222 – Gallaghers and Ireland

Tom Gallagher met Catherine Riley in Sedalia in 1920. By 1922 they were engaged to be married.

Before they marry, we’re going to take some time to meet Tom’s family.

Tom Gallagher had moved to Sedalia in 1920 to open the new Cole’s Women’s Shop. He moved from Junction City, Kansas, where he had been working for Cole Brothers Dry Goods. He was originally from Missouri, not too far from Sedalia.

Tom had grown up in Lamar, Missouri.

Railway map of Missouri – 1904

Tom’s parents were Michael Gallagher and Ellen Dugan Gallagher. Tom had two brothers, Henry and Jim, and a sister Nell.

Tom’s mother Ellen was born in Ireland. His father Michael’s parents were both born in Ireland.

This leads to an inescapable conclusion.

Our Gallaghers were from Ireland


We can trace our family history to Ireland in the 19th century, and certainly many earlier generations lived in Ireland.

Ireland and Northern Ireland

Today the Emerald Isle consists of two countries – Ireland and Northern Ireland.

During the 19th century, many in Ireland wanted “home rule”, independence from Britain. The demand for home rule was granted by the British Parliament in 1912, but it took another decade and a Civil War to sort it all out.

Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating a devolved government for the six northeastern counties. The majority of Northern Ireland’s population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom.

Northern Ireland – Wikipedia

Today there’s the independent country Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom country Northern Ireland.

The Irish Civil War

This is the 100th anniversary of the Irish Civil War. And it affects us today. Read on.

The stately Four Courts building in Dublin was constructed during the 1790s, and was the center of Irish government, home of the high courts, and repository of the national records.

In April 1922, 180 British loyalist troops had taken over the Four Courts building. On June 28, 1922, the opposing Free State troops demanded the occupiers give up the building and surrender. When that didn’t happen, they began to bombard the building on June 30, destroying it with artillery and fires.

That was the beginning of the Irish Civil War.

Four Courts Building Destruction – Battle of Dublin – June 1922

The Four Courts destruction hinders our search

That’s right. We are hindered in our search today because the Four Courts building complex included the Irish Record Office, the equivalent of the National Archives.

Many records dating back centuries were destroyed. The censuses of 1821, 1831, 1841, and 1851 were victims. These are precisely the years we would search before our families left Ireland around 1850. These are the years we could have found home and marriage records.

Here’s a 60-second video that shows the destruction of the building and explains the records loss.

Four Courts – Irish records destruction

This loss makes Irish genealogy very difficult. But let’s try.

We’ll consider one Ireland

For our search, we’ll consider Ireland before the partition. Our families emigrated in the 1840s. They knew one Ireland. Ireland was part of Great Britain.

Ireland quick facts

Ireland is similar in size to South Carolina. The population today is about 7 million, compared to South Carolina’s population of 5 million.

Ireland has 32 counties. The county is the best-known land division. We’ve all heard of County Cork and County Kerry. Our families were from County Donegal and County Kilkenny.

We’ll travel back to the Ireland of the early 1800s and visit these counties.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s