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I've been searching for my McGovern - Gray ancestors for years.   Here's my info: 

1) Bridget "Biddy" Gray (b. ca 1818 in Sligo, probably in Dernaskeagh, Toomour) married 1st ___ McGlynn.  She was widowed and then married ca 1850-1852 to Peter McGovern (b. ca 1812), who was also a widow. 

2)  Peter and Bridget Gray McGovern lived in Corhuber, Ballymote, Emlaghfad after marriage and had at least 5 children:  Jane (my g-grandmother) married Michael Cawley, Peter (died in childhood), Mary married Matthew Luby, James married Kate McCarrick & Margaret Egan, and Winifred McGovern. 

3)  Peter McGovern and his son, James, were both butchers in Ballymote 

4)  Bridget was very likely a sister to Denis Gray of Cluid, Ballymote and James and Michael Gray, probably of Dernaskeagh.  She was also related to Samuel Gray, who married Margaret O'Connor in Keash in 1918 and then lived in Corhuber. 

5)  Our McGovern surname is hard to trace because it is variously found as McGovren, McGauren, McGowan, McGovaren, etc.   Larry O'Keefe (


Friday 23rd Dec 2016, 04:24PM

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  • Larry:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    So far, I've not been able to find any records on Roots Ireland. Here is a link to the parish register for Emlaghfad/Kilmorgan parish.   Baptismal records do not start until 1856 although marriage records start in 1824. Were any of the children born after 1856? Civil registration started in 1864.

    I did locate a transcription of the 1877 marriage of Mary McGovern and Matthew Luby (see below)

    Roger McDonnell

    Date of Marriage:30-Dec-1877
    Parish / District:Ballymote
    County:Co. Sligo
    Husband  MatthewLuby Address Ballymote Shoemaker
    Wife MaryMcGovernAddress:Ballymote

    Husband's Father  Name:LaurenceLuby
    Wife's Father PeterMcGovern

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 23rd Dec 2016, 05:41PM
  • Roger,  

    Thanks so much for such a quick response.  I appreciate the information on Mary McGovern and Matthew Luby.

     Regarding births before 1856 - Mary was born around 1856, but may have been born before the parish records started.  James and Winifred McGovern were twins and they were born about 1857, most likely in Corhuber, to Peter and Bridget (Gray) McGovern.  I'm not aware of any chidren born after the twins.  

    Jane McGovern was born about 1853 and Peter about 1854.  Peter died in 1864, probably in Ballymote area.  Jane married Michael Cawley in 1872 in Ballymote.  

    Peter McGovern, a widower, probably married Bridget (Gray) McGlynn, a widow, around 1850, although I don't know if they married in Ballymote or in Toomour.  Thanks again for your help.  

    Have a very Merry Christmas!

    Larry O'Keefe








    Saturday 24th Dec 2016, 03:37PM
  • Hi Larry!

    Just a short note to wish you a Merry Christmas. Shutting down for now but will try to get back to your questions on the 26th.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 24th Dec 2016, 06:05PM
  • Larry:

    I don't see the marriage record for Peter and Bridget on Roots and I also do not see the baptismal records for the twins. You can look at the early records on the parish register in case their records were mistranscribed somehow.

    Young Peter did die in 1864 and here is the index record  First name(s)PeterLast nameMcGovernAge at death10Birth year1854Registered year1864Registered quarter/year1864Registration districtSligoVolume17Page222

    You can get a copy of the record for around 4 euros from the General Register Office. Eventually the image of the record will be online at


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 26th Dec 2016, 08:09PM
  • Roger,  

    Thanks again for your help.  I'm not surprised you didn't find records for the twins.  I've been frustrated in my search because of the wide variations in spelling of the surname McGovern.  Some have been as far afield as McGann, which isn't really very close at all.  I appreciate your help.  




    Tuesday 27th Dec 2016, 02:01PM
  • Hello Larry

    My name is Denis Gray of Cluid Ballymote and from your information I believe I could be a decendant of the Gray's you mention in the 1800's. I came across your post when I was trawling for our family history over the Christmas holidays. Going back through our own past,there seems to have been a 'Denis Gray' in every second generation and also I have traced the exact same area of land, we have today, as a 'Denis Gray' had in the 1860's. If you would like more info please let me know.




    Denis Gray

    Wednesday 4th Jan 2017, 10:13PM
  • Denis,  

    I would love to get more information on your family.  My mother's grandmother, Jane McGovern, was the daughter of Bridget "Biddy" Gray and Peter McGovern.  The lived in a house in Corhuber, Ballymote.  When I visited Ballymote many years ago Tom McGettrick took me to see the house they had lived in.  He told me that it was a Gray family home and Samuel Gray was the last one to live there.  Tom himself then lived there when he got married.  I would really like to find the connection of my Biddy Gray McGovern to the rest of the local Grays.  She was born about 1812-1820 and may have died in the 1870s or later.


