All roads lead to Kilmurry

At least in my family tree, they do.

Another Brick in the Wall

I have had a longtime brick wall regarding the my 3rd great-grandmother, the nameless spouse of Cornelius Cronin. Her name was not included in her daughter Ellen Cronin’s marriage record. Ellen married Michael Hegarty in Cork City, but parish records from Cork City contained so many Ellen Cronins with fathers named Cornelius that it was impossible to discern which might be mine. This was a blank spot in my tree for years. There have been so many more parish registers released lately that I decided to try again to identify my 3rd great-grandmother.

I started by examining all the baptisms of Ellen Cronin Hegarty’s children, and assuming that every godparent surnamed Cronin was one of her siblings. (I know this may not always hold true, but it’s a hypothesis.) Then I searched for a Cornelius Cronin who had children with matching names and ages. There were still too many potential Corneliuses.

Handwriting hell-pers

Because of all the new parish records, I received an Ancestry hint for Ellen Cronin, a marriage register from St. Finbarr’s South Church in Cork City showing Ellen and her husband Michael Hegarty as witnesses for the marriage of Hanora Corcoran and John Murphy. When I opened the hint and looked at the actual digital scan of the scribbled record, I saw that “Corcoran” was a mistake in the indexing and the bride was Hanora Cronin — Ellen’s sister! Then in another column it said that both the bride’s and the groom’s parents were from Kilmurry — the same village as Michael Hegarty’s parents. People were marrying friends from their hometowns! Back to my list of potential Corneliuses; there was one from Kilmurry married to Ellen Taylor. Ellen Taylor is my 3rd great-grandmother.

Possible problems

This discovery changes Ellen Cronin’s birthplace from Cork City with an unknown mother to Kilmurry with a known mother, and she is born about 5 years later than I thought, which means she marries at 16 instead of 21. The fact that she goes on to have 14 children seems to me to support a younger marriage, though. Also, near the end of her life, in the 1911 census of Ireland, it says she was born in Cork City. I have never been able to find any other actual birth document for her than the one I found for Kilmurry. The 1911 census also says that she’s illiterate, she’s a widow, 9 of her 14 children have died and the other 5 have emigrated or moved away. Did she specify that she was born in Cork City or did she just say she was from there? She had left Kilmurry as an adolescent and worked as a servant in Cork City before she got married and had all her children in Cork City. On balance, I think the parish baptismal records are more reliable than the birthplace column of the 1911 census, but I’ll keep an eye out for more evidence either way. Hopefully I’ll get some kind of Taylor DNA match on Ancestry to help my sense of certainty.

In the meantime, I’ve added Ellen Taylor to my names list on my overview page.

Distant Hegarty aunts and uncles

There was really no family memory of having relatives in New York, but since I’ve moved here I find them fairly often. I’ve known for awhile that my great-grandfather’s sister Julia Hegarty King (1869-1935) is buried on Staten Island. She turned up in a New York  death index on and I sent away for her death certificate. Today I took advantage of the glorious fall weather and drove out to Ocean View Cemetery to see her gravesite.

Julia shaved a few years off her age once she got to the United States. So there she is with her husband Thomas. Carroll McLoughlin was Julia’s son-in-law. The surprise bonus of going out there is the discovery that Eleanora (Hegarty) Hughes is there too: she’s Julia’s sister and another great-great-aunt. I didn’t even have a death date for her until now.

In Massachusetts, my Hegarty relatives are mostly concentrated in the Cambridge/Somerville area of Middlesex County. I’ve long wondered why my great-grandfather chose that particular area. Today I found one possible reason: he had an uncle already living there. (Most immigration happens in chains; people go where they already know someone.) Since I pushed back that next generation, I’ve been able to better identify which Hegartys are mine. The FamilySearch matching engine brought forth a Massachusetts death certificate for a 3X great-uncle Jeremiah Hegarty, who died in Cambridge in 1905. He was the uncle of the women buried above and of my great-grandfather. So that’s who my great-grandfather knew in Cambridge. I suppose the next question is about who Jerry knew, but I need to actually work on things for my job for a while now.

Hegarty of Kilmurry, Cork

This month another couple of million of Irish civil registration records were placed online at, an Irish government website. Of course I checked if there were any new Hegarty records.

I found a Daniel Hegarty of Brandy Lane in Cork, husband of Margaret Riordan, registering the birth of his son John Hegarty in January 1867. I remembered that a Daniel Hegarty of Brandy Lane was the informant on the birth certificate of my great-grandfather John Hegarty of Gillabbey Lane, Cork in December 1867. My theory is that Daniel was the informant for his nephew; that my great-great-grandfather Michael Hegarty of Gillabbey Lane was Daniel’s brother. I know that Michael’s father’s name was John because it was given in Michael’s marriage record to Ellen Cronin.

I searched the parish sacramental registers that are also online at the same website, and found a marriage for Daniel Hegarty and Margaret Riordan in February 1858 in Kilmurry, Co. Cork. I searched all the parish baptisms for a John Hegarty with sons named Daniel and Michael, who would be the right age to be having children in the 1860s, and sure enough he turned up in Kilmurry with his wife Eliza Kelleher. Between 1829 and 1845, John and Eliza (Kelleher) Hegarty had seven children: Daniel, Jeremiah, Ned, Ellen, John, Michael, and Patrick. John Hegarty is also listed as a tenant in Kilmurry in Griffith’s Valuation in 1853.

Therefore, I’m adding John Hegarty and Eliza Kelleher as my great-great-great-grandparents. I also found a 1796 baptismal record for a John Hegarty in Kilmurry, the son of Michael Hegarty and Mary Donnelly. It’s only one piece of evidence but I’m adding them for now as 4th-great-grandparents; it’s not like evidence is thick on the ground for this period.

So it’s worth checking out the updated Irish civil registrations site if you haven’t already. They took me back one solid generation and one more pretty good possibility.