Hurley, she was from Clohane Beg.  Cousin "Jo" says that Margaret had a brother Patrick Hourihane who married Ellen Daly, also in 1867.  The 1901 and 1911 census records show an Ellen Hourihane, widow, with five children in Clohane Beg.

All five children are adult and still living at home in 1911.  They were Bridget, Catherine (Kate), Eugene, Marty (or Morty - or Murty?), and Julia.  I think this was Patrick Hourihane's family.

Griffith's Valuation from the early 1850's shows Owen Hourahan in Cloghane Beg; another in Cooradowny and another in Coolanuller (all Caheragh parish).  Searches matching Owen Hourihan land me in Lurriga (Abbeystrowry), and Oughtohig (Kilcoe), and Baurgorm (Kilmocomoge).  There is nobody spelled Hourihane in Caheragh parish.  I think the Hourahan in Cloghane Beg is the right one.

If I look for more Hourahans in Cloghane, there is a John Hourahan.  There are other Hourahans in the immediately surrounding area.

There are other variant-spelling Hourihanes out toward Bantry, in Trawlebane.

From the Family History Center I had ordered Tithe Applotment Book films. For Caheragh parish the information is dated about 1828. 

Looking at the parish of Caheragh, I see there is an entry in Clahane for "Murty Hourihane and sons", and another that says "Murty Hourihane Junior and brothers."  In Clahane More there are Owen, Tim, and John Hourihane.  No ages are given in the Tithe Applotment books.

I have ordered from GRO a possible death record for Owen Hourahan in 1864; if this isn't it there are others to try. 

This death record puts his age at 84 - meaning he would have been born about 1780.  Margaret Hourihane Hurley reports her age as 64 in the 1911 census, which would put her birth year around 1847.  I have ordered a death record in 1929 for a Margaret Hurley, who is listed as age 88, which would put her birth year around 1841.  If this is the correct Owen and this is the correct Margaret, then Owen would have fathered Margaret around the age of 60 - which is certainly not impossible, though not a frequent occurrence.  Owen would have been about 48 at the time of this Church of Ireland tithing.


The Tithe Applotment Book lists "Humphrey and Michael Collins" in Lower Lissane, and then further on down the ledger for another property just Humphrey Collins.  Griffith's Valuation from 1852 shows Humphrey and a Michael Collins, whom I am pretty sure is Granddad's paternal grandfather.  I think this Humphrey is the one who died in 1872.  The Tithe Applotment survey is about 1828, and Granddad's grandfather was born I would estimate 1817-1822 timeframe.  So who exactly is this Michael Collins in the Tithe Applotment?  Could this be yet another generation further back in the patrilineal line?

The second listing of Humphrey Collins shows up with Florence McCarthy and Callaghan McCarthy.

In what was later Upper Lissane, there are Charles McCarthy, Daniel McCarthy senior and junior, Charles McCarthy senior, James McCarthy, and Charles and Con (Cornelius) McCarthy. 

In Tooreen (Thureen) there is a Daniel McCarthy and a Denis McCarthy listed twice.

(Granddad's maternal grandfather Cornelius McCarthy would have been a child at the time of the survey.  Given that Granddad's mother's family was in Kilmore for a time, I will eventually have to look at the Tithe Applotment Book film for Drimoleague and look for McCarthys there too.)

Cullomane entries have me confused.  There *shouldn't* be a Collins in Grandmom's family there yet, so I am assuming the Denis Collins listed with Denis Donovan is unrelated.  But on another separate page for Cullomane East, there is a Dan Collins listed.  This cannot be Danny Larr, unless we are mistaken about the Collins line of descent.

In Castlehaven parish under Adrigole, there are a Jerry (maybe Jeremiah) Collins and a Lawrence Collins listed together.  There are also listed a John Collins and a Dani Collins.  Lawrence is probably "Larr" and Dani is possibly "Danny Larr."  Grandmom's paternal grandfather, is another person whom I am having great difficulty placing an age on.  It seems to me he ought to have been a child at the time of this tithe, but he may also have sired his family (starting around 1852) at an older age.

Friday, March 19, 2010

mtDNA Full Genomic Sequence results came in - just in time for St. Patrick's Day!

It took over five months for Family Tree to test my sample to the lab's satisfaction.  The test had to be run a number of times.

My Irish direct matrilineal line is H6a1. 