    Friday 6th Jan 2017, 12:25AM
  • Hi Larry

    The 'Denis Gray' you mention was born around 1804 and could well be a brother of Bridget, James and Michael. He is my Great Great Grandfather and was father of Pat Gray who is head of the family in this link from National Archives:  I don't know who Denis was married to or any of his ancestors, just that he died around 1864. If you visit any museums that hold the national archives, look up the Ordinance Survey Maps for 1858 in Position 9, Sheet 33, Act 15+16, Map Ref 2. This is the homestead of the Gray's in the 1800's and maybe earlier. Denis Gray's Grandson, John Gray, born in 1883, left Cluid for good and went America in 1907. He travelled on the steamliner 'Campania' from Queenstown, Cork. His passenger ID was 101966080014. He sent home presents for a couple of years after his departure but was never heard or seen of again.

    This is pretty much all the information I have on my ancestors, hope it is useful to you and if you have any information on the Gray's that I am missing I would greatly appreciate it. Should I be of any further assistance to you please let me know.


    Denis Gray


    Denis Gray

    Monday 9th Jan 2017, 09:23AM
  • Denis,  

    Once again, thank you for your help and information.  It gives me some clues on where and what to research next.  I'm unsure at this point if my Gray family is descended from the Cluid, Emlaghfad branch (your branch) or from the Toomour branch.  Because they lived in Emlaghfad (Corhuber, Ballymote), I'm leaning much more toward the Cluid branch.  I will do more research and if I find anything that might be helpful to you I'll pass it on.  I'm assuming that the John Gray who emigrated in 1907 is your grandfather.  By the way, my email is:  If you want to touch base by email, that would be okay.  

    Thanks again,  Larry



    Tuesday 10th Jan 2017, 06:35PM
  • I have read the conversation with interest as Mary McGovern is my great grandmother and thereforere my Great Great Grandparents are Peter McGovern and Bridget (Gray) McGovern.

    I would like to make contact with Denis Gray who appears to be living on the same land that Bridget is likely to have been brought up on.  I have not been able to obtain the Irish Ordnance Survey of 1858 to identify the location of the land.  I would also like to make contact with Tom McGettrick who apparently knows which house Peter and Bridget McGovern lived in at Corhuber, Ballymote.  My email address is, should Denis or Tom read this.  I wondered if it would be possible to identify the properties from Google Maps?

    I have a copy of the marriage record for Mathew Luby and Mary McGovern dated 3/12/1877 at the Roman Catholic Chapel of Ballymote.  They had a daughter also Mary born on 22/8/1879 and the record shows the birth was reported by Bridget McGovern who was present at the birth.

    Mary had a second child Robert who is my maternal Grandfather.  His birth certificate identifies him as Robert Welfred McGovern with Mary McGovern as his mother but it does not record a father.  He was born in Burnley, Lancashire on the 19/12/1884.  Interestingly, when he married on 11/4/1908 he identified himself as Robert Looby and recorded his father as Matthew Looby (Shoemaker).  Whilst Robert died when I was only 5 years old, I have fond memories of him as he used to stay with us in Bromley.  He was keen on horse racing and would stay when there were race meetings in London and the South East of England.

    In the 1891 census of England, Mary Looby, her mother Bridget McGovern and her children Mary Looby and Robert Looby are all shown as living a 4 Dixon Terrace, Burnley.  I cannot find a later record for Bridget McGovern but Mary Looby (senior) died in January 1894 and was buried in Burnley Cemetary on the 25th January 1894 under the name Mary Luby.  When Mary died, the two children were put into the care of a Roman Catholic priest in London.  Both children returned to Burmley.  Mary was a boarder in Burnley in the 1901 census and Robert married in 1908 in Burnley.  I therefore assume Bridget had either died between 1891 and 1894 or she was unable to care for a 14 year old and a 9 year old. 

    I have a record of Lawrence Luby's death (Matthew Luby's father), on 12/10/1882 reported by Lawrence's widow also Mary.  Matthew Luby a shoemaker from Co Sligo then appears on the 1901 census in Pendleton, Salford with his partner (recorded as wife) and a 3 year old daughter, also Mary.  Matthew married his partner Mary Quinn on the 24th May 1906.  In the marriage record he is identified as a shoemaker with Lawrence Luby (deceased) as his father.  So it appears it is the same Matthew Luby who married Mary McGovern in 1877 now marrying again in St Bartholomews Church, Salford.  Matthew died in quarter 4 of 1906 at the age of 46.      .       


    Friday 8th Mar 2019, 08:51PM
  • Peter,

    I did some research in the British records and I've found Bridget (Gray) McGovern living in the Union Workhouse in Burnley in 1901.  She's listed as a retired domestic housekeeper, 77 years old, born in Ireland.  Her name is misspelled.  It's spelled McGoverne or McGoverene.  Then I did further research and found that she died in the Burnley Union Workhouse in December 1906.  She was buried on 29 December 1906 in the Burnley Cemetery  (#A15778).  That's fairly close to where her daughter, Mary (McGovern) Luby was buried in 1894.  She's in #15686.

    There is no record of Peter McGovern dying in the Lancashire area.  Since Bridget is listed as a widow in 1891, Peter would have been deceased by then.  A search of records prior to 1901 does not produce a Peter McGovern.  Therefore, my guess would be that he died in Ireland and Bridget emigrated to England after his death.

    Larry O'Keefe


    Sunday 10th Mar 2019, 05:11PM

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