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Drumcroon is a townland.
Townlands are unique to Ireland. It has more than 60,000 and they are traditional Gaelic land divisions which pre-date the Norman invasion in the 12th century. A townland is the smallest administrative area of land in Ireland. They can vary in size from 1 acre up to 5000 acres, though most are between 50 and 500 acres. The whole country is divided into an invisible network of townlands. Many are rural, and there is not necessarily any town in a townland. Indeed some have no-one living in them at all, eg mountain tops and uninhabited islands. They were used as the basis of leases in the estate system, and subsequently to assess valuations and tithes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Some townlands have been forgotten, some survive only on property deeds and other have given their names to towns and districts.
In rural areas there were no street names or house numbers (that is still the case in some parts) and your townland was sufficient to identify you or get a letter delivered. The postman, and anyone else who mattered, knew exactly where in the townland everyone lived. They survive today as important markers of local identity. (A townland is not the same as a US township).
A group of townlands makes a parish and a group of parishes makes a barony.
Drumcroon is 447 acres. In the 1901 census there were 74 people living in it, in a total of 17 houses across the townland. Most were engaged in farming or agriculture generally. http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Londonderry/Drumcroon/Drumcroon/
Placenames NI site:
PRONI (the public record office) has attendance records for 7 schools in Macosquin parish. The records themselves are not on-line and so a personal visit is required to view them.
Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘
Thank you Elwyn for your reply..The 1901 census did not help me with my grandads early years.As i live in Scotland and a bit to old to go travelling anymore,a visit to proni is someting i cannot do sadly.
Thank you anyway,i may have to give up trying to ind out.
Adoption did not become a formal legal process in Northern Ireland till 1927. Prior to that it was an informal process by word of mouth. No records normally exist for that sort of arrangement. But the family would usually step in if they could, and adoption was more often for orphans, foundlings and others where the family were not in a position to support the child.
If he was born in Drumcroon and still there when he married in 1898 then it sounds like your ancestor stayed with or close to his mother. Probably either with her, or if she was away from home, with his grandparents.
With the 1881 & 1891 Irish censuses being destroyed, there are few records for that period, and there may be no official records that he appears in between his birth and his marriage.
Unlike Scottish certificates, Irish marriage certificates do not list the couples 2 mothers. Only the 2 fathers. So don't draw any inferences from the fact that his mother's name doesn't appear on his marriage certificate. No Irish marriage certificates contain that information.
Good luck with your research anyway.
Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘
(Transferring this query over from your Macosquin Timeline comment)
According to your ancestor's 1872 civil birth record, his mother was of Drumcroon (townland/district). It also tells us she was unable to write. His 1898 civil marriage record confirms his address as Drumcroon and had some schooling in that he could sign his name to the cert (albeit the rest of his wedding party could not). They married in Macosquin Presbyterian Church.
So, his mother may appear on a record as Tilda (common in those parts) with a married surname, Presbyterian, in a laboring-class household, signing X as her mark. She may also have married more than once or not at all.
Sometimes expanding our search beyond the boundaries of Drumcroon townland (to include townlands touching its boundaries) might yield a middle-aged Tilda/ Mathilda turning up nearby in the 1901 Census. e.g. Mathilda Moffit / Moffett of Ballycaghan, Drumcroon. However, John's wife was formerly Matilda Frisell of Crossmakeever. So no luck there. No other contenders.
It may be worth keeping an eye on the parish of Aghadowey (where David's bride, Rachel McGee, was residing).
Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎
Thank you once again for all this information you are giving me..Rua and Elwyn you are both very knowledgeable,and i really appreciate your input..
I will maybe write to the PRONI office and see if they have any information on schooling around 1877ish.As you said Rua my grandad could read and write,he was also a very staunch Presbyterian.
I will have a wee search for any Tilda's as that is something i did not know..
So my grandad was born in Drumcroon Macosquin,was it common for the townland to be the place of birth on the cert.,?
as was also thinking about a Drumcroon house where they would have servants ect,.
Thank you again..
Yes it was common to have your townland on your birth certificate. That was your address and if you were born there, that’s what would be recorded (the vast majority of births were at home then), just as today it might be the Royal Victoria Hospital or perhaps 29 Elderflower Lane, if a home birth.
Drumcroon House was a big farm (253 acres) with about 13 labourers cottages on it according to Griffiths Valuation. In 1860 the tenant was Matilda Wilson. By 1901 the occupant was William McCollum, farmer, with 3 farm servants.
William McCollum and his wife were Reformed Presbyterians (often known as Covenanters). So that’s a separate branch of Presbyterianism, which only uses the old testament, only sings psalms (ie no hymns) and does not allow any musical accompaniment in church. Singing of psalms is normally led by a precentor, such as the Free Church of Scotland and some other Scottish churches use.
If your ancestor was Presbyterian, the local baptism records might include details of who the father was. Sometimes it says: “reputed father x.” There are 3 Presbyterian churches in the parish of Macosquin – Crossgar, Dromore & Macosquin. Copies of Crossgar & Macosquin’s baptism records for the 1870s are in PRONI in Belfast. Dromore appears to have lost its baptism records for the 1870s and now has nothing earlier than 1889.
