Tag Archives: Ballymacdonnell

My Genealogy Year 2013 ~ Accentuate the Positive!

February already and I’m only just getting round to my first post of the new year. Too late to join in GeniAUS’s Accentuate the Positive geneameme?? I hope not! Last year Jill came up with this great way to celebrate the genealogical highs of the previous twelve months, rather than dwell on any lows.

Here’s how 2013 panned out for me…

Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary

Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary

An elusive ancestor I found was a likely candidate for my 3 x great grandmother. Her son Henry John Forrest Florey had a different mother’s name on each of three vital records: “Henrietta Florey (formerly Byford)” on his birth registration in 1862, “Elizabeth Ann Florey” on his 1863 baptism record, and “Henrietta White” on his marriage record in 1885. My ancestors seem adept at the ol’ smoke and mirrors game, but I think I have finally discovered who Henry’s real mother probably is.

An ancestor’s grave I found was that of my 3 x great grandfather Thomas Gaffney. To be exact, I think we have found the record of his burial and the plot location. To find his actual grave will require a spike, a spade, and a large amount of elbow grease. Unless, of course, it was one of the graves that was washed away in Manchester’s great flood of 1872.

An important vital record I found was my 3 x great uncle John Burke’s baptism record. This broke down a huge brick wall and has helped pinpoint the area in Co Mayo from where my Burke family emigrated in the 1850s. It was wonderful to share the discovery with a Burke cousin, who was just as excited as I was!

My 2013 blog post that I was particularly proud of was the one commemorating the gallantry of my (first, three times removed) cousin, Peter Gaffaney, mostly because of the research involved.

My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was my Revisiting the Brosnahans post, marking my two year blogiversary.

A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Google’s Hangout on Air. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet, but I managed to participate in one of Jill Ball’s GeniAUS hangouts in December and it was a lot of fun. My second attempt to join one last month didn’t work out so well, but I’ve since watched Mike Delagado’s immensely helpful video tutorial How to Join a Google+ Hangout for the First Time, so I am hopeful for the next time!

A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was all of them! I attended workshops at WDYTYA? Live in February, an IHGS tutorial weekend in March, the Exodus conference in September, and best of all – Back to our Past in Dublin with my father in October. I also learnt a lot from Relative Roots‘ three Genetic Genealogy Demystified webinars.

A genealogy book that taught me something new was Simon Fowler’s Tracing Your Army Ancestors.

The National Archives, Kew, London

The National Archives, Kew, London

A great repository/archive/library I visited was the Aldershot Military Museum‘s archive (by appointment only), and also the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock, both of which I hadn’t visited before. Even more exciting was my first trip to The National Archives at Kew, followed up by two more visits during the year. I made good use of the Society of Genealogists‘ library while attending several talks there, and checked out the new Kent History and Library Centre. And not forgetting my quick visits to the Valuation Office and National Library of Ireland while in Dublin. 2013 was a great year for ‘out and about’ research!

It was exciting to finally meet an O’Rourke cousin in Cork, a Burke cousin in London, and some Brosnahan cousins from New Zealand.

A geneadventure I enjoyed was my trip to the Brosnan Clan Gathering held in Castleisland, Co Kerry, in July. I think this would have to be the genealogical highlight of my year, meeting the aforementioned Brosnahan cousins and enjoying the amazing hospitality of our Irish kinfolk. It was a truly magical journey back to our “homeland”.

O'Rourke cottage, Ballymacdonnell, Co Kerry

O’Rourke cottage, Ballymacdonnell, Co Kerry

Another positive I would like to share is I got to see the O’Rourke family’s cottage in Ballymacdonnell, Co Kerry, where my 2x great grandfather Bartholomew was born, and the family’s grave plot where Bartholomew’s father, uncles and grandfather are all buried.

Thanks again to Jill for the opportunity to share my year of family history research and learning. You can read about the 2013 highlights of other geneabloggers through her GeniAUS website.

The auld sod in 1911

So how are my Rourkes doing on census night in 1911? (See previous two instalments here and here)

Well, everyone’s a little older!  And there’s a couple of grandkids thrown into the mix.1

Bridget Rourke Head of Family 63 Farmer Widow
Michael Rourke Son 37 Farmer’s Son Single
John Rourke Son 35 Farmer’s Son Single
Julia Rourke Daughter 25 Farmer’s Daughter Single
Hannah Hogan Granddaughter 9 Scholar Single
Jeremiah Hogan Grandson 5 Single

Timothy has left, but the other two sons Michael and John, along with daughter Julia, are still at home with their mammy. Hannah and Jeremiah are probably the children of Bridget’s daughter Catherine, who married a Hogan, according to the family tree I have. Catherine’s death date on the tree is given as 1912 – I wonder if it might have been earlier, and the children and are now permanently living with their grandmother?

