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Hello, my name is Genevieve and I'm an Irish-American looking into my family history. I know my family comes from Ballina. My grandmother told me this information:

Michael Gibbons was born in Ballina in approximately 1850. His siblings included Patrick and Anne/Anna/Marianne (Grandma's not sure about her name or the names of the other possible Gibbons siblings.)

On some unknown date and place, Michael married Bridget Graham, also from Ballina (or thereabouts) and roughly the same age as Michael. (Grandma thinks they married in Ireland before coming to San Francisco, California, but it's also possible they got married after arriving in San Francisco around 1875-80). 

Michael and Bridget were my grandmother's maternal grandparents, which I think makes them ... five generations removed from me? Michael and Bridget then had seven children, the third of whom, Katherine Gibbons, was my grandmother's mother. Katherine was born in San Francisco. She married William L. Danahy, also of San Francisco, on August 20, 1921, in Portland, Oregon. 

I myself am an American currently living in Dublin and studying at Trinity. I randomly decided that I would like to visit Ballina this weekend (was headed to Westport anyways so figured I'd stop by) and am planning to likely swing by the parish on Sunday. I am looking to find some more history about my family, whether that be buildings they grew up in, relevant records and documents, and maybe even some living relatives (I know that'd be a long shot, but I think it'd be really cool). 

Might anyone have any leads on this Gibbons-Graham family history? Also, does anyone have any tips on what to do in Ballina to research this topic other than stopping by the church? Anyone have any tips on what to do in Ballina in general? I know it's a super last minute trip so I'm certainly realistic about getting a reply, but I figured it might be worth a try anyhow!

Thanks in advance!

genevieve finn

Friday 11th Mar 2022, 08:02AM

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  • I had a look for a possible Catholic marriage of Michael & Bridget in Ireland, but no luck - it's looking like they may have married in the US, if a cert for that could be located it could help your search as it could include parents names etc.

    The Catholic parish for the town of Ballina is Kilmoremoy (Killmore Moy/Ballina) and it has baptism records back to 1823, but unfortunately there are some quite significant gaps in these - e.g. from 1836 to 1849.

    A general search for RC baptisms of a  Michael Gibbons 1850 plus or minus 10 years* in County  Mayo and Sligo (very close to the town) shows nearly 50 possible matches - none in Kilmoremoy. Without some further clues I think it would be difficult to figure out if one of these might be your 'Michael'. Clues that might help might be more details on the siblings, e.g. names and years of est. birth, parents names or some other relatives, or if possible a more detailed location e.g. street or townland

    * Reported ages were rarely accurate so a wide search is required - in most cases people underestimated their age.

    Shane Wilson, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 12th Mar 2022, 04:23PM

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