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?

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