Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cork friendly portal to UK-based Irish Reproductive Loan Records

Moving Here is a subsidiary of the UK National Archives.  The archive subsidiary scanned and digitized Irish Reproductive Loan Fund records.

Cork Genealogy now has a Cork-researcher friendly portal to the Cork-related loan record files online at Moving Here.  You can learn more about the Cork Reproductive Loan Fund records here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Driscolls of Garrane, version 2.0

After setting aside the problems of my Driscolls for awhile, a few pieces of information about some of the sons fell into my lap.

One of the problems that has made this family especially difficult to research is that the sons I have found - if I have identified the right men - did not follow a naming pattern convention that I know. However, 3g-grandmother Margaret Looney got around. Also, some in-laws and cousins stepped up and filled in as godparents. It was seeing names like Tim Cadogan, Margaret Looney, and Maguire that helped me identify some of the men I think are my gg-grandmother's brothers.

Another curious fact about this family is that despite at least seven people named Regan who were godparents, the relationships with Regans did not show up to a large degree later on.  It makes me wonder if perhaps the Regans were friends rather than relatives of Dan Driscoll or of Margaret Looney.

Florence Driscoll (1825 - ?)

The godmother of James Driscoll (b. 1856) of Lahertydaly was grandmother Margaret Looney.  The father was Florence and the godfather was probably his uncle James (b. 1835).  The godfather of Florence's daughter Ellen (b. 1867) may have been Florence's brother-in-law Tim Cadogan, married to sister Margaret.

Florence married Catherine Healy of Lahertydaly 1-Jul-1855 in Skibbereen R.C. Parish.  Then came James (1856); Margaret (1859); Mary (1862); Patrick (1865); and Ellen (1867).

Florence and Catherine were apparently the godparents of Denis Driscoll of Hollybrook, son of Denis Driscoll and Margaret Fitzpatrick, 15-Aug-1869.  In October, Catherine Healy Driscoll died, age 36.

Florence married Margaret Minihane of Lahertydaly 26-Feb-1870. The priest wrote "3tis et 3tis affinitatio gratibus dispensatos..."  Margaret Minihane was a relative of the late Catherine Healy. From the union of Florence and Margaret came John (1871) and Daniel (1872).

John Driscoll (1842 - ?)

John is an exceptionally difficult case. There were uncertainties about him from the start, as he is indexed as "Tim" in the online church records but was given to me as John by Skibbereen Heritage.

The children of John's sister Johanna Driscoll and Denis Crimeen McCarthy of Dromore had baptism sponsors named Keohane for their children.  I noticed the Keohane name again for the children of John Driscoll and Mary McCarthy, of Lacka, as well as the more familiar Maguire name.

The documentation for John Driscoll and Mary McCarthy is in a rocky state.  They were married 2-Feb-1869 in Caheragh R.C. Parish.  The civil registration record has his surname wrong (as McCarthy) as well as his father Dan. (See "Errors in Civil Registration Records.")  In addition, Mary McCarthy is recorded as Mary Keohane on one record.  Given that the Keohanes were so involved with their lives, it should not be a surprise.

John and Mary had children Margaret (1870); Ellen (1871); Pat (1872); Mary (1873); Daniel (1875); Johanna (1876); Florence? (1877) and Jeremiah (1879).  I have my work cut out for me digging all of this out of civil registration.

Pat Driscoll (1820 - ?)

Pat remains a bit of a mystery. I am assuming it was he who was the witness of the marriage of his sister Mary Driscoll to Andrew Maguire (1846), and who witnessed the marriage of his brother Florence to Catherine Healy (1855).

A Patrick Driscoll married a Catherine Sullivan 21-Feb-1841 in Skibbereen R.C. parish.  One Cornelius Driscoll was a witness.  This strikes me as rather young for Patrick to marry. If I am tracking the right parents, Margaret (1843) was born in Garranebeg, with godparents Daniel Driscoll and Ellen Twomey.  Then Mary, with godparents John Reagan and Mary Minihane, of Garranebeg, was baptized 24-Jan-1846.  My next guess is that Catherine Sullivan died, possibly from childbirth.  A Patrick Driscoll married Mary Regan of Dromcorragh 24-Feb-1846 with John Reagan and Bridget Reagan as witnesses.  From the union of Patrick and Mary came John D in late 1846, godparents John Driscoll and Bridget Hennigan, and Patrick in late 1848, with godparents John Reagan and Eliza McCarthy.

Because of the youth of the groom, I am more in doubt of this data, which is why I have not added it to the Driscoll tree yet.

Dan Driscoll (1829 - ?)

I still have yet to learn anything about him.  I have not yet been able to conclusively distinguish him from his father in the land valuation records.


After I found the marriage of son James Driscoll (b. 1835) to Mary Minihane of Lahertydaly, it had not occurred to me to look to Lahertydaly for more relationships between the Driscolls and the Minihanes. But they were there. Furthermore, the godmother of James was an Eleanor Minihane.  Just how far does a relationship with Minihanes go back?  Was there an earlier blood relationship?

