Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Exactly What Is A Chartery? You May Want To Know And An Update

     The discovery of several new DNA matches in my Keyes line has me back on their trail as the new year begins.  The area this family lived in was very close to the border with Tipperary so you never know where a record might show up.  Which is a good thing since their parish in Laois, Rathdowney, has a large chunk of missing records in exactly the time frame needed for the ancestors who fled the famine to America.  They being in many cases the link between Ireland and the United States.

      Margaret Keyes and James White senior, the parents of my 2nd great-grandfather James White, were married in Ireland sometime around 1817.  Unfortunately, the marriage records for Rathdowney skip from 1810 to 1939 with nothing in between.  Checking the records from Templemore, across the line in Tipperary, I didn't find them, but did come across the marriage of William White and Ann Delahunty in 1846.  

     As it happens, there was an Ireland born James White living in Marion, NY , (close to my James White after his emigration), who married Margaret Touhey in 1878 at the Catholic Church in nearby Palmyra, NY.  His parents in the record of that marriage were William White and Anastasia Delahunty.  This James White was much younger than my 2nd great-grandfather and clearly not a son as his son James the 3rd is accounted for.  So who was he?  Given his marriage record, I believe he was the child of William and Anna from Templemore.  I also tend to believe this William and my granddad were brothers.

     If William lived in Laois it would be a great clue. Taking a closer look at his marriage record in Templemore, seeking an address which is sometimes included, all I found was the phrase "married at the Chartery", Chastery?  What was that?  It reminded me of something that was part of a church, but it finally dawned on me I was thinking of vestry... that couldn't be it. I ran some searches on Google without any luck, trying different spellings and the keyword "church" or no keyword at all.  The hand writing wasn't the best, as you can see below.

     Finally I hit on the right combination of letters along with the keyword Catholic.  There at the site "Catholic Online" I found a definition that fit-- the word was chantry, as in "a detached chapel chantry built in a churchyard or outlying district".  So apparently they were married in a small chapel rather than the main chapel.  Not that it really matters, sadly there was no townland given, but I like to know these things.  Familiarity with words in use by the clergy could be helpful in future research.  At least the word wasn't French  for workhouse.

Update-- The baptism of James White, the son of William White and Anastasia Delahunty has been found in RATHDOWNEY PARISH!


  1. The word is Charters, and it refers to the townland of Clonmore, which is located in the Catholic parish of Templemore, Co. Tipperary. The Tithe Applotments for the area have various denominations of land for Clonmore: Clonmore House Quarter, Clonmore, Clonmore Chapel Quarter, Clonmore Derreens & Malones, Clonmore Moiners, Clonmore Cloughill, Clonmore Charters. You sometimes see references in the Templemore Catholic parish registers to someone living at Moiners or Charters, for example. But you won't find them on any modern map. These denominations did not become official townland names when the Ordnance Survey later mapped the area and drew up boundaries of the official townlands. However, some of the local names continued to be used in the parish register sometimes into the 1900s. And they might still be know locally. It's possible that the reference means that they married in the Catholic Chapel located in the townland of Clonmore (NE of the town of Templemore) rather than in the parish church located in the town of Templemore. The earliest extant records were kept separately for the chapel at Clonmore and the parish church at Templemore.