Friday, November 18, 2016

A slew of new Irish family tree hits and messages.....

Several goldmines on the Irish Genealogy front:

A cousin messaged me via Facebook and gave me information that our Gt Gt Grandmother Catherine/Kate Flaherty was really a Faherty -- and was from Camp Street in Oughterard.  All this is new information, and corroborated by another cousin who said our Gt Aunt always said she was from Camp Street Oughterard.   I've posted a query to the Oughterard Heritage webpage asking for any info.

This cousin is also related to me doubly, through the Toole's and the Walsh's of Muckanaghkillew!

Another message via Ancestry from a Hernon who lives in Lettercalla -- she was asking about any connection I might know between my Walsh family and her family of Hernon's and Burkes.  Her Gt Gt Grandmother Mary Burke was a baptismal sponsor for a couple of Paidin Walsh's children, and Thady Walsh (his brother) served as baptismal sponsor for one of Mary's nephews (Tom, son of Robert Burke).  The Burkes lived near the Walsh's -- and supposedly came from Carna, but were evicted, went to Inis Bearachin, then settled in Lettercalla.

So possibly my Maggie, wife of Michael and mother of Paidin, Thady, Michil, Mary, Nuala, et al, was a Burke???? She would be a generation above Mary Burke, so possibly an Aunt of hers -- which would make Mary a 1st cousin of Paidin and Thady et al???

She also said that the photo I had of the old Walsh cabin in Lettercalla was really a Reaney house. She was going to take a photo of the Walsh house.  She said the Walsh and Folan families still don't like each other much, to this day!

And finally, a Connolly DNA hit at 2-4th cousins -- possibly via a brother of Podgeen -- still sorting that out, as the message came through FamilytreeDNA.

When it rains it pours....

Henry Pearce and sons

A recent email from the British Newspaper Archive said they'd posted a newspaper called the Cornwall & Devon Post -- so I had a look through with my usual searches of Hurrell and Pearce.  Lo and behold, I found an article all about my Pearce family of Callington/St. Ive!!!


The article refers to a Henry Pearce, son of Henry Pearce.  In reality this is John Carew Pearce. He is one of the 4 sons of Henry Perace -- the others being Thomas Pearce (of Landrake), Samuel Pearce (of New Zealand), and Nathaniel Hurrell Pearce (my Gt Grandfather - of Torquay). 

Initially I couldn't figure out if this was my family -- as the name Henry Pearce and Army Pensioner didn't seem to fit.  But the other sons and father definitely fit with what I knew.  So, I set out to do some searching on John Carew Pearce (aka Henry).

Turns out I had a missing 1881 census for him -- he was in St Ive in 1871 and 1891, but where was he inbetween?  I had a quick look at Findmypast.com, and searched the British Army records, as he was listed as a pensioner.  This was most unusual, since most men in the area joined the Royal Navy in Plymouth, if they were going into the military.  

Sure enough, there was a John Pearce, born 1853, joining in Burley!!  A huge file for him, with all the corroborating details -- born in St. Ive, Father Henry Pearce of Callington, etc.  Turns out he had been part of the Royal Marines Artillery Militia initially, and then joined the regular Army 2 years later.  Lots of correspondence regarding this....

From his service record, he served a total of 21 years, with 3 years in India, and some Reserve time in Guernsey (where he must have met his wife), and was discharged in Belfast, due to being medically unfit as he was suffering from Brights Disease.

His discharge said his intended place of residence was St Ive, so he returned home just before the 1891 Census.  This article is in 1892, and essentially the Local Authority wanted him to contribute more towards the maintenance of his Father, but he argued the burden should be shared between the 4 sons.  Henry Pearce died later that year, so the case was probably dropped.

Fascinating to see an article from 1892 talking directly about my Pearce family, and leading me to discover a whole British Army career that I knew nothing about!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Charles Montague Pearce

For many years I've been searching for the children of my Great Uncle, Albert Edward "Fred" Pearce. My only leads were that he married an Edith Harrison near Exeter and had 2 sons.  I found one son, Charles M, born in 1913 in Exeter area, but nothing further.

I know that "Fred" (and I assume his wife) were living in Clapham, London in 1915 - based on a business card he put into his Sister's Autograph Book, on her departure for the USA.  He was a commercial artist and used the name Fred Mont. Pearce


I had assumed that this might have been Mortimer, as a tribute to his Sister's husband who essentially raised him --- but now the name Montague appears to be the middle name he was using.  I deduced this from the Civil Registration for his son's death.   In looking for the death of Charles M Pearce, born 1913 -- I found a death for Charles Montague Pearce, born in the correct quarter of 1913, and dying in Islington (London) in 1972.

Now, where did the name Montague come from??

