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Expert Q&A :: Irish family history research with Findmypast Ireland

Q. From Jane: My ancestor, Thomas McDermott, married Anne Reeves (probably in the 1860s) and worked as a tenant farmer in Derry Goolin, alongside another tenant farmer John McDermott who I assume was his father or brother. He had four children that I know of, Hannagh (b. 1865), my ancestor Patrick Francis (b. 1868), Thomas (b. 1870) and Michael (b. 1873). Their area was really affected by the land wars of the 1880s and Patrick came out to Australia, but I have no trace of what happened to anyone else in the family. I’ve tried all the usual sites to try and find them both in Galway and Clare (many Derry Goolin residents moved to Whitegate in Clare which was close by) with no joy. Do you have any tips for where to look for them next?
A. Cliona: Hi Jane – I’m looking at your question now!
A. Jane: Thanks Cliona. 🙂
A. Cliona: Jane have been able to find them in Griffith’s Valuation or The Landed Estate Court rental records?
A. Cliona: Also the children are born post civil registration ( 1864 ) so you could find them in our BDM collection, I’ll send you the link now.
A. Cliona: Did they leave Ireland after 1890? If so they should be in our travel records.
A. Cliona: I would definitely research the land records we have for the 19th century.
A. Cliona: And here’s a link:
A. Jane: Hi Cliona, They were in Griffith’s Valuation for 1856, but that’s the only one I’ve been able to find them in. I don’t know if they left Ireland after 1890 as I can’t trace them anywhere. We think Patrick got to Australia somewhere between 1888 and 1891, so they may have moved around the same time. I’ve got the births for the children but nothing further on what happened. They just seem to disappear!
A. Cliona: Hi Jane, Parish records may be your best bet at this point.
A. Cliona: Keep checking back with as we are adding more records all of the time!
A. Jane: Thanks Cliona! 🙂

Q. From Anne: I have the same problem as Anne Barwick – William Newton born c 1805 Kings County and wife Jane (Patrick) b. 1807 arrived in Australia On “Sarah”1851 with 5 children aged 18-7 – shipping records list William’s parents as Robert & M Newton (dead) and Jane’s as Daniel and P. Patrick (dead). William’s occupation is labourer but he was able to pay 26 pound for the journey. Oops forgot to finish – unable to find any details of William’s parents or siblings in Ireland – Jane’s parents were Daniel Patrick and Margaret Crawford and one of Jane’s sisters Johanna came to Australia with husband William Lee and some of their children 1842. 
A. Joan: In my case the trail never really started but seems to have ended with Eugene’s early death! Very frustrating and I’ve been on it for years.
A. Aoife: If the children were born in Ireland their births may assist in narrowing down the parish that the family were from, it may then be possible to find William and Jane’s marriage. There are very few records which predate 1810 for Offaly so there is unlikely to be a record for William’s parent’s marriage. Again looking at the land records may give some clues as to where the family lived, remember people rarely strayed far in search of a spouse! If you find Newtons and Crawfords living in the same parish they are most likely related to your Newtons and Crawfords.

Q. From Lois: I have ancestors from County Offaly, and when I go to Ireland I’d like to meet any “cousins” I may have there. What’s the best way to find them?
A. Cliona: Hi Lois, firstly I hope you have a great time when you come to Ireland!
A. Cliona: There’s a few options here – you could try our sister site genesreunited –
A. Cliona: Or consider doing some research on the family members that stayed and reverse engineering your family tree if this makes sense?
A. Cliona: E.g. traacing the last known family members ( parents / siblings ) who stayed in Ireland, and if it is after 1864 you should be able to find Births, Marriages and so on.
A. Cliona: There’s other online forums out there as well for tracing distant connections – and I wish you all the best in your search!
A. IHM: Hi Lois, if you’re in Ireland this year. The Gathering 2013 may have an event organised for the surname your researching ::
A. Lois: I am attending one of my surname Gathering events because I was able to pinpoint my ancestors’ location in Limerick/Tipperary using I’m stuck on my Offaly ancestors. There are no records on for John Dolan (1803) or Catherine Corrigan (1806) born in King’s County, and I know I’ve got the right county because Catherine’s gravestone says King’s County, Ireland, on it. There are John Dolans and Catherine Corrigans born in County Meath. Does anyone know if the borders changed at all when King’s County became County Offaly? I have found two of John Dolan’s cousins’ marriage records on rootsireland, one in Banagher and one in Lemanaghan. They all ended up in Michigan, USA. John Dolan’s parents are Terrance Dolan and Ann, and the cousins’ father’s name is Patrick Dolan, and don’t think they left Ireland. We don’t have Catherine Corrigan’s parents’ names.

