Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Short List


Piecing together the family constellation of Irish ancestors living in one specific community can sometimes involve the sticky business of isolating one cousin of the same name from another. As we wrap up our search of the Catholic baptismal records of the extended Tully family in Ballina, County Tipperary, our main interest is checking to see whether any Flannery surnames are repeated as in-laws serving as sponsors for those Tully baptisms. 

We've already gone through this process for our key couple of interest, Denis Tully and Margaret Flannery. The goal is to determine who might have been the siblings of Margaret Flannery. As we go through this process, we've had some success in determining who the other Flannery family members were who became entered in the record as godparents for Tully children.

There is one more step, though, to make sure we've gleaned everything we can: to examine the baptismal references of the other Tully family members mentioned as sponsors. This serves as a cross-check to ensure we are still talking about the same family relationship of siblings or in-laws only to serve as godparents for baptisms. The reason this is necessary: the likelihood that there are cousins in town with the very same name as the target people we are researching.

Case in point: one sponsor's name—Darby Tully—showed up in other baptismal records with two different wives' names. I realize there is a possibility that Darby could have been widowed and remarried, but in this case, checking the births listed for Darby and each wife, it is apparent that there likely wasn't enough time to accomplish such a feat. Verdict: the Catholic parish in Ballina likely had two men by the same name.

We may well see that repeated in the case of John Tully, as well—not to mention another Tully we haven't yet examined, also by the name of Denis. It makes sense that there would be cousins of an age, bearing the same name, given the Irish naming patterns of that era. If every son names their firstborn boy after their father, the community will have quite a few in the next generation with that same namesake among them.

Notwithstanding all that, I still took a close look at each of the Tully men named Darby. One was married to Biddy Ryan, giving me pause on account of family tradition as well as distant DNA matches indicating a connection with the Ryan surname. The other Darby married Mary Hagan or Hogan (the handwriting in the records was difficult to decipher), but because of familiar Tully names showing up among the sponsors named for their children, I had to pay attention to those records as well.

It's a good thing, because it was this second Darby Tully couple who also named a Flannery among the godparents they chose for their child's baptism. For the April 7, 1839, baptism of their daughter Mary, Darby and Mary named Eliza "Flanary" as one of the godparents.

With that, we'll add Eliza to our Flannery list. We've completed our review of Tully baptisms and are now off to examine any further signs—both baptismal and marriage—of the Flannery siblings we've gleaned from the Tully records.

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