Monday, April 29, 2013

Life on Lord Hawarden's Estate

Places evidence was taken

     Lord Hawarden,  whose property in South Tipperary was mainly in
Ballintemple, Clonoulty, Donohill and Kilpatrick parishes, was the sort of landlord tenants loved to hate.  He did things like
refuse to give his tenants leases, things like evicting elderly men who had occupied the land for decades and made innumerable improvements.  I know this because I read it in Report from Her Majesty's Commissioners of Inquiry Into the State of the Law and Practice in Respect to the Occupation of Land in Ireland -- Volume 3 published in 1845.  You can too  at google along with volumes 1, 4 and 5. read report

     The report contains the testimony of many men from various walks of life, large farmers, medium farmers, magistrates, parish priests and landlords themselves.  Volume 3 covers a large part of Munster, see list above right for specifics.  It has wonderful descriptions of what life was like at that time and place, though naturally the opinions vary depending on the station in life of the individual testifying. Even if the exact spot your ancestors came from is not on the list, looking at testimony given in the area closest to their home will give a good idea of conditions in the vicinity.

Townlands on Lord Hawarden's estate
     I became interested in Lord H because unfortunately, he was my third great grandfather Cornelius Ryan's landlord in Goldengarden, South Tipperary per Griffith's Valuation.  

Excerpt from the testimony of Father Mackey
    There was something interesting other than the dates and names in the baptismal records of Cornelius' children -- the changing addresses.  There were three in all, Churchfield, Goldengarden and Alleen.  This made it clear to me that Cornelius did not have a long term lease, quite possibly no lease at all and was a tenant at will meaning he had no security of tenure and no legal recourse should a disagreement arise between him and his landlord.  It also made it clear that this needed to be investigated.  Reading the report it became obvious I was right about the tenancy at will.  In the testimony of Father John Mackey, when asked if the tenants were at will, he answers in the affirmative and goes on to state that scarcely a lease has been given in the last 10 years.  In fact Lord H was notorious for evicting his tenants in order to enlarge his personal holdings which he then farmed himself or used for grazing.

     It's wonderful how much can be discovered about life in Ireland and elsewhere with a simple search of google books.  I would bet many other landlords and reports can be found there in obscure volumes we wouldn't have found in a hundred years, or thought to look in even if we did have access, if not for the amazing internet.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Black Sheep Sunday / Daniel O'Hora

     Daniel O’Hora, son of James O’Hora and his wife Maria McGarr, was born at his parent’s farm in Owasco, New York the first day of August in 1865.  When Daniel was 2 years old the family purchased a farm in the hamlet of Littleville, just outside Shortsville village in the Town of Manchester, New York.  I have very little information on Daniel until he reaches the age of 23 when he and a few other young men from the area decide it would be a good idea to travel to Washington Territory at the urging of a Mr. White. 

     No doubt James and Maria were at the Shortsville train station to bid farewell to their prodigal, but within a few months Daniel was back in town.  He and the others didn’t care for Washington, in fact in April of 1888 this article ran in the Shortsville paper:        
     Richard Wheatly one of the number who left Shortsville some few weeks since for Washington Territory arrived home Monday evening.  He had seen Mr. White and intimates that O’Hora was anxious to “pulverize” White, and had he not been talked out of it, would have thoroughly demoralized our western friend.”

     Daniel apparently did not pulverize Mr. White, and returned to the farm in Littleville where 6 years later he was arrested for selling liquor without a license on Christmas day of 1894.  In fact, had he wanted to he would have been unable to obtain a license; Manchester was a temperance town, or no-license town; nobody was permitted to sell liquor within its boundaries. The newspaper also makes mention of Daniel being “the proprietor of the notorious Vinegar Inn” it would seem Daniel was operating a shebeen.  In February he pled guilty to the charges, paid a $50 fine and left for Pennsylvania.  Until around 1920 he came and went from the family farm regularly, living besides Pennsylvania in Rochester, New York City and Savannah, New York.

     Pennsylvania seems to be where he met the woman who would become his common law wife.  Hattie Taylor Sabin, a divorcee, was in and out of Daniel’s life until she passed away in 1937.  Though in many censuses they were living apart they always seemed to come back together, and they were together at the time of Hattie's death.  Daniel outlived her by 14 years; this is his obituary that appeared in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, note O'Hora has now become O'Hara:
     Shortsville- Daniel O'Hara, 85, lifelong resident of Littleville, died Wednesday (Jan. 31, 1951) at the Thompson Memorial Hospital, Canandaigua. He was born August 1, 1865, the son of James and Maria McGarr O'Hara.  He was a farmer in this area for many years, and for five years, 1914 to 1919, was a foreman at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  He also was employed on the New York Central Railroad.  He retired in 1937.  Since 1940 he had made his home with a nephew, James Fitzpatrick of Littleville.   He is survived by several nieces and nephews.   Funeral services will be held at the McLoughlin Funeral Home in Manchester tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. and at 9 a.m. at St. Dominic's Church, Shortsville.  The Rev. Emmett Doherty of St. Felix Church, Clifton Springs, will officiate.  Burial will be in St. Rose Cemetery, Shortsville.

