Brick Wall

I have many brick walls, some of which you’ve seen. Unfortunately, most are miles away from being solved! With a potential trip to Ireland next year, it seems wise to take a look at one of the brick walls located there.

Mike’s Carmodys come from County Clare, Ireland. In Close Up, I revealed how the history I had for Mike’s grandfather, John J. Carmody, had been wrong, as a result of some incorrect information. Solving the problem of that unknown brick wall unfortunately created a new one!

To recap: I mistakenly had two brothers related as a father-son combo. When that was corrected, I had John J. correctly connected to Michael as a brother, with another potential brother, Patrick. Their father was Andrew Carmody, and mother was Mary Culleeny/Culliny/Culliney. Andrew was actually a fortunate first name, because outside of this family group, I don’t tend to see it (though all three sons named a son “Andrew”). It was much better than John or Patrick!

Unfortunately, besides his name, I don’t have much other information for Andrew Carmody. By the 1901 census, he and Mary seem to have already died. None of the early census records exist. The 1821-1851¹ were destroyed in the 1922 fire in the Public Record Office (a few stray pages survive). The 1861 and 1871¹ were destroyed shortly after they were taken, and the 1881 and 1891¹ were pulped during WWI (there was a paper shortage). So there are no helpful census snapshots of the family with Andrew in it.

Griffith’s valuation finally came online. What’s that? Well, it’s rather like a tax list. It calculated your contribution to support the poor and destitute within the local Poor Law Union. The rate was based on the property and how it was developed. The valuation took place between 1848 and 1864. That’s a perfect time period for Andrew.

When I search for him in County Clare, he appears in Griffith’s here. Snips from the page will make it a little easier to follow:

Griffith’s Valuation, page 169² (with the middle of the page clipped out). The red boxes point out the headings at the top, and Andrew Carmody’s entries: two as an Occupier (14 shillings owed for both), and one as the Lessor (landlord —8 shillings). I don’t know who pays the valuation — the Occupier or the Lessor. The green boxes point out other Carmody entries in the area: Margaret, Thomas, and Ellen. Parish of Drumcliff, The Borheen (heading missing in the snipped section).

It’s interesting to see three entries for him. How do I know all three are the same man? Well, the two as Occupier are, because in the 4th column for lot 29, it says, “see also No. 32.” If they were two distinct individuals, I doubt they would link the entries in that way. The property where Andrew Carmody is the Lessor is adjacent to No. 29. While it could be a different man, it seems unlikely that the only other Andrew Carmody in County Clare (a name search returned only these three results) happens to live next door to property owned by a different Andrew Carmody!

Section of a Griffith’s Valuation map² showing what I believe to be The Borheen area. It is north of the River Fergus. The almost vertical lane to their right is The Borheen (“country lane or rural road”), now called Marian Avenue. The blue arrows point toward the parcels I believe are associated with Andrew Carmody.

Could this NOT be Mike’s great grandfather? Possibly. But with no other Andrews in the county, and him being in the correct parish (Drumcliff) and place (Borheen), it makes a good case in his favor. Ideally, I would be able to find other documents tying him and his family to these properties.

I’m also curious why he is not occupying the property he owns. Perhaps his family had outgrown the house, so he needed to lease a larger one? It would be interesting to know more about Francis Gore (his landlord) — he was the Lessor for a lot of properties! It would also be nice to know who the other three Carmodys were. Quite likely they are related, but I have no clue how.

While it was great finding him (hopefully) in Griffith’s, it didn’t really solve the problem of whether there were other children or who his parents were. Fortunately, the Catholic parish registers have been put online from several sources. Find My Past has some of them available (with images), and some parishes have put the information online, themselves: sometimes indexes only, sometimes images.

Searching through parish records,³ I’ve pieced together a tentative list of the children of Andrew Carmody and Mary Culleeny:

  • Catharine, baptized 27 July 1845
  • Mary, baptized 30 December 1848
  • Ellen, baptized 22 November 1850
  • Anne, baptized 4 July 1853
  • Michael, baptized 18 August 1856
  • Patrick, baptized 14 March 1859
  • John, baptized 24 February 1862

Mike’s grandfather, John Joseph, appears to be the last child. Curiously, though, his birth date as recorded in US documents is mid-August, 1863. The parish baptism index does not include his middle name (or initial). There are no later children for this couple, though. It’s possible that this son, John, died, and they had another son that they named John Joseph, 15-16 August 1863. I don’t have access to death records to test that theory, but I need to look for possible evidence of that.

Similarly, there was a Mary Carmody, baptized 18 February 1843 to an Andrew and a Mary Collins. Granted, Collins seems a long way from Culleeny (or any of her spelling variations), but it’s actually closer than one would think. No other Carmody fathers are named Andrew in the index, and no other Carmody children born to a Mary Collins — married to an Andrew, or not.

So it’s possible this Mary is also one of their children — the first one, perhaps. Since there is clearly another Mary born in 1848, if that is the case, the first Mary must have died before then. Further research looking at the actual documents (rather than a transcription) is necessary to assess who the 1843 Mary belongs to.

Their marriage date is still up in the air. The parish marriage index³ shows only one Andrew Carmody. He has a marriage date of 27 July 1840. That date fits with the other information I have (children’s births — even the potential “extra Mary.” Unfortunately, the bride is listed as “Mary Carmody.” Sometimes same-named couples marry (related or not), but sometimes the person filling in the register/certificate — or the transcriber — makes a mistake. For some reason the bride’s maiden name isn’t recorded, so the married surname is used in its place. While this index entry is an encouraging lead, looking at the actual record might solve the dilemma.

Additionally, the index doesn’t tell us their ages or their parents’ names. Is that information included in the original? Maybe. That’s another reason to view the original! If I can’t locate images online, I may need to see if I can get access to them when we travel there. I don’t have death dates for Andrew or Mary. Those might point me to birth dates (and parents?) for them.

As I looked for “my” (well, Mike’s) Carmodys, I stumbled across all sorts of other ones nearby. Are they related? Maybe. I don’t know if Andrew had siblings — if so, their records might point me to parents. They could also be cousins. But how to keep track of them, with stray children, marriages, and so on? How do I figure out their connections (or lack of) to each other? I decided I needed to spin off a separate “working file” just for the Carmodys. I can enter Carmody data as I find it, without cluttering my own file. It lets me deal with them in a contained environment. When I get them sorted out, I can transfer the ones I need back to my regular file.

This brick wall is still pretty solid . . . Bummer. I need to keep chipping away at it, and checking for new record sets to come online to help break through it.

#52Ancestors


¹National Archives of Ireland, “Census of Ireland 1901/1911 and Census Fragments and Substitutes, 1821-51”, database, The National Archives of Ireland (http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/help/history.html), paragraph 3.

²”Griffith’s Valuation, 1847-1864″, database, AskAboutIreland.ie, Ask About Ireland (http://griffiths.askaboutireland.ie), General Valuation, p. 169, for Andrew CARMODY, occupier, The Borheen, Ennis (town), Lifford (townland), Drumcliff (parish), Ennis (union), Islands (barony), County Clare, accessed 7 April 2019.

³https://www.ennisparish.com/genealogy/     Search on “carmody” in the surname field, click submit. List of 

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