Q. From Carey: Stephen Edward jones was born in Hophall, Maryborough, Co. Laois, Queens County, Ireland on 13/2/1884. His older siblings all came from Somerset, England. In 1891 census the family is in boncath, Wales. He is in wales on the 1901 census with his mother and in surrey, england on 1911 census. He married in devon and died in berkshire in 1956 Just wondering how he came to be born in Ireland? His father was James knight jones, a timber merchant and listed on his birth certificate as steam sawmills manager. His mother was Anna Maria Andrews.
A. Aoife: Sawmills were abundant in the area and may explain why the family were in Ireland at the time.,1780,en.pdf

Q. From Lynda: Any ideas on where to search for Irish labouring folk who’d left by 1841, arrived in Aust by 1842? They came from Queen’s County. 
A. Cliona: Hi Lynda – to discover ancestors who left Ireland before civil registration you would need to know the parish they came from. Queen’s County is also known as Leix, modern day Laois parish records can be found that date to before the 1830s.
A. Cliona: You would need to identify the parish the family were from. Was there any family left behind in Ireland? It may be possible to identify where the surname clusters and from that starting point narrow down the family parish by looking for naming patterns.
A. Cliona: Was the person who emigrated an eldest son? If so he could be named after his father. Hope this helps you!
A. Vicki: Lynda – have a look at our Irish Census, Land & Substitutes Records:
A. Cliona: Discovering ancestors who left Ireland before civil registration will rely on knowing the parish they came from.  In Queen’s County also known as Leix, modern day Laois parish records can be found that date to before the 1830s (the more usual ‘cut-off’), it would be necessary to identify the parish the family were from, were any family left behind in Ireland, it may be possible to identify where the surname clusters and from that starting point narrow down the family parish by looking for naming patterns.  Was the person who emigrated an eldest son, if so he would be named after his father.

Q. From Dan: Co down records from 1765 to 1850, looking for a Edward or Terence Gollougher, married an Elizabeth. 3 sons went to Australia, Michael, John, Daniel. Can not find any info on there father, think Elizabeth is buried in Bellymartin.
A. Cliona: Hi Dan I’m going to do a quick search on some new records for this name…
A. Cliona: Give me 30 seconds!
A. Cliona: With Irish names, always tick a variants option, such as the one we have in our search. I feel that Gollougher could be Gallagher or something similar – with Irish names, do keep in mind that spellings can change quite a bit.
A. Cliona: Dan I think we may need some further time to get back to you on this one – we will be in touch!

Q. From Corrinne: Good evening. I am enquiring about my great great grand father Terence SHERIDAN who was born possibly Meath in Dublin about 1838. He was a policeman when his first child died on Kilronan April 1864. Oral history says that Terence was a police sergeant and that the second child was possibly born in the police barracks in Dublin two months earlier in Feb 1864. Research has shown that: in the 1901 census Terence was a retired policeman in Dublin. Earlier correspondence with Garda Liochana and Dublin Police museun both returned negitive results. Further correspondence with police historian Jim Herlihy (Royal Irish Constabulary) in 2011 provided 3 possibile candidates, of these the most likely being: married, pensioned, and counties of allocation during birth of children, is no. 20847 (in agreement with correspondence from Cath Oneil from Aran Island RootsWeb). Several of his children were later born in Dingle, Boherebe and Castle Gregory, Co Kerry (1867-1885) . Is there any other way I can follow up and/or obtain any further records of his service? Thank you.
A. Aoife: Hi Corrinne, what a fascinating story. We will follow up with your offline with regard to potential service records. You may find him appearing in our petty sessions records where I have found several Const. Sheridan’s – this will give you a flavour of the sorts of cases he would have been involved in prosecuting.
A. Aoife:
A. Corrinne: Thank you 🙂 I am hoping if I can get some record of his posts it will help me decide which service record is his… thus hopefully find my great grandmother’s birth records.

Q. From Gloria: Hope I’m not too late. Currently researching ancestors Barry and Pendergast. Plenty information to keep me busy for a while. Need help with MARGARET BURKE b.1802 County Cork and arrived via “Woodman”June 1823. Only info I have.
A. IHM: For Gloria – Jean Prendergast has gathered some really helpful resources for Cork around the time you’re interested in ::
A. Gloria: Thankyou!!!