I've also yet to find Alfred Edward "Fred" in the 1939 Register, or the death of his wife Edith (I think she died relatively young, as I know Fred had a "common law wife" named Maisie later in life).  And where did Alfred Edward "Fred" die?   Was he in Islington near his son?  What was the other son's name (brother of Charles Montague Pearce)? Was that son born in London?

I've ordered the death certificate for Charles Montague Pearce -- hoping there will be an informant and a better address than just Islington Reg District.

More to follow.....

UPDATE:  He died in Islington on 14 Aug 1972.  His residence was 27 Hamilton Park, Islington, and he was listed as a Commercial Artist

Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Irish Civil Registration Records -- what a goldmine!

Wow! What a red letter day in the world of Irish Genealogy!  Free Civil Registration Records online!  OMG, how long have we needed these!  Now you can finally see the details, which help you determine if it's your ancestor!

The village names, ages, etc -- all those details are so key in finding the correct Mary Walsh or Patrick Connolly.  All my people have such common names, that it's virtually impossible without the village names, or parents names, to pinpoint the right person.

I started with my Walsh family -- and began with death certs.  Going through my direct line, and finding my Gt Grandmother's death in 1923, her husband's death in 1916.

Most interestingly I found their daughter Mary Walsh - my Grandmother's sister.  We had always been told she was sickly (probably with TB) and had died young.  I knew she was still alive in 1911, but lo and behold she died in 1934 and lived to the age of 59!! So much for that family story!!

I found my Grandmother's other sister Margaret, and while I knew her death date, I didn't know why she died relatively young at age 48 in 1931 -- turns out she got septicemia from a cut suffered on the farm -- and died in Hospital over the Christmas holidays.  Very sad!  This detail supplied by my cousin after I sent her the copy of the certificate.

Lots of early dates are not producing images yet, so hope that issue will be sorted out tomorrow when the records truly go live.

So excited to keep making discoveries and correcting some errors (I had some assumed death dates which proved to be wrong).

Look forward to diving into the birth and marriage records tomorrow!

UPDATE: As of Sept 12, 2016 --- I've added 63 new records to my Family Tree!!! Primarily deaths, and some marriages!  Fantastic discoveries continue....

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hurrell breakthrough.....

For many years, one of my cousins has holidayed in a small Devon village called Hope Cove.  It is beautiful, with thatched cottages and a lovely beach.  He has always told me that in the Pub there are some lovely old photos of the local fisherman and some are named HURRELL.  This cousin relates on a completely different line, but knows that HURRELL is one of my direct ancestral lines.

I've never been able to connect any of my South Devon Hurrell's to the village of Hope Cove, and so never thought much more about it.

Today in some random searching, I found a hitherto unknown child, Thomas Hurrell, b 1847 to one of my 1st cousins 4x removed, William Henry Hurrell.   Thomas only appears in the 1851 Census with the family, and then by 1861 is a 13 year old servant living elsewhere.  He disappears in 1871, and reappears in 1881, as a married fisherman in Hope Cove.  He lists his birthplace as Marlborough, when I have it as West Alvington (but they are next door to each other, so understandable).

I then found his marriage certificate at Marlborough, which confirms his Father was William Hurrell, and that he was residing at Hope Cove as a fisherman.



 He and his wife go on to have 5 sons, 3 of whom join the Royal Navy, and another son dies in World War One.   The eldest son Peter Bailey Hurrell, appears to have stayed in Hope Cove and went on to have a large family.

This is Peter Bailey Hurrell, in 1926, when he was a member of a lifeboat crew that went to the aid of a steamer off Hope Cove.




Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Walsh's of Ogool

In chatting with a new Walsh cousin in Sydney, Australia - we got on to the branch of Walsh's that seem to originate from Ogool and Finnaun north of Spiddal and west of Moycullen.  I am not sure I'm blood related to them (yet) -- as my Sarah Walsh marries into this family, but it seems plausible that it's another case of Walsh's marrying Walsh's to keep it "all in the family".

To confuse matters there are two Uggool's.  One in Killanin Pairsh and one in Moycullen Parish.

The David Walsh that Sarah marries, is from Uggool, and from his marriage record his Father is John Walsh.  He is from the Killanin Uggool -- which borders Finnaun and Letterfir.


In the Moycullen Uggool - In the Griffith's valuation there is a Joseph and Thomas Walsh who are listed as tenants.  In Tithe Applotment Books there is a James Walsh in Ogool -- could he be a brother of John?  I also found a burial in Moycullen in 1799 for James Walsh of Ogool.

In the Killanin Uggol - There is no Tithe Applotment Book, but in the Griffith's Valuation there is a Mary Walsh (probably a widow, and possibly David's Grandmother?).    In the 1901 Census there is a 91 year old John Walsh still living, which is likely David's father.  David and Sarah are in Finnaun in 1901, and he dies before 1911, with Sarah still in Finnaun for the 1911 Census.

