Friday, August 7, 2015
Another Piece To The McGarr Puzzle
A while back I blogged about my search for the parents of Daniel McGarr of Ballyraggan, Kildare. Daniel was my great-great-great-grandfather. He never came to America, but many of his children did including Maria my great-great-grandmother; around the time of the famine. In my previous post I wrote about the possibility that Daniel was a brother of John McGarr, who like the others settled in Auburn, New York. As luck would have it, John married Mary Kelly in Auburn and the record of that marriage contains the names of his parents, John McGarr and Catherine Murphy. Obviously, if he and Daniel were in fact brothers, they would probably have the same parents. To make it even more interesting, Daniel back in Ballyraggan named his oldest daughter Catherine, and of his two sons, the youngest was named John.
Now that the NLI has put their Catholic registers online, I've been pouring over Baltinglass records, the parish Ballyraggan residents were part of, but it occurred to me-- Rathvilly Parish is very close to Baltinglass Parish; Ballyraggan townland is almost as close to Rathvilly village as it is to Baltinglass village. If Daniel was born as little as a mile or two from Ballyraggan his birthplace could very well have been in Rathvilly Parish, and my hunch paid off. Daniel and John's births appear to have been too early to be recorded, but in 1802 Richard McGarr was born in Garretstown, County Carlow, (near Ballyraggan), to John and Catherine McGarr. In 1805 Elizabeth McGarr was born there, and in 1808 Edward McGarr, all to John and Catherine. Incidentally, the other of Daniel's two sons was named Richard, not a terribly common name, and John Jr. also had a Richard. But there's more, in 1801 a child whose name unfortunately I can't make out, was christened at Rathvilly. His godparents were Michael and Winifred Hore, the address was also Garretstown. I believe Michael and Winifred Hore were the grandparents of James Hore who married Daniel's daughter Maria McGarr in Auburn.
One of the oldest, and first McGarrs in Auburn was Mary McGarr nee Hayden. Her broken tombstone in that city bears the inscription, "Native of Ballyraggan"! Burial records from Holy Family Parish there refer to Mary, daughter of William Hayden and Honora Kavanaugh, aged 98. Three years after Mary's death in 1866, another entry in the Holy Family burial register records the death of Eliza Kelly, married daughter of Michael McGarr and Mary Haydon. I make note of this because...in 1802 Elizabeth McGarr, daughter of Michael and Mary, was baptized at Rathvilly. Her address? Garretstown! So... wait, back up a minute, I just realized there are two Kelly's in this blog, the one who married John McGarr in Auburn and Patrick Kelly who married Eliza McGarr. This is why I blog, it organizes my thoughts like nothing else. And of course to attract cousins, which coincidentally happened recently, and will be the subject of my next blog...
Summing up, it's beginning to look like Mary Hayden McGarr, the "native of Ballyraggan", may have been born there, but moved the short distance to Garretstown after her marriage to Michael McGarr. And John McGarr (brother of Michael?) (father of Daniel and John Jr.?), was also living there in Garretstown. And great-great-great-grandpa was likely born at Garretstown. And the Hore family was also near by. None of this is proof, but these tantalizing clues seem to point to my theory being right. While it IS only a theory, the evidence continues to mount.