Saturday, 28 May 2011

The parish of Killegney, County Wexford (1)

Killegney was originally a huge parish (in area that is, it was sparsely populated) sitting in that band of land between Templeludigan near the County Carlow border to the west, right over nearly to Clonroche in the east. It included the area around Castleboro and Ballymakessy, associated with the family of Jeremiah Fitzhenry. A description of the parish in 1837 in Lewis' Topographical Dictionary can be found here.

When the Rev. Thomas Furlong took over as parish priest in 1816, he beautifully inscribed his new register as:
"A register of the Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths of the United Parishes of Killegney, Chapel, Killann and Tampleodigan [sic] 1816"

...and the very first entry in the register is

March 17 1816
Married James Doyle to Mary Fitzhenry
Present Walthe [sic] Fitzhenry and Philip Fitzhenry

Who were they? I don't know - yet another random piece of the whole puzzle. I suspect "Walthe" should be "Walter". Philip Fitzharris appears in the register as a husband and father in his own right, but is he the same man? He may well be as a Walter and Philip Fitzharris pairing of witnesses turn up again the following year:

Feb 16th 1817
Married Roger Kehoe and Jude Green
Present Philip Fitzharris and Walt Do.~

The registers are on the National Library of Ireland film P.4250

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Monday, 23 May 2011

St Mullins register (3) - two more marriages

These two marriages are the last of my significant finds from this register, from what I have found so far (remember I have only searched the baptisms up to 1810 in this parish).
The marriage entries were strange, as on the film, there was a batch of marriages inserted between 1803 and 1804. These marriages ranged from 1800 to 1830.

1824 March 2
M'd at St Mullins Thos. Truman certif'd residence County Wexf'd to Bridget Fitzharris
WW Mich'l Fitzharris, Mich'l Murphy and Mary Delany

[Married at St Mullins, Thomas Truman, certified residence County Wexford to Bridget Fitzharris, Witnesses Michael Fitzharris, Michael Murphy and Mary Delany]

Who was Bridget Fitzharris? Was she truly a Fitzharris, or one of the Fitzhenrys who alternated their surnames? I know that this family did alternate their surnames, as I have a Pat Fitzharris of Ballyleigh (undoubtedly our Patrick Fitzhenry who married Ann Murphy and then Peggy Byrne) as witness to a marriage in 1830.
And what was Bridget's relationship to the Michael Fitzharris who was the witness?
Thomas Truman had brought his certificate of baptism from another parish in County Wexford so that he might be allowed to marry Bridget in St Mullins in County Carlow.

1827 Feb 26th
Martin Fitzhenry to Mary Fleming w. John Whitty and John Finn

Another mystery man. The marriage date of 1827 places Martin's birth before 1810. Unfortunately, he hadn't used another Fitzhenry family member as a witness which might have helped to pin him down! Neither had this priest recorded which townland he came from.
Is he the Martin Fitzhenry (1802-1848) who appeared on the middle of the three Fitzhenry gravestones at St Mullin's graveyard?
Maybe the rest of this register will provide some more clues.

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Sunday, 22 May 2011

St Mullins register (2) - Miles Fitzhenry and Elizabeth Comerford

At the 1809 baptism of Laurence Fitzhenry, one of the sponsors was Betty Fitzhenry.
Betty also appeared in the parish register in her own right.

She was born Elizabeth Comerford, but the register variously spells her name Commerford and Comford, and she married Miles Fitzhenry in St Mullins parish.

1803 October 9th
M: at St Mullin's Miles Fitzhenry to Elizabeth Commerford
ww Mrs Anna Bryne, Jack Murphy and Betty Flanery

1804 May 30th
at Ballynab'a Bapt John PL Miles Fitzhenery and Betty Commerford
SS John Byrne and Betty Ryan

1807 April 4th
St Molin's Gregory F. Miles Fitzhenery and Betty Comford
SS Jno. Comford and Peggy Do.
1808 29 May
Laurence of Mily and Betty Fitzhenery
SS Paddy Walsh and Biddy Chare

The fact that Elizabeth Comerford (or Betty Fitzhenry as she was in 1809) was godmother to the child of Patrick Fitzhenry (see last posting) leads me to believe that she was Patrick Fitzhenry's close kin by marriage and hence Miles Fitzhenry was closely related to Patrick and was probably his brother.

The townland of Balllinabenna is probably the modern place of Ballynabearna, a few miles north of Templeudigan.

