Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Allison in Co. Galway

My grandmother, Alice Louise Allison, was born and brought up in a hamlet called Gweeneeny, then in Co Galway, but later relocated into Co Clare on the shores of Lough Derg. Her father, Richard,  was an auctioneer, farmer and publican. Gweeneeny today consists still only of the family home.
The first picture shows the road to Whitegate.

, and the second shows the family home as it was in 2010. 

While the third picture shows the road to Lough Derg.


All Richard and Mary Ann's children attended the local Lake National school. Fortunately a local resident, Alfie O'Brien has compiled a history of this school from which the following attendance records for the Allison children have been taken.

Monday, 4 October 2010

History re-written (or re-pictured).

In June this year, my wife and I took another trip to Co Clare, this time the intention was to make some video recordings of Whitegate and the Cliffs of Moher. I already knew that the photographs I took in Whitegate the previous year were NOT of the house my grandmother was born and grew up in - that was down the road towards Mountshannon in a hamlet called Gweeneeny. So the first task this year was to correct the previous year's error and photograph the pub which my great grandfather ran in the late 1800's.

While we were in Gweeneeny, I visited another local researcher who had collected details of my grandmother's local school records (Lakyle National School). I was able to photograph the school records for my grandmother and each of her siblings at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th.

Unfortunately, further research at Ennis Library did not produce any further information about either the Allisons, or the Hutchinsons. But I was able to have a look at my great grandfather's last home on the outskirts of Limerick. He moved here sometime between 1901 and 1911 and died here in 1923.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Samuel Fox - Photographer

Early on in my investigations into my family I started off with my father's family because my cousin's wife Linda had already done my mother's maternal line pretty comprehensively. I remember my mother saying that my grandfather had been entitled to a double-barrelled name but chose not to use it. So, I started, knowing that my grandfather had been a commercial artist, I went back to the 1901 census and discovered him at home with his parents and sisters. I then managed to go back to the 1851 census with his father Robert Jones, discovering my great great grandfather John Jones to have been a partner in the firm what became known as Dickens & Jones of Regent Street. No, he was not the Jones of that partnership name. That honour belonged to one John Pritchard Jones, originally from Anglesey. My gg grandfather apparently was born in a tiny hamlet near to Dolgellau in North Wales. When my gg grandfather was involved, the firm was originally called Dickens, Smith & Stevens, only

His son, though married one Catherine Fox, whose father, Samuel came from Workington in Cumbria. Samuel had become a travelling daguerrotype artist (otherwise known as a photographer). He started in Ireland sometime during the 1840's and got married there to Catherine Molloy from Athy in Kildare. He moved back to England during the late 1840's to Worthing in Sussex, where he set up his own photographic studio. Samuel himself died in 1867 when he was only 62, but his business was carried on by Catherine and his daughters until the daughters all married.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Relatives appearing out of the woodwork

This post is all about how in the space of less than a month, no less than two new relations suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The funny thing was, they were both called Alan. Now there must be something in that, I suppose.

First of all, just before we went to Ireland, I had an enquiry from the first Alan through Genes Reunited saying that it seemed like we had two people in each of our trees who appeared to match. On further analysis, and with the help of my cousin's wife (Linda is the family history expert - she does it almost professionally), we established that (in common with other members of the Allison family), he was related to us both through his mother, and also through his father. The latter was easier to prove, but his mother (who is still alive) was the more direct match. All the while this research was going on, I and my wife were perusing gravestones in Mountshannon churchyard and studying records in Clare County Library in Ennis.

Next up was another family link, again to my grandmother's family (the Allisons). This time another Alan, this one living in Tasmania, had been to visit a family member in North Devon, where my grandmother had lived each summer after my grandfather had died in 1942. The Tasmanian Alan was researching my grandmother's uncle from whom she inherited her Devon home. I was able to provide Alan with more information about uncle Robert, who in his days in Parracombe, was the local excise agent.

I wonder who else will pop out of the woodwork next.......

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Second Visit to Ireland

And now to my second visit to Ireland. I very soon realised (even before I landed in Dublin), that this would not  be my last visit. There was too much to see to be able to do everything in one week. The intial plan (in my mind) was to use this visit to find out everything there was to find about my maternal grandfather's family history. Just by visiting  a small village in Co Clare called Mountshannon. This was not feasible in one week. For one thing, I had overlooked the Irish approach to life.Don't do anything today that can easily be left until tomorrow (or even the day  - or week thereafter). Life is too short for those sorts of decisions to be made today.
So we travelled to Clare. First we got the ferry from Holyhead (a 90 minute drive from Chester) to Dublin. Good job I had the sat-nav (Tom-Tom). It was programmed to take us from the ferry port to Ennis where we decided to spend the first three nights. This turned out to be a more sensible decision than staying in Mountshannon. Unfortunately, Tom-Tom got itself confused by the Irish attitude to road construction - the road has to be built so lets just do it and hope that everyone can find their way around the closures (but do NOT tell the satellite navigation companies - that would not be cricket - a game that the Irish do not really participate in). So somewhere just close to Nenagh in Tipperary, my satnav got itself totally screwed up, and I had to take an executive decision to override the wicked witch in the device.

