Wednesday, August 18, 2021

In Theory . . .


In theory, knowing that the godparents named for an Irish Catholic child's baptism would be an aunt and an uncle from either side of the family, we could reconstruct the list of siblings of each parent by looking at the baptismal records of several of the couple's children. Of course, that always sounds swell in theory. Enter the possibility of cousins by the same names having children of their own, and we begin to lose a firm sense of familial direction.

Two of the Tully children—Patrick, son of John, and Michael, son of Denis—had sponsors named William Flannery, according to Ballina parish records in County Tipperary. And yet, searching through that parish's records for any sign of a William Flannery yielded not one but two men of that same name. Now what?

Because both Denis and John married women born with the surname Flannery, we can presume that their wives, Margaret and Kitty, were siblings. But that is not necessarily so—and due to limitations of record availability, there are no records from those earlier dates to confirm their relationship. Margaret and Kitty could have been sisters—but they could have been cousins, as well.

With that in mind, the two baptismal sponsors named William Flannery could have each been brother to the child's mother—one William calling Kitty his sister, the other claiming Margaret.

The difficulty is that the same church's baptismal records also show children for William, himself. However, some of those records designated William's wife as Hanora McNamara, while others stated the wife was Kitty Keough. For Hanora, the children baptised were Judy in 1843, John in 1845, and Margaret in 1848. For the children of Kitty Keough, the only entries were for Martin in 1839, and Ellen in 1842.

Looking at the sponsors for each of those Flannery children didn't help, either. On the one side—albeit difficult to read on account of the priest's abysmal handwriting—were surnames such as Gleeson, linking to some of our own family's DNA connections, and an almost indecipherable Tully...maybe. For the other Flannery couple, their children's godparents included the surnames Ryan and Brien, names we've seen repeated elsewhere in the family.

There was one additional clue buried in the scrawl of all these baptismal records: the place where the families called home. For William and Kitty, the residence was noted to be "Ballycoragin" while for William and Hanora, the location was "Curamore."

Although both of these locations were supposedly included within the Catholic parish called Ballina, it would be worth our while to take some time to examine just where they were located. Perhaps understanding the lay of the land may help us piece together these family constellations a bit more confidently. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...