Friday, March 23, 2012

The Collinses of Coornishal

For quite a while now I have believed that a number of people named Collins in Coornishal were somehow related to my Grandmom's ancestral Collins ancestors in Adrigole. The evidence is substantial. I am going to list my pieces of evidence.

1) There is a Laurence Collins (my ggg-grandfather "Larr" - 1783-1867) in Adrigole in the Castlehaven Tithe Applotment book of 1825. He shared a lot with somebody named Jerry Collins. Other Collinses listed in Adrigole were William and Daniel.

2) There was a Lawrence Collins in adjacent Coornishal in the Tithe Applotment book of Kilmacabea of 1829. He was adjacent to a John Collins. Another Collins there was one Timothy.

Laurence Collins is not a particularly common name, like John or Daniel.  For now, I am inclined to think these listings for Laurence were the same man.

3) The father of a recently-discovered relative back east was one Laurence Collins from Licknavar and Gortshanecrone. Her maternal grandmother was the daughter of Jeremiah of Adrigole; her parents were somehow cousins. This relative is of my mother's generation, she is a third cousin in two different ways, and probably a cousin a third way. We are trying to establish precisely how in the third way. In other words, the Licknavar Collinses were related to the Adrigole Collinses and we don't know exactly how.

4) As she remembers her father telling the story, some "Corn" or "Coran" Collinses peeled off from north of Skibbereen and headed south of town probably in the first half of the 19th century.

[note: I am well aware of the townlands of Corran North, Corran Middle, and Corran South in Kilmacabea, and that there were Collinses in this area. So I am keeping the Corran townlands on the backburner.]

5) In the Cullomane East branch (my gg-grandparents), a Catherine Collins was a Godmother in 1863. Who was this Catherine exactly? One of my strongest autosomal DNA matches has a solid family history out of Licknavar. We have not been able to establish a common shared ancestor, but someone in his tree named Sullivan was apparently a baptism Godfather in the tree of my east coast relative with Licknavar ancestry. A Catherine Collins (est born 1800) is also in his tree. Someone named Croston in my DNA match's tree lived on lots shared with Licknavar Collinses in Griffith's Valuation.

6) The May 9, 1903 obituary of Jeremiah Collins of Adrigole in the Southern Star lists John Collins and Denis Collins of Coornishal as cousins.

And now for a digression. There was apparently a tradition of naming women Diana in this extended family group, though it's difficult to understand why the name was popular in some branches and non-existent in others. My gg-grandfather Danny Larr of Cullomane East had a daughter Diana, who emigrated to Australia. Danny Larr had another daughter Margaret who named her daughter Diana. (This latter Diana married a Daniel Hallahan and then sort of disappeared. That family remains one of my open research projects.)

There's more. Larr may have also had a daughter Johanna, who married a John Donovan roughly 1851 and eventually settled in Ardagh, Rosscarbery. They named a daughter Dinah. This Dinah died a spinster.

A Dina Collins pops up frequently as a Godmother in numerous baptisms - for one of Johanna's children, and for children of John and of Jeremiah in Adrigole. These sponsorships occurred from 1852 through 1863, presumably the same woman.

A Diana Collins from Adrigole, with a father named Laurence, married Timothy Sullivan of Clooncugger in 1868. She had three children - none named Laurence or Diana - and she died in 1892.

Neither John of Adrigole, nor Jeremiah of Adrigole, nor anybody down in Licknavar had a daughter named Diana.

But somebody in Coornishal did ! I stumbled upon this family digging through the Kilmacabea church records that are online.

Which brings me back to my evidence list.

Unfortunately the records for Kilmacabea start relatively late, in 1832. So I may have only a partial family. I cannot find a marriage record for Tom Collins and Kate Foley, who lived in Coornishal in the 1840's, which leads me to believe she could have been from Castlehaven parish, which has no marriage records available.

Timothy, baptized 15-Jan-1840. His father was written as John. I think this could be an error. His sponsors were Michael Foley and Ellen Collins.

Patrick, baptized 14-Mar-1841. Sponsors Con Foley and Mary H?

7) Lawrence, baptized 27-Mar-1843. Sponsors Daniel Collins and Kate Collins. This Daniel could well have been my gg-grandfather, before he married Mary Mahony in 1845 and moved to Cullomane East around 1851.

Catherine, baptized 16-Dec-1846. Sponsors Tim Foley and Ellen Foley.

Tom, baptized 25-Aug-1850. Sponsors Jerry? Collins and Mary Collins.

Cornelius, baptized 6-Mar-1853. Sponsors Laurence Collins and Kate Shealy. These sponsors could well be Larr and his relatively new daughter-in-law, married to John of Adrigole in 1852.

8) Dinah, baptized 13-Jan-1856. Sponsors John Collins and Johanna Foley.

So, I have: adjacency in land valuation records; family lore; a newspaper obit; DNA; and family naming traditions all strongly suggesting a link between Adrigole, Coornishal, and Licknavar.  Tracking a family naming tradition only works when the names are uncommon or downright rare.

Unfortunately, with Kilmacabea church records starting late (1830's), and Castlehaven & Myross church records starting REALLY late (1840's) and with no marriages, I have to wait for somebody else to come forward or some other evidence to turn up to glue this together. Once I am settled in from my move to Salt Lake City in April, I'll be hitting the land valuation records pre and post Griffith's to see if I can squeeze any additional information out of available records.