Friday, January 17, 2014

Follow Friday/Free E-Zine

     Some of you probably already know about this, but for those who don't, the free Irish genealogy digital magazine Irish Lives Remembered can be downloaded, or read page by page on-line here.  January's issue is now available along with older editions.

     Each month the magazine features a genealogy guide to a different county in addition to general genealogy articles, so don't just read the editions spotlighting your counties of interest, they all have some good articles. The majority of the contributors are based in Ireland, with a few scattered in Australia, the US and the UK.  I'm not sure what they'll do when they run out of counties, perhaps a focus on different parishes.  That would be great, hopefully they'll start with the ones I'm interested in like Listowel in Kerry, Baltinglass in Wicklow/Kildare, or Annacarty/Donohill parish in South Tipp.  

     Speaking of Tipperary, the issue focusing on that county mentions a lesser known source called, The Reproductive Loan Funds.  I'd never heard of this--and no, they didn't want more Irishmen, these loans were intended to be used for the purchase of livestock, tools for a trade or to establish small cottage industries.  Supervised by London, the plan was only implemented in nine counties, Clare, West Cork, Mayo, Sligo, Galway, Roscommon, Leitrim, Limerick and Tipperary.

     At present the original documents rest in the UK National Archives, but part of them dating from 1848 to 1854 are available online at Moving Here (skip down to Irish Community when you get there).  The records available on this site were a follow up done to see how the loan recipients were getting on.  I went through the files and was greatly excited to see Donohill, Tipperary, home of my Ryans and O'Dwyers listed, but they weren't mentioned.  Only three names appeared--Mary Hogan, Norry Flin and James Nelson, all in "poor circumstances" at the time their loans were issued.  Mary and Norry got their loans in 1846, James in 1847.  The money didn't do them much good. Mary was dead by December of 1850, Norry, the wife of a farm laborer, died in the workhouse that same month and James, a weaver, was forced to enlist in the British Army to survive.

     Then I got excited all over again when I saw an entry for Silverhill, a tiny townland near Donohill where my 4th great grandfather Andrew Dwyer was recorded in the Tithe Applotments.  Again, no dice.  What is interesting about this though, is in spite of not finding my ancestors in these records, they  tell me a great deal about the area in which they lived.  The purpose of the loans was to "eradicate pockets of poverty", and no doubt make upstanding rent and tax paying British citizens of these unfortunate residents of an occupied country--but I digress.  As I was saying, what is interesting is that this area of  relatively prosperous South Tipperary was included in the program with counties like Sligo and Mayo, known for their extreme poverty during that period.

     When you get a chance look through these fascinating records if you have ancestors in the covered counties, you may get luckier than I was.  And check the e-zine, I think you'll find some useful advice there.

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