Having eventually arrived in Ennis, where we were to stay for three nights, we checked in to our hotel, The Old Ground Hotel just opposite the cathedral. Our room (a suite) faced directly onto the cathedral, and I immediately thought of the church bells next to a hotel I stayed at in Winterthur - very noisy, at all hours during the day (and night!). We checked with the reception staff, who assured us (correctly, as it turned out) that these bells only chimed between the hours of 8am and about 9:30pm.

Ennis is a picturesque old town, the centre of which is built both sides of the River Fergus. There are loads of bars and restaurents, some very good indeed, and others more basic. Naturally, we chose the better ones.

The next day we visited Whitegate (on the left here) and Mountshannon, where my grandmother was brought up and where my great grandfather was brought up, respectively. My grandfather was actually born in Limerick, and I think only met my grandmother because his grandfather and aunts still lived in Mountshannon. My grandfather was (according to the 1901 census) a farmer, auctioneer and publican. To the best of my knowledge, their house is the last one on the right hand side in this view before you get to the crimson painted building, which nowadays is a half-decent public house.

Our next port of call was Mountshannon (see right), where we spent more time, because I wanted to visit St Caimins Church which is still the Church of Ireland church for Mountshannon and the surrounding area. Here we took photographs of gravestones that related to my grandfather's families. He was a Hutchinson, and his father married a Clarke who were a dominant family in Mountshannon in the 1800's, together with the Hollands, to whom he was also related. Here I purchased a book called "For God or King" which is the history of Mountshannon from 1742 to 1992. It is edited by Gerard Madden who runs the local history society (East Clare Heritage) which can be found on the web here.

Day two of our stay was spent mostly in Ennis, first of all visiting the library where all of the family history records are kept. Needless to say, there was nothing that was really of any use to us, other than one document that was the minutes of vestry meetings from 1817 to 1871. These minutes identify some of my grandfathers antecedants on his mother's side of the family during that period.

Day three involved our relocation from Ennis to Doolin where we stayed for another three nights at a very quiet hotel just to the north of the village (see left), which also happens to be the ferry terminal for trips to the Aran Isles.

The first day here we visited Lisdoonvarna where we discovered they were holding the annual matchmaking festival. It was also damp on this visit, but it dried up later on when we went north to Ballyvaughn for lunch before returning via the coast road to Doolin, where we discovered our hotel.

Our hotel, the Ballinalacken Castle Hotel, is a couple of miles north of Doolin, nestling at the foot of the Burren (see picture at right). The restaurent is excellent and the bar was quiet mostly, except the night when two retired judges decided to have a ballad singing competition - unaccompanied. Their singing was on the whole excellent. I could not even begin to compete - I was told many years ago that I sing flat, by someone who knew what she was talking about.

After the Doolin stay, we moved on back towards Dublin, where we stayed at Cassidys Hotel in upper O,Connell Street. It was a good thing we only stayed one night as there was no car parking available on the grounds they decided to put a marquee up in the hotel car park to accomodate the partying for the Gaelic football final being held on that weekend. Grrh! We will not be returning to Cassidy's. Next time (which there will be) we will stay elsewhere in Dublin.

Next time we will probably go to look at Limerick where my great grandfather lived and also Doolin.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

First Visit to Ireland

My first visit to Ireland (when I was about 15 years old) happened in 1964. As you might guess, I travelled with parents and my younger sister. We took the car, but my father decided that it made sense to take the car as far as possible on the train (ie: from London to Fishguard - a car ferry port then and still is). We then drove from Rosslare to Glengarriff via Cork, where my father famously stopped and asked an Irish lady how long it would take to drive to Dublin (a distance of about 252km and even today will take over 3 hours). She thought about it for a couple of minutes, as one does, and then responded "Oh, about a couple of hours". My father was not amused.

Glengarriff was and still is a pretty fishing port on the coast here. It is also very close to a reasonably famous garden which you can only get to by means of a ferry from Glengarriff. This is on Garnish Island.

After two weeks of blissful holiday, the time had come to return home. However, we did not return the same way as we came. My mother expressed the wish to see the place where her mother had been born and brought up, and managed to persuade my father to take the necessary detour via Limerick and Nenagh to Whitegate. Needless to say, by the time we reached the outskirts of Limerick, my father decided that we did not have enough time to do more than pass by Nenagh if we were to get to Dublin before dark, so we missed out on Whitegate. Instead, we drove all the way to Dublin, where we stayed overnight with another of my mother's cousins before we drove back to Rosslare to get the ferry back to Fishguard, and home.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Opening Post - Or how I came to call this Irish Genealogy Revisited

My wife has been running her blog- Cheshire Wife for over a year now, and she keeps reminding me that I have not really started my blog. So having just visited Ireland (for only the second time in my life - the first time was over 45 years ago, no less) partly to update some missing links to my family tree, I have decided that now is the right time to create this blog. This is not the first blog I have created. I actually now have three others. I may provide links to one or more of these later on.