Monday, 10 January 2011

The graveyard at Clonbur - Part 2

Next to the pair of gravestones which I described in the last post, was this stone. It was carved from granite and was covered in lichen.
In loving memory of MARY FITZHENRY
who died April 9th 1939
and her children BRIDGET
died March 14th 1910
MARGARET died May 28th 1915
ANNIE died June 1st 1915
Her husband JOHN
died May 8th 1948
Aged 82 years

Erected by her children
Mary, Patrick and Thomas

Surprisingly, this wasn't a family that I could directly attach to the Clonbur/Cornamona Fitzhenrys from the neighbouring gravestones, but it does relate to a family which we have seen before on the Blog.

To recap, Nancy Nolan wrote to us regarding her Fitzhenry forebears who also lived in Cornamona, County Galway. Patrick Fitzhenry married Mary Kyne (or Coyne) sometime before 1856 and had at least four sons (at the time we last wrote about them, I had only found three). Nancy is descended from Catherine, the daughter of the oldest son Myles (baptised 1856), who died as a young man.

The next son John (baptised 1865) married Mary Morrin or Marrin, and this is the couple whose family is on the gravestone. Mary was born around 1873 and the couple married in 1894. They had at least eight children:

  • Patrick (born 1895) emigrated to New Jersey in 1923 to stay with his uncle Patrick, and then moved to Cuyahoga, Ohio. He married Sarah Coyne in 1924. They had at least one son, Joseph Fitzhenry (1924-1947) who appears to have been killed in an industrial explosion. Patrick was one of John and Mary's children who paid for the gravestone.
  • Bridget 1896 - 14 March 1910
  • Mary 1899 to after 1941, the year she gained her US naturalisation. She also lived in Ohio and was also one of the children who paid for the gravestone.
  • Michael born 1901 and lived at least until after 1911 as he is listed in the family group for the 1911 census.
  • Kathleen born 1904 and again listed in the 1911 census.
  • Thomas born 1906 and listed in the 1911 census. Potentially may also have emigrated to the USA as he is the third of the children who paid for this memorial, and the other two were living in Ohio at the time.
  • Margaret 1908 - 28th May 1915.
  • Annie November 1910 - 1st June 1915.
The deaths of the last two children are within a week of each other and suggests an infective cause.

Patrick Fitzhenry and Mary Kyne had at least two other sons.
Patrick (baptised 1869) and emigrated to the US in about 1903 (according to the 1920 US census). This is the uncle Patrick that Patrick, the son of John Fitzhenry and Mary Marrin came to stay with initially in New Jersey.

William baptised September 1873 in Clonbur. I know nothing more about him.

Mary Kyne / Coyne lived until 1914 and appeared in both the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland, as a widow living with her son John and his family.
Her husband Patrick appeared in neither census, and I have found a likely death registration for him in the first quarter of 1893 in the Registration District of Oughterard which covered this area of County Galway. It gives his age as 74 and his birth year as 1819.

Do any of these names ring any bells with anyone? Can anyone out there provide the link to one of the other Fitzhenry families in this area of Galway?

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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Welcome to our newest Fitzhenry baby...

Seen in the on-line version of the "Salisbury Journal" (Wiltshire, England), the birth of Samuel Martin, son of Gemma Fitz-Henry on New Year's day at the Salisbury District Hospital. Samuel was the first baby of the new year at the maternity unit.
To read more about this story, follow this link.

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Sunday, 2 January 2011

The Graveyard at Clonbur - part 1

The old graveyard at Clonbur contains the ruins of the Rosshill Abbey church, and the area surrounding this is a protected woodland and nature reserve. It is a truly beautiful site.

There are at least five Fitzhenry graves in this cemetery and all belong to the extended family of the Fitzhenry family of Clonbur/Cornamona.

The oldest three FItzhenry gravestones are favourably situated on the south side of the church ruins by the old church door.

