Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

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Gerkin
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Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Gerkin » Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:00 pm

Hello,
I'm researching my great-great grandfather, Thomas Donnellan, b. 5 DEC 1838 in Sixmilebridge. He immigrated to the US in 1856 and spent the rest of his life in Connecticut. I still have a lot to learn about researching in Ireland. I've used many of the resources on the Clare Library genealogy page, but now can't find my research notes! (I know I looked through the GenMaps and many member submitted transcriptions). I'd like to trace further back, if I can. I don't know if the Irish naming pattern can be relied upon. But he did name his third son after himself. His first son was named Charles and his second daughter was Kate. So, maybe those are his father's and mother's names. Also, his fourth son is named Michael.
Family notes say it wasn't originally spelled Donnellan and was possibly Donlin.
Family notes say they were Catholic, but changed religions in the US.
What parishes, etc. should I be looking in, for records for Sixmilebridge?
Would it be ok to share a newspaper article about him, about his time as a ferrryman in Connecticut?

Thank you very much!

Gerkin/Meredith

kbarlow
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by kbarlow » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:36 am

Hi Meredith, welcome to this great forum. Just a few tips: the pattern of baptism names is fairly consistent up to early 1900s, but you need to allow for deaths & the many unrecorded/missing baptisms, of course. Re surname spelling - most Irish migrants in 1800s spoke Irish, not English, and had not been allowed to have an education for hundreds of years (following Cromwell), so had no way of correcting the record-takers version of their name (eg shipping clerks, US/OZ registry officers). The Gaelic clan spelling sometimes gives a clue to the spelling used by the time of the Tithe Applotment books - I have a distant Donnellan relation (from Kilkishen) and have seen the name spelled at least 9 ways in Irish & OZ records. When migrants arrived in the new country they responded to the question about their native place in any number of ways: naming a county or townland or registration district (after 1864) or nearest town - you are very lucky to have the townland of Sixmilebridge named!! John Grenham's excellent site is a good way to learn your way around surnames, amongst other things. If you do a name search at the Clare Past page, you will find several threads relating to Donnellan from Sixmilebridge.

good luck with your journey, Kerry

Sduddy
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Sduddy » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:38 am

Hi Meredith

Sixmilebridge is the name of a townland in the civil parish of Kilfinaghta, but people often use it to describe the general area around the town of Sixmilebridge. Sixmilebridge is also the name of a Catholic parish. The Catholic parish of Sixmilebridge is a large area - it takes in the civil parish of Kilfinaghta and some of the adjoining civil parish of Kilfintinan and also some of the adjoining parish of Kilmurry (sometimes called Kilmurry Negaul). Click on Clare in this map of Catholic parishes: https://registers.nli.ie and then click on this map of the civil parishes and you will see what I mean: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... rishes.htm.
If you click on the civil parish of Kilfinaghta (on that second map) and look at the information for that parish: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... naghty.htm, you will notice that there are no Donnellans listed under Griffith’s Valuation (1855) and no Donnellans in the Tithe Applotment books. But if you click on the civil parish of Kilfintinan you will see Donnellans in Griffith’s Valuation and in the Tithe Applotment books: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... ntinan.htm. Likewise with civil parish of Kilmurry, you will see several Donnellans in Griffith’s Valuation and a couple in the Tithe Applotment Books.: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... negaul.htm.

So, although Thomas Donnellan said that he was from Sixmilebridge, he may not have been from the Sixmilebridge exactly - he may have been from Kinfintinan, or from Kilmurry.

I looked at the transcriptions of the Sixmilebridge Catholic Parish baptism registers and I saw that some Donnellans were baptised about the time that Thomas was baptised (1838). I did not see the baptism of Thomas himself, but many baptisms went unrecorded. Unfortunately, in the first register (1828-1839) the priest did not give any addresses, but in the next register (1840-1864) the priest gives Rossroe as the address for most of the Donnellan children baptised in that period. Rosroe is the name of a townland in the civil parish of Kilmurry.