The house has been upgraded a bit since the last census – its roof is now “Slate, Iron, or Tiles”, there are five rooms instead of three, and five windows at the front of the house (up from three). In the outbuildings stakes, not much change, down 1 cow house and up 1 fowl house. Hopefully the house improvements are a sign the farm is doing well.

I want to follow the Rourke family (roll on the 1926 census!) and also find out where the other family members went to, see if I can verify all the information on this family tree I have.  My knowledge of Irish genealogical sources is a bit lacking at the moment, and I need to spend some time finding out what’s available and where it is.

And I’d love to do more research on the way of life in 19th century Ireland, and into the early 20th century. Would be fascinating to compare the O’Rourke farm in Ballymacdonnell, and the Gaffaney farm in Arowhenua, New Zealand.

  1. Census of Ireland 1911, Kerry, Kilfelim, Ballymacdonnell, House no 3, Bridget Rourke; digital image, The National Archives of Ireland, Census of Ireland 1901/1911 (http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ : accessed 07 Mar 2011).

The auld sod ~ continued

Following up from yesterday’s post about my great great great grandfather Michael Rourke’s farm in Ballymacdonnell, I’m now looking at the Rourkes who are living there at the time of the 1901 Irish census.

These are the family members listed on the census return1:

Bridget Rourke Head of Family 53 Farmer Widow
Michael Rourke Son 27 Farmer’s Son Not Married
John Rourke Son 24 Farmer’s Son Not Married
Timothy Rourke Son 18 Farmer’s Son Not Married
Julia Rourke Daughter 16 Farmer’s Daughter Not Married

Trying to read the scan of the family tree I have, I can make out a Jeremiah, brother of my Bartholomew, both of whom were Michael Rourke’s sons. Jeremiah married Bridget O’Loughlin, and their children were:

  • Michael b.1873
  • John (Jack) b. 1874
  • Timothy b. 1876
  • Bartholomew b. 1878
  • Catherine b. 1884
  • Julia b.1886

Going back to the baptism records2, I found the following children listed for Jeremiah Rourke and Bridget Loughlin (with their approximate age in 1901, given a birth date a month or two previous to baptism):

  • Michael – 29 Oct 1873 (27) – mother: Margaret Loughlin
  • John – 31 Dec 1875 (25)
  • Bartholomew – 16 Jan 1878 (23)
  • Catherine – 30 May 1880 (20) – mother: Bridget Loughten
  • Timothy – 28 Sep 1882 (18)
  • Julia – 15 Jun 1885 (15)
  • Jeremiah – 23 Jan 1888 (13)

Hurrah! This looks like the same family. Not sure where Bartholomew is on census night, and Catherine may be married by this time. Doesn’t look good for poor young Jeremiah – hopefully he’s having a sleepover at a friend’s place. But he’s also missing on the family tree…

So, were they living in the same house? It’s hard to be certain, without visiting Ballymacdonnell and asking the locals (which I’d love to do at some point!). In 1901 there were three houses inhabited in Ballymacdonnell, and from the census return (Form B1 – House and Building return), all three look to be similar in size and state, being classed as “2nd class”, with Bridget’s being perhaps a little smaller.

What was the house like that Bridget and her family were in? The walls were “stone, brick or concrete”, the roof was “thatch, wood or perishable material”, and there were three windows at the front of the house. The family of five were living in three rooms. Also on their property were eight outbuildings, detailed in Form B2 – Return of Out-Offices and Farm-Steadings: 1 stable, 2 cow houses, 1 calf house, 1 dairy, 1 piggery, 1 barn, and 1 shed.

When I came to recheck the map of Ballymacdonnell from Griffith’s Valuation today, I discovered something I had completely missed before! It is laid over the modern map, and using a slider widget at the top right hand side, you can switch between the old and modern maps. How cool is that!!??

Ballymacdonnell - Primary Valuation map3

Ballymacdonnell - Primary Valuation map

Ballymacdonnell - Primary Valuation map and Google maps satellite image

Ballymacdonnell - Primary Valuation map and Google maps satellite image

Ballymacdonnell -  Google maps satellite image4

Ballymacdonnell - Google maps satellite image

There are still buildings there, maybe even the original house.  Next task is to check the household in the 1911 census.