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Friday, 20 May 2011

St Mullins (St Mullings) parish register

The old baptism register of the parish of St Mullins (or St Mullings, as some of the entries read) reveals some details about the occupants of one of the graves at St Mullins churchyard. I described the oldest gravestone in a posting here where you can also see a photo of the gravestone.Erected by Patrick Fitzhenry
In memory of his wife Ann
Fitzhenry Als Murphy
June 15th 1803 ag'd 32 years
And 3 of her children
May they rest in peace

The register started in April 1796, only 7 years before Ann died. Both the following entries have been spelled as they were in the register. There was pair of letters after the name of each child (the same letters for both male and female children) which at first I couldn't decipher. After asking around, I now think that they are PL, which is a contraction of Parvulus Legitimum - "the legitimate child of".
This priest wasn't backward in making his views clear on a child's birth status - in April 1797, Solomon, the child of Thomas Poor and Bridget Kinsella is referred to as "an incestuous bastard".
SS stands for sponsors

February 15th 1797
At Ballyleigh. Bapt. Laurence PL Patrick Fitzhenery [sic] and Anne Murphy SS Martin Kehoe and Cathy Murphy

December 12th 1801
At Ballyleigh Bapt. Thos. PL Paddy Fitzhery [sic] and Anna Murphy SS Paddy Murphy and Paddy Neale

There are no more baptism entries for this couple and Ann died in 1803. Laurence and Thomas may have been two of the three children also commemorated on the gravestone.

By 1809, Patrick Fitzhenry appears to have married again. Again all the spellings are as given in the register

January 24th 1809
Lur. [? Laurence] of Patt Fitzhenry and Peggy Byrne
SS Jas. Kighoe and Betty Fitzhenry.

I only reached up to 1810 in this register, so there may be more treasures to be found in later years...

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Thursday, 19 May 2011

More jaunts around Ireland

I'm back from another jaunt around Ireland.
Lots of places and graveyards visited, and parish registers trawled. And of course wonderful people who I met. In no particular order, thank you Dan and Doris Jevens of Coolcutts Wexford for tea, cake and your wonderful stories. Caroline Kehoe who is related to the Fitzhenrys of Templeudigan and St Mullins, thank you for meeting me at the Wexford archives. Thank you Clarinda Fitz-Henry Sheehan for taking me to lunch at Clontarf Castle and sharing your family photos with me. A big thanks to the Galway Fitzhenry - Coynes - Mellottes for putting us up, feeding us, plying us with beer and talking to the small hours while watching the bats (Paul Coyne, DJ extraordinaire - the mix CD was great - thanks!)

Of course it rained, but when doesn't it in Ireland?

The next few entries won't be in any particular order, just as I fancy writing them.

And I've updated the Google map to show how you can be misled by place names in Wexford - I found two each of the villages/townlands of Glynn, Monamolin and Poulpeasty. I have indicated on the map which are the right ones, and which are the ones with no Fitzhenry connection that I can find.

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Saturday, 7 May 2011

My family get into a spot of bother with the law (1846)

From The Times of London, Tuesday December 29 1846, in the "Police and Courts" section:
THAMES - Yesterday Thomas Fitzhenry and Caroline Fitzhenry, his wife, were brought before Mr. YARDLEY on a charge of causing the death of their infant child MARY, aged five months.
Mr. Pelham defended the prisoners.
The male prisoner is a gunmaker, and resides with his wife at No. 9 Grigg's-court, Goodman's-yard, Minories.
On Sunday morning, at half -past 3 o'clock, in consequence of information, a police-sergeant named Sugg, H 17, proceeded to the house, and found the child dead on its mother's lap. She was crying loudly, and said that the child had died at her breast while in bed. The father, who was intoxicated, was also crying.
The police sergeant, discovered the upper part of the left thigh very much burnt, and upon questioning the father, he said the child was brought to him cold, and that while holding it before the fire for the purpose of reviving it, he had accidentally scorched it, and that he afterwards placed it in a warm bath. The deceased was described as a fine, healthy looking child.
There were conflicting statements made by the parents as to the manner in which the infant came by its death, and Sugg took them into custody. Several witnesses were examined, from whose evidence it appeared the parents were very fond of the child, and always treated it with the greatest kindness and affection.
A long investigation followed, and many suspicious circumstances which had first presented themselves were cleared up. The prisoners had previously lost two other children in their infancy, but their affection for their offspring generally was clearly established.
Mr Pelham addressed the bench and
Mr.YARDLEY said there was no evidence sufficient to justify him in detaining the prisoners, and they must be discharged; but it was absolutely necessary that a post mortem examination should take place to ascertain the precise cause of death.

The reporter actually got the name of the defendant wrong - this was James Fitz-Henry and he was the brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Michael Fitz-Henry. James also had another brother named Thomas who was entirely innocent of this whole affair.
James married Caroline Douglas in 1841. They had at least seven children, but only one survived to adulthood. Of the two children who died before Mary, I have only found one of these Thomas (1844-1846) whose cause of death was ascribed as "teething".
The remaining named children were:
  • James (1848-1850) "pneumonia"
  • Agnes (1852-1857) "inflammation of the lungs"
  • Caroline (1855-1859) "pneumonia"
  • James ( born 1857)
James senior died of tuberculosis in December 1858 and Caroline married Simeon Griffiths (another gunmaker) in November 1859.
In the 1871 census the surviving James is referred to as Alfred J Fitzhenry, living with Simeon and Caroline Griffiths in Royal Mint Street.

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