My third-great-grandmother Honora Crotty Power was born in the Catholic Parish of Tramore, County Waterford in 1814. I know this because on March 12 of that year, her parents Ellen Kelly and Patrick Crotty had her baptized in that place. I also know Honora grew up and married Edmond Power there sometime around 1834. They made their home in Cullencastle, still in Tramore Parish, where they had at least three children. I believe there were others born to them, but unfortunately Tramore church records are missing for the early years of the Power marriage. Their youngest child Philip, born in 1857, is the lone baptism found in Tramore. I know of the existence of the other two children only because they appear in obituaries in the USA.
Honora came to America between 1875 and 1880, probably alone as a widow. The 1875 New York census shows all three of her known children in Farmington, New York but she is not with any one of them. In 1880 Honora was living with her daughter Ellen Mahoney in Farmington, where she died in 1888, her death certificate being maddeningly devoid of any genealogical information. That was about all I could find for a long time, but although the church records are missing for the period when Honora married and began her family, earlier church records survive. I was able to find the marriage of her parents in 1809, and along with her baptism, that of her older brother David, and her younger brother Patrick Jr.
Farmington had several different Power families living there at the time Honora arrived, some were from Waterford and were probably related, but I'm not sure how at this point. There was only one Crotty family however-- that of John Crotty, his wife Ellen and their daughter Mary. Could this be Honora's brother? There was no baptismal record for him in Tramore, but what were the odds the only two Crottys from Ireland living in a small town like Farmington were not related? Not good as I discovered, they were related! The story of how I proved it is here.
But back to maps; since I grew up one town over from Farmington, I was naturally curious about where the Crotty's had lived there. So I went to Ancestry and searched their collection of ownership maps. It took a little persistence, John was mistakenly indexed as J. B. Cratty, but I found him. I'm sure it's my Uncle John-- right across the street is the Wallace farm. James Wallace was John's brother-in-law, husband of his wife Ellen's sister Mary Mullett. Even today these two families from across the Atlantic remain together, buried side by side in St. Patrick's Cemetery in nearby Macedon, NY.
I took a drive out to the spot pictured on Ancestry's map but things had changed a bit. The old map showed the two families on a road that goes straight through to an east-west road. No such road exists. Being familiar with the area I was pretty sure I was in the right place, but things were not lining up. I then looked at a satellite map which brought everything into focus.
Look there, right below the T formed by the two roads. The outline of an old, long unused road can clearly be seen in darker green running though the wooded area. It's overgrown, but still visible. The house on the left was the spot John and Ellen Crotty lived a century ago. While their home is gone now, and another has taken it's place, the fascination remains for me. This spot is a tangible link to my Irish past. I've surrendered any notion of being able to fully explain the emotions kindled by standing in my ancestor's footprints, but if you're reading this, I probably don't have to.