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Archiver > CoTipperary > 2011-02 > 1297286354

From: Geralyn Barry <>
Subject: [COTIPPERARY] families moving around within Ireland - Pat'squestions - some examples
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2011 13:19:14 -0800
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On 2/7/2011 4:19 PM, Pat Connors wrote:
> So this brings me to my questions. Is it possible, that they moved around
> and didn't stay put in the area where they were born and raised? Did they
> follow the work? Any opinions? I don't know if it is wishful thinking on my
> part but I have a strong feeling that this might just be the guy I have been
> looking for and was wondering what others, familiar with the area thought.

Pat, you ask some very interesting questions there.

My Irish research has taught me that people moved around a lot more than you might think - not just to foreign lands but within Ireland also. The necessity of finding food or making a living has caused people to migrate for tens of thousands of years. I have found that Ireland in the 1800s was no different.

However, such moves can certainly be hard to document in the period before civil registration and can make Irish research more difficult than it already is. So many people had the same names in Ireland. How can you tell if you have found the same person again in another location or a totally different person with the same name? It can be hard.

Luck plays a big part in whether you can find records to document such moves. Perhaps you have finally had that luck in finding your Brian Connors. It certainly is possible - not just "wishful thinking". If you can follow up on each instance of Brian Connors in other records in the different localities, perhaps you will be able to determine if you actually have found one person or two (or more). If a branch of the family remained behind in Ireland into the period of civil registration and valuation revision lists, documentation of these moves is sometimes easier to find. I have spent a long time tracing families that turned out not to be related to the families of interest to me. But I would never have known that if I had not done the research. That research told me that I needed to continue looking elsewhere.

I think most US researchers with Irish roots start out wanting to find "the" place where their family was from in Ireland. We start with a vision of our family living on the same small patch of ground in Ireland back into the mists of time. But as we progress in our research, a very different picture sometimes emerges. We begin to wonder how several generations of a family could be supported by one small farm. How could even one generation with many children support themselves on one small farm? The answer is, it couldn't. Some of those children had to leave the farm, whether they migrated to foreign shores or moved around within Ireland.

In my research, I have found quite a few families that moved around within Ireland. Just a few examples:

(1) In central County Limerick, one branch of a Barry family moved to another farm 10 miles away in the 1820s, after the head of the family died. But many descendants in the next two generations were returned to the old family burial place after death - even though some had never lived in that location, or had lived there only for a short time after birth. There were 8 children in the generation that moved, the oldest born around 1800. That oldest son married and remained on the "new" farm, but the other children had to make their own way in the world as they grew to maturity. The girls eventually married and moved to other parts of Limerick, where their husbands had farms - sometimes 30 or more miles away. Of the other 3 sons, one married a much older widow with small children on a nearby farm. He took on the management farm of her farm, so was able to remain in the area. Another son went to Cork City and became a butter merchant (the family he came from had cows). The othe!
son went back to live near the family's previous location for a while, then set off for the US and settled in New York, where he was visited by other relatives (according to family stories written down in the early 1900s). In the next generation, the eldest son who had remained on the home farm had several children who emigrated to Australia. Among those who didn't emigrate, the girls again married farmers from other parts of Limerick, some of the sons went to Limerick City and Cork City and became merchants, and again, the eldest son remained on the farm - for a while. But he later moved his family to town about 7 miles away (in yet another civil and Catholic parish) and became a merchant. Among the documented lines of this family that remained in Ireland, later generations also had family members that followed previous generations to Limerick City and Cork City, and other family members who ended up in Dublin City or foreign locations (US and Australia) or in other rural
parts of Limerick (by marriage into families from there). This particular family, over several generations, had people whose baptismal, marriage and death records were in totally different parishes, sometimes in different counties in Ireland, and sometimes in different countries (the US and Australia being the known destinations in this family). Even a larger farm of 60 acres could not support several children in each generation of one family. The others had to go somewhere else. And some of them made several moves in their lifetimes, having children born in each place. And yet, some descendants still live in Limerick in the same area to this day - although not on the same piece of land. If a family moved around within the same parish in this part of County Limerick, it would be hard to know that, since the parish registers almost never mention a townland of residence - unlike in some other dioceses.

(2) My ggg-gfather Edward Harrold (1800-1871), "native of Co. Tipperary" according to his gravestone, did not create a single record in County Tipperary that I have been able to find! I found him just across the border in Co. Laois, while I was searching Co. Laois parish registers for another family entirely. As I scanned down the page of the Borris-in-Ossory parish register, I was stunned to suddenly be staring at a record for the baptism of a child of Edward Harrold and Bridget Maher! I found the baptism of just that one child (their last) in County Laois, but very near the Tipperary border. Edward also appears in Griffith's Valuation in that same Co. Laois location (as Edward Harrol). There are huge gaps in the Rathdowney (Co. Laois) parish register, which is where I assume Edward and Bridget's many earlier children were baptized. Or perhaps they were living in another parish in the area whose records began too late. I don't know. I have never found their marriage either
- again, probably due to gaps or late start of records in the area. Edward's much younger brother William Harrold married in yet another Co. Laois parish further east (Aghaboe) because his Farrell bride was from there. After marriage, the couple lived back closer to the Tipperary border - but in a different civil parish than Edward and Bridget Harrold. William's first two children were baptized there (different Catholic parish than the one where he married). However, William does not appear anywhere in Griffith's Valuation as occupier, so perhaps was a farm laborer and not responsible for paying any tax - if so, he would not appear in valuation records. He was certainly in the area, as evidenced by his presence in the parish register, which almost always listed a townland of residence (unlike the Limerick example above). Both brothers eventually emigrated and settled in Paterson, New Jersey. Edward Harrold made a will in Paterson in which "my brother William" was named as
executor along with Edward's widow Bridget. That is how I discovered they were brothers, at the beginning of my research nearly 20 years ago. But I did not discover either of them in Irish records until 2004. Edward's gravestone led me to believe I would find him in Co. Tipperary... but no, he and William were found in Co. Laois. I also found a few other Harrolds mentioned in parish registers in this same area of Laois, but they also seem to disappear after the 1840s or early 1850s. I suspect they either moved elsewhere or emigrated - like Edward and William. There are a few more Harrold families on the Tipperary side of the border (some back into the mid-1700s). This is where I suspect my Edward Harrold (and perhaps his brother William) were born - before the start of parish registers, probably somewhere between Roscrea and Templemore in the northeast corner of County Tipperary. I think Edward Harrold's gravestone was correct - he was born in Tipperary. However, that
doesn't mean I will ever find any record of him there!