Meredith, when you look at the information given for the civil parish of Kilfintinan, you will notice that you are given a link to the transcription of the Cratloe Parish register of baptisms - that's because the Catholic Parish of Cratloe took in some of the civil parish of Kilfintinan. So I looked that the transcription of the 1802-1856 baptism register, and saw that there was a Thomas Donnellan baptised on Dec 05 1833. His parents are James Donnellan and Catherine Stack. The date is 5 years out from the date of birth of your Thomas, but don’t rule him out entirely on that account, as it was very common for people to decide they were a few years younger than they really were. I think it is significant that his date of birth was 5 December - which is also the date for your Thomas (5 Dec 1838). Maybe he decided to keep that bit.

Sheila

P.S. Please do share the article about his time as a Ferryman.
Last edited by Sduddy on Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

smcarberry
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Location: USA

Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by smcarberry » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:19 am

Meredith,
I have been awaiting someone from your line to post here, because I noticed your Thomas a while back during research on other Donnellans in CT. (My DNA testing has matched me to William Donnellan of the Hartford area, who is a son of Edward who died in Clare, and to James Donlin of New Haven, whom I believe is the missing man for whom my 2x great grandmother published her ad in 1875).) I have two items in my Thomas of Haddam file, one of which is the newspaper article. Let us know if you have a second source for the 1838 birth year, other than this article, because newspapers are notorious for typo-type errors, even with important biographical facts. The house photo comes from another source, not the newspaper.

Have you tested at 23andMe or AncestryDNA ?

Sharon Carberry
Virginia
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Thos home Middle Haddam CT.jpg
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smcarberry
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by smcarberry » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:41 am

Since I already have some censuses done on the Thomas Donnellan family, I'll post it so we are all on the same page. A lot of Irish first headed to Springfield MA where their marriages are recorded (a good record to obtain, if you don't already have it, Meredith). I know of another Donnellan line married there and then they headed out to the Mid-West (Iowa and Illinois) with some reaching South Dakota. The other fact I can note of some research value is that Charles is not a name usual among the Donnellans of East Clare, nor is William or Edward. Thomas, Patrick, and Michael were very commonly in use among Donnellan families there in the early to mid 1800s.

Here is just the info up to the time when Thomas's widow Mary would have died. I deleted the later censuses on Thomas's sons but I note that Michael relocated to the Hartford area. Meredith, do you have the widow Mary's maiden name ?

SMC


1860 MA Hampden Co. Springfield, Wilbraham PO [post office, listed on the census page]
Donlin
Thomas 30 Ire day lab'r
Mary 28 Ire

1870 Middlesex Co., Chatham town, Portland PO
Donlan
Thomas 34 Ire works in foundry
Mary 28 Ire
Charles 6 CT
William 5
Thomas 2
plus 4 boarders, all Irish men, one in the foundry and 3 stonecutters

1880 Chatham
Donlan
Thomas 48 Ire lab'r
Mary 45 Ire
Charles 16 CT lab'r
William 15 at home
Thomas 12 at school
Mary E. 10
Michael 6
Kate 4

1900 Chatham town, Middle Haddam village
Donnellan
Thomas 68 Ire Dec 1835 img'd 1856, nat'd farmer
Mary 56 Ire 1857 mar'd 36 yrs, 7 ch b/6 liv
William 34 CT single, farm lab'r
Katherine 23 single

1910 Chatham town, Hag Hill Highway
Donnelon
Thomas 71 Ire ferryman, Conn River
Mary 67 img'd 1856, mar'd 46 yrs, 7 ch b/6 liv
William 44 CT farmer, single
Catherine 33

1920 Middlesex Co., East Hampton town , Hag Hill Rd. [same neighbors as preceding years]
Donnellan
Mary 78 Ire img'd 1854, nat'd 1863 manager, farm
William 54 CT single, lab'r, home farm 1930 age 64, patient, CT Hosp for the Insane

smcarberry
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by smcarberry » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:23 am

Not meaning to monopolize the thread, but my notes have a death reference in Clare for Charles Donnellan of a suitable age for Thomas's father (although a bit on the old side but this is a long-lived man). Online imaging is not far enough back in years for it yet. It is possible to order the record, so I'll show the details here. Ennis is the registration district for Sixmilebridge in the 1800s.

Note that athough the irishgenealogy.ie search engine usually brings up surname spellings close to the inputted one, in this instance "Donnellan" did not bring up Donellan with one "n."

SMC
Charles Donellan death record, not yet online.PNG
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Gerkin
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Gerkin » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:45 am

Thank you so much, Sheila for looking up all that information for me! And for explaining all of the geographical info. I'm going to look more closely at all of it tonight. In the newspaper article he mentions that Sixmilebridge is six miles from Limerick. Do you think that could mean he's talking about the townland of Sixmilebridge, since he's so specific about the distance?

