In researching our family's Flannery roots as I prepare for our trip to Ireland, one of those long-awaited phenomena began to descend upon me. Having looked here and there, to the left and to the right, up and down, and all around, I’ve amassed quite a collection of disparate documents.
Now that I’m buried in the data, the trick is to find a shovel big enough to help me dig myself out of this mess and assemble the heaps into some sort of logical order.
It was in mulling over the Flannery surname that it dawned on me: I’ve actually come full circle. I’ve been this way before. All I have to do is match up the similar data.
Take those baptismal verifications our family has privately received and kept from the early years after the Tully family immigrated to Canada. If it weren’t for those, I wouldn’t have known the names of my husband’s second great grandfather, Denis Tully. More important, I wouldn’t have had the maiden name of Denis Tully’s wife: Flannery.
When I began researching the Flannery line, thanks to a Google search, I ran across a website for the Flannery Clan. Having by now discovered Margaret Flannery’s name and the family’s church parish in County Tipperary—Ballina—I was able to use the Flannery Clan’s search tool to uncover transcribed records of parish baptisms. The serendipity was that a member of the Flannery Clan had chosen to transcribe those records—but only the ones mentioning the surname Flannery or its variants—and post them on the website.
From that site, I had been able to find the baptismal record for my husband’s great grandfather, John Tully. I felt pretty good about myself for having located that confirmation, but I had left it at that.
Fast forward to this fall, as I’m preparing to leave on our research trip to Ireland. Prompted by the genealogist who will shepherd a small group of us researchers through the libraries and archival repositories of Dublin, I went back and checked the Griffith’s Valuation for Tully and Flannery.
When I did so, I have to admit it was with a heavy sigh and one of those eye-rolling, “Oh, all right” attitudes. You see, I had already gone through the Griffith’s Valuation route. Years ago. With no results.
Well, I do have to admit: at the time, I had no idea where the Tully family originated. Worse, I had no idea the name I should be seeking was Denis Tully. Even worse than that, I didn’t know about Flannery then. So I was long overdue for another visit to Griffith’s Valuation. It always pays to retrace our research steps.
And lo, there it was. Angel choir time. One Denis Tully in Griffith’s Valuation for “Fountinna”—which, as I later found out, was actually a typo for the townland named Tountinna.
What I hadn’t bothered to do at that juncture was return to the Flannery Clan website, where I had first found the transcription confirming John Tully’s baptismal record. I paid the site another visit yesterday and what should I notice, as I scrolled through the many Flannery listings in that parish of Ballina? Where they were provided in the original document, the townlands were included in the transcription as well. And what should appear next to John Tully’s baptismal record, beside his parents’ names? Why, the townland—a name that had previously meant absolutely nothing to me. Until I realized I needed to know.
To set everyone’s mind at ease, yes, it was “Tauntinna”—which I fervently hope is an archaic spelling for the same townland which Griffith’s had mangled to become “Fountinna.”
I think I really have the right family now. Wouldn’t you say?