More research needed, but need to concentrate on the Walsh's of Finnaun, Letterfir and Uggool (Killanin) -- need to look for burials (probably in Spiddal Cemetery rather than Moycullen).



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Yorkshire Toulson's!!!

A whole boatload of new Yorkshire records were added to Findmypast.com today! So, off I went to find some Toulson's!

Found just a few new folks, primarily female Toulson's who married, and their subsequent children.

Also, was able to fill in actual marriage dates and photographs of the actual certificates for over 50 Toulson's!!!  What a bonanza!  This in turn gave me some approx birth dates for some of the spouses, and fathers of spouses, to help establish the correct person in earlier census returns (helpful with common names -- once you've got the approx birth year, place of birth and father, it's fairly easy to find the correct John Smith).



Now to move on to the burials and baptisms!!  There are 87 Toulson burials and 133 baptisms.  Some are too early date wise (most of my Toulson's seem to have migrated from Lincolnshire to Yorkshire in the mid to late 1800's).  There are very few that are not part of my family, just a few miners from an area called Worsbrough.

I still suspect that there is a connection between my Toulson's and the Yorkshire Toulson's, somewhere up the tree in the 1600's.  At one time, someone suggested that the Civil War may have been when some of the Northern folks ended up down in Lincolnshire/Nottingham, for military purposes.  Need to do some historical reading to see if that is a plausible theory.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Possible massive Pearce breakthrough!!!

My Pearse/Pearce family has always been elusive, a common name in a difficult county (Devon), with frequent crossings into Cornwall just to confuse things!  My Pearce great great grandfather (Henry Pearse) was a bastard, but luckily his Father's real name William Pearse was listed on his birth certificate.

Henry was an interesting character, and through luck I traced him via Royal Marine records to his home village of South Brent, Devon.  I found his Pearse line going way back in the village. But, what had become of his Father, William who had sired him?  He never married Henry's mother.  I had a possible death in Plymouth for him, but it was just a guess.

Recently, dear Henry turned up in the Bodmin Gaol records for "breaching the peace" with his wife. When I got the records it noted that there were letters sent/received between Henry and his wife Susan in St. Ive (which proved it was him), and his brother William in Callington (Cornwall).  What? Who was this???  The Bodmin Gaol record was for 1849, so I checked for a William Pearse/Pearce in the 1851 Census for Callington.  Bingo! Found him and wife Elizabeth.  He was born 1819 in Callington, so was 2 years younger than Henry.  All this made good sense.

Then I checked to see if there were other Pearse's in Callington in 1851 and what do you know, but a William Pearse, age 70, born in South Brent, Devon and his wife Purdence!!!!  South Brent, that is the ticket -- tying this all neatly together!!

Further searching found William Pearse marrying Prudence Perry Betty on 2 June 1819 in East Stonehouse (Plymouth), Devon.  He was a full age Mariner, of the Parish. She was a spinster of full age of the Parish.


They went on to have son William Pearse who was baptized on 19 Sept 1819 in Callington (which was Prudence's birthplace).  So a bit of a shot gun wedding!

They lived in Callington in 1841, when they have 3 other children listed (Rachel, 14, Thomas 12, and Elizabeth 8). In 1851 they are living on there own (no children with them), and he must die sometime between 1851-61, as Prudence is a widow in 1861 living with a grandau Harriet Pearse, age 15. Prudence dies in the 2nd Quarter 1866 in Liskeard Reg Dist.

Son William (my GGG Uncle) goes on to marry Harriet Trezise/Tresize/Treise (mispelled in Civil Registration as Treise, when it's likely one of the first two variants) in 1843.  They had Elizabeth, Harriet, William, Thomas and Lucy, before Harriet dies in 1877.  He went on to marry a Susan Nicholls in1879, and he died in 1902.

All of this very exciting.....can't find headstone or burial info for many of them, and need to look for Civil Reg's for them to further prove things -- but it all ties up nicely.  While this whole line are just half-related, it is still exciting to finally nail down what happened to my GGG Grandfather William.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Henry Pearce -- my Gt Gt Grandfather's Bodmin Gaol record

After patiently waiting a couple weeks, my mailbox was finally filled with a package from the Cornwall Records Office today!  I'd sent off for the prison record of my Gt Gt Grandfather in 1849. I wasn't sure what to expect, as the index said there were letters between he and his wife and brother. I hoped for those letters, but realistically didn't expect them to survive.  I hoped for at least a physical description.

The 2 images - photos of the original register - gave me lots of good information, but of course raised additional questions.



There was a wonderful physical description of him, more detailed than I could've hoped for!



And there was information that his brother William was living in Callington in 1849.  The William I can find there in 1851 is a possibility, but says he was born in Callington, and in a later census St Austell.  This doesn't square with his brother's birth in Harford, Devon. So not sure where we are with that......is it even the right William in the census?