He is listed as being born in Dec. 1835 in the 1900 Census. So, that's another vote for December!

Thanks again,
Meredith
Last edited by Gerkin on Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gerkin
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Gerkin » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:48 am

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for posting the Ferryman article. I only discovered that a few months ago. I love how it captures his personality and how he was clearly appreciated in his community. Not to mention the great biographical details about him and his family members. That photo of the house is totally new to me. I love it!

Thanks for reminding me that could be a typo about his year of birth. A 1917 CT Military census from Feb. 1917 says he is 80. Which would have him born in 1836, if he really was born in December. Comically, Thomas answers Yes, to "Do you have a disability". And then lists his disability as "old age". Hopefully, he was being funny. And wasn't suffering too much.

I haven't done any DNA testing, yet.

I'm not sure that the 1860 Census you've listed is my Thomas Donnellan. According to family notes, they married in 1863. And according to the 1900 Census, they were married 36 years, which would be about 1864. So, they wouldn't have been living together in 1860. I found a Thomas Donell in 1860 Middle Haddam, living with a Horace Johnson. In Thomas' later years he goes to court over a dispute with Horace, because Horace dumps gravel on Thomas' land, which Horace says is his land. Thomas wins, by the way! (Horace is well known in those parts and is nicknamed the "Weather Prophet", for predicting several blizzards).

Thomas' wife is Mary Carey, according to family notes.

In case it is of interest, Hag Hill is actually, Hog Hill. And there is a Hog Hill Cemetery.

Also, William is listed in one census as being an "Idiot". And you have him listed as living in an insane asylum. So, I wonder if he suffered from mental retardation. It explains why he lived with his mother his whole life.

Meredith

Gerkin
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Gerkin » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:51 am

Hi again, Sharon,

Thank you for finding that death reference for a Charles Donnellan. That's very helpful.

Meredith

P.S. I hope I'm posting properly. Let me know if there's some other way to reply to individual posts.

Gerkin
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:51 pm

Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Gerkin » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:01 am

I forgot to say that in the 1870 census there is a John Carey living with Thomas and Mary. I wondered if that could be Mary's brother. I haven't finished searching for Mary and John Carey in the 1860 census, to see if I could find her family. There are a Mary and John Carey with parents Michael and Hannah, living in Bosrah (Bozrah), CT. But I haven't established if that's Mary Carey Donnellan's family.

Gerkin/Meredith

murf
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Location: Qld Australia

Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by murf » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:50 am

Hi All,

Sharon that Charles Donellan death record may be for the Charles Donellan who appears in the townland of Urlan More, Kilmaleery Parish, in Griffiths Valuation. I have him pegged as the probable father of Honora Donellan, first wife of Michael Phillips(c1828-1911), a great grand uncle of mine.
There are no Donellans in Urlan More in the 1901 census.

Incidentally, it's been my experience that irishgenealogy.ie can on occasions be somewhat unpredictable in which spelling variants it chooses to show.
murf

smcarberry
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by smcarberry » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:18 pm

All further observations are now incorporated into my notes.

On the shortened surname version for Thomas in his 1860 record, that is totally credible. For the James Donnellan sought by my 2x great grandmother in her newspaper ad, not only did she use "Danlin"for him while she was living in PA and he used "Donlin" while living in CT, but in searching for James in French Canada, over the the course of some 12 years of city directories he (James the plasterer in a specific city district) is listed as either Donnellan or Donnelly. Down in Philadelphia where my ancestor died, her 1912 death certificate has her maiden name as Donnelly, which ironically is directly contradicted by the baptismal record for her son in the same city of French Canada. Fortunately that baptismal record's details link perfectly to my Donnellan records in the mid part of East Clare (Parish of O'Callaghan's Mills). Far too many Donnelly listings in every record database, so the interchangeability of the surnames is a considerable detriment.

SMC

Gerkin
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Gerkin » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:49 am

I noticed for the Thomas Donnellan b. 5 Dec 1833 in Cratloe Parish records, that it says he's illegitimate. Did that mean the same thing then, as it does now? Interesting!

