Posts Tagged ‘findmypast’
Such a wild, iron-bound coast – with such an ocean-view as I had not yet seen – and such battling of waves with rocks as I had ever imagined
This is how Charlotte Brontë described her visit to Ireland, on her honeymoon, in July of 1854. Her connections with Ireland were twofold. Her husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls and her father, Patrick Brunty (Prunty), were both Irish. A lifelong friend to Charlotte also noted that she “spoke with a strong Irish accent”.
Patrick Brunty was born in Co. Down in March 1777. His father Hugh Brunty had moved from the south of Ireland to Down where he married Eleanor ‘Alice’ McClory in about 1776 and had ten children, Patrick was the eldest. The family stayed within a small geographic area even as their fortunes improved moving from Lisnacreevy to Ballynaskeagh in the late 1790s. Clusters of McClorys and Brontës remained in the area for generations afterwards.
Patrick had shown an early aptitude and thirst for academic learning and was permitted to pursue these interests rather than working on the family farm, culminating in the opening of his own school at the age of 16. The upheaval of the 1798 rebellion appears to have disrupted his ability to keep his school open and he became a private tutor. Here his continued striving for self-improvement did not go unnoticed and he was encouraged to study Latin and Greek to prepare him for the Church. He entered Cambridge in 1802 at the age of 25. He was one of only two or three Irishmen admitted to Cambridge that year, and he was considerably older and poorer than most of his fellow students. It is believed that it was here at Cambridge that he altered the spelling of his name to the now famous Brontë. What is interesting to note is that this variation of the name can also be seen by the mid-nineteenth century among other members of the family, still living in Ireland, and from whom Patrick had deliberately distanced himself. Patrick did not cut ties entirely, he sent copies of Charlotte’s books to his family in Ireland.
Patrick had a difficult relationship with ‘Ireland’ and at turns embraced and distanced himself from his ‘Irishness’. It may be that his objections to Arthur Bell Nicholls as a suitor for his talented and famous daughter were not merely those of a proud father who thinks no one is good enough for his little girl. Arthur Bell Nicholls was close to his family in Ireland holidaying there and eventually returning to live there after Charlotte and her father’s death. Perhaps Patrick feared that Arthur would take Charlotte to Ireland, he could hardly be expected to remain a curate after his marriage. Arthur who was born near Belfast in 1819, arrived to the Haworth Parsonage in 1845 as curate, having studied at Trinity College, Dublin. He spent the next eight years working diligently alongside Patrick, whose eyesight and general health were failing, before working up sufficient courage to ask for Charlotte’s hand in marriage. He was immediately rejected by an incensed Patrick who wrote vitriolic letters to Charlotte about the presumptive ‘man’. However the romantic idea of the young man’s long unrequited love won Charlotte’s heart, where genuine feeling on her part was somewhat lacking. They honeymooned in Ireland where Charlotte was pleasantly surprised by the genteel manners of her new Irish relations
The other cousin was a pretty lady-like girl with gentle English manners….. I must say I like my new relations
Charlotte also greatly appreciated the beauty of the Irish countryside during their four week stay. She spent hours in silent contemplation of the Atlantic coast as her new husband hovered nervously nearby as she walked along the cliff edge. Unfortunately their happiness was not to last and Charlotte died only a few months later during the early stages of a difficult pregnancy. Her husband stayed at Haworth tending to his father-in-law until Patrick’s death in 1861. Arthur then moved back to Ireland, to the family home, where he can be found in the King’s County Directory in 1890. He lived there until 1906, outliving his famous wife by half a century.
Juliet Barker, The Brontës, (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson), 1994
Juliet Barker, The Brontës: A Life in Letters (London: Viking), 1997
Yesterday, the 11th of November was the 133rd anniversary of the death of one of Australia’s, if not, the world’s most notorious outlaws, Ned Kelly. This inspired us to do a bit of research in the Irish Prison Registers to find out the fate of Irish convicts who were sent Down Under in prison ships, the good and the bad.