The "want of sureties", means he couldn't find anyone to vouch for him or put up bail, so he sat in jail for 3 months before the next Quarter Sessions.  And when that date came up, his wife didn't appear to press charges, so he was released.  I found this reported in the West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser newspaper.

More investigation needed, but fascinating stuff!!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Great Great Grandmother's Funeral Notice -- Elizabeth Rodda White 1904

Wow, the British Newspaper Archives are such a treasure trove! Today I thought I'd go back through some of my direct ancestors and verify death dates via newspaper articles on deaths/funerals.  I've found that often I have the Civil Registration date, which is a Quarter (Jan-Mar for example), but not the actual death date.   

The newspapers often report the death, and sometimes have an article detailing the funeral, mourners, etc. -- these can be a goldmine of genealogical information.  

Recently I found the death notice of my Gt Gt Grandmother Elizabeth Rodda White in Feb 1904 in Pendeen, Cornwall, England.  That was exciting enough, but somehow I missed a second article published on 3 Mar 1904 about her funeral!!  Wow, so many names and verification of which of her children survived her, and which had predeceased her (including my Gt Grandmother).





Saturday, April 23, 2016

Jane Rodda - b 1820 my 3rd Great Aunt

My Gteat Great Grandmother was Elizabeth Rodda, who lived to a great age of 92.  Her name always intrigued me, as it's very Cornish -- and I've spent a good deal of time researching her family.

Somehow, I'd never done much on her younger sister Jane.  I had some note that she possibly married a Grose or maybe a William Harvey.  One of her brothers went to Australia, and I suspected maybe she had as well, as I couldn't find her in the 1841 Census.

As I've been going back through my direct lines, I've been cross checking the British Newspaper Archive and the 1939 Register for clues on descendants.  While Jane was probably too early for these resources, I did another check on Ancestry, and found several trees that showed Jane had indeed married a James Grose.  While I don't always trust other's trees, I did the due diligence and all the records pointed directly to this being true, and that they had emigrated to Frostburg, Maryland, USA.

This was a key point, as other Rodda's had migrated there as well.  Her brother John had 3 sons that emigrated there in the 1870's -- so they followed and went to their Aunt!

I had traced most of those Rodda descendents in the past, but had never seen Jane, as she was under her married name of Grose - and I didn't put the clues together!

In looking at Jane's journey, she and James Grose married in 1840, had four children in St. Just in Penwith, and then emigrated to New York in 1850. They settled in Frostburg, where there was mining work, and had two more children there.  She died in 1901.


She left MANY descendants, which are all relatively close cousins to me!  It is always a wonder when I find a new CLOSE connection that I've previously overlooked (or been stumped on).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

White Family obituaries.....tragic death at Levant Mine, Pendeen, Cornwall

Wow.....sometimes trolling through old newspapers can turn up some absolute gems!  Today, I was looking at some old Cornish papers online, and thought I'd see if there was anything available for 1853 for Edward White, my GGG Grandfather.  I don't know who his parents were (although I have suspicions) - and was hoping to find an obituary with that info.

No luck finding Edward, so moved on to his son, Thomas White, my GG Grandfather who died the following year in 1854 -- at age 44.  Must be a story here......

No online coverage for 1854, so moved on to his widow, Elizabeth Rodda White, who died in 1904. BINGO!!! Found her obituary, which says she was 92, one of the oldest residents, and the relict of Thomas White, who died some 50 years ealier at Levant Mine!!  Wow.....this is news to me!


So then I decided to see if just googling "Levant Mine 1854" would show me anything relating to her husband Thomas White's death.  BINGO again!! I found a Rootsweb chat, which had info from the West Briton newspaper in 1854 (which doesn't seem to be online).  Kindly it had been transcribed and described poor Thomas's death.

West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser. Friday 4th August, 1854.
FATAL MINE ACCIDENTS AT ST. JUST - On Tuesday last, three men were
engaged "shotting down lode" in the usual way, in their pitch at
Levant Mine, St. Just, when a large "queer" which must have been loosened by
the holes previously blasted, suddenly fell on them, killing one of
them, Thomas WHITE, instantaneously, and dreadfully bruising the other
two, of whose recovery however, hopes are entertained.
On Wednesday last, as three men named Thomas WHITE, John TRAMBATH,
both of Bojewyan, and R. LEGGO, of Botallack, were at their work in Levant
Mine, a quantity of ground gave way, instantly killing White, and
severely injuring Trembath and Leggo. Deceased who was much respected
in the locality in which he resided, has left a wife and seven children. 

Very sad, but now I know why he died young, and this explains why some of the children scattered -- my Gt Grandmother headed to Eastern Cornwall to work as a domestic, and her sister married and emigrated to New Zealand, 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pearce Family Letters

My Grandmother was a twin, and while she emigrated from England to the USA, her twin sister married and stayed in Devon, England.  We were lucky in that the connection was close, and there was alot of correspondence between the families.

