Monday, August 16, 2021

The Flannery Connections


Like solving some great genealogical algebra problem, we've spent this month so far, exploring the in-laws of Denis Tully and Margaret Flannery, my father-in-law's great-grandparents, seeking to fill in the blanks and solve for "x"—the siblings of this couple. Admittedly, most of August has been consumed with a focus on the Tully side of the equation, but we need to remember that my actual research goal for this month was to uncover more information on the Flannery side of this Irish couple. While I will continue to play with the puzzle pieces on the Tully side, let's see what adds up, so far, on the Flannery side.

Taking the baptismal records for the Catholic parish in Ballina, County Tipperary, that Denis and Margaret called their church home, we've already found the handwritten entries for their children Johanna, Michael, Patrick, William, John, Margaret, and Honora. From these seven baptismal records, we've gleaned the names of each child's godparents.

Keep in mind that Catholic baptismal records among the poorer parishes in western Ireland held some constants that will aid our exploration. The first was that, due to high rates of infant mortality, it was customary for baptisms to occur as soon as possible after the birth of the child, which usually meant on the day of birth, if possible. The baptismal record included the parents' names, with the bonus of the mother represented by her maiden surname.

While those details are key to our current search, there is one more point we are putting to good use: the sponsors named at the baptism were either a sibling of one of the child's parents, or an in-law.

It is that specific detail which has prompted my search of all the Tully-related children I could find in the baptismal records for the Catholic parish of Ballina. This week, we'll focus specifically on what connections we can find to the Flannery side of our equation.

First, in reviewing the children of Denis and Margaret, we find three Flannery godparents named. One is Kitty Flannery, the woman we've subsequently discovered married a local man by the name of John Tully. Whether John was brother to Denis, we've yet to determine—I have my doubts here—but Kitty's connection to Margaret is likely the sibling relationship the baptismal format requires.

In addition to Kitty Flannery, there were two other Flannery siblings mentioned. Both served as sponsors for Denis and Margaret's eldest son (at least as far as I can determine at this point), Michael. Baptised June 5, 1834, Michael's two godparents were named as William "Flanery" and Bridget "Flanery." At this point, we can tentatively assume that each was a sibling of Margaret Flannery Tully. If we can find baptismal records for either of their own families—assuming William and Bridget each went on to have families of their own—we may be able to propose a tentative naming pattern to help us deduce the names of the Flannery parents.

Kitty Flannery's own son Patrick provided yet another Flannery name to add to the list of potential Flannery siblings. Kitty, married to John Tully, was mother to three children that I could find in the Ballina records. The first, a year after John and Kitty were married, was Mary, born in 1842. Following that eldest daughter was a second they named Judy. The third child was a son named Patrick, baptised as "Patt" on July 20, 1846. It is this Patrick for whom the couple named William Flannary as godparent, likely the same William as had been named sponsor for Margaret's son Michael.

With those details from the two Flannery siblings, we can now propose a family constellation including the following names: Margaret (wife of Denis Tully), Kitty (wife of John Tully), William, and Bridget. From this point, we'll move on to see if any of the other sponsors named in Tully baptisms had Flannery surnames. Once we've rounded up the entire list of possible Flannery-Tully connections, we can move on to identify the spouses of the Flannery siblings we've found, as they, too, could be possible in-laws named as sponsors.  

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