John “Red” Kelly
You don’t have to look too far to figure out where Ned Kelly got his rebellious streak. Ned’s father John, originally from Moyglass in Co. Tipperary, was arrested on the 4th December 1840. Our records show his crime was “stealing two pigs from James Cooney” of Ballysheehan, near Cashel. He subsequently sold the pigs at Cahir market for about £6. You can see his prison record below:
After his conviction he was referred to the Cashel Assizes and subsequently sentenced to transportation for seven years. On the 31st July 1841 he was sent to Van Diemen’s Land, now Tasmania, aboard “The Prince Regent” where he would spend the next six years in hard labour. After his release John moved to Victoria, eventually marrying Ellen Quinn. Their son Edward (Ned) was born in Melbourne and would go on to become one of the most infamous names in Australian history.
Kevin Izod O’Doherty
On the other side of the spectrum we have Dubliner Kevin Izod O’Doherty, who would go on to become a well-respected physician and politician in his adopted country. O’Doherty was a member of the Young Ireland party and founder of the short lived Irish Tribune newspaper. He was sent to Tasmania in 1849 for ten years for “feloniously publishing sedition in a newspaper called The Irish Tribune”. We can see his prison record below:
In 1854 he received a pardon and went to Paris to continue his medical studies. In 1862 he returned to Australia this time to Brisbane and became well known as one of its leading physicians.
He was eventually elected a member of the legislative assembly in 1867 and in 1872 was responsible for a health act being passed, and was also one of the early opponents of the traffic in kanakas. In 1877 he transferred to the legislative council before resigning in 1885. O’Doherty returned to Dublin but was back in Brisbane within a year, deciding that he could not stick the Irish climate anymore!
Do you have any ancestors in your family tree who were sent to Australia on prison ships? We’d love to hear their stories and hopefully compile them into a follow up post, feel free to get in touch via the comments box below.
We recently came across a copy of “The Irish in Britain 1800-1914” by Donald M. Macgraild, part of the Studies in Irish Economic and Social History series, on the office bookshelf and managed to to find some incredibly interesting statistics which should pique the interest of those of you whose ancestors made the journey across the Irish Sea.
Up until the outbreak of the Great Famine in 1845, Britain was the principal receiver of Irish migrants. Although this trend began to shift as the Famine took hold, as more and more migrants boarded ships for Canada and the United States, Britain still managed to account for one quarter of the total migrant population. As late as 1901, there was still nearly twice as many Irish-born in Britain as there was in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand combined.
This enthusiasm for moving across the Irish Sea was not matched by our British cousins and according to Fitzpatrick (1986) by the mid-Victorian period the difference was twelve-fold i.e. for every twelve Irish making the journey to Britain, just one British person emigrated to Ireland.
The vast numbers of Irish travelling to Britain in the pre-famine period worked in the burgeoning industrial centres, particularly textiles, coal-mining and iron foundries. Concentrations of Irish emigrants were also found in port towns such as Liverpool (where in 1851 Irish born made up over 20% of the city’s population) . This was a migration of skilled labourers, meeting local labour demand and built on centuries of mutual trade. It was only during the famine, and post-famine years that waves of unskilled labourers flocked to the urban centres of Britain in search of whatever work might be available.
The table below complied from the censuses of England, Wales and Scotland shows the significant percentage of those living in Britain who worn born in Ireland:
Migrants were often transitory , following work across the country. Those of us searching for our migratory ancestors need to keep this in mind, as family members may not always be found where we ‘know’ they settled. Many can be found living in lodging houses run by fellow-Irish before settling into more permanent homes, moving on to other parts of Britain or the United States, or in some cases, moving back to Ireland.
If you happen to be one of the hundreds of thousands of Irish people out there with ancestors divided between both Ireland and Britain it’s never been a better time to start researching your family tree. The census records are just one of the sources which will allow you to search for your Irish ancestors. We’re currently offering a 15% discount on our Britain & Ireland subscription which includes almost 900 million records!
Fitzpatrick, D (1986) “A Peculiar Tramping People”: the Irish in Britain, 1801-70, in W.E. Vaughan A New History of Ireland, vol. 5: Ireland Under the Union part 1
Macgraild, D.M. (2006) “The Irish in Britain 1800-1914″, Studies in Irish Economic and Social History,
A new book out this month has piqued our interest for two reasons!
