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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Michael Murphy: An exploration of possibilities

There is one in every research project, the man with the common name who disappears in the records.
In the Madden genealogy that man is Michael Murphy. Michael was supposedly born in Ireland to James Murphy and Mary Brien about 1833.

No record of that birth has been found.  One possibility is a christening record for Michael Murphy, the son of Edanus Murphy and Mary Brien. He was born 21 Apr 1833 and christened the next day in the parish of Ballycullane (Tinturn), Wexford.  This is in the diocese of Ferns.

Edanus is considered a latin form of Aidan, a diminutive form of Aodh.  The name means "fire" and is sometimes anglicized as Hugh ... not James.

Could it be the right record?  Michael Murphy is such a common name, but it is the right year and the right mother.

Another possibility is Michael Murphy the son of Cons Murphy and Mary Brien baptised 29 Dec 1833 in Rosnacaharach, Muintervarra, Cork.

There are others, but I have not found one with James Murphy and Mary Brien and birth dates get further from an age of 28 which he gave when he  married..  In fact the only mention of his parents names is the marriage record of Michael and Bridget.  

I have not been able to find the family of Michael in Canada.  I believe I have found him as a servant age 25 in the 1861 census in Stratford, but with no other names to check,  this it might not be him. The record of his marriage just a few weeks later says that he lives in Stratford.  The census would put his birth in 1835/6 but 25 is one of those nice round ages that an employer might give. Like many Irish his age is inconsistent in nearly every record. 

It is my hope that some record might miraculously appear and give a few more clues.

Máedóc of Ferns

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Family Gatherings - 1972

25th Anniversary

In Spring of 1971 just s months after the marriages of Colleen and Cath, the Madden family moved to Washington.  Jim had accepted a transfer to the Surface Effects Ship division of Aerojet.  After a short stint in a motel, they found a great house in Gig Harbor.

They left Maura and Cath in California and Colleen was living in Corvalis, Oregon.

Just one year later the the first "Family Gathering" took place.  A surprise for the 25th anniversary of Jim and Jean.  Colleen did much of the planning for the event, which included dinner out and then a party waiting at home.  

Maura, William, Cath, Greg and not quite one year old Jessica piled into Maura's Datsun for the journey north from San Francisco.  Along the way we swung through Corvalis to add Colleen and not quite one year old Erich to the pile.  

We arrived just in time to leave for dinner.  We left Erich and Jessica with newly turned twelve year old Patrick.  I'm not sure what we were thinking, two crawling messy infants with a kid who had never had a younger sibling!!!  He was slow to forgive us and for years swore he would never have a child.

It was a short visit, everyone had to get back for work, but thankfully we took time for this picture, the last with all eight of us.  

...there must be other pictures of that weekend, but his is all I  found in my albums, or the Madden negative collection.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Mocklershill, home of the Dunn family in the 1820-30s, lies in the center of the Golden Vale.  It is 424.87 acres (.66 sq mi) in size and is in the  the civil parish of Magorban and the barony of Middlethird in County Tipperary.

by Sieghean

The Golden Vale ( Machaire méith na Mumhan), an area of rolling pastureland covering parts of three counties, Limerick, Tipperary, and Cork is the best land in Ireland for dairy farming.  At times it has been called the Golden Vein as evidenced by a mention in the 1837 book by Johathan Binns where he states that "the golden vale" (more correctly the "golden vein")"  "The land is of excellent quality, being part of the golden vein of Ireland—a district reaching from Tipperary towards Limerick. The extent of the golden vein is about fourteen miles long, by six or seven wide." 
Wikipedia "Golden Vale"
Ask About Ireland - Golden Vale

MOGORBANE, a parish, in the barony of MIDDLETHIRD, county of TIPPERARY, and province of MUNSTER, 5 miles (E.) from Cashel, on the road from Clonmel to Thurles and Nenagh ; containing 1282 inhabitants. It comprises 6522 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and contains an abundance of limestone. The principal seats are Mobarnan Manor, the handsome and well-planted demesne of M. Jacob, Esq. ; Beechmount, the residence of T. G. Phillips, Esq. ; and Silverfort, of J. Scully, Esq. It is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Cashel, and in the gift of the Archbishop, to whose mensal the rectory is appropriate. The tithes, amounting to #230, are entirely payable to the archbishop, who allows a stipend to the curate: there is a glebe-house. The church is a neat Gothic structure, built about 20 years since, In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Killenaule, and has a chapel at Moyglass, In the parochial school, built on an acre of ground given by S. Jacob, Esq., who also contributed #40 towards its erection, about 40 children are educated ; and there are two private schools, containing about 170 children. Some remains of Mobarnan and Ballyvaiden castles still exist ; and there are several ancient forts... Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837

National Archives of Ireland 004625697/004625697_00070
The Tithe Allotments were taken in Mocklershill in 1830.  There are fourteen households listed in the tax rolls, including John and Cornelius Dunn

When Griffith's valuations were taken in the 1850s there were about 20 families living in the townland, including British landlord, Sir John Fitzgerald, owner in fee of the entire townland.  There was no Dunn family, but Edward Lonergan leased a house and garden from Michael Slattery.

In 1901 there were 39 people living in nine households. Families names include Bowes, Connell, McNamara, Browne, Roche, Luby, Egan, Dea, and Prendergast.  In 1911 the number had dwindled to 33.

