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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mahony battle plan

Grandmom's Mahony ancestry is proving to be the most challenging to pin down, as no relatives know anything about them. The only clue I have is that the same Mahony names showing up on marriage and baptism records for Grandmom's family in Cullomane East also show up on marriage and baptism records for a branch of Granddad's family in Lissane.  That, and that both the Margaret Mahony = Denis Collins marriage out of Lissane and the Mary Mahony = Daniel Collins marriage out of Cullomane actually took place in Drimoleague & Drinagh R.C. parish, possibly the home parish of the brides.  From these coincidences I think Mary and Margaret were likely sisters.

Drimoleague & Drinagh, though, is so intertwined with Caheragh, that I am starting to think I cannot rule Caheragh out.  It isn't outside the realm of possibility that a bride was living with somebody besides her immediate family, for instance, an uncle's family. 

Skibbereen Heritage has done some preliminary searches for me.  From what they have done I have managed to eliminate some possibilities.  A family with names Cain, Denis, Daniel, Timothy, Mary, Margaret, and Catherine simply doesn't look like a family with names William and Ann. So I've done some elimination just based on name resemblance.   The non-familiar names also tended to be further away (Lettergorman).

The family out of Bredagh remains the best contender, though a new plot element landed in my lap this morning.  A family in Drimoleague I have not considered, Michael Mahony = Mary Henning of Drimoleague, had a son named Daniel.  Ordinarily I would not pay attention to this record, except that one of my Family Finder DNA matches has the mother's surname as his own surname.

As I have accumulated Mahony data over the two years I have been doing research, I have constructed data chains from baptismal records (if I have them); tithe applotment; griffiths; and then civil registration, 1901 and 1911 censuses. 

I am interested in marriages in the early years of registration, as these records are of events for people whose births were outside the reach of civil registration but whose parent may have been recorded in tithe applotment or Griffiths.  The marriage records will list the groom's father's name, which is helpful. The problem with residence on a marriage record, though, is that the residence listed is not necessarily where somebody was born and grew up or subsequently ended up living.  Farm laborers could have moved around to different farms. 

Similarly, death records of those born before civil registration can be especially useful.  I focus more on the older people, who obviously had time to marry and produce a family.  The death records help me narrow down the point in time I might find that person in a baptismal record.  Sometimes you get lucky on a death record, if the informant was a relative and stated where he or she lived.  I've also gotten lucky even on infant death records, when the informant identified himself as an uncle.

Birth records help me reconstruct families I see in the censuses. 

In my Mahony Excel workbook, my death spreadsheet has 33 references from the online civil registration index, with only 13 references resolved.  The marriage spreadsheet has 28 index references on it with only four of them resolved.  I even have 21 indexes references on a birth spreadsheet for 1864-1870 that would be worth looking at to eliminate them.

It is worth looking at the Ireland special collections at Family Search online to see if I can eliminate anybody on the worksheets, but those special collections are not exhaustive.  However if I can eliminate a record before ordering the film for it or resorting to ordering it from GRO, all the better.  It saves both time AND money.  For my purposes I will not order any birth records from GRO before 1881, as 1864-1880 films are in the permanent collection at my local Family History Library and are available to me.  Films are available to order for both marriages and deaths 1864-1870.

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