Why weren't the first-born sons by the sons of Dan Driscoll not also named Dan?  From looking at the Caheragh church records, I am inclined to think there were so many Dan Driscolls running around the area that maybe the sons decided not to add to the confusion.  An interesting fact is that if the four men I have found are in fact the right sons of Dan Driscoll and Margaret Looney, the first born daughters of all of them are named Margaret.

I am very much in the same position as when I posted the last time about the Driscolls.  I know a more about the outcomes of the daughters of Dan Driscoll and Margaret Looney, but I still don't know what happened to the sons by the 1901 census.  All I know about the Driscolls in Garrane is that they were gone by about 1886 according to the land valuation records.

Updated charts can be found on my own family history page.  In addition, the Driscolls of Garrane are documented at the Driscoll of Cork website - I need to update that document with my recent findings.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Errors in Civil Registration Records

If you have been researching your Irish ancestry for a while, you have probably used the civil registration index and may have on occasion come away perplexed that the person you are looking for isn't there.  There are numerous reasons why this might occur.

1. The event might not ever have been recorded. I have seen estimates that maybe as many as 15% of events eligible for civil registration suffered that consequence. In that case, you obviously won't find your record.

2. The family was legitimately recorded under a name that you don't expect, for example, a secondary name or agnomen. Although civil registrars did generally achieve some consistency in how family names were recorded, sometimes inconsistencies fell through. For example, I have seen inconsistencies as late as 1880, in which a child was recorded as Driscoll in the baptism record but as Cadogan in the civil registration record, and the other children in the family were recorded in civil registration as Driscoll.

A good book about the subject is Varieties and Synonyms of Surnames and Christian Names in Ireland, by Robert Matheson, published in 1890 as a guide for registrars.

3. An error was made either while creating the civil registration record or while transcribing the record for the index. Registrars may have had hard-to-decipher handwriting.  And they did make errors. Just as priests may have transposed the name of the father and the godfather on a baptism, a registrar may have put the surname of a witness on one of the bridal party, for instance. Errors while transcribing names, volume numbers, page numbers, and districts will negatively affect your search.

Here is one example in which the surname of the groom and of his father are wrong, in my opinion. However, the burden of proof is on me to show that it is wrong. Otherwise, I would be fabricating my family tree, and that would be fraudulent just as much as it would be to claim people have certain parentage without supporting documentation. When faced with a record containing an error, I have to find other evidence supporting the family history model. Ideally, if I were to turn over all my documentation to an independent researcher, that independent researcher would arrive at the same conclusion.

In this civil marriage record, I believe the groom and his father were named DRISCOLL, not MCCARTHY. It is easy to see how this mistake was made. The bride's name and that of her father were MCCARTHY, as were the two witnesses. I think the MCCARTHY name accurately appears four times. Now imagine a busy, distracted civil registration clerk copying down this information, and it isn't a great stretch of the imagination to see how this mistake might occur.

Marriage Record showing Name of the Groom as McCarthy, not Driscoll
Where is my evidence that this record is wrong?

Exhibit 1: Church Marriage Record

Caheragh R.C. Parish record of John Driscoll and Mary McCarthy
The groom's name is recorded as DRISCOLL. It has the same date, same priest, and same witnesses as the civil registration record. In addition, these were real witnesses. In other words, they were acquaintances or relatives of the bride and groom and not just standing in at the convenience of the priest while he performed several marriages. Look at the other marriages the priest did around the same time. There are different witnesses for each marriage performed by this priest. Also - very important - there is NO marriage around this time between a John McCarthy and a Mary McCarthy performed by John Wall in this parish at this time.

Exhibit 2: Children's Baptism Records

I am showing only one here for brevity.

Baptism record of Margaret Driscoll

Exhibit 3: Children's Birth Records from Civil Registration

I am showing only one here for brevity.

Civil Registration record of Margaret Driscoll's birth

Exhibit 4. Land Valuation Records

Revision of Cloghdonnell DED
It is impossible to demonstrate the non-existence of something. However, I have to do due diligence and look for a John McCarthy, son of a Daniel McCarthy, residing in Garranemore. From checking Caheragh Tenure books and Griffiths Valuation, so far I have come up with McCarthys but not a Daniel or a John. My final check is the Revision Book up to the time of the marriage.  I notice there is a Jeremiah McCarthy, and in fact that is the name of one of the witnesses to the marriage.  But still no Daniel or John.

I consider the land valuation books the weakest evidence, as non-leaseholders would likely not have been recorded.  The better evidence is probably the parish register showing there was no such marriage.


If you can, view the civil registration data films, not just the index films. Browse through all the entries for that that registry office.  A strategy that has paid off a few times for me has been to estimate the quarter and year the event I am seeking would have been recorded and browse the data film for that time period, even if the event is not in the index. Every time I have done so and have found a record, I've learned something in the process.