    Daniel died of bronchial pneumonia just 36 hours after being admitted to the hospital.   I called St. Rose’s cemetery once and they have no record of his burial there, and there is no stone for him, so I’m not sure where Daniel was laid to rest though I think they may have simply mislaid his records; his death certificate agrees he is at St. Rose’s.  No one in the family can help with this mystery because when my grandmother died, the last person who knew him was gone.  Not that I think she attended her uncle’s  burial, my father and his brother grew up in the same town where their Great Uncle Daniel spent his last 10 years and never even knew of his existence.  Daniel was apparently disowned and ignored by most of the family; I’m betting there is a lot more to this story.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Surname Saturday / White

     James White, my second great grandfather, is my brick wall--steel reinforced.  He is my only second great grandfather I cannot find a townland in Ireland for.  I have some clues I’ve dug up over the decades such as the 1930 US census in which each of his adult children gave his birthplace as the Irish Free State, so I’m reasonably sure he is not from the northern part of the island.   That’s something to keep in mind if you’re trying to determine the birthplaces of Irish ancestors.

      A surname distribution search at the Irish Times genealogy site titled, Irish Ancestors, at Irish Ancestors shows the name White in virtually every county in Ireland with the heaviest concentration in Cork.  The counties of Wexford and Tipperary have second and third place, but in truth, Whites are everywhere.  The site’s information is based on data from the Primary Valuation compiled in 1847 -64.  Irish Ancestors has this to say about Whites, “Very numerous: all areas, E Ulster, Leinster, Limerick etc. Ir. de Faoite. An English nick-name, "fair" analogous to Irish bán, which it sometimes replaces. In Ireland 13 cent, they appear on Limerick Corporation in 1213. See also Whyte.”

     From the same site, is the 1890 births distribution:

Leinster - 82
Munster - 91
Connacht - 24
Ulster - 94

    Since I’ve decided to rule out the north, I discount Ulster making Munster the province with the most White families. While I would tend to put more stock in the earlier data from the valuation since James was born about 1834 and left Ireland in the immediate aftermath of the famine, that database too has Tipperary in the province of Munster in the top three. 

      I won’t even go into what a joke it was trying to find him in passenger lists.  He first appears in US records in 1856 upon his marriage to Anna Ryan at St. Anne’s in Palmyra, NY, and next in the 1860 census of Marion, NY only a few miles away.  He and Anna, who was from Tipperary, arrived in America about the same time, so there is also the possibility they were from the same locale in Ireland and knew each other before immigrating.

Marriage record of James & Anna
     I believe his parents were James White Sr. and Margaret Keyes.  When James married Anna the priest recorded those names in the marriage record.  However, when James died, his son Thomas gave his parents as William White and Catherine Keyes on the death certificate.  I tend to believe the church record for several reasons; firstly, while priests have been known to make mistakes, (see  Mistakes Happen ),  this is apparently what James himself told the man, secondly, James and Anna named their first daughter Alice for Anna’s mother and their second daughter Margaret, presumably for his mother.  I’m confident I have all the children of this marriage accounted for and their birth order correct.  Catherine Ryan of Palmyra, whom I've determined was James’ sister, named her daughter Margaret also.  As for his father, until I find more information one way or the other I’m going with James but keeping an open mind.
James' death certificate

     At least the records are all in agreement on surnames, so I began looking for those names occurring together.  Going back to the Irish Ancestors site, I found Keyes mostly in Tipperary and Limerick. In the Tithe Applotments I found quite a few Whites and Keyes living in Ballingarry Parish in County Limerick.  Fortunately Keyes is not as prevalent a surname as White, but there are many different spellings and even McKees to contend with.

     I've searched all the usual places,  death certificates, obituaries, news articles, his children and sister's records, even deeds--nothing.  It may be the records of whatever parish James was baptized in don't go back to the early 1830's, a discouraging thought, but a possibility.  Ballingarry baptismal records for example are missing from 1828 to 1849, exactly the time period James would have been baptized.  Given what I have been able to find, it seems likely Limerick/Tipperary is the right area but the search goes on and that really is half the fun.