Saturday, September 14, 2013

Surname Saturday/Crotty of Waterford Ireland


     I have one set of immigrant ancestors from County Waterford, the Power/Crotty line.  I found the Power family first because that was the male line and easier to trace, but also because I met the last surviving member, my great, great Uncle Philip Power Jr. before his death in 1978.  His father Philip Sr. first appears in the USA as an 18 year old Irish immigrant in the 1875 census of Farmington, New York, with the Daniel Pomeroy family.

     By the time of the 1880 census he was a farm hand for Erasmus Turner, still in Farmington, and had aged only one year!  He was now 19.  I know from church records he was actually 23 in 1880, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.  It brings up a good point though; ages, as given in census records, are notoriously bad. There are several reasons for this, the individual may not have known his exact age especially if he was illiterate, and often when the census taker came to the door not every person at the address was home to give a true accounting of their age.  Sometimes no one was home and a neighbor filled in the blanks.  But back to the story.

     I next found Philip in 1900, living in Manchester, New York with a wife Mary, three daughters and a son, the first born in 1886.  I knew from family stories there was another child, Maggie Power, who was my grandfather's mother and the first born of Philip and Mary's children.  This clued me to look for a marriage around 1882-83.  Bingo!  The marriage register of St. Anne's Catholic Church in Palmyra, NY lists the marriage of Philip Power, son of Edmund Power and Honora Crotty to Mary Gunn, the daughter of John Gunn and Margaret Browne in 1882.

     My next question was, did Ed Power and Honora Crotty come over to America too?  Back to the census records and in 1880 I found Honora Power living in Farmington quite near Philip.  She was a widow, part of the household of Thomas Mahoney and his wife Ellen, and was listed as Thomas' mother in law, all of them from Ireland.  I was pretty sure I'd found 3rd great grandma Power and also an older sister of Philip's.  This was confirmed by finding the Mahoney marriage in church marriage records.  It seems Edmund must have died in Ireland, I've never found a trace of him, unless of course you count that pesky 1870 census of nearby Palmyra--"Edw. Powers, 42 currier, from Ireland." This man is much younger than Honora, but then again, census ages are often way off.  He disappeared after that census, too early for a death certificate in New York if in fact he died, and nothing in the newspapers.

     It's clear the family rode out the famine in Ireland, the earliest members not arriving on US shores until the late 1860's, but where in Ireland?  I found the answer in Philip Sr.'s obituary:

     Oct. 29, 1929:  Philip Powers, (sic) Sr., of Manchester town met with a sudden and untimely death by falling down the cellar stairs at his home Tuesday morning, October 29, fracturing his skull.  Drs. Conley and Pratt were called, but the end came at 1:10 p.m.  Mr. Powers was born in Waterford, Ireland, on November 20, 1858.  He came to America with his parents when a small child.  He lived for 58 years in the towns of Farmington and Manchester.  Survivors are four daughters, Mrs. Charles D. Hackett, Mrs. Richard Woods of Manchester, Helen of Rochester and Lida of Westboro, Mass.; one son, Philip Jr., of Manchester; two sisters, Mrs. Ellen Mahoney and Mrs. Mary Ryan of Palmyra.  Funeral services were held from St. Felix Catholic Church in Clifton Springs on Saturday morning, with burial in St. Rose's cemetery, Shortsville.

     That stuff about coming here as a small child with his parents is hooey, but obituaries are sometimes as wrong as census ages. I've seen plenty that were riddled with errorsNow I had a county, I wanted a townland and to know more about Grandma Honora's family.  I visited St. Anne's cemetery in Palmyra where Ellen Power Mahoney was buried, and just by pure luck, the monument next to hers marks the grave of  Thomas and Mary Ryan.  You will remember from the obit, Mary Ryan was a sister of Philip!  Yes, I know, there are many Mary Ryans out there, but other articles and church records convinced me she was the ONE.  Fortuitously, her monument reads, "Natives of Tramore."  Now I was getting somewhere, I had a county and a parish or townland, Tramore could be either one.

     I still had nothing more on Hanora though; cemetery records showed her buried in the Mahoney plot.  She had no marker, but the records gave me a death date.  I finally had no choice but to send to the dreaded NY Dept. of Vital Records for her death certificate.  I should have saved myself the trouble, it read, birthplace Ireland, parents unknown.  I hate when that happens.  Fortunately, I found also living in Farmington, an older Irish gentleman named John Crotty.  Farmington is rather small, what are the odds the only two Crotty's in town are not related in some manner?  Back to the NY Vital Records, arrrggg.  John's certificate was much more edifying than Honora's.  His parents were Patrick Crotty and Ellen Kelly.

     Things were falling into place now, even more so when the records for Tramore Parish came online at the IFHF site.  There I found Honora Crotty's birth in March of 1814, parents Partrick Crotty and Ellen Kelly, YES, she and John of Farmington were brother and sister.  I also found her marriage to Edmund Power and the birth of Philip Power Sr. at Cullen Castle!  That is a small townland just a few miles north of Tramore. After finding the townland I found many more documents pertaining to the Crotty family, they appear in the Tithe ApplotmentsGriffith's Valuation and Irish Civil Registration records.

Philip Power Sr. Baptism

      I don't understand why her death certificate listed her parents as unknown?  The informant was her son Philip Power Sr. who certainly had met his Uncle John Crotty in Farmington and his Uncles Patrick and David Crotty, all brothers of Honora's back in Ireland.  He may or may not have met his Grandfather Patrick, I don't have his death date, but he had to have known the surname was Crotty.  Was it a mistrust of authority figures?  I'll never know, but it keeps things interesting.


  1. Hi Ellie,
    As a proud Déiseach [ie, a native of Co Waterford] I am just curious to know if you ever found any actual relatives [long lost or otherwise] in Tramore? I come from Ardmore further to the west along the Waterford coast but have lived here in Australia since arriving as a young man in 1964. As you will have discovered Power is a very well known name in our area, in fact the eastern portion of the county was known as 'Paorach' or Power's country because the old family of Le Paor were granted that territory after the Norman invasion in the C12. The Le Paor family eventually Gaelicised themselves and became known as 'de Paor' in the Irish language.

    I don't know much about the name Crotty except that local history tells of a highwayman who had a hideout in the Comeragh Mts and was known as 'Crotty the Robber'. A 'Robin Hood' figure in local folklore, he was eventually betrayed by a follower and hanged. Chris

  2. Hi Chris, If you mean still living realtives, no I haven't found any. I did find another possible sister for Philip Jr. Johanna Power, in Tramore court records. Same townland, Cullencastle, but nothing more to connect her. I have heard of the "robber' I don't know if he was a relative or not, I like to think maybe...Thanks for writing.

  3. I also have a John Crotty I have not been able to find, but census records list him as from Waterford..