Small Lives: Photographs of Irish Childhood 1860 - 1970 is a window into childhood across Ireland over a century of great social and political change. Using photographs from the collections of the National Library of Ireland the book shows children at school, at work and as part of major events and local festivities in their communities. It is a fascinating photographic record of childhood in Ireland through the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. And it just so happens the book was edited by our very own Aoife O Connor! In this post she gives us a glimpse at two of the earliest photographs from the book and the stories which emerged during her research.
Family photographs are precious. They add a whole new dimension to our families’ stories. Looking at the faces of our ancestors and seeing the family resemblances brings us closer to them and allows us more easily imagine them going about their daily lives. It can also be maddening to have a photograph, handed down through the generations, and not to know who the person is looking out at us from the past, is it a stranger? a neighbour? or a person we know intimately from our research?
While writing Small Lives I often wished I could know more about the lives of the children in the photographs. Some will always remain a mystery as their names were not recorded by the photographer. Others, which include a name and a date, provide a wonderful genealogical puzzle to be solved. Using these few details we can discover how the children’s lives unfolded.
The earliest photographs in Small Lives are of the sons and daughters of barons, high ranking military men and landed gentry. These children were born into wealth and luxury, estate records show the extent of their family’s holdings, in later life they can be found in Burke’s Landed Gentry, later again census records list the many servants living in their houses.
One little boy, Matthew Charles Edward Fortescue, photographed in an elaborate velvet outfit in 1866. His outfit may have been to celebrate his being breeched, aged five. Breeching was a significant transition for young boys in the 19th and 20th century. They were now considered old enough to manage the intricacies of adult clothing. Breeching often coincided, in the case of wealthier boys, with the move away from home and the nursery to boarding school. Matthew was born in India, and it was there that this photograph was probably taken before his move back to Ireland after his father, a major in the army died of cholera in 1867. Matthew went on to become High Sherriff of Louth and can be found in Burke’s Landed Gentry , 1899.
Photographed wearing fashionable dress, including a Medici belt and a bishop sleeve bodice, this girl’s clothing is an adaptation of adult dress. Photography was a novel and more affordable alternative to having a portrait painted and in the 1860s photographic studios were opened in many towns. Mary Adelaide has been provided with a chair to lean on to help her keep still during the long exposure time necessary in early photography. For this same reason smiling was not encouraged in early photography as it is a difficult expression to hold for lengthy periods.
Photographed at around age 12, Mary Adelaide Domville grew up in Santry Court, Dublin where her father held the baronetcy. On her marriage the house passed to her husband’s family, and members of that family can be found living there in the 1901 census. Mary Adelaide herself can be found in the 1901 census living in a household where servants outnumber the family members.
Small Lives - Photographs of Irish Childhood 1860-1970 (ed. Aoife O Connor) is published by Gill & Macmillan and can be purchased in their Online Shop
The photographs in Small Lives are from the collections of the National Library of Ireland
The 200,000 records in Byrne’s Irish Times Abstracts 1859-1901 are sure to be a huge benefit to those of you who have ancestors who were based in Dublin city and it’s Southern Suburbs in the later part of the 19th century. The information contained in this index is of such value as records a huge variety of information on virtually every building in Dublin city and the South-side of Dublin including:
- Social activities
- Criminal and civil law cases
As well as property information such as:
- Sanitary conditions
- Names of occupants (both current and previous, historical facts)
The entries, all taken from copies of the Irish Times are also useful for tracking well know members of Dublin society at this time. For example we can track some of the activities of Ireland’s most famous wit Oscar Wilde. We can see here how at the age of 24 he took legal action regarding a contract for a property in Bray:
The second entry takes note of a trip to Brighton for the playwright:
While the third references his trial in 1895:
If an event was recorded in the Irish Times during these year’s it’s here!
This year’s Back to Our Past, Ireland’s biggest genealogy event is almost upon us, and we can’t wait. The event takes places in the RDS in Dublin from Friday the 12th of October until Sunday 14th October.
This year we’re giving you plenty of reasons to come and visit our stand. We’re be giving free access to the 1.5 billion records now available through findmypast and our expert staff will be on hand to guide you through how to search and to help you with any brick walls you may run in to. We’ll also have a colleague from findmypast.co.uk joining us for the weekend who can help you find any missing British ancestors you may have. If you’d like to continue your research when you get home we’ll also be giving away some free credits to lucky visitors. Best of all we’ll be giving you the chance to win a World Subscription each day!
