Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Origins, Not Endings

Putting a Boston murder mystery on hold is not something I would ordinarily do. Like you, I would want to get to the whodunit stage—and fast! But with a research trip to Ireland looming in my near future, the punch line I really must focus on is that of origins, not endings.

And so, as compelling as a quest to discover Stephen Maloy’s murderer might seem, I’ve headed back to Parish Ballyagran in County Limerick, to see what can be found concerning Stephen’s abandoned infant daughter Catherine and her mother, Anne. Stephen’s story will come to light, all in good time—if at all.

My dutiful intentions, though, don’t promise me I’ll have much luck back in the Old Country. Even though I already know the parish, as well as the general geographic area where the Maloy family once lived, I’ve yet to finger the actual documents to confirm birth or marriage for them.

This is vaguely beginning to sound like a brick wall.

In the meantime, I’ve uncovered some promising resources for continuing the search—as well as some false leads—so I’ll take the time here to note what online resources I’ve found, a thumbnail sketch to journal my research trail. Some of these sites may come in handy at a later point.

I tried my hand at sifting through what was available at FindMyPast.ie, thanks to a one month trial offer that flashed by on Twitter a month ago. Sadly, it yielded no productive results there, so I canceled my subscription.

At FamilySearch.org, I clicked on “Records” under the Search option and scrolled to the bottom of that page to the “Browse by Location” section, where I selected “United Kingdom and Ireland.” Sadly, the subsection for Ireland contained only eight collections—and none of them included resources that would have been of help in tracking down Stephen, his wife Anne, or their daughter Catherine. Perusing those eight resources, though, revealed that their County Kerry holdings will come in handy when I progress to the Falvey and Kelly families from Killarney.

A fun resource I stumbled upon long ago—and which I attempted to enlist in this current puzzle—was the volunteer-driven site, Ireland Old News. Though the site is entirely searchable, it is somewhat unwieldy, with sporadic entries. Still, a fun place to visit, in hopes of stumbling upon that one missing link.

A promising site—one mentioned by reader Dara when we were discussing my Tully and Flannery research in County Tipperary—is RootsIreland. One glance at the map of the geographic distribution of their holdings shows they are likely to have quite a bit that I will find of interest. This website is under the auspices of the Irish Family History Foundation. I believe they have reconfigured this site, as far as access restrictions go, since I’ve last visited it years ago, so I will have to familiarize myself with current procedure—and check the fine print concerning any restrictions to blogging about my research results.

Another website, Irish Genealogy, also provides access to information gleaned from church records—although here, again, there are limitations. This one will be a site to revisit when I begin work on my County Kerry lines. Duly bookmarked!

An unexpected resource turned out to be the website of Irish Times. With all sorts of quirky offerings—like the Surname Search page—it led me to a map of counties with information on Catholic church records, such as this listing of availability of registers for the Maloys’ Parish Ballyagran.

Of course, I still want to maintain a connection with the program, Ireland Reaching Out. Billed on their Twitter account as “Seeking to reunite Ireland with her Diaspora,” they tout a process of “reverse genealogy” and maintain forums for discussion of local genealogical resources. Though I’ve connected with people on this forum in the past, it doesn’t appear there’s been much activity recently. Perhaps they’ve lost their momentum—an unfortunate turn of events for me, as I now gear up to head to their coastlands.

It’s funny how it is with genealogical research. At some points, it seems like everything comes to a bottleneck, where nothing budges unless something else moves first. The paradox is that nothing will move. At other times, once one little detail slides into a new place, suddenly it is as if a dam breaks loose and everything starts flowing all at once—so fast that it is near impossible to keep up with it all. While I haven’t yet accessed the one detail that, dislodged, will open the Tully-Flannery-Stevens-Kelly-Flanagan-Maloy flood gates, a steady prodding of all the material there—and soon to be added—may very well bring it on.


  1. Maybe it would be better to focus on determining where to go in person when you are there? Seems like the Internet isn't quite ready to help yet.

    1. Well, the good news about that problem is that the Internet seems to gain hundreds of new records daily, and it may only be a waiting game before I find the documents I need.

      However, Iggy, yes, I'm building my itinerary with each new discovery. So far on the route, we'll be including a visit to the area of Parish Ballyagran in County Limerick, as well as the town of Ballina in County Tipperary.

      The main thing we are still awaiting, though, is confirmation of my daughter's acceptance at University College Cork--ironically, just "down the road" from the farm hovel from which Stephen Maloy escaped in 1849. Although she is accepted into the study abroad program in general, we are still waiting for the final confirmation from the college itself.

      Believe me, I am so ready to begin planning that itinerary!

  2. I hope all goes well with your daughters placement! :)


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