HVR1 = 16362C 16482G
HVR2 = 239C 263G 315.1C
CR differences from CRS = 750G 1438G 3915A 4769G 8521G 8860G 9380A 11155T 15326G

Now who out there matches that!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The riches pour in

So I devoted roughly 50-60 hours reading all those birth films I ordered. In the process, I discovered two siblings of Ellen McCarthy - Catherine and Julia.

At that point I felt like I had enough information for Skibbereen Heritage, and sent Skibb a research request. The first week, Margaret found yet two more girls - Hanora and Mary - in addition to Ellen, Catherine, and Julia. They were in the Roman Catholic parish of Caheragh. She was not able to find Margaret or a parental marriage record.

I asked Aunt Peg about it, and she thought Mary McCarthy the mother was one of the McCarthy "masters" who were schoolteachers, and she thought they were from Drinagh.  So I told Margaret "try Drinagh."

A week later Margaret did indeed report that she found Margaret and another sister Bridget in Kilmore, plus a marriage record for Cornelius and Mary. This all happened in the RC Parish of Drimoleague and Drinagh.

So there were seven sisters as far as we know. That certainly fulfills the folklore that there were "many sisters."

McCarthys of Tooreen
In addition, I discovered a McCarthy schoolteacher in the 1911 census living in Carrigbaun. Aunt Peg remembers the family vividly. She has mentioned a cousin Bridget McCarthy, whom she and Mom visited in Owenahincha in 1971. That is Daniel's youngest child in the 1911 census. There is also another child Agnes, though she does not appear in either the 1911 or 1901 census. The child Ellen was known as Eileen, married as Daly, and later in life was friends with Aunt Eileen.
In addition, cousin "Jo" from the Hurley side who appeared from out of the blue has been filling me in with many Hurley details.  I was able to get baptismal records of all the Hurleys from Skibbereen Heritage Centre.  I also got the John Hurley - Margaret Hourihane marriage record from GRO. 
On looking over the Hurley chart, Aunt Peg recalled a "Mrs. Tomalin" from her childhood who visited the Collins family and left the children a wonderful construction set toy as a gift.  Mrs. Tomalin was Grandmom's aunt Mary Hurley.

So ... it really pays to go fishing through the LDS birth films and cast your net wide.   You never know just what treasure you will haul in.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Eureka. I found my matrilineal Great Grandmother.

While I was waiting for a huge order of films to come in, I rethought how I was approaching my research.

Over the Christmas break, I realized that when I had a birth, marriage, or death film, it was far better to focus the research on that roll of film, rather than a specific person.  In other words, go back to the index film for that quarter and year, scan the index, and write down the reference for anybody who might be of interest on the register film.  Then look at the register film and write down the details of all the references.

This method works.  While I was knocking off lookups of Collinses and McCarthys, I found Ellen Hurley.  She was born 6-Jul-1871 in Coolnagarrane (Coolnagrane), exactly where her marriage record said she was from.  And her mother's name was Margaret Hourihane.  Now how cool is that?!?

Well when I go to the Family History Center I don't normally expect to actually FIND somebody important.  On Saturday, I was expecting to spend my day looking over these register films.  But instead I immediately went to the 1901 census film, which I fortunately have on hold.  I found the household record, and it appears that Ellen's father was already deceased.  There were two siblings listed.  One was a younger sister Katie.  Another was a younger sister. Annie.  "Annie" is making a lot of bells clang in my brain, as this could have been Annie Sullivan's mother.

I also ran over to the computer, used the PILOT function on the Family History website, and found the index reference for the marriage of John Hurley and Margaret Hourihane.  So I'll be able to find out where Ellen's mother was from.  I've already got that marriage information on order.  So now I have a new obsession to pursue - Hourihane.

It turns out that one of my Internet genealogy buddies emailed the basic information about this Ellen Hurley to me a few months ago.  Only the information was very general for Skibbereen, it didn't say where in Skibbereen these Hurleys were.  My buddy also found a few other siblings.  So I know much more about the Hurleys now.

I also found the birth record for Ellen McCarthy Maher.  She was born 15-Sep-1869 in Tooreen.  Her mother was Mary McCarthy McCarthy.  I still do not know her relationship to Greatgrandmother Margaret McCarthy Collins.  But we are one step closer to finding out.

The real Ellen Hurley ended up being four years older than I was lead to believe from census and death records.  Ellen McCarthy Maher ended up being five years older.  This just goes to show how difficult it can be to find somebody!

More later...