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I've been researching my family history for several years and have been up against the brick wall that is my great-great-great grandparents for a long time. They are George Browne and Bridget Blake. I've heard them described as the son of an English Protestant "lord" who fell in love with and married the Irish Catholic maid or nanny. Also, as a doctor who got a local girl pregnant and was forced to marry her. And the stories continue. Another element is that we are related to the famous Grace O'Malley through one of them (guessing Browne, but not positive).

Here are the facts I have:

George Browne & Bridget Blake married in Burriscarra on April 25, 1844 (found that record in Irish Catholic parish registers!). Witnessed by Margaret Blake and [illegible] Browne.

They had 6+ children including John Browne, 2nd son, in 1849 (have his birth record). John Browne married Mary Ansbro in 1877 (having trouble finding that record) and I am descended from them. John & Mary are buried at Burriscarra Abbey.

I have death records for George (22 NOV 1873, age 63, so birth approx. 1810) and Bridget (16 OCT 1875​, age 53, so birth approx. 1822). I cannot find burial places for them though.

Their families disowned them but eventually her family relented somewhat and gave them a plot of land. The family home in Burriscarra has since been torn down but my grandmother visited before that happened and we have photos and location. During my trip over in 2009, we visited the homestead, then owned by the Lally family. It appears to have been on the grounds of the Tower Hill estate, and is situated between the Tower Hill house and a school that the Blakes built for local children in the 1850s. The school is on the Lally property as of 2009. Griffiths Valuation has a record for a George Browne in Carrownagreggaun (Carnacon) with lessor of Valentine O'c Blake. 

I need help figuring out who George and Bridget's familes are. My task is not helped by the fact that the Marquess of Sligo, also George Browne, also born 1810, is in the same area at the same time.

I've contacted the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and can find no record of training or practice for a George Browne in that time/place. I didn't get anywhere with the same group in England. I also checked the poor houses in the area and can't find any record of a George Browne as a physician there.

I looked up the baptismal records for George & Bridget's children and looked at the sponsors names - no luck.​ Same with the Peerage.

I've checked birth records for George & Bridget's names/dates in England and Ireland but can't find any combination of records that seems to match all the way and include any of the sponsors names.

Does anyone have any ideas where to try next?

Thanks so much in advance!


Friday 9th March 2018, 01:46AM

Message Board Replies

  • Erica:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    I located on Roots Ireland the 1877 church marriage record for John and Mary in Mayo Abbey. See below. There was no related civil marriage record. You likely are aware that the RC records for Burriscarra start in 1839 and for Mayo Abbey 1841.

    Roger McDonnell

    Date of Marriage:20-Sep-1877
    Parish / District:Mayo Abbey RC parish
    County:Co. Mayo
    Husband  JohnBrown
    Wife MaryAnsboro

    Denomination:Roman Catholic

    Castlemore Roscommon

    Friday 9th March 2018, 11:40PM
  • Thank you, Roger.

    Any ideas on where else to look for George & Bridget's parents?


    Saturday 10th March 2018, 01:22AM
  • Erica:

    I looked at the 1833 Tithe listings and there is a Major Blake listed for Tower Hill and a Dominick Browne who has large holdings in Castlecarra. I would also check out the Mayo library and see if they can assist in any way.


    Castlemore Roscommon

    Saturday 10th March 2018, 02:33PM