Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Found: Another Generation?

I am cautiously optimistic that I have moved back in time another generation with my Irish research. Records of Irish Catholics are limited but I have searched through & evaluated those that are available for County Cavan, Ireland and believe it all comes together to uncover my fourth great grandparents.

What I already knew…
Previously I knew my second great grandfather was Patrick Coyle, born 20 May 1841 in Moate, Cavan, Ireland. His baptismal record[1] and family information from second cousins gave me the names of his parents: Michael Coyle & Mary Cunningham. They were married 31 August 1833 just over the border in County Westmeath. Witnesses were Terrance Brady & Bridget Cunningham.[2]
Michael & Mary lived and raised their family in southeastern County Cavan as evidenced by baptismal records for their children[3] & Griffith’s Valuation[4] & Mary’s death record.[5]

What I wanted to know…
Could I learn more about Michael Coyle & Mary Cunningham? Last April I visited the county and met with a researcher at Cavan Genealogy at the Johnston Central Library. She had done research for me and knew I wanted to fill in every little leaf on my family tree. She gently explained the lack of records and that the research she had done was all I would ever discover about my County Cavan families. She had an envelope full of papers which we looked at together. When I returned home I put it all aside because of our son’s wedding & other family happenings.

What I found…
To follow my 2013 goals I have been very closely looking at: the research papers from Ireland, the 1821 Irish census for County Cavan, the photographs I took & maps of the county.

In 1821 in Magherboy there were four Coyle families. Thomas, John & Dennis lived side by side. The fourth house was the home of Pat Coyle, 45 year old laborer. Wife, Mary was 42. Children: Michael, 16; Mary, 12; Catherine, 8; Pat, 3; and John two years old. I believe 16 year old Michael was my ancestor who later married Mary Cunningham and whose oldest children were born in Magherboy.
Pat Coyle tree

Nearby in Pottlebawn was the James Cunningham family. James was a fifty year old farmer. He and his wife had six children: Laurence, 15; Anne, 13; Mary, 11; Catherine, 8; Bridget, 4; and Rose, one year old.[6] It was the opinion of the Cavan County researcher and my opinion that 8 year old Catherine Cunningham is my ancestor who married Michael Coyle. Their witness, Bridget Cunningham was her sister.
James Cunningham Tree

Studying maps has shown me how close these locations are to each other. Studying the other Coyle & Cunningham households in the county helped me to eliminate others as our family. I would love to have another source. I have searched roots Ireland & Find My Past & anything I can think to search. I feel that these two families, Coyle & Cunningham, are my families.

I am open to suggestions for other sources to search & opinions on my conclusions. I will cross my fingers & see what my second cousins think.

[1] Baptismal record for Patrick Coyle, 20 May 1841, Register 33a, Page 30, Ballymachugh Roman Catholic Church, Cavan Genealogy, Johnston Central Library, Farnham Street, Cavan, Ireland
[2] Marriage Record for Michael Coil & Mary Cunningham, Mt Nugent Parish, Co Westmeath, 31 Aug 1833.
[3] Baptismal Record for James Coyle, 1 March 1839, Register 33a, page 12, Ballymachugh Roman Catholic Church Records, Cavan Genealogy, Johnston Central Library, Farnham Street, Cavan, Ireland.
[4] Griffiths Land Valuation for 1856, Parish of Ballymachugh, Townland of Moat; Cavan Genealogy, Johnston Central Library, Farnham Street, Cavan, Ireland.
[5] Death Rocord for Maria Cunningham Coyle, 25 Jan 1848; ‘Parochial Registers of Drumlumman South & Ballymachugh, 1837 – 1935’ 1935’ Diocese of Ardagh & Clonmacnois, Carrick Finea Parish; Deaths:  page 16; Family History Library Microfilm #1299229.
[6] 1821 Irish Census, Drumlummon, , Cavan Genealogy, Johnston Central Library, Farnham Street, Cavan, Ireland.


  1. I know you must be on "Cloud 9" today with your new found discoveries. Congratulations.

  2. No suggestions - but it certainly sounds promising. Good work!


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