Mocklershill is in the Catholic Parish of Killenaule.  The available  parish registers start as early as 1742 for baptisms and 1812 for marriages.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Best of Show

For the second year in a row one of Maura's paintings has been named Best of Show in the Wash Open Show at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center!!!!  The competition was tough as you can see from the Gallery of Award Winners. 

Maura was surprised at the win, but those of us who are her "biggest fans" just say finally everyone is noticing her wonderful work.  She has added more pictures to her blog, check it out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Townland for the Dunns

I have been searching for  Irish ancestors for over thirty years and had all but given up on finding the townlands of Michael Murphy and John Dunn... more on Michael at a later date.  Today I have found the Dunns.

Family tradition, as outlined in Sarah Lonergan's Legacy, said the Dunn(e)s were from the town of Golden in county Tipperary...and as it turns out that was very close and perhaps correct.  What I found in the Irish Parish Registers, which are available on the website of the Irish National Library, are christening records for the seven children of John Dunn and Bridget Lonergan.  The downside is now the story Sarah Lonergan's Legacy must become Bridget Lonergan's Legacy. (1)

The christenings, which are contained in two registers for Killenaule Parish are as follows list the place of residence as Mocklershill(2) (various spellings are used in the records, this spelling is found on today's maps).

  • Patrick Dunn was christened 10  Apr 1822(3) sponsors John Dunne and Mary McDonough. Patrick is found in 1851 in Brantford, Brant, Ontario CAN.  He is a wagon maker.  He died in Brant County in 1883.  He married Mary - and they had 7 known children.

  • Mary Dunn christened 14 Feb 1824 (3) sponsors Edmund Boc and Ellen Dwyer.  Mary Ann married Robert Kelly. They were living in Perth, Ontario in 1861.  By 1870 they had emigrated to Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan.  Mary died there in 1906.  They had 8 known children.
  • Margaret Dunn christened 26 Jun 1826(3) sponsors Patrick Ryan and Margaret Londrigan (this was the only record where the mother's names was not Bridget Lonergan, it was listed as Bridget Londrigan) Margaret married John Cavanaugh.  They were living in Perth in 1861 and Independence Kansas in 1870. John died before 1900 and Margaret is found in 1900 in Kansas City, MO and in Los Angeles CA in 1910.  No death has been found to date.  Margaret and John had eleven children.
  • Cornelius Dunn christened 2 Nov 1828(3) sponsors John Lonergan and Joanna Ryan.  There is a possible census record in Buffalo, New York for Cornelius in 1870, but to date no proof it is the right person and no other records have been found.
  • Thomas Dunn christened 20 Apr 1831(3) sponsors William Dunn and Mary Bowes .  I have not found records for Thomas.  Thomas was remembered by his Grandniece Grace as being quite talented. He played seven different instruments.  The family considered him wayward because he wandered from place to place, never settling down for long in one spot.  He would pop in from time to time, always good natured and with a devil may care attitude.  It would be difficult to trace when or where Thomas died.
  • Bridget Dunn christened 3 Feb 1836(3) sponsors Pat and Mary Dunn. See more in a later blog.
  • Ellen Dunn christened 10 Dec 1840(3) sponsors Michael McGonich and Catherine Ryan.  Ellen was found in one census record with her sister Margaret Cavanaugh, otherwise no records have been found to date.
When she was in Grand Traverse hospital at the end of her years, Bridget, remembered leaving Ireland when she was eleven, but unless she was near a year old when she was christened it seems they must have left earlier.  Mary Ann was married in Brantford, Brant, Ontario, Canada on 25 Oct 1846.  So it would seem the family emigrated sometime between 1841 and 1846.  Bridget also suggested that they lived in Buffalo, NY for a time.  

I have been unable to find John Dunn in Canada or the US in 1850/51 or later.  I also have not found the children who were not married in 1850/51.  I have not seen a copy of Mary Ann's marriage in Brant in 1846 but I did find Patrick in Brant in 1851 which gives credence to the fact that they lived there.  Bridget said that John was a miller, so the next step might be to look for any miller in 1850/51 with the name of John, born in Ireland.  This will be quite a task.

Returning to Ireland, Golden lies within 20 Kilometers of Mocklershill.  I did not find the marriage of John and Bridget in the registers for Killenaula Parish, so perhaps they were married in Golden.  With the christening date  of the oldest child Patrick confirmed the search shouldn't have to cover too many years.

I did find John in the Tithe Applotment listing for Mocklershill which was taken in 1830.  His holdings included a little over 34 acres for which he paid £1-17-9. Also listed is Cornelius Dunn, most likely a brother as his holdings were smaller than Johns at 25 acres.

One other fact became apparent.  There was NO Simon Dunn in the list of children. The christenings found match the list of siblings that Bridget gave the nursing staff at Grand Traverse Hospital. Simon Dunn was connected to Al Smith, and family tradition said he was a brother of Mary Ann and Bridget.  Perhaps he was a cousin?  We do know that he was born in Dublin, not Tipperary so the burden of proof will definitely be upon us if we wish to claim the connection.

Knowing the names of sponsors might also help in finding more on the families.  The search is on.

  1. Sarah Lundriken was the name given on the death certificate of Mary Ann Dunn Kelly, the oldest child of John and Bridget.  Daughter Bridget's death record gives the correct name Bridget.
  2. A link will be provided to a future Mockershill post, in the meantime you can find a map of Mockershill here.
  3. Killenuale Parish Registers, Library of Ireland