My Great Aunt Minnie (my Grandmother's twin), was a fantastic letter writer! She owned a stationery store, so maybe it was part of her vocation, but she really was a fantastic writer.  We received letters often, always in small envelopes, with strange British stamps, in her distinctive handwriting.  Her letters were a recap of the simple life she and her daughters led, the local weather, the shopping, the upcoming holidays, and her commentary on politics and news of the day.  She often mentioned family visits and news, which kept us "Yanks" informed of what everyone was up to in England.

At some point I expressed an interest in the family tree, and she sent a hand written family tree, which is a treasured document to this day.


She kept the family connected, although we didn't really realize it until many years later.  She wasn't just writing to us, but to other family members as well.  Only in the last few years did I find my second cousins -- who I vaguely knew of (from the family tree and a few mentions in letters).  As we've gotten acquainted and I've visited in the UK in the last few years, we've found that Minnie wrote them lots of letters as well!

On this trip, I met up with these cousins again, and they had dug up all their copies of Minnie's letters. What a treasure trove!!!


In this letter, she mentions the cousins in America and how the snapshot of the 2 girls shows that they are resembling her twin sister.  This is myself and my sister......amazing to read this some 40 years later, while visiting my 2nd cousin!

We have committed that we will all scan our copies of these letters to share with each other.  It is such a treasure to have these snapshots of life in Devon in the 1960-1980's.  We all have such fond memories of Minnie and her daughters, and we are keeping those alive, by sharing these letters.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gt Gt Grandfather in the Bodmin Gaol records!!!

Wow!!!  Pulled up Ancestry and saw a new record set for "Bodmin Gaol Records" -- thought I'd put in the name Hurrell, as I always do with Cornish and Devon records to see if I'd get a hit.  No luck there, so tried Pearse .....and lo and behold, there was the following entry:

Name:Henry Pearce
Age:31
Birth Year:abt 1817
Abode or Birth Place:Harford late St Stephens by Saltash
Marital Status:Married
Number of Children:4
Occupation:Labourer
Prison:Bodmin Gaol
Prison Location:Bodmin, Cornwall, England
Notes:Breach of peace twds his wife. No appearance against him. Ltrs. to/fro wife Susan at St. Ive and to bro. Wm.
Discharged Date:1848
County or County Code:DEV
Registration Number:9121
Amazing!! This is my 2nd Gt Grandfather, Henry Carew Pearce who married Susan Hurrell.  This breach of the peace between he and his wife, obviously must have been resolved, as they went on to have my Gt Grandfather Nathaneal Hurrell Pearce the following year, and 3 more children after that.  
But the reference to his brother William is a HUGE FIND!!!!  I didn't have any brother for him (particularly since he was a bastard).  The name makes sense, since the father of Henry Pearse is William Pearce.
Now, to see if I can order these records from the Cornwall Register Office!!!

I was recently at Who Do You Think You Are 2016 -- in Birmingham, and asked 2 experts about this. One was a former magistrate, and he said it would be very unusual to jail someone for breach of the peace with their wife. I asked if it was something like assault, would that make it more likely? He said possibly, but still seemed puzzled.  Another expert thought perhaps he had run off and wasn't providing for his wife and four children, and arresting and jailing him was a way of getting him to support his family. This seems the more plausible explanation to me, but we will see what the records show.

This expert also said, if you can get a record of the indictment or trial, it will be a gold mine......fingers crossed on that!  She also suggested checking newspapers, but the coverage in this area isn't great (yet).

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

More Walsh's!!!

The Walsh's are coming out of the woodwork!  Awhile back, I ran across a Walsh Family Tree on Ancestry which looked promising, but on further inspection there were a lot of mistakes and I didn't trust that it was well researched, so set it aside.

Today on Facebook, one of the Irish community sites I follow, posted a link to the Oughterard Heritage page on the web.  I took a look and there were lots of family memories, and assorted postings about people who lived/worked in Oughterard.  As far as I know, none of my family actually lived in the town, just the surrounding district.  When I saw a post called "Walsh's of Oughterard" I thought I'd have a look.   I was met by this amazing photograph:


This photo and face just seemed to leap off the page to me, as if I recognized him.  I think I had seen this photo in the poorly researched family tree, but it also looked like photos of my Grand Uncle. I looked through the information on the page, and it stated that this man's parents were David Walsh and Sarah Walsh of Finnaun.  BINGO!!! This rang a bell, and I quickly found Sarah in my tree, she is my Gt Gt Grand Aunt, sister to my Gt Gt Grandfather William Walsh. 

