Finding Hugh

January 13, 2011 § 5 Comments

It is a goal within my research to attempt to identify as closely as possible the place of origin of the two families from which I directly descend, in this case the Conroy and Dunn families. I am compelled to find as many details as I can, and simply knowing the county or townland is not satisfying enough to me. I guess that’s the perfectionist in me coming through. For now, I have been principally focusing on the Conroy family, and I believe I am getting close to knowing exactly where they came from, right down to the actual farmland they lived on.

I have commented before (see post) on the interesting experience of learning more and more about an ancestor’s place of origin, as I go from more broad and general details to more exact and specific ones. This has been the case with the Conroys. At the beginning of my research I knew they came from area of Mountmellick in County Laois but over the past few months I have narrowed that down considerably.

In the 1901 census return for Ireland the Conroy family is listed as living in the Cones townland. James Conroy, my great-great grandfather, is the head of house, and at least a few of his daughters, including Sarah my great grandmother, are also present. James is about fifty four which puts his date of birth at about 1847, right during the height of the Famine.

I have recently been looking through Griffith’s Valuation and located the index listing for the Cones townland. For a while I have been a little confused about under what parish did Cones exactly lie, but comparing the results from the valuation and the 1911 census leaves me with no doubt that I am on the right track. Cones is clearly within the Rearymore parish of the Mountmellick Poor Law Union. Consulting Griffith’s Valuation I discovered that there is a Hugh Conroy living in the Drummond townland, as well as a Matthew Conroy. In Cones there is a James and a John Conroy. Since the Laois valuation was supposedly completed in 1854, I doubt that a five or seven year old James Conroy would be the owner or occupier of his own farm, so perhaps the James listed in Cones is an uncle or some other relation. I cannot yet prove that the Hugh Conroy in Drummond is my great-great-great grandfather, but perhaps when his son James grew older he then moved to the Cones townland where James later appears in 1901.

A while ago I was at the local Family History Library branch, looking through the registers for the Roman Catholic parishes of Rosenallis and Mountmellick. Among the records for baptisms I found what I believe to be James’ baptism. Below is the record. Unfortunately the quality is a little poor, as it is a scan of a paper print out from a microfiche reader, but I hope to replace it with a straight digital copy at some point. Under the April 1847 heading James Conroy, appearing at the end, is listed as the son of Hugh Conroy and Cath(erine) Beu, with witnesses Nat./Mat. (Nathan or Matthew?)  Conroy, and possibly another Conroy, although it is difficult to read. The place of birth is then listed, and for a long time I was not sure what it said, but after my recent discoveries I am certain that it lists Rearymore as the birthplace. Rearymore can be seen listed as the birthplace of the last individual under the March heading, and I think it is plausible to believe that they are the same.

In order to be sure about any of this I think a consultation with the current Valuation Office is likely in the future, and locating any other birth and marriage records would also help. I really hope to be able to identify exactly where the Conroys where living, and it would sure be fun to do so.

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