Q. From Tracey: My ancestors (John Carroll and Catherine Ryan) came from Ireland in 1864 both arrived per Queen of the East and married here just after arrival (June 20). According to the passenger records He was from Clonmore father John from Dunmore Tipperary and Mary (dead); Katherine’s parents were Daniel Ryan (Clonmore) and Margaret (dead). I do not know where to start to look for them. Can someone help?
A. Aoife: Hi Tracey, it is likely that John is the eldest son as these were often named after their father, would you know if other family stayed home? Local parish coverage for Clonmore is good, beginning in 1813, Clonmore sits on the border between Carlow & Wicklow so records for that area are sometimes ‘filed’ under Wicklow. This will be something to keep in mind no only for parish records but when considering the work and movements of the family in the locality in land records.
A. Tracey: Thanks I don’t know what the last part of my post is – I didn’t write it. Where do I find these records? I don’t know anything about Irish history research?

Q. From Belinda: Not sure if you’ve answered this but what year does the County Clare records start?
A. Cliona: Record coverage for any county is not consistent, even within the county, as it was up to the individual parish priest to record events such as baptisms, marriages & burials.  As with most Irish research place is key. Irish counties, small though they are, were broken down into even smaller administrative areas, records are local to these small areas, rather than based on county.  Clare Library has a good list of the coverage for different parishes.

Q. From IHM: Now that was busy! The Findmypast Ireland team have to sign off but before you go Cliona, what do you have in the pipeline that we should be excited about?
A. Cliona: So many records – where do I start?
A. Cliona: Drum roll…
A. Cliona: Well I’m very excited about a section of our Petty Session Records that will be coming online in the summer – they’re Dog Licenses.
A. Cliona: We also have some fantastic records coming through from our National Archives in Ireland.
A. Cliona: We already have jewels such as the Landed Estate Court Rental Records on our site, and more to come include the Valuation office records: 4 million names recorded as occupants of land and houses in preparation for Griffith’s Valuation.
A. Cliona: And many many more – we started out with 5 million records and now have 70 million Irish records on findmypast, so that gives you an indication of the amount that is coming.

Comment: IHM: We’ll have to close now, please join me in thanking Cliona, Aoife and Vicki for their time and for all their help tonight!
A. Carmel: Thank you.
A. Cliona: Thanks all – Slan abhaile (good bye / safe home in Irish)
A. Andrea: Thank you.
A. Gloria: Thank you. Much to go on with 🙂
A. Belinda: Thanks girls!!
A. Aoife: Thanks all, great to chat! The best of luck with your research.
A. Kay: Thank you, have been busy tonight but will get into your sources asap. Thx again.
A. Kellie: Thank you ladies.

Questions answered after the session:

Q. From Cate: I have a great grandmother, Susannah O’Gready; her marriage certificate (to Samuel Timbs in 1863 at Jamberoo) shows her father as Denis O’Gready and her mother as Elizabeth Stackwell. It states she was born in Kilrush, Ireland. I have searched all three names, assisted immigrants records, convict records without luck.
A. Cliona: Clare parish records would be the next step to consider – the parish registers for Kilrush do not appear online at present, Clare Library has a good list of the coverage for different parishes. so in this case I would suggest further investigation on the parish records or commissioned research through Parish: Kilrush. Existing Records: Volume 1 contains some loose leaves of entries back to 1741; b. 1773; m. 1773; d. 1776. Status: LC & NA

Q. From Sharon: I have a Find My Past World Subscription. I was told that it does not include all the Irish or UK records? Is this true?
A. Cliona: Your world subscription gives you access to all records on findmypast and newspapers, it also gives you automatic access to any new records put on the site during your subscription.
Q(b): Sharon: My biggest brick wall is Patrick Foy born 1829 married Mary Conroy/Conway b1831. Their son Richard Foy was born 1849 Galway. I’d love to be able to find parents of either Patrick or Mary.
A. Cliona: As these events pre-date civil registration (registration by government) the best sources will be parish registers.  The availability of parish registers for Galway is mixed, some do date to before 1849 – however it would be necessary to know the parish from which Patrick Foy & Mary came from before their marriage could be traced.  [where is the birth information for Richard coming from? – that would help narrow down a location].   Did Richard have any siblings that stayed in Ireland?  Or sibling information might help to trace the family.  Names are often kept in the family, so it is possible that Richard had an older brother called Patrick…. When did the family emigrate?

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