We’ve used the Tithe Applotment Books of 1830 and Griffith’s Valuation of 1857 to find those townlands where Gallaghers and Roartys lived near each other.
If we’re correct, one of these townlands is the ancestral home of John Gallagher and Hannah Roarty.
Can we do better?
The Gallagher surname was omnipresent; the Roarty surname was rare. Our strategy was to search the townlands that had both Gallaghers and Roartys. We found nine townlands where both a Gallagher and Roarty lived in 1830 and 1857.
Let’s use that same strategy to focus the search even more.
Our Donegal ancestors
Here’s a family tree of every ancestor we know from Donegal. The tiles with green borders represent those that were born in Donegal.
Nellie Ellen Dugan was born in Donegal in 1866. Ellen’s