Monday, March 14, 2016

Dan McGarr's Farm

                                                    The farm-- Courtesy of Dara at Black Raven Genealogy

     Like many of you I've been enjoying Ancestry's week of free Irish records.  I've found several useful things in the databases, and today I've finally figured out the owners, down through the years, of my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Daniel McGarr's farm in Ballyraggan County Kildare.  Quite awhile ago I sent to the Valuation Office in Ireland and received a package of copies of the cancelled or revised books begun in the late 1840's by Mr. Griffith's and his valuers.  It contained a list of the various occupiers and owners of Daniel's property.

     Daniel of course is the occupant from the 1850's until his death in 1875.  After that the occupier was Thomas Hughes, Daniel's son in law by virtue of his marriage to Daniel's daughter Sarah McGarr.  Sarah and Thomas had one child, a daughter named Mary in 1873.  Sarah died between that time and 1902 when Thomas married a much younger Margaret Brien with whom he had another daughter in 1903 baptized Mary Margaret.  Thomas himself passed away in 1909.  The next name to appear in the book is that of Margaret Butler followed by a Mrs. Miley in about 1942.  But who was Margaret Butler?  I'm sure Mrs. Miley is the daughter Thomas and Margaret had together in 1903 who married James Miley.  Did she come back and purchase her birthplace?  Could it be that Margaret Butler was the former Mrs. Hughes?  As I mentioned, Margaret was younger that Thomas Hughes, she could well have remarried.

     I did a search at Ancestry and found a possible marriage in the Civil Registration index between Margaret Brien and Martin Butler in 1912 but it was pretty bare bones.  I then tried the Civil Registration at Irish and found the 1912 marriage of Martin Butler and Margaret Hughes.  I'm betting the records have both of Margaret's surnames listed, and each site chose to use a different one.  This is real proof I have the right marriage.

     I also found in the revision book, stamped in purple ink next to Margaret Butler's name, the letters LAP and the name of the "lessor" had been crossed out and "in fee" written in.  This meant Mrs. Butler was no longer leasing the property, but had purchased it by means of Land Act Purchase assistance.  The Land Commission, created in 1881, had begun this program to help occupiers buy the land they had heretofore leased.  It's my understanding the revised books have been scanned and are ready to go online, I'm not sure what the hold up is but we were promised these a very long time ago; Northern Ireland's are already up and running at the PRONI site.

     Another annoying matter still remains however, and that is my complete inability to find any reference to the death of Sarah McGarr Hughes.  Or her and Thomas' daughter Mary born in 1873.  I think Mary may have died before 1903 when Thomas and his new wife Margaret Brien became the parents of Mary Margaret Hughes.  Surely Thomas wouldn't have named his second daughter Mary if the first was still living...would he?  This Civil Registration is the closest I've ever found for the first Mary:

Name     Mary Hughes
Event Type     Death
Event Date     Jan - Mar 1946

Event Place     Baltinglass, Ireland
Birth year       (estimated) 1872
Age       74
Registration Quarter and Year  Jan - Mar 1946

     The birth year is right, she was born in April so wouldn't have turned 75 yet, but I have no way of knowing if it's truly her. It's possible she married before the second Mary was born and her death is under her husband's name. I would be a little sad if the record does refer to the first Mary--with no husband and the farm her grandfather Daniel worked going to Thomas' second daughter who wasn't even a McGarr.  I'd love to know what did become of the first Mary Hughes, daughter of Sarah McGarr, not to mention Sarah's two brothers Richard and John.  There are still McGarr mysteries to be solved...

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