I have still other families in this area who made the move in the opposite direction - from Co. Laois into Co. Tipperary, to near Templemore sometime in the early 1800s. Parish registers in the area have gaps or in some cases, start too late to determine the exact time of these cross-border moves. Some of these families created later records in several Catholic parishes on the Tipperary side of the border, but had come there from Laois in a previous generation.

(3) Sometimes you find children who remained on a farm with a married sibling but who themselves never married. Perhaps some of those bachelors spent parts of their lives elsewhere, but if they didn't marry and have children, how can you even know where they were? I have been amazed to find civil death records in the 1860s or 1870s for several "bachelors" in rural locations whose records say - "age 75, grocer (not farmer), never married", and the informant is a nephew or brother. Sometimes you find the same old bachelors reporting the births of their nieces and nephews (after civil registration began). Their "qualification" to report the birth is listed as "Inmate, [townland name where child born]" rather than "Occupier, [townland name where child born]". These men were obviously living with the family for several years at least before they died, but never appeared in valuation records since they were not occupiers (not responsible for paying the tax). The "occupier" who
appeared in valuation records was their married sibling who paid the tax. Maybe these bachelors had earlier roamed the world, or been merchants in Limerick City, or maybe they had been living on that farm with their brother the entire time. How would you know unless family stories survived or unless you found a detailed obituary in Ireland? I know of some bachelors who traveled to the US but returned to Ireland, and in some cases, then went out to Australia to stay permanently. If you were born before parish registers began, were not the taxpayer on property, and did not marry and have children, what records would you have created in Ireland in the 1800s before you died? And if you died before civil registration or ended up in Australia, would you have left even one record of your presence in Ireland other than perhaps a gravestone?

(4) In death, people often returned to the place of their ancestors and were buried in their family's traditional burial ground - even if that meant that husband and wife were buried in different places! (Yes, I have at least one example of that.) And descendants who had never even lived in that area themselves might be buried there. I only know about some of these instances because I stumbled across oral history - from people with first-hand knowledge of these events - that was committed to paper in the later 1800s and early 1900s. I have also read similar "stories" in Irish obituaries in newspapers from the early 1900s, which recite where the man had been born, and tell how, as a young man, he had gone to Limerick City and had become a merchant. But his body was being returned to his old family burial ground to be interred - via railroad, then a 12-mile procession from the church (in a different parish) to the graveyard (in yet another parish)! So if you were looking for
someone to be buried in the parish where they died, or where they lived, or even where they were baptized as children, you are out of luck! Without that obituary , how would I ever have discovered that? There are reasons why people were buried in particular places, but they might not be obvious to us 100 or 150 years later.

(5) Marriages usually occurred in the parish in which the bride lived, which was sometimes (but not always) where the bride was baptized. But that was not necessarily where the couple lived after their marriage. I have found several instances where a woman living elsewhere with her new husband returned to her home parish to give birth to their first one or two children. I know this from civil birth records combined with valuation revision lists. Sometimes that child was also baptized in the parish where he was born (his mother's home parish), but sometimes he was baptized in the parish where the family actually lived (I have found examples of both ). In one case, the child died within a few days, and his death was registered in his mother's old parish, where he had been born - not in the location where the family actually lived. His birth was reported by his grandfather, and his death was reported by his father. That same family had other children born and baptized in the
parish where the family actually lived - about 15 miles away.

(6) I have seen birth records (not the first child of the couple either) where a child was born and baptized in the woman's old home parish, and the father's residence is listed on the civil birth record as... United States or London! Usually the father had some occupation like shoemaker, which suggests to me he had left Ireland to obtain work. In some cases, I have been unable to document the family after that, which suggests more moves or possibly emigration. Or perhaps the husband remained in the US or England and never sent for his wife or died there. Who knows? I have documented one case where the husband died on the way to London when his ship went down, but the wife still brought the entire family (children ages 1 to 12) to London, and lived there for many years along with her two older unmarried sisters. Why? That is one thing I do not know... Did they have other brothers or sisters already in London, who helped the new widow and her young family after they arrived?
Another mystery...

I have traced other people living near the Tipperary-Laois-Kilkenny border whose baptismal records I have found (in one or another of these counties), then a marriage record in another county, and I have yet to find the baptisms of all the children born in Ireland, but I suspect that at least one of them occurred in the third county!

And the examples go on and on... A look in the 1901 census of Ireland will find people living in one county whose children were born in another county (or counties) in Ireland - or sometimes even in the US. Such families are often farm laborers (in rural areas) or factory workers of some kind in urban areas.

People did what they had to in order to survive - and sometimes that meant moving around within Ireland. Necessary for them but very inconvenient for us, their descendants trying to trace them in Irish records!

Geralyn Wood Barry in Oregon

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