One of our favourite parts of the weekend is the huge range of expert lectures taking place. This year we’ll be presenting six in total so make sure you don’t miss out on them:
“Finding your past: An introduction to findmypast.ie” – Cliona Weldon, Area 1, 2.30pm
“Murderers, drunkards and rebels: Your ancestors and the law” – Brian Donovan, Area 1, 3.30pm
“Online Sources for Irish Genealogy” – Mary Beglan, Area 1, 2.30pm
“Where next for WDYTYA?” – Fiona Fitzsimons, Area 1, 3.30pm
“Finding your past: An introduction to findmypast.ie” – Cliona Weldon, Area 1, 2.30pm
“Griffith’s Valuation and the Landed Estate Court Rentals – the unsung heroes of Irish genealogy” – Brian Donovan, Area 1, 3.30pm
The opening times for the event are as follows:
Friday 12th Oct: 12pm-7pm
Saturday 13th Oct: 11am-7pm
Sunday 14th Oct: 11am-7pm
Hopefully we’ll see you there and don’t forget to come and say hello, we’ll be at stand 22!
Guinness is a name that is as synonymous with Ireland as Murphy, Byrne or O Connor.
It is unsurprising then that the Guinness name is to be found throughout our records at findmypast Ireland. Entries relate to both the illustrious family of brewing fame and the lesser known branches of the family who used the name in that form. Other variants of the name include Mac Genis and Magennis, all said to have derived from the Irish Mag Aonghusa (son of Angus).
The family tree of the brewers’ reveals the carefully managed creation of a dynasty by Arthur Guinness (1725-1803), and built on over the course of the nearly 300 years since. The integrity of the family (and presumably that of the family fortune!) was maintained by careful intermarriage of cousins, a common practice among wealthy or landed families. Somewhat unusually in the earlier generations the family did not practice primogeniture. In a reversal of the common practice of the time the family business passed to second sons or nephews, rather than the eldest son. The eldest sons of the first two generations were ordained, Hosea Guinness (1765-1841) and William Smythe Lee Grattan Guinness (1795-1864). However, by the 19th century the family appear to reverse this trend and eldest sons are to be found in charge of the business.
The family entered the brewing trade in 1752, turning a previously small-scale ‘brew as needed’ cottage industry into an international business over the course of the ensuing decades, moving to the now famous James’ Gate buildings in 1759. The company began by brewing porter and ale. Ale was the staple drink of the population in the 18th century and despite some uncertainty in the brewing industry in the mid-18th century, a sound investment at a time when tea was still a luxury commodity.
As you might expect such a prominent family appears in many of the records on findmypast including the Freemen of Dublin City 1774-1824 in the earlier period.
Later they are to be found in Burkes Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1899, where the Guinness women can be seen to marry into the ranks of the landed gentry, and introducing family names in the naming of their children.
One of more intriguing entries for the family in our records is among the 8000 names listed in the transcripts of the 1798 Claimants and Surrenders. The upheaval of the rebellion saw property destroyed and opportunistic looting across the countryside and the details of both perpetrators and victims were collated in two volumes. The Guinness family sought compensation for the loss of “porter & casks” with a value of £99, 16s 8d, a considerable sum of money at the time. One has to wonder if the porter was sold or drunk!
A Happy Arthur’s Day to you all!
Today is the 214th anniversary of the declaration of an Irish Republic by General Humbert during the 1798 Rebellion. The 1798 Rebellion, with the 1916 Rising, was one of the two important rebellions of Modern Ireland. Its origins lie in the 18th century European political transition from Absolute Monarchy to Democracy and the emergence of the Nation-State and derived its ideological inspiration from the American War of Independence and French Revolution. We’ve been reading a lot about these events over the last few weeks and we thought we’d share some of these resources to help you get a better understanding of this fascinating period in Irish history.