The oldest granite stone reads
Pray for the soul of
who died 5th March 1846
aged 70 years
also his wife
who died 14th september 1870
aged 80 years
This stone is now an upright, but at one time it was a flat grave covering stone.
Behind the stone is a collection of grave "feet" on which the stone used to stand.
These are Mrs Josie Coyne's great-grandparents - Thomas Fitzhenry 1776-1846 and Margaret Joyce 1790-1870

The stone facing this at the opposite end of the same plot reads
In loving memory of
Died 26th April 1956
His wife MARY
Died 26th Oct 1985
Mary was born Mary Conroy. Drimsnave is close to Conamona. These are Mrs. Coyne's parents.

Mrs. Coyne says that her mother
had a horror of the flat stone lying over her when she was buried, and asked that the flat grave stone wasn't put over the grave again once she had been buried there.
Hence the stone was erected as an upright at the other end of the plot.

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Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Road Trip goes to Galway - Part 1

A very happy new year to all the Blog followers.
For the next few posts, I'll be telling you about what happened when I went to Clonbur in County Galway, and the wonderful Fitzhenry family I met there.

It all started when I told one of our "behind the scenes" contributors, Therese Connolly of Saratoga Springs, NY, that I was due to be visiting Ireland. She said "Give my mum a call, and visit her".

Therese's mum is Mrs. Josie Coyne, nee Fitzhenry, whose family have lived in the Clonbur area of County Galway for at least 150 years. She couldn't have been more welcoming and when I arrived at Clonbur, she sent her long suffering
husband (so he told me!) Tommy to come and pick me up on that first night.
I was treated to a right royal Irish tea with more cake than you could shake a stick at (and Tommy on continuous tea-making duties!), meeting lots of the immediate family who still lived in the area, and also some who had come home for Christmas.
It was brilliant, and I didn't get home until midnight!
So in no special order and with special memories of that night, I'd like to thank:
Josie (nee Fitzhenry) Coyne and Tommy Coyne
Breda Mullins (nee Fitzhenry) and her daughter Marie Walker, visiting from London
Mary and Dermot Mellotte (and their dog!)
Maureen Fitzhenry and her daughters Bridget, Kathleen, Josie and Marion.
I had taken some printouts of various Galway-related Fitzhenry trees, and was shown where they overlapped and joined up (and where I was missing bits!). I learned lots of stories about the family and their stories of living in this part of Galway.

The next day, after a trip to the Old Clonbur graveyard (more about this in next post) I was treated to morning coffee at Ashford Castle by Breda (very posh - here's the link) while her husband John Joe and daughter Marie made a fine lunch. I took a trip westwards along the road from Cong to Clonbur to Cornamona and then onto Maam. My first view of the snow capped hills to the west - a real wow moment, and a foretaste of the weather that waas to come. Then it was back to Mrs Coyne's place for the evening meal.

By Saturday, the snow had well and truly set in. What should have been a quick trip to the town of Claremorris, about 20 miles away in County Mayo, took several hours on ice-treacherous roads. Probably nothing compared with the sort of conditions that our American and Canadian readers are used to, but interesting all the same in a Fiat 500 with no snow chains!

On Saturday evening I was invited to accompany Josie and Tommy to a concert in the village of Cornamona, put on by the local schoolchildren to mark the retirement of their headmaster. It was a brilliant evening - the whole village had turned out for the occasion - the small school hall was certainly packed out. The children from nursery class up to secondary school put on a concert of traditional Irish music, dancing and signing. The whole concert was performed in Gaelic, as were the speeches afterwards. Josie told me that there is an incentive to get the children to learn and speak Gaelic to keep the language alive in this part of Ireland. She could understand it and translated for me as the concert went on.

On Sunday, I had to leave to be return to Rosslare for the Monday early morning ferry back home.
However, I'd managed to cram a whole lot into one week both in Graiguenamanagh and Clonbur.
So to everyone I met on that week, and spared the time to have a chat or direct me where to find more information, who opened up their homes to me and were kind enough to look over my research notes, who showed me something of normal life in their part of Ireland...
and I hope to see more of you next year!

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