You can look at the Valuation revision records for Drumcroon on the PRONI website. I searched the records for 1864 – 1880. VAL/12/B/30/11B
There were no households where the head of household was named Connelly, so it looks as though Matilda was lodging with someone in the townland (or she had a home of too low a value to make it into the records).
Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘
I found her!
Matilda had 3 sons (the first at home in Killure and the remainder in Drumcroon) all out of wedlock. In the case of her first child, she names the father (Alexander Lyons of Knockantern, farmer). David was the youngest child I could confirm a record for.
Matilda was the informant for various couples and unmarried mothers in the district including Sara Conolly of Killure (presumably her older sister) who also appears to have borne a child for a Lyons.
Matilda's activity as an informant places her in Drumcroon 1877 – 1881.
The trail runs dry after that unless she was up in Londonderry in 1896 and 1899 informing for Francis Doherty of Tullyally Lower, Clondermot who (born about 1876) also stated his father's name was unknown.
Sara was still living in Killure in the Census of 1901. So there is hope that we can trace your Conolly family homestead in Killure!
Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎
Oh my gosh Rua & Elwyn,i feel truly humbled getting all this information from you both...
I did think about the spelling of Connelly maybe being written wrongly down,but my grandad always insisted it was not Connolly..the pronunciation was on the e in Connelly.You both have given me the best help i could wish for,and i will look at all the links you have sent me .
The story of Matilda was close to home strangely.
David&Rachel came to Scotland (1905) ,in 1906 they had a boy John Aexander !!I 1911 census they had a boy Ronald Weighill with adopted written under his name,he was from Leeds England,Ronald died age 5 in 1913..In 1914 Rachel's son Thomas died.(not sure if David's son),in 1914 they added another child to their family,Alfred (my dad),then a girl in either 1915/16/17 called Ethel..,my dad and Ethel were illegitimate.Wonder if this came from Matilda's way of life?seems like it.
Neither my dad nor Ethel had birth certs.,1973 my dad was applying for his pension,of course they could'nt find an Alfred Connelly,he then found out who he really was, as for Ethel i am still searching to find where they got her from..
Funnily my dad's real mum married a D.Lyons from Australia..
Maybe the 1921 census will shine a light on Ethel,when they ever release it.
Sorry for such a long story,hope you do not mind,as i feel you both have helped me so so much,i wanted you to know about it.I am very grateful and feel that a Thank You is not really enough,if i can donate something i would gladly.
I am going now to look at all you both have sent me.Excited auld woman.
Delighted we could help (and put a smile on your face) Rachel.
It's peace of mind to know that your grandad would have grown up in his home parish knowing his mother and siblings, and very likely knowing who his father was.
Your instincts were right about David having a connection to Drumcroon House, I have since found evidence via Elwyn's PRONI Griffiths Revision Books link (above) 1895-1902. David lived in the keeper's house beside the Flax Mill at Drumcroon for a short while after he married. He previously lived in the cluster of labourers' cottages on the Drumcroon House estate, in the service of William McCollum.
I found both David & Rachel and his brother Thomas & Jane in the 1901 Census as well. In that, we can see that the family also turns up as Conley (closer in the pronunciation to what your grandad explained).
I've updated Matilda's story with links to these additional finds. SEE Matilda
Do keep us posted as you discover more. It's one of the most intriguing family searches I've come across.
Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎
I have also been intrigued with my Grandads life,brickwall for me on his young life until you and Elwyn gave me all this info,. i could never have done this on my own.I am also happy you both did'nt get fedup with my queries.
How i wish we had the same kind of webb site over in Scotland,to get to the bottom of how the Connelly's got these 3 children when they were only farm servants and the Ethel story.I am on Scotlands people site,but unless you know exactly what your looking for its very costly..I have looked at nearly all the Ethel's born in Scotland ,but nothng matches..Heyho,i will keep trying though..I am looking forward to a quiet day when i can read through all the info.,you both have given me.I certainly will let you know if i discover anymore about the family.
I feel quite sad that our conversations have come to an end,although over the moon about what you both have found out.
I wish i could thank you both personally.(is this possible?).If not i see there is a donate option on the webb site.
Thank you once again.Stay Safe & Take Care,
Here i am back again to ask a question.I have searched for Thomas Conley 1870, but cannot find his birth.I am thinking Matilda only had the 2 sons,John Lyons Connelly 1865 and David 1872...Wikitree has a descendant of a Tom Conley,although all sounds very familiar with this Thomas's birth place Macosquin also had the same strong beliefs that my grandad had.(David),they even look similar,this Thomas & David..The descendant of Thomas said that Thomas's mother and father did get married,so this cannot be Matilda's child..Thomas died in 1953 in Macosquin.
I have searched for Matilda after 1881 all over Ireland but nothing seems to match,maybe she went abroad,who knows?.