Meredith

Sduddy
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Sduddy » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:50 am

Hi Meredith

Yes, it means that the child was born out of wedlock. Nowadays, you will be glad to hear, we don’t use the term “illegitimate”.
I’ve done quite a bit of transcribing of baptisms and I’ve noticed that in the earlier records the priest gives the child whatever surname the mother supplies. There are just a couple of priests who write “putative” or “reported” - the priest in Miltown Malbay parish always wrote “’tis said”. So it seems the child grew up bearing the name of the father. As the century went on, this practice changed, and by the latter end of it, only the mother’s name is given in the baptism record and in the civil record – though in “real life” the child may have gone by the (presumed) father’s name.
I think the practice in the early part of the century of giving the child the name supplied by the mother often led to children bearing the landlord’s name (eg Stackpoole) - as you know, landlords at that time believed they had certain entitlements. But that’s just an aside.
More to the point here is that very often the parents of the child married soon afterwards (I’ve seen “illegitimate” crossed out on a number of occasions) and so the child bore the father’s name just like the other children who followed. But, in the case of Thomas Donnellan born to James Donnellan and Catherine Stack, I see no indication of a marriage – at least not in Cratloe parish records – they may have moved to another parish.

I looked at death records hoping to find a James Donnellan who might be the father of your Thomas. This is often a very frustrating method of research, as the images for many of the death records are not yet viewable online. The two most likely registration districts for the death of James are Limerick and Ennis. I entered 1864 to 1901 as the period. And the variations on the name I entered were Donnellan, Donellan, Donnelan, Donlan, Donnellon, Donellon, Donnelon, Donlon, and Donlin. Strangely I found very little: one record was for a James Donlan who was from Ballygissane, Crusheen, many miles Sixmilebridge, and the person who reported that death (1880) was Mary Donlin, probably his wife. So I’m doubting very very much that this James is James from Cratloe parish. Another record was for a James Donnellon whose death at age 60 was registered in Limerick in 1870 - the image is not viewable - very frustrating.

I checked a few Donnellan marriage records to see if the groom in any of them gave his father’s name as James, but I found no James. I didn’t go all out and do a thorough job, though, because of course we can't be sure that this Thomas born in 1833 is your Thomas (I just have a hunch that he might be).

I take it that you have found nothing that gives any clues as to the siblings of your Thomas. He may not have had any.

Meredith, you may have noticed that the children baptised before and after your Thomas were also called Thomas. This was to honour St. Thomas the Apostle (Doubting Thomas) whose feastday was celebrated on 21st December (“St Thomas Day, St Thomas gray, the longest night and the shortest day”). St Thomas was not as important as some other saints, of course, but the baptism registers show there was always a slight swell in the numbers of children called Thomas in December – especially at the beginning of the month. St Martin was the important saint in November, and if you look back at the children baptised in Cratloe – just preceding your Thomas, you will see that three boys are called Martin. So even in the early part of the 19th century, important saints had begun to interfere with traditional naming patterns.
You say that Thomas changed religion at some point, so the saints probably did not influence the naming of his children. I enjoyed reading Thomas’ account of his own life. I think his saying that Sixmilebridge was six miles from Limerick was just a little nugget of information about the town of Sixmilebridge, as the reader might otherwise think that the bridge was six miles long. I don’t think he was saying that he was from the town - but he may have been, of course.

Sheila

Gerkin
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Re: Donnellan b.1838 Sixmilebridge

Post by Gerkin » Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:20 am

Sheila,

Thank you very, very much for doing all that work! I really appreciate it! It would've taken me a lot longer to do it, I'm sure. And thank you for all the historical information about illegitimate births. And about naming boys after saints.

The only potential clue about a sibling is that Thomas named his fourth son, Michael. So, maybe he had an eldest brother named Michael.

Also, I'm not 100% sure if it was Thomas' family who changed religion. I'm starting to think it was his son, Charles' family, my great grandfather, who changed. I just noticed that the information is written under Charles' family info, saying the Donnellans were Catholic, but because it was too far to travel by buggy to the Catholic church, they switched to the closer Congregational church. So, it wasn't any problem with the Church itself.

I think I need to pursue finding more records in Connecticut. Maybe the parents will be mentioned in a marriage or death record. I live in Western Massachusetts, about an hour north of where Thomas lived. Unfortunately, the archives are closed right now, because of coronavirus.

I will keep poking around on here, too.

Meredith

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