I had Sarah and David Walsh's marriage record from 1866, with the correct Father's -- and the children listed, matched up with the children I had for them via baptismal records.  The naming patterns match up, as well.  

The man in the photo is either Patrick David Walsh or his brother John "Sean Guy" Walsh.  Patrick emigrated to the USA and lived in Pennsylvania and Ohio.  John stayed in Ireland.

The man who posted all of this information to the Oughterard Heritage page is this man's grandson and is in Australia. From comments on the page, there are descendants in Boston and England as well.  I've emailed the Australian man and am anxiously awaiting more info!

Amazing that with such a common name as Walsh, I've been able to keep adding to this family!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Walsh's in the background......but now in the forefront

While cleaning up my family tree, I came across a WALSH family that I had no death dates for......so with a little sleuthing, I figured that they could possibly be buried in Spiddal.  So I turned to my trusty Graveyard Inscription Book, and after looking through many WALSH entries, found the family I was looking for, and lo and behold they were literally next to my Grand Aunt's headstone (she being Margaret Walsh Folan).   While this totally made sense, it was something that I had never looked at before.

This Walsh family was only found this past Autumn, as they descend from a previously unknown brother of my Gt Grandfather.  This brother, Peader Walsh, only came to light via a DNA match to his great grandson.  We came up as 3rd cousins, but couldn't determine the common ancestor.  The village that he came from was very small, and with only one Walsh family in it in 1911.  I emailed a cousin in Galway, and he said "it's just up the road, and there are still Walsh's there".

About a month later he emailed me and said he'd walked up the road and had a long chat with a descendent, who said he came from Peader Walsh, who had moved from Muckanaghkillew (my ancestors village) in the late 1850's!!!!   Without DNA this brother and descendents would never have been found and connected to my tree!

So, back to the cemetery book......when I found the entry for the headstone with the names that I knew, I wondered if I had walked right by the headstone when I was at the cemetery in July 2015.  So I pulled out my photos from that trip, and lo and behold found a photo of my sister posing next to a Celtic Cross, and behind her were the headstones of Peter Walsh and family!!!!  It's like the ancestors were there all along, asking to be found!



I'm still blown away by the fact that we walked right by them, and didn't associate them with our Grand Aunt!


Saturday, March 12, 2016

DNA hit = 3rd cousin!

I love it when a random DNA hit leads me to a new "close" cousin!  Got a 3rd cousin hit, and checked on my Sister's kit, where the match was only 4-6th cousin.  Not surprising since I inherited more of the Irish DNA.

Started sleuthing on the family tree of the new cousin, and since they were in California, I could check the CA death records. I found a death record for Robert Martin Lee that identified the Mother as Conroy.  BINGO!  More sleuthing and found them in the census for 1920-40, and her name was Katherine Lee (nee Conroy).  I found her death record in 1963, and her Mother was listed as Toole.  KA-CHING!   My Great Grandmother was Cait/Kate Toole, and this woman was her sister Mary Toole!  I verified all of this with Irish baptism record for Kate Conroy and 1901 census for family of John and Mary Conroy.

Turns out I had Mary and her family in my tree, but not the descendents down to present day. It is curious that they are in San Francisco, and I wonder if my Grandfather knew them?  By my figuring, Kate Conroy and my Grandfather Martin Connolly would be 1st cousins.


The ancestors are talking to me......

Sometimes it seems that the ancestors are reaching out, showing me clues, making themselves known...and as we approach St. Patrick's Day, my Irish side is in full action mode!!

The DNA results for my two Irish Aunts came in this week, leading to lots of matches, many that I already knew, but further sleuthing and triangulations need to be done!

I've had numerous promising DNA hits this week, including a 3rd cousin (our TOOLE Gt Grandmother's were sisters, born in 1860's) -- and both our families settled in San Francisco (wow!)

Another DNA hit on the NEE name is very promising, leading me to Turlough, Rosmuc.  More sleuthing needed, but this is quite promising as I've never been able to pinpoint this family line to a place!

An old Facebook message via the Galway Genetic Genealogy group, has also led me to a 3rd cousin on the WALSH side.  I spent two hours messaging back and forth with her, exchanging old photos and information!  And of course the inter-connected ness of Connemara shows up, as that family of Walsh's seems to have married within their own clan quite a bit!

Some lovely new photos, and promised help to uncover unknown faces in another photo.


Walsh sisters in Boston (my 1st cousins 2x removed)


Amazing how the Irish Diaspora is as strong as ever, and with technology we can connect ourselves and keep that family contact across the generations, long after our ancestors left Eire.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Walsh's of Formweel

The view from my Grandmother's house looks across Lough Muckanagh towards a distant fishing lodge, called Fermoyle Lodge.  The back road (Shanapheasteen) from Oughterard to Carraroe passes by the lodge,  Local lore says it was a fishing lodge for wealthy British folks back in the day.