The 1798 Rebellion
We found these two resources to provide an excellent overview of the events of the 1798 Rebellion:
On findmypast.ie you can find an extensive “Historical Background” to one of our record sets relating to the Rebellion, just scroll down towards the end of the page:
The Republic of Connaught
LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY, UNION - After several unsuccessful attempts, behold at last Frenchmen arrived amongst you… Brave Irishmen, our cause is common. Like you we hold as indefeasible the right of all nations to liberty. Like you we are persuaded that the peace of the world shall ever be troubled as long as the British ministry is suffered to make with impunity a traffic of the industry and blood of the people . . . Union, Liberty, the Irish Republic! Such is our shout. Let us march. Our hearts are devoted to you; our glory is in your happiness.
We thought we’d point you in the direction of further information on this momentous, yet short lived, event. The events in brief are captured here:
Local history of the 1798 Rebellion
The rebels had there most success in Wexford, the article below details the rise and fall of the Wexford Republic
The Clare county library have compiled a brief history of the Rebellion in the Banner County
Kildare was the scene of many battle s during the Rebellion, the events in the county are documented here by Kildare County Council
The 1798 Centre
The award winning National 1798 Rebellion Centre in Enniscorthy, Co.Wexford tells the epic and heroic tale of the most significant rebellion in Irish history from an international, national and local perspective. For more information and to browse some of their fantastic resources visit their website:
Resources for searching for ancestors involved
1798 Claimants and Surrenders
This dataset brings together some of the few remaining primary sources about the people involved in this conflict. It contains two lists of individuals who made claims for compensation for loss of property during the rising, and also two lists of rebels who surrendered in Dublin City and Coolock Barony. In total there are 8,440 names included in this dataset covering two different groups – those who took up arms and those whose property was damaged. These groups come from every social background, from poor Dublin city labourers and artisans to the aristocratic ascendancy of late eighteenth century Ireland.
National Archives of Ireland
The National Archives has a downloadable pdf on its website including 17 facsimile documents relating to the rebellion of the United Irish men in 1798, a fantastic free resource:
Ballads from 1798
Although not written until the 19th century, two of the most famous ballads relating to the Rebellion can be found below.
Luke Kelly sings “Kelly the Boy from Killanne”
Anthony Kearns sings - Boolavogue
This August we’ll be packing our bags for Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Irish Fest 2012. Irish Fest is North America’s largest celebration of Irish culture and takes place from Thursday 16 August and until Sunday 19 on the shores of gorgeous Lake Michigan in the Henry W Maier Festival Park.
The event is a four day extravaganza featuring all that’s great about Irish culture including music, dance, food and even a Gaeltacht area attracting over 100,000 Irish enthusiasts each year.
You’ll be able to find us in the genealogy tent in the cultural village. We can’t wait to attend and hope to see you there!
Date: 16-19 August
Time: Thursday 5pm-10pm | Friday 4pm -12am | Saturday 12pm -12am | Sunday 11am - 10pm
Venue: Henry W Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Further info: Irish Fest website
The Sun King’s Irish Galley Slaves
We love a list of names here at fmp.ie and although this record set is not one we have on the website we thought you might like to hear about this rare and unusual ‘offline’ source for seventeenth and eighteenth century prisoners in the galley ships of France during the reign of Louis XIV.
In the late seventeenth century thousands of soldiers left Ireland to join continental forces, many served in the Irish regiments of Louis XIV’s French army. While the involvement of Irish troops in the European wars of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century are well documented their names are largely forgotten.
Some records were transcribed, such as those found in the de La Ponce manuscript housed in the RIA, a two volume history of Irish regiments in France listing the names and pedigrees of officers. This material was drawn on by John Cornelius O’Callaghan for his History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France, published in 1869. While both of these are, undoubtedly, valuable and underused genealogical resources for the period, they are primarily concerned with officers, gentlemen, people with pedigrees, not ordinary soldiers.
The ratio of ordinary soldiers to officers means that for every officer we might know about there are probably ten (or more) ordinary soldiers whose names are largely unrecorded. Information on these men usually comes through casualty lists or from records of disciplinary actions.
