From the maze of geopolitical divisions in 1840s Ireland—now that we've sorted out the precise location where we hope to locate Anna Flanagan Malloy—we can determine where, if anywhere, we can find records containing her family's names.
We are fortunate that my father-in-law's great-grandmother Anna had one keepsake which she, and then her daughter and descendants after her, kept as the only reminder she had remaining of the husband who, after writing her, was never seen by her again. From that letter, we can surmise that its address reveals either the place where she lived in 1849 or, at the very least, the location of her family's landlord.
From that address—the townland of Cappanihane in County Limerick—our next step is to explore what records might still be available to examine for any signs of the family's whereabouts. Whenever I explore a new research location, my first step is to orient myself with maps and brief descriptions of the region or town (if applicable), and then delve into lists showing possible resources for further genealogical research.
A first step in that tour of lists, of course, is to explore the FamilySearch.org wiki, but in the case of this townland or even its next-step geographical division—the civil parish of Corcomohide—there is not much information to be obtained at this resource. Wikis, in general, provide a quick way for researchers to collaborate on compiling resources, but lacking any input from these volunteers, we can see—at least in the case of this wiki at FamilySearch for Corcomohide—the bare bones generic template provided by organizers to guide volunteers in adding any specifics.
In other words, there is not much available, at least at FamilySearch.org in their wiki, to guide us in researching family roots from that particular civil parish—yet.
Another resource for guidance I've often consulted when approaching research in new-to-me regions is Cyndi's List. However, while there is a category specific to County Limerick in Ireland, of the sub-categories (which currently include nearly one hundred links), I found little of substance that can't be obtained through other means.
A resource touted by some researchers, Linkpendium, likewise contained several links for County Limerick, most of which were either outdated or could have been obtained by other means.
When all else fails—and why wait until that point?!—I turn to general search engines like Google, even when researching genealogy. Sometimes, my approach is to employ the specific suffix of the country I am researching when accessing the search engine—in this case, it would yield the address google.ie to allow me to search the same way people in Ireland use the website for their searches—but this time, I didn't even need to go that route. I found some useful resources even by employing the Google site specific to my own country.
Granted, there were some pockets of information I could glean from the usual resources. FamilySearch, I've long since discovered, may have more than one way to describe the information I'm seeking. Searching for specific topics on FamilySearch by employing Google to do so—use Google to search the term FamilySearch.org plus the topic or specific term I'm seeking (the townland of Cappanihane, for instance)—sometimes brings up three or more options, such as this clickable list of all civil parishes located in County Limerick, or this chart of those same civil parishes, linking them to their corresponding barony, poor law union, Catholic parish, and Catholic diocese. Helpful resources, indeed.
From this foray into the genealogical side of Google, I was reintroduced to the updated resource posted online by the diocese of County Limerick, called the Diocesan Heritage Project. From the cross-referenced chart at FamilySearch.org, I could see that the Catholic parish for Corcomohide was known as Ballyagran and Colmanswell. The Diocesan Heritage Project entry for "Ballyagran-Colmanswell" provided some history for the changing parameters of the church parish.
Besides the dates and names of locations within the parish, the Heritage Project provided one detail which urged me to research further. According to the website, the first parish priest for Ballyagran was a man listed only as "Fr. Flanagan."
Scrolling down the website entry for the parish, I also noticed a chart listing the names of all the parish priests by year. Though certainly not the earliest listing, there was a James O'Flanagan listed as priest from 1842 through 1850, the same years in which our Anna Flanagan and her family might have lived in the area. Whether Flanagan and O'Flanagan was the same family at that time—or whether James O'Flanagan was the same man as the priest mentioned in the Diocesan Heritage Project as "the first parish priest"—I can't yet say.
One thing I can tell, at this point: there were at least two people named Flanagan living in the region of that church parish when Anna received her letter from her husband, Stephen Malloy.
Now to see if we can find any further records for Flanagans in the civil parish of Corcomohide—wherever the records might be kept.