I haven't given much thought to this place, other than it's a nice view over to the Lodge.  But as my research has progressed, I've found one of my Great Grand Aunts marrying a Walsh from Formweel (one of the variant spellings).  This made me think that there could be some other connections between the Walsh families that are separated by Lough Muckanagh.  It is a remote area and the villages/townlands are very small, with only a handful of households in each.  And every household is a Walsh family!

I stumbled across a record last night that sent me down the rabbit hole.....and to another interesting possibility.  I found a World War One British Military Pension record for a Patrick Walsh of Rosmuck Parish.  I looked at the details, as I knew that generally you might find a birthdate and/or a listing of spouse, children, or parents names.   I thought this might help me identify where and who this Patrick was.  Sure enough, there was a listing of his parents, John and Mary, and his siblings: brothers (younger it said!): Matthew, Michael, Thomas, and sister Margaret.

So, with a little sleuthing, I found a family with a Mathias Walsh, and the other siblings/parents in the 1901 Census in Formweel.  Then found the baptisms of the children, which identified the parents as John Walsh and Mary Flaherty!  Looks like Patrick lied a bit about his age, as he was baptized in 1858, and his attestation has him as age 23 in 1892 (which would make him born about 1869).  He served with the Army, serving in India from 1906-1913, and was discharged in 1917 at Plymouth, as physically unfit (rheumitism).

Now, who is this John Walsh and family, and do they relate to my people.  In Griffiths Valuation for Formweel there are 3 Walsh's listed:  Thomas Walsh, John Walsh (!!), and Peter Walsh (who I know relates as the father of my Gt Grand Aunt's husband Comryn Walsh).   An earlier record, the Tithe Applotments, shows Peter Walsh for Formweel, and Muckanaghkillew.

So....more sleuthing to come to figure out if this family connects to mine!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Curgenven family.....interesting name, but it's not real!

In some interesting Cornish research news, I was tracing a direct 6th Great Grandmother of mine, Elizabeth Nicholls born in 1734.  I hadn't looked at her line in ages, and a cousin in Australia had sent me some new info on her descendents.  Well, I then decided to see what I could find on her ancestors, since I hadn't gone up the tree on her.

I quickly found lots of information on her family, including this interesting name, Jane Curgenven, who was Elizabeth Nicholls mother.Well that certainly looked like a Cornish name, and an easy one to trace, owing to it's unusual-ness.  I googled the name to see what I could discover, and found an interesting webpage done by a dedicated researcher of the surname.

His conclusion -- it was a made up name!  The original name was Lean! Jane's father was John Curgenven, and his father was John Lean. 

Here's his info:

CURGENVEN 
The very Cornish sounding name CURGENVEN appears to have been an invention by the Reverend Thomas LEAN (born 1644 in Lelant, Cornwall - died 1712 at Folke, Dorset), Educated at Exeter College, Oxford, in 1680 Married Dorothy PITT (of the family that produced the two William PITTS ). Headmaster of Sherborne school Dorset (1683 - 1695) and then Rector of the nearby Parish of Folke.
It can only be speculation as to why he changed his name, perhaps he thought LEAN too common a name for his position, but why CURGENVEN? there is no prior record of this name. His brother William had married a Rachel RICHARD whose family had earlier used the alias VENVYN but why would that be a reason to change your own name?
Rev Thomas and Dorothy had no issue, so how did the name created by him propagate? His brother William died in 1689 and William's widow Rachel died in 1692 leaving their children orphaned, William and Rachel's sons John, Thomas and Peter were looked after (no record of adoption found ) by the Rev Thomas ( their names changing to CURGENVEN ) and were found positions with the East India Company ( Rev Thomas's brother-in-law was Thomas 'Diamond' PITT, Governor of Madras. ) William and Rachel's fourth son Richard also took up the alias CURGENVEN as did the family of the Rev Thomas's other brother John.

The Hurrell Family -- is it all becoming clearer?

Hurrell's......

Oh this family!!  Just a common enough name in the South Hams area to be frustrating. Too many similar names, too many disappearing families.....

Some family names just seem to hold your attention and interest.....and this is one of them.  Every time I go back to work on it, I am frustrated.....yet I come back, always in hope that maybe today I will make some breakthrough, find a new record that will make everything clear.......when will I learn, this family is here to test my patience!!!???

Update from Salt Lake City at RootsTech:
After some solid quiet research time, and discovering some interesting new records produced by the Friends of the Devon Archives -- I think I may be getting a clearer picture of where the various Hurrell families were in the early-mid 1700's.  

I found my 6th Gt Grandfather William Hurrell of Sherford, signing a loyalty pledge to King George I in 1723.  I also found him paying to support the militia around this time also.   There are similar entries for Roger, Richard, John Hurrell in a variety of villages.  At least this helps me place them as living in these villages at this time, and then I can be sure and attach the marriages/baptisms/burials I've found to the right patriarch.

