Wednesday, February 29, 2012

James Collins and Catherine Driscoll of Russagh

James Collins and Catherine Driscoll married 4-Mar-1862 and were in Russagh (Skibbereen Rural) in the 1901 census. My eye was first drawn to them when I was researching a girl named Noria Driscoll. Noria was living in Lower Lissane in 1901 with her grandparents Michael Collins and Ellen Driscoll Collins (not known if the two Driscoll families were closely related). Noria's sister Juliann was staying with James and Catherine in Russagh. Juliann is listed as a niece.  Whose niece?  The girls' father Michael Driscoll lived in Currabeg, in Castlehaven parish, with several other daughters. Michael Driscoll was a widower.

Working on the assumption that Catherine Driscoll Collins of Russagh and Michael Driscoll of Currabeg were siblings, I did some preliminary research in the online church records but did not find THE records that would have clearly identified them. Michael Driscoll of Currabeg apparently went by Cadogan, as evidenced by his and Johanna Collins's first son born September 1880, registered as Jeremiah Cadogan but baptized in Castlehaven R.C. parish as Driscoll. Interestingly, Catherine of Russagh recorded her name as Cadogan for the Skibbereen baptism of her and James's daughter Catherine, 22-Dec-1876. So I think there is a link. Michael Driscoll Cadogan's oldest son was named Jeremiah, and James and Catherine have a Jeremiah Driscoll showing up at several of their family church events. So Catherine's and Michael's father was probably a Jeremiah Driscoll.

I was so absorbed with the Driscolls that it did not initially occur to me that there could also be a Lissane Collins family link with James, but I discovered a relationship while researching Humphrey Collins of Lissane. Besides Jeremiah Driscoll, a Humphrey Collins witnessed the James = Catherine wedding in 1862. Daughter Hanora was born May 1869, and one Laurence Hourihane was the Godfather. There weren't many men named Laurence Hourihane in the area, and there were definitely a few who resided in Tooreen, adjacent to Lower Lissane. Michael Collins was the Godfather of Michael, born Oct 1871. This sponsor could not have been Michael (1790-1870), and married to Mary Donovan, but rather somebody of the younger generation. Similarly, Humphrey Collins was the Godfather of Denis, born May 1879. This could not have been the Humphrey (1785-1873), and married to Johanna Barnane, but a younger Humphrey.

I have the death record of James Collins and he was 67 in 1907. That would place his birth year around 1840. The 1901 census listed his age as 63. That could push his birth year forward to 1838.

So where does that leave me? Very stuck. The oldest son of James and Catherine was named Michael, which would automatically lead me to think that James's father was Michael. There are a Michael Collins and Mary Donovan in Lissane with a son James born 1829. Currently, I model the family with James (1829) married to Honora Collins in 1861. Their first son was also named Michael (1868). Arrgh!

The oldest daughter of James (1829) and Honora Collins of Lissane was named Mary, if Skibbereen Heritage and I are reading very difficult to read church records correctly. This Mary may have been named after grandmother Mary Donovan.

The oldest daughter of James (?) and Catherine Driscoll was named Johanna. This daughter could have been named after Johanna Barnane Collins, but one problem is that there wasn't a son named Humphrey. The other problem is that James, the son of Humphrey Collins and Johanna Barnane, was born in 1833, at least five years before what the 1901 census and the 1907 death record suggest.

There is a third possibility, of which I have absolutely no proof. My grandfather's paternal grandfather, Michael Collins (1822-1901), was the son of a different Humphrey Collins and an Ellen Sweeney. [This Ellen Sweeny may have been related to a Catherine Sweeny who married Laurence Hourihane of Tooreen, but that's a whole other problem.] There are no records of other children of Humphrey and Ellen, and no marriage record, but there is some evidence the same Humphrey later married a Mary Galvin O'Brien and had several more children. Perhaps this James in Russagh was their son, though there is the same problem of James and Catherine not having a son named Humphrey. Finding a baptism record for James would support this theory, but I have not yet found one. Since their other children were baptized in Skibbereen R.C. parish I am looking in the same parish. Some Skibbereen records are extremely faded.

There were so many Humphrey Collinses running around that maybe James and Catherine decided to do something wild and crazy and break tradition.

I got started on this wild goose chase because I was researching Noria Driscoll (1890-1903). Noria's mother was Johanna Collins, whom I believe was the daughter of the aforementioned Michael (1822-1901) and Ellen Driscoll Collins (1830-1919), and my great-grandfather's oldest sister. There is no civil registration record of the marriage of Johanna Collins and Michael Driscoll/Cadogan that I can find in the online index, though there is a church record of a Hannah Collins and Michael Driscoll married in Caheragh November 1879. Nor can I find a death record for Johanna Collins Driscoll/Cadogan.