In working with Irish family history records—at least from my American vantage point—I've learned to keep several research tools at my fingertips. I may be familiar with locations and distances when it comes to the place I now call home, but navigating the names of multiple townlands in a foreign country can be challenging. How am I to know whether boy-meets-girl scenarios are feasible, given the unfamiliar names of their hometowns?
Right now, I'm looking for records on the brothers of Denis Tully, my father-in-law's great-grandfather from Ballina in County Tipperary. The goal is to identify which of the Tully brothers might have been father of a son who was also named Dennis—a son whose descendants have turned out to be DNA matches to my husband. We discussed our Denis' brother Thomas yesterday, and today we'll take a look at what can be found on another brother: John.
Since baptismal records for the Catholic parish of Ballina did not seem to be well preserved before about 1832, unfortunately I already know I will not be able to locate any such document for our Denis or his brothers. However, I did find a marriage record for one John Tully from Tountinna, exactly the name and place of our Tully's ancestors.
The encouraging detail of this marriage record is that John Tully's bride was a Flannery, same as our Denis Tully's wife Margaret. Whether Margaret was sister to newlywed John's wife Kitty, I can't tell, but the marriage record noted that Kitty was from a different townland than John. However, the record's abysmal handwriting, coupled with the faded page made it hard to determine the exact name of Kitty's home. Was it Carraghmane? Or Curraghmore?
Next step: checking the likelihood that someone from Curraghmore would be within reasonable proximity of someone from Tountinna. As an Irish researcher online once put it to me: plan on couples meeting within the radius of a circle comprising no more than a day's walk roundtrip. After all, for someone marrying in 1800s Ireland, the most likely common form of transportation would be one's own two feet. Thankfully, a quick check of online map tools confirmed that the route from Tountinna to Curraghmore would fall within the realm of possibilities.
The date of the marriage of John Tully and Kitty "Flannary" was February 23, 1841. Thus, if we are seeking the identity of parents of a man said to have been born in 1830, we already know our answer, just by the fact of that wedding date. John and Kitty certainly couldn't be parents of the Dennis Tully we are seeking.
However, I'll still keep those research tools at my fingertips as we look for any sign of the other two Tully brothers. Don't want to be stumped by any more unfamiliar place names.