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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Collins family tree, version 1.0

Skibbereen Heritage has done a great deal of research for me over the past two months that has answered many questions about my Grandmom's and Granddad's families.

Starting with Granddad, we researched "Part 2" of the Lissane Collinses, with the first part done last year. In the interim, I again hit the census records and civil registration films, and created three key family group sheets out of Lissane. I had these families partially carved out so I was then able to approach Skibbereen Heritage and ask to complete the families. We did -  easily - and I have a flood of new information. John Collins (1824-1882) who was married to Ellen McCarthy and whom I thought was my great-great grandfather's brother now made a case for himself when we found his oldest known son was named Humphrey.

This family is lucky to have had the beacon name "Humphrey Collins", so I went to the Mormon Family Search website and started searching more globally for any Humphrey Collins out of Ireland. I found quite a bit. Some of these Humphreys have yet to be linked definitively to Lissane.

However, there is an amazing story of one Humphrey Collins who emigrated and settled in Newport, Rhode Island. His oldest son was named Dennis. There was a younger son named Humphrey. As I continued to trawl through Family Search, it looked like Humphrey Junior joined the US Navy and was stationed in San Diego. I then found an entry in the Social Security death record index and it turns out Humphrey Junior died in 1977 in the same town I now live in! He was in all likelihood Granddad's third cousin. And my Mom nor anybody else never knew.

I will be spending the coming years filling in more details about this Newport R.I. branch, of course. Apparently emigrant Humphrey came with a number of siblings, who all settled there.

Now for McCarthys. For a long time, it was clear that the Tooreen McCarthys were somehow related to McCarthys in Lissane. We didn't know precisely how. I again made family group sheets out of census, civil registration data, news archives, consulted Griffiths Valuation, tithe applotments for Caheragh and Drimoleague, the 1842 petition to Parliament contesting an election in County Cork, notes from my conversations with my aunt, and correspondence on the Lissane and Tooreen McCarthys.  I hypothesized that the known patriarch in Lissane, Cornelius, was the son of an Andrew since the oldest son was called Andrew. My great-great grandfather Cornelius had seven daughters and no sons, so I didn't have that kind of hint. However, I went back to my aunt, and the first name that popped into her head was a "Charlie C. McCarthy" who was apparently Granddad's cousin. My hypothesis was then that the two patriarch Corneliuses were cousins, the Lissane one was the son of an Andrew, and born a few years earlier than my great-great grandfather, who might have been the son of a Charles. I went to Skibbereen Heritage with that information and we batted 1000. Right on all counts. At least, so far.  I added that caveat because there are other McCarthy families in Lissane whom I don't know about.  There could have been another Andrew, or another Charles.

Coincidentally, around the time Skibb Heritage was researching these McCarthys, the name "Tessie Young" popped into my aunt's head.  Now in all this time that I have discussed family history with her, the name Young has never come up.  But Tessie Young was a chemist (pharmacist) in Skibbereen town.  Mom and all the children used to go into her shop regularly.  Granddad, who walked around with all this family tree information in his head! declared that she was "a cousin."  As it turns out, the mother of my great-great grandfather was one Margaret Young.  In addition there was a Mary Young who was a baptismal sponsor of Bridget McCarthy, Granddad's aunt.  The appearance of these names strengthens the case that we have found the right Charles.

Now for Driscolls. I ran into a solid dead end looking for the family of Noria Driscoll, the girl who drowned. So I had to go to Plan B. And what a great Plan B it turned out to be! The baptismal sponsors of the children of Michael Collins = Ellen Driscoll included an Andrew Maguire and a Johanna Maguire. Around the mid-1800's, the name Maguire was practically non-existent in Skibbereen. But Andrew and Johanna show up in Griffiths Valuation in Garrane, a townland in the extreme southwest corner of Caheragh parish. I don't know how the Maguires got there, as the name wasn't there in the Tithe Applotment. But it practically jumps out of Griffiths. Skibbereen Heritage started looking for Driscolls near Maguires and found some. Daniel Driscoll and Mary Looney had a daughter, Ellen, born 1830, who was probably my great-great-grandmother. That's what I was looking for. It's not an absolutely perfect match, there are some questions. The problem we have is that neither Ellen, nor her sister Mary, who married Andrew Maguire, were known to have a son Daniel, named after their father. But until more information comes to light, that's all I have to go on.

There are other McCarthys through Granddad. The origins of his maternal grandmother, Mary McCarthy, are somewhat more difficult to come by. We know she had some kind of relationship to Daniel McCarthy, the well-known Drinagh schoolteacher, probably aunt-nephew. We searched for Daniel's father Cornelius and found him. Cornelius's parents were Daniel McCarthy Knock and Ellen Connolly. Unfortunately, we could not find Mary's baptismal record. She would have been the youngest child, born 1836 or so.

However, an Ellen Connolly was the baptismal sponsor of Margaret McCarthy (1860) of Tooreen. Margaret was Mary's oldest daughter. That is the only "paper" thread I have linking the two families.

This all gets horribly confusing, as Mary McCarthy had both a brother named Cornelius and a husband Cornelius, and they were both born in 1824.

Skibbereen Heritage is currently looking into the Mahonys on Grandmom's side. This is a tough one. However, there is a rather interesting coincidence that has popped up, and it might lead us to the right Mahonys. The Mahony name recorded as a witness of the wedding of Daniel Collins = Mary Mahony (m. 1845) plus the Mahony names of the baptismal sponsors of the Cullomane Collins children are the same names as Mahonys who show up in one branch of Granddad's Lissane Collinses, that of the family of Denis Collins = Margaret Mahony. It gets even more interesting. There is something screwy about the way the Caheragh records are computerized. Lissane Collinses show up on the computer when looking for Cullomane Collinses, and vice versa. I am trying to guess what could be causing that error.  Did the Caheragh priest get confused seeing the same crowd of Mahonys showing up for all the baptisms?

I am hoping something leaps out, but if not, I'll hit the civil registration films and census records again until I can define more families in the area, then try the search again.

Family trees are data models, which can change.  They are not irrefutable laws of science.  My job is now to continue studying whatever data is available, and continue comparing what I find with my data models.  My second job is to figure out how to properly cite everything I have found

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kilmacabea Tithe Applotment Transcription now online

A first draft transcription of the tithe applotment of Kilmacabea parish is now online. You may access it and other transcriptions here:

corgken.org TA Transcriptions

Please submit a correction here: Send a fix

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kilfaughnabeg Tithe Applotment Transcription Now Online

A transcription of the Kilfaughnabeg Tithe Applotment (1829) is now online.

Corrections, annotations, enhancements and improvements to Kilfaughnabeg and all Tithe Applotment transcriptions remain ongoing.

Please submit corrections using this link: corrections.