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Thomas Joseph Brennan (DOB 15 May 1861, Croghan Roscommom) arrived in Topeka Kansas about 1880.

No good record of immigration date or place.  Death certificate (1952, USA) lists his parents as Martin (Martinum?) Brennan and Mary (Mariam?) Higgins.

Any direction or help is appreciated to learn about parents, family, baptism, home, work, emigration, etc.



Friday 11th Dec 2020, 11:05PM

Message Board Replies

  • KBKodiak:

    According to the transcription on the subscription site Roots Ireland, Thomas was baptized on February 15 1862 in Croghan RC church. Likely he was born a few days to a week before February 15th. You can see the parish register for Croghan here He had older brothers John 1851 Patrick 1854 Martin 1859

    I did not locate the marriage record for Martin and Mary so likely the marriage was held in a parish that does not have records back to 1850.

    There were three Martin Brennan records in the 1855 Griffiths Valuation head of household listing in Killukin civil parish.  One was in Tawlaght townland, a second in Croghan townland and the third in Knockananima townland. Likely your Martin was one of these three records.

    I did not find a good lead on a death record for Martin Brennan. Do you know if only Thomas emigrated or the entire family?

    Roger McDonnell


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 12th Dec 2020, 02:12PM
  • Mr McDonnell, 

    Many many thanks for your prompt and informative reply!  We do not know if others from Thomas Joseph Brennan's family emigrated.

    You found a baptism in Feb 1862, while our records always show my ancestor's birthdate as May 15, 1861.  Would it have been unusual to wait 6 months for baptism? just gave me a marriage record for Martinam Brennan and Mariam Higgins (the parental names listed on my great grandfather's death certificate, the only hint we have), in January 1850 in Killucan Roscommon (?).

    I want to avoid believing in the wrong ancestors... I was suprised as I thought "Martin" wouldn't be a common name!

    Im unfamiliar just how far families would potentially stray from the parish of their parents.

    Thank you again!



    Friday 18th Dec 2020, 04:12AM
  • KB:

    No, baptisms occurred right away because of concerns that the child would die soon after birth. Many times immigrants changed there date of birth when they came to a new country.

    I went back to the actual parish register for Killucan/Ballinameen parish and found the entry for the 1850 marriage   The entry was way at the top of a page and I guess the Roos Ireland transcriber could not decipher the record? Great find for you!

    Martin was a fairly common name in Roscommon/East Mayo. My own Roddy family from near Ballaghaderreen had a number of Martins and Bernards.

    I located a death index record for a Martin Brennan age 50 who died in 1865. As background, the free site has images of death records from 1871-1969 but only index records for 1864-1870. They will add the images for 1864-1870 in the near future. Your family lived within the Strokestown registration district.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 18th Dec 2020, 02:32PM
  • Roger,

    Pinning down one's actual ancestors is harder than I thought!  The posibility of brothers is intriguing.  It seems I must hyhpothesize that a certain Martin is likely our ancestor. Then, with enough clues, the hypothesis may be stronger, but Proof is difficult.   They do DNA matches but I cant know if any Irish relatives have also gotten DNA tests.  Of course, the focus is to hope to find current relatives and to reconnect.  It's unfortunate that my great grandfather passed down so little about his irish roots.  He was a quiet man.

    Ill be looking through your suggested sites with great interest.

    Ireland is at the top of my bucket list of places to visit. I was there in the 1980s but wasnt following ancestral roots.  Someday...

    Thank you again!



    Friday 18th Dec 2020, 11:06PM
  • KB:

    In general, the Irish have not taken DNA tests to the same level as people in other countries. You could match someone in Australia that has more info on your family.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 19th Dec 2020, 01:01PM
  • Welcome to the Ireland Reaching Out Community for Croghan.


    Here is everything we could find out about Martin Brennan & Mary Higgins of Hermitage Croghan

    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Saturday 2nd Jan 2021, 03:55PM
  • My oh My!  This is so much information; I am thrilled.  This is more than I ever thought possible, after years on  Thank you Rua.

    I do not doubt you, though I am curious how confident you are than these all are the same Martin?  Is there a way to get or document the records you used? 

    I was most surprised that Martin is shown as born in 1805, yet he didn't marry until 1850.  Would it be common for a man to wait until he was 45 yo to marry and start a family?  If there is a birth year for Martin, is there record of parent names, place of birth, etc.??

    I've yet to look into the Higgins side, but I hope to add several more Irish ancestors to my search soon.

    Thank you again, KB


    Friday 8th Jan 2021, 04:33AM
  • You're most welcome... my pleasure!

    Pretty confident that Martin (1805-1875) is the man in Hermitage, Croghan townland. The individuals invited to witness/ sponsor the marriage and baptisms by this Brennan-Higgins couple all point to Hermitage as well. The records are patchy do 100% certainty is never guaranteed, but it's a good starting point. 

    As for the marriage in 1850, it is likely that this was not his first marriage. He likely married circa 1825-30 (marriage upon coming of age was the common practice up until the famine) and may have lived on another townland entirely. Labourers tended to move around a lot as they had no security of tenure (11 months max) so his earlier records may turn up in an adjoining parish such as Estersnow or Kilcolagh. It is entirely possible his first wife and family,  did not survive the Great Famine 1845-51. 

    I have Higgins from this district in my tree so we should keep digging, who knows we may be kin!

    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Sunday 17th Jan 2021, 09:47AM
  • Regarding the documents I cross-referenced ... see (baptism & marriage records). (Petty Court records) and (land records)

    The witness to Martin Brennan & Mary Higgins marriage in 1850 was Catherine Kaveny /Kearney/ – the wife of Michael Grimes of Hermitage (the next-door neighbour). This union was confirmed by way of the civil marriage record of their daughter Brigid Grimes of Hermitage (who married Patrick Cunningham of Hermitage, Croghan) in 1872. Catherine was likely the daughter of Pat Kaveny of Croghan. And James Kaveny who married Brigid Grimes in 1853 was likely her brother. There is

    It is highly likely that Martin Brennan may have been recorded as Brannon in earlier records. Most "Brennans" in these parts were of Brannon (Mac Brannáin) origin. Martin or his father may be the Brannon recorded in the townland of Croghan in 1835.

    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Sunday 17th Jan 2021, 10:43AM
  • I am amazed, again!  Thank you so much!  

    I suspected the Mac Branain origin and always look for spelling variants. And I understand the famine would have set people on the road.  I've read some of the historical overviews, but details of their daily lives and how the famine and land use laws affected my ancestors in their homelands is of great interest.

    I'm looking for the suggested records; the court records give a feeling about daily life, as have all the historical bits you've added to the Croghan timeline!

    I'll need to spend more time on XO, now looking for Irish relatives from Coagh, County Derry (Farrell and Young) and Killarney, County Kerry (Sullivan and Cunningham).

    I'm frustrated trying to back track Thomas Joseph Brennan from Topeka Kansas, where in 1888 he marries, to his emigration from Ireland.  His US records show he listed possible immigration dates from 1869 to 1879.  1879 is most likely.  On his US Citzenship Naturalization papers, not completed until the 1940's, he listed his emigration as from Liverpool to New York, NY USA in September 1879 aboard the SS City of Rome.  My further research shows that ship as not constructed and in use until June 1881(?).  

    Are there ways to research emigration from Ireland?  For instance, some sort of local or national records of who left and when???  

    Thank you again, and I WILL visit when travel normalises and is safe! 

    im in your debt!



    Sunday 17th Jan 2021, 08:54PM

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