It started with this email-- "I think I've found Dennis Hogan's baptism, parents Darby Hogan and Maria Curley!" Cousin John and I have been trying for a very long time to find Darby Hogan and his family in Ireland and connect him to our Ryan family, several members of whom are buried in Darby's cemetery plot. We had his children's names, their approximate birth dates from US censuses, and a county too, Tipperary, but no matter how hard we looked we just couldn't find the right parish. Now here was a very good possibility, in the diocese of Killaloe, parish of Birr & Loughkeen, North Riding. One of the largest obstacles has been the maiden name of Darby's wife Maria, we've seen it spelled Coonan, Callihan, Calnan, Cooney etc. and now Curley. Cousin John joked that if it started with the letter C we needed to consider it, and he was right.
That same night I received John's email, I went to Ancestry to check their index of baptisms in Ireland. For search terms I used just father's name-- Darby Hogan and Killaloe Diocese. I left the other fields blank. And there was Michael in 1851! Father Darby, mother Maria Callanan, also a partial entry for what appears to be Mary Hogan's baptism. It's at the very top of the page, and the corner is torn off so only the last two letters "ry" for the child's first name are visible as you can see below. They look identical to the "ry" in the mother's name.
This time the parents were Jeremiah Hogan and Mary Callen. As you may know, Jeremiah is a variant of Darby and you're no doubt beginning to see what John meant with the comment, "I'm open to any Mary or Maria whose surname begins with a C."
A day later brought another email from John, "I think I've found Ann Hogan". Her baptism in 1844, also in Birr & Loughkeen had the father's name listed as "Dairy" Hogan, mother's name Mary Conlon. One constant tying all these baptisms together was the name of the townland-- Killeen.
We feel quite confident we've finally found the correct townland for Darby and his five children born in Ireland, the others being born in New York. The only one missing is the eldest, Ellen Hogan probably born around 1842. There is a puzzling baptism in 1840 for what looks like "Hann" Hogan, the daughter of Darby Hogan and Dora Hogan of Killeen. Could this be Ellen's baptism? It doesn't seem likely, I've never heard of Hann or Hannah being a variant of Ellen. And the mother's name of Dora is not what I would expect to find, although when Ellen's first daughter was born she named her Dora. Perhaps Darby had a wife before Maria, and Ellen was a product of that marriage? Ellen's marriage in Palmyra, New York lists her mother's name as Maria Calnan. But maybe Ellen would have given Maria's name if she raised her, even if Maria wasn't her biological mother? To make things even more interesting, (confusing), one of the witnesses to Ellen's marriage was a Dora Hogan. Rechecking the Ancestry index for "mother's name Dora Hogan", I found in 1835 a Darby Hogan Jr. child of Darby & Dora Hogan in the parish of Lorrha & Dorrha about seven and a half miles north of Killeen.
Darby was quite a bit older than Maria and I've often speculated she could have been a second wife, especially when his 1861 obituary mentions a son still in Ireland. While that could have been true of Darby, Maria just wasn't old enough to have a son living on his own in Ireland, though I suppose he could have been living with relatives? Someday, John and I WILL figure all this out!