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I know Walsh/Welsh is the 4th most common name in Ireland--What are the chances that two Walshs got married? Would both names being listed on marriage/baptism records be indicative that they both come Walsh families or could they be recording the wife's married name instead of her maiden name?

Also, with what frequency were names like Margaret, Mary and Mary Ann used interchangeably?

I've been on a wild goose chase trying to trace the parents of my ancestor Bridget Walsh b ~1850 back to Ireland. Her parents James (b. ~1818) and Mary Ann (b. ~1827) Walsh moved their family to New York some time prior to 1865. The census record from that year shows the two living with Bridget (~1851), Catherine (~1853), Mary Ann (~1856), John (~1859) & James Jr (~1861). It does not note if any of the children were born in the US. 

In the past, I've been told there really is nothing you can do without knowing Mary Ann's surname or either's country of origin. I couldn't take that as an answer so in lieu of finding one, I scavenged marriage records from around 1850 for Mary Anns marrying Jame Walshs. There was no shortage of margarets and marys to chose from. From my list of 26 marriages in a 5 year span, I started looking for baptisms of the children with mothers of each given surname. 

There were some clear top contendors:

"Walsh" married in Mayo 1851, Bridget (1853), Catherine (1855), Mary Ann (1857), John (1861), James (1860 or 1863) from witnesses/sponsors you can tell at least some of the children are related, and most events were in Burriscarra RC. The big catch is it almost seems too common of a name combination, and there are plenty of other baptisms for children not in the family.

"Walsh" married in Waterford in 1852, no clear children baptised in Waterford

"Ivory" married in Kilkenny in 1847. Catherine (1850), Bridget (1854)

"Dooly" married in Kilkenny in 1846 Catherine (1850), John (1854)


Is there any good behind my madness? Am I missing anything?


Tuesday 10th Oct 2017, 10:40PM

Message Board Replies

  • greerpalmer:

    Welcome back!

    Since the 1851 marriage record shows Mary Walsh for the bride then her maiden name was Walsh. It is not common but it does happen where the bride and groom have the same surname particularly where the surname is very common in a particular area.The surname Walsh was not very common in Burriscarra civil parish in the 1855 Griffiths Valuation head of household listing. There were six Walsh records.  Likely James and Mary were distant cousins but not close enough to need a dispensation from the priest.

    There were ten Walsh baptismal records in Burriscarra RC parish from 1849-1869 with parents James Walsh and Mary Walsh so there must have been another couple in the area.

    I think there is a very good chance that you have the correct family based on how the names in the 1865 census match up with the baptismal records.

    Mary and Mary Anne were interchangeable but I don't see Margaret as an alternate name.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 11th Oct 2017, 12:01AM
  • Hi there,

    The image of the 1865 New York census at shows James, Mary Ann and Bridget as being born in Ireland, with Catherine, Mary Ann Jnr, John, and James Jnr all born in King's ie New York.

    If Bridget is born in Ireland around 1851 then the best fit of the available baptism records is on 24th November 1851. However this child's parents James Walsh and Mary Liston remained in Ireland.


    Tuesday 17th Oct 2017, 01:48PM
  • I don't think this is quite a match because your dates are about 20 years earlier than mine but it is close enough to put this out there to you..... I can very much simpathize with searching for the James and Mary Walshes.... With everyone in the family and extended family sharing the same name :-).

    That being said, here is what I know of my lineage from Mayo based on a family bible and my research.

    Mary Lalley married James Walsh (abt. 1870) Mary was from Westport. Her parents were Mary O'Malley and Ulick Lally. <-- *I can't find much on them.

    Their children were John, Delia (Bridget?), Anna Marie, and James. *Based on various records, I believe that John and Delia were born in Mayo. Anna and James' census records in Syracuse, NY indicate England as their place of birth. (There was a pretty heavily proud RC Irish spirit on the family in NY, so if they were born in England, they certainly were not telling people that :-) ) and always said they were from Mayo. 

    My G-grandmother was Anna Walsh, so I know she existed in the UK..... But I struggle to find her anywhere in Ireland and England. Even when I am fairly confident that the rest of her house is that of her parents and siblings, her name does not appear. I have seen 'Mary Ann' as a sibling just like you have and have wondered if this is suppose to be her. 


    Not sure if I am helping, but I wanted to share what I know based on my family heirloom. The 'Delia' in my family only lived into her 20s, I believe.







    Monday 4th Dec 2017, 04:40PM
  • Hi I've come across this website about the Walsh family living in county Mayo. I am looking for my grandmother who I've never met. On my mother's birth certificate it says her name was Mary Bridget Walsh and her family were apparently from Mayo but she must of moved to Manchester near Arden park as that's where my mother was born. My mother is half Greek and we are trying to find her father aswell but my grandmother never put his name on the birth certificate. She was born in 1953 and I'm assuming my grandmother must of been young at the time. 

    Sunday 6th Dec 2020, 11:01PM
  • I'm new here but happy to have found it.

    My paternal grandfather Andrew Walsh emigrated to England (Birmingham area) from Kiltimagh in County Mayo I think around the beginning of the 20th Century. My father had moved to Canada after serving in the British Navy in WW2, soon afterward moving to the US.

    Although my father and I briefly visited Kiltimagh in 1985, we were unable to get any information since the elderly woman who lived in Kiltimagh was not available.

    Any information would be appreciated.

    Brian Walsh
    bpwalsh at gmail


    Sunday 14th Mar 2021, 08:56PM
  • Brian:

    There are a two Andrew Walsh records in the 1901 census living near Kiltimagh. One may be for your grandfather.……

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 15th Mar 2021, 01:34PM
  • Roger McDonnell, I am so grateful for your post! After conferring with my sister it appears the first link may be the correct one. Google Maps confirms the farm is 5 km SW of Kiltimagh.

    Thank you again.


    Tuesday 16th Mar 2021, 07:41PM
  • Brian:

    There are free sites which may be helpful in researching your family both pre-1901 and post 1901. The most important site is which has civil birth records from 1864-1920, marriages 1864-1945 and deaths from 1864-1970 (1864-1870 are only index records).

    Here is the 1855 Griffiths Valuation head of household listing for Killedan ciivl parish; I notice a Michael, Patrick and Thomas Walsh in Cuillalea.



    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 17th Mar 2021, 08:11PM

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