One small but fascinating source relating to the arrest and punishment of Irish soldiers in the French army is a list, compiled by Eoghan Ó hAnnracháin, of 167 Irishmen who were sentenced to serve as galley slaves aboard French ships between 1660 and 1748. The 167 names discovered by Ó hAnnracháin are scattered among those of over 60,000 prisoners recorded in the massive ledgers of the galleys, which are housed in the Service Historique de la Marine in Toulon, France. The dedicated research involved in discovering these names is to be greatly admired as they gives us a unique glimpse into the fate of ordinary Irish soldiers in this pivotal period of European history (those who broke the law anyway!).
Most of those sentenced to serve in the galleys were deserters, although others were charged with a range of offences from stealing to forgery. The deserters were sentenced to serve as rowers in the oar-powered galleys still in use well into the eighteenth century by the French navy to ferry goods between sailing ships. Conditions were harsh and most would die in their chains. Many opted to return to active service rather than face the conditions aboard a galley. Some even volunteered to work in towns as corbeau (lit. raven) affected by outbreaks of plague, removing and burying bodies of plague victims, such was the reputation of the galley ships.
The bulk of the entries in the list date to between 1690 and 1740, with most of them clustered around 1700-1710. The short entries are full of information. As well as the name of the prisoner and the charge for which they were arrested most entries note the prisoner’s county of origin, their age at arrest and physical appearance, their parent’s names are also recorded; and, in most cases, their fate. Occupations are also recorded in a number of the entries, these include wigmaker, tailor and shoemaker. Twenty-three counties are represented although the bulk (47) are from Dublin. The next largest groups are from Limerick (18) and Cork (17).
The three entries below give a flavour of these mini-biographies. The details are such that you can almost picture the man. Ó hAnnracháin has provided us with a truly fascinating snap-shot of a group of men who would otherwise be wholly unknown to us.
John Armstrong son of Brian and Janette Lennon [Linon]; native of Ballinrobe, Ireland; mason; soldier in O Brien’s company, Lee Irish regiment; aged 18; good build; oval face; chestnut hair; arrived on the Paris chain on 4 December 1716; sentenced by court martial at Douai on 6 July 1716; desertion; life; died or escaped after being loaned [prêté] to the town of Marseille on 24 August 1720 to serve as corbeau [lit. raven] during the plague.
Terence O Brien [Turrance Corien] called Irlandois; son of Daniel and Catherine; native of Cloyne [Cloune] in Ireland, aged 27; tall; oval face; chestnut hair; arrived at Marseille on 4 June 1703 on the Paris chain conducted by sieur Nicolas Moncau – 254 men of whom three died en route, and the chain of criminals from the Metz prisons – 32 men according to the list of St. Didier, Procureur du Roi; sentenced by the provost of the royal camps and armies at Strasbourg on 23 December 1702; complicity in the killing of the provost of a village and for having forcibly secured lodgings and food; life; [not indicated what became of him]
Stephen Sullivan [Sulval or Surval, Etienne]; son of Amhlaoibh [Houel] and Marguerite Maurice; native of Dublin, Ireland; soldier in the colonel’s company, Anguenois regiment; aged 23; good build; long face; chestnut hair; arrived Marseille on 22 April 1701 on the Paris chain – 343 men of whom six died en route; sentenced by court martial at Logoux on 13 January 1701; desertion; life; freed on 23 March 1702 to serve in the Albermarle regiment for the rest of his life; handed over to Lieutenant Kuorville.
The full list of 167 names is available in Ó hAnnracháin, E. (2006) “Galériens: The Irish Galley Slaves of France”, The Irish Sword: The Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland, Vol. XXV, No. 99
Past issues of The Irish Sword are available from their website http://www.mhsi.ie/thesword.htm
References & Further Reading
Chartrand, R., (1988) Louis XIV’s Army, Men at Arms 203, Osprey Publishing
O’Callaghan, J.C. (1869) History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France available on CD ROM from http://www.eneclann.ie/
Ó hAnnracháin, E. (2006) “Galériens: The Irish Galley Slaves of France”, The Irish Sword: The Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland, Vol. XXV, No. 99
Ó hAnnracháin, E. (2007) “Men of the West in the Galleys of France”, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Vol 59, pp. 37-45
Ó hAnnracháin, E. (2007) “Dubliners in the Galleys of France”, Dublin Historical Record, Vol. 60, No. 2, pp. 208-217