I also had another look at some Land Tax record films for Devon at the Family History Library and those also help place the Hurrells at specific localities over the course of time.

This is truly a case where a good Excel spreadsheet will help me sort out my work and see things more clearly!  I think I will still have to make a few assumptions and leaps of faith as to how some of the families connect (or don't connect) -- but my proof points will be stronger with what I've found here in Salt Lake City.

RootsTech -- final day

My brain has reached genealogy overload, as per usual after the final session of a Conference!   Today was another fantastic day of discoveries:


  • Had an expert look at my Father's Y-DNA results to see why he has so few matches.  Turns out he has 3 "rare" blips on one of his panels.  He said that it's not unusual to have any of these blips, but to have 3 all on the same panel, is pretty unusual.  He suggested a distant cousin should test at Y-67, to see whether the mutation is back in history or more recent.  I've got a 4th cousin who will fit that bill!   Nice to know we carry "unique" DNA!

  • Took an Excel for genealogy class --- excellent information!  And lots of tricks and tools I will definitely put to use!  Too bad it was only an hour!

  • Got help fixing some issues with my Family Search Tree -- which I haven't done much with since 2012.  I only have 200 people in it, mainly direct lines on British side.

  • Went to an Ancestry.com lunch, great info on where they are headed in the future, some changes to the online trees, future of FTM software, etc.  They will also be launching an index of the Irish Catholic Parish registers,but didn't have a date set.

  • By coincidence, at the Ancestry.com lunch I sat next to another Susan from San Francisco, who had Cornish ancestors!!  And she used to live in Dublin, CA, as did someone else at the table!  

  • Met Audrey Collins from the UK National Archives -- she had some great info on the 1939 Register (using it for local studies, and town histories). She also said that since the NHS used the 1939 Register, there is some thought that the number of closed records is due to the fact that General Practitioners weren't always diligent about reporting deaths, as they were paid a capitation fee for each patient.  Thus, there should be more "open" records, and they will slowly recognize those and open them up.  She also said to check out the Medway Towns Archives that have alot of birth certs scanned for Royal Navy/Marines near Chatham, Kent. Some of my Plymouth folks could have ended up over there during their Naval/Marine careers.

  • And during a quick break, pulled up the Ancestry.com home page and saw that they had added a new record set, State of Pennsylvania Death Certificates up to 1963!  Holy cow, these are fantastic as they list Mother's and Father's names -- which is a great help in tracing all my immigrant Irish ancestors who settled in Pittsburgh.  I've already pulled down my Grand Aunt and some other cousins certificates!  Great info!

  • Tried some quick DNA triangulation last night on GEDmatch, after attending Kitty Cooper's class. Interesting stuff, and makes me think of who else I need to test and triangulate!  DNA is slowly becoming clearer and clearer to me.

  • Oh, and the day started with a fantastic speech by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian and Author -- she was so inspiring!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RootsTech 2016 -- Research Day

So in advance of #RootsTech, I spent Wednesday in the Family History Library.  I went with a couple things to look at, and ended up spending 10 hours researching!!

Spent the morning organizing all my various Hurrell notes.....I had scraps of paper, various Excel files and other notes about the Hurrell's. I finally put them together, organized into families, etc.  I also found 2 great "Friends of the Devon Archives" documents --- they had a listing of all the people who signed a "Loyalty Pledge" to King George I in 1723.  Found my William Hurrell of Sherford and others.  They also have listings of people who were taxed to support the Militia, prior to 1723 -- and again found my William Hurrell of Sherford (6th Gt Grandfater).   I need to explore both these resources further as there are many other family names (Nathanilel Shepherd of Stokenham for example).

After lunch I tackled Mary Rodda marrying Richard Firstbrooke/Furstbrook on Dec 30, 1815 at St Erth.   I had my doubts that this Mary Rodda was really mine from St. Just in Penwith --- but after much tracking, I found an Ancestry tree that had her dying in Madron in 1855, after her husband had died previously.  When I checked the 1851 Census for Madron, lo and behold, there she was living with an Elizabeth Warren (wife of Archaleus Warren).  Mary was listed as her Sister, and both were listed as born in St. Just in Penwith!!!!  YES!  The connection was complete, and proved Mary's marriage in St Erth to be true.

From there I followed down the lines of both Mary and Elizabeth's families.  Lots of movement to Australia and New Zealand!!

I also found my 9th Gt Grandfather!!!  I was searching Elizabeth Nicholls born 1743, and found her parents, which led me to John Lean born 1622 in Uny Lelant, my 9th Gt Grandfather.

My 6th Gt Grandmother was Jane Curgenven!  What a unusual name.  She had a sister Tamson Curgenven -- now that is a genealogists dream, unusual!!!