Irish Roots

October 31st, 2011

John Grenham


From Skibbereen Catholic baptismal register:
"[Nov. 23, 1827] Catherine a bastard reputed daughter of Rich'd Leonard, a soldier, and Mary Regan, wife of Tim Lordan late of New Bridge now living in Crookhaven. The mother of this infant is not only a public adultress [sic] but also connected with a gang of coiners or makers of false money. Sp[onsors:] John Glasson, Cate Sullivane. Rev'd P. Sheehy." (see tinyurl.ie/521)

From St. Finbar's Catholic records, Cork city:
June 16 1804, [Baptised]: "Catherine [daughter of] Denis Kelly soldier and Ellen Ford; Sponsors Edward Kelly, a grey-headed swindler from Brandy Lane, and Mary McMullen." (see tinyurl.ie/520 )

From Bantry Catholic baptisms:
"June 24 1835 , [Baptised]: John [son of] Rich'd Earl of Bantry and Cath. Sullivan, . Sp[onsors:] Mich'l Lenihan, Julia Bourk. (spurious)" (see tinyurl.ie/52b)

From the 1911 census "Return of Lunatics and Idiots in Public Institutions and Private Lunatic Asylums" for Grangegorman :"M.E.", a 52-year-old tailor from Co. Limerick has been an inmate for 16 years. In the column headed "Ascertained or presumed cause of Insanity" is just one word: "grief". (see tinyurl.ie/522)

A priest in Skibbereen, livid with outrage, has outlined what could be the plot of a Victorian novel. In Cork city, the godfather has apparently avoided paying for a baptism in 1804. In Bantry, an illegitimate addition to a powerful local family is very discreetly noted. A 1911 mental hospital return hints at unbearable tragedy.

Apart from the drama embedded in each of these extracts, they have one other feature in common. They all come from images of the records that contain them, and they all fall outside the schemas used to transcribe those records. Without the images, in other words, they would be forever inaccessible. And this is only a minute sample of the richness of detail in the originals. Record images are not an optional frill. They are essential.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.

Current column

2014

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
6
3
3
7
5
2
7
4
1
6
13
10
10
14
12
9
14
11
8
13
20
17
17
21
19
16
21
18
15
20
27
24
24
28
26
23
28
25
22
27
 
 
31
 
 
30
 
 
29


2013

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
7
4
4
1
6
3
1
5
2
7
4
2
14
11
11
8
13
10
8
12
9
14
11
9
21
18
18
15
20
17
15
19
16
21
18
16
28
25
25
22
27
 
22
26
23
28
25
23
 
 
 
29
 
 
29
 
30

 
30


2012

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2
6
5
2
7
4
2
6
3
1
5
3
9
13
12
9
14
11
9
13
10
8
12
10
16
20
19
16
21
18
16
20
17
15
19
17
23
27
26
23
28
25
23
27
24
22
26
24
30
 
 
30
 
 
30
 
 
29
 
31


2011

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
3
7
7
4
2
6
4
1
5
3
7
5
10
14
14
11
9
13
11
8
12
10
14
12
17
21
21
18
16
20
18
15
19
17
21
19
24
28
28
25
23
27
25
22
26
24
28
26
31
 
 
 
30
 
 
29
 
31
 
 


2010

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
4
1
1
5
3
7
5
2
6
4
1
6
11
8
8
12
10
14
12
9
13
11
8
13
18
15
15
19
17
21
19
16
20
18
15
20
25
22
22
26
25
28
26
23
27
25
22
27
 
 
 
 
31
 
 
30
 
 
29
 


2009

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
6
2
2
6
4
1
6
3
7
5
2
7
13
9
9
13
11
8
13
10
14
12
9
14
20
16
16
20
18
15
20
17
21
19
16
21
27
23
23
27
25
22
27
24
28
26
23
28
 
 
 
 
 
29
 
31
 
 
30