Griffith’s Valuation material (digital images and index) is Copyright of (c)2003 OMS Services Ltd, Eneclann Ltd and the National Library of Ireland

  1. Census of Ireland 1901, Kerry, Kilfelim, Ballymacdonnell, House no 3, Bridget Rourke; digital image, The National Archives of Ireland, Census of Ireland 1901/1911 (http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ : accessed 05 Mar 2011).
  2. Dept of Tourism, Culture & Sport. “Search Church Records”. Database of transcriptions, church records for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kerry. Irish Genealogy. (http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/ : accessed 05 Mar 2011).
  3. Griffith, Richard. General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland… County of Kerry (Dublin: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1861), for Michael Rourke, occupier, Lot 3, Ballymacdonnell (townland), Killeentierna (parish), Trughanacmy (barony); “Griffith’s Valuation,” digital images, Ask About Ireland (http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/index.xml : accessed 06 Mar 2011).
  4. Google Maps, Ballymacdonnell, satellite image; digital image, Ask About Ireland (http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/index.xml : accessed 06 Mar 2011).

The auld sod

After I found the baptism records of all those Rourkes,  I wanted to find the place where the family was living.  I had the name of the parish and the townland, so thought I’d have a good chance of finding them in Griffith’s Valuation.

From the Ask About Ireland website:

The Primary Valuation was the first full-scale valuation of property in Ireland. It was overseen by Richard Griffith and was published between 1847 and 1864. It is one of the most important surviving 19th century genealogical sources.1

I know that my family was definitely in the area around this time because of the baptism dates, so I did a search by name on “Rourke” within the parish of Killeentierna. No result. So I tried a place name search on the townland “Ballymacdonnell” instead – result! A Michael Roarke [sic] occupied property lot number 3 – I hadn’t found him initially because of the (transcribed) spelling of his name.
Primary Valuation - headings: Map refs, Names of Townlands and Occupies, Names of Immedidate Lessors, Description of Tenement, Area, Rateable Annual Valuation of Land and Buildings

Primary Valuation - Ballymacdonnell2

Primary Valuation - Ballymacdonnell

 

The Valuation lists the main occupier of the property, not necessarily ‘head of household’ like the census reports. In the report above, Michael’s holding of “House, office, and land” is 37 acres, 2 roods and 21 perches in size. An “office” is a term used to describe “factories, mills and farm outbuildings such as a stable, turf shed, cow barn, corn shed, or piggery.”3 Michael had one office apparently – I wonder what it was?

The taxable value of the property is an estimate of the income the property could generate in a year. The state of the buildings on the property, and the quality and location of the land were all taken into account. The value of Michael’s property, land and buildings combined, was £28 15s. which equates to the spending power of today’s £1,682.74. 4 That doesn’t sound a lot!

The other thing I noted from the report is that in neighbouring lots were two Callaghans – Jeremiah and Michael. Could they be Michael’s brothers-in-law?

Primary Valuation - Ballymacdonnell - Map5

Primary Valuation - Ballymacdonnell - Map. The thicker red lines denote the townland boundaries. Lot 1 of Ballymacdonnell is to the right at the top of the map, below that is Lot 3 and then 2B, and Lots 2A and 4 are over to the left.

 

At this time in Ballymacdonnell there are four lots: two with one house (lots 2 & 3), one with no house (lot 4), and one with two houses (lot 1). From the notation in the far left column, John Griffin occupies 1a, the farmer’s house on lot 1, and Mortimer Flynn occupies 1b, a labourer’s or cottager’s house. As John Griffin is listed in the “Immediate Lessers” column beside lot 1b, it is likely that Griffin was subletting the “House and garden” to Flynn.

I’m interested in the houses because there’s a Rourke family living in Ballymacdonnell in the 1901 census. Are they on the same farm, and in the same house? Are they “my” Rourkes?

Tune in tomorrow!

Note:
1 acre = 4 roods = 40 square perches

Griffith’s Valuation material (digital images and index) is Copyright of (c)2003 OMS Services Ltd, Eneclann Ltd and the National Library of Ireland

  1. Ask About Ireland, Griffith’s Valuation (http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/index.xml : accessed 12 Nov 2010).
  2. Griffith, Richard. General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland… County of Kerry (Dublin: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1861), for Michael Rourke, occupier, Lot 3, Ballymacdonnell (townland), Killeentierna (parish), Trughanacmy (barony); “Griffith’s Valuation,” digital images, Ask About Ireland (http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/index.xml : accessed 12 Nov 2010).
  3. Ask About Ireland, Griffith’s Valuation – Understanding the Valuation and Maps (http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/history-heritage/irish-genealogy/understanding-the-valuati/ : accessed 05 Mar 2011).
  4. The National Archives, Currency converter (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/default0.asp#mid : accessed 05 Mar 2011).
  5. Griffith, General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland… County of Kerry.