226 – Gallagher and Roarty

We’re going to use the Tithe Applotment Books of 1830 and Griffith’s Valuation of 1857 to try to find where John Gallagher and Hannah Rhoorty lived.

Cottage in Portsalon, Donegal – 1800s


Let’s use the same strategy we used in Italy, where we looked for surname distribution for both Pensa and Gardella.

Here, we’ll see where Gallaghers and Rhoortys live, and start our search in the most probable location.


We’ve already seen that the Gallagher name is most prevalent in Donegal and surrounding counties. Here’s where Gallaghers were found in Donegal in Griffith’s Valuation in 1857.

Yikes! No way.


How about Rhoorty?

I couldn’t find Rhoorty in any list of Irish surnames. But it didn’t take long to find similar spellings as variations of the surname Roarty. It looks like Roarty was the main spelling of the surname, and Rhoorty was a variation.

Let’s consider changing our spelling of Hannah’s surname to Roarty.

And let’s give Michael Gallagher credit for a very close phonetic spelling on Patrick’s death certificate.


Here’s a map showing surname distribution for Roarty and variants in Ireland in 1850s.

Wow! Roartys were found only in Donegal. Only 31 families.

Here’s where Roartys were found in Donegal in Griffith’s Valuation in 1857.

Wow again! Roartys were found in only 6 of the 53 parishes in Donegal in 1857.

Roarty in 1830 tithe books

Searching the 1830 Tithe Applotment Books, we find only 32 Roarty households, all in Donegal. Roartys show up in only four parishes – Clondahorky, Conwal, Templecrone, and Tullaghobegley.

It’s likely that John Gallagher’s family lived near Hannah Roarty’s family. Let’s examine the Tithe Applotment Books to see if we can find Gallaghers and Roartys living near each other in 1830.

Patrick Gallagher was born to John Gallagher and Hannah Roarty in 1827, so they probably married a few years earlier. The tithe records of 1830 are just the right time to search for Gallaghers and Roartys living in close proximity.

Roarty and Gallagher in 1830 Tithe books

Here’s the tithe book page for Magheraclogher townland that we saw earlier. Now we notice that Daniel Roarty lived two doors down from John Gallagher. Maybe…

I extracted all the Roarty households into a spreadsheet. I added any Gallagher households that were in the same townland. Then I mapped each townland where there was both a Roarty and a Gallagher. Here’s the interesting result.

These 15 blue-shaded townlands in a northwest corner of Donegal are the only places I found both a Roarty and a Gallagher living in the same townland.

It’s probable that John Gallagher and Hannah Roarty are from one of these townlands.

Roarty and Gallagher in 1857 Griffith’s Valuation

Let’s test our 1830 findings. Let’s inspect Griffith’s Valuation of 1857 to see if Gallaghers and Roartys are found in the same townlands a generation later.

Here’s the example page of Griffith’s Valuation for Magheraclogher that we saw earlier. It’s amazing. We can now see Roarty houses and small farms along with the Gallaghers. Maybe…

Griffith’s Valuation was published in 1857, the Tithe Applotment Books in 1830. During those 27 years, some land holdings would have changed, perhaps passed to a younger generation. The Great Famine occurred between these years, causing one million dead and one million emigrated. So things will be different. But we still assume very little mobility of families within Ireland.

Here are the findings in Griffith’s where both Roarty and Gallagher are found in the same townland in 1857.

There are 11 townlands where both Roartys and Gallaghers lived in 1857. 9 of these 11 townlands were also in the 1830 results. Those 9 townlands are colored red. One of these is the most likely ancestral home of John Gallagher and Hannah Roarty.

Magheraclogher, Money Beg, and Beltany Mountain

Of the nine townlands we’ve identified, three are prominent. Two-thirds of all Roartys in Ireland lived in just three townlands – Magheraclogher, Money Beg, and Beltany Mountain. That doesn’t mean our ancestors were from those townlands, but the probability is higher that they were.

We’re close

We can’t say that we found the ancestral townland for John Gallagher and Hannah Roarty and their son Patrick. But we’ve narrowed it down from 7,211 townlands in Donegal to just 15, and maybe just to 9.

We’ve narrowed our search to a small area on the northwest coast of Donegal.

Let’s see if we can narrow it down a little more…


6 thoughts on “226 – Gallagher and Roarty

    • Mark Jarvis June 22, 2022 / 3:06 pm

      Who are Magee and Maguire? I thought you were half Large and half Polish. 🙂


      • deborahlargefox0764 June 22, 2022 / 3:43 pm

        My dad’s mother was a Magee (her lines were Magee, Maguire, Tracy, Logan/Lagan and Joyce). I have traced the Lagan ancestors to County Tyrone. The others’ Irish locations remain a mystery. I have traced all my mom’s Polish branches.


      • Mark Jarvis June 22, 2022 / 4:48 pm

        It might get easier. Next week’s post has info on a new/different source.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Catherine Gallagher-Paul June 22, 2022 / 2:45 pm

    Wow, Mark! What impressive researching! I absolutely LOVE reading all these nibbles!


    • Mark Jarvis June 22, 2022 / 3:07 pm

      Thank you Catherine. I’m glad you’re reading and liking. Lots more Gallagher nibbles on the way.


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