Thursday, January 15, 2009

Where in the world is Drogheda?

The topic of the 11th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture is "My Key To Ireland".

If you have found your ancestral county or village in Ireland, just how did you find your way there? What resources led you to learn the original county or townland or your ancestors? Tell us how you did it and what your feelings were when you made the exciting discovery.

If you have not yet found the area where your ancestors made their homes in Ireland, tell us about the resources that you hope to use to find out. What records and documents do you hope will lead you to that information? How do you plan to go about the search?

If you have always known the place or places where your family hailed from, tell us about them. What draws you there and what else have you learned throughout your search for family history?

Let me begin by asking - Don't we ALL claim to be a bit Irish? There's something magical about being from Ireland, calling ourselves Irish, celebrating St. Patrick's Day and wearing the "Kiss me, I'm Irish" buttons. But, how many of us are Irish... really, really Irish? To me it seems everyone of us is, at least just a wee bit.

I was told that my Grandfathers' parents came to the States from England, but that they were actually from Irish families. Bellew didn't sound like an Irish name to me, but what did I know? Now my McCann family - that name sounded Irish - so I started with them. The US records were of no help, the family that actually came to the states were all born in England so I had to start there.

Turns out, listed on the 1881 Census in Preston England, my McCann family did come from Ireland. My 3rd Great Grandfather, Patrick McCann listed Fermanagh Ireland as his place of birth, his wife Catherine listed Mayo Ireland as hers. Finding this I was hopeful that some of the belongings of my Great Grandmother Margaret McCann Bellew would hold some clues, but she was born and raised in England. Other than a Catholic Prayer book that was printed in Ireland, there were no further clues for my McCann family.

In checking the same census for another 3rd Great Grandfather, James Bellew also living in Preston, he listed his birth place simply as Ireland. His son, Patrick is also listed as born in Ireland. However, just this week with the release of the 1911 census, I was excited to find Patrick's birth place listed as "Drogheda Ireland".. wherever that is. A quick search of this location told me that it was in County Louth. I was able to confirm this on the Family Seach site, finding a baptism record for Patrick in Drogheda in 1864.

My knowledge of Ireland is very limited as is my research knowledge for this country. Aside from doing a few searches with no luck, I've not found anything solid on these families in Ireland - although I didn't have much to go on as far as the area they were from until recently. I'm not familiar with what records or indexes may be available to me on line at this point so I'll be starting with that learning and pursue it as far as I can from there.

1 comment:

  1. I too have traced my father's side to County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. I was able to get extracts of both the 1901 Census as well as my Great Grandparents marriage record. The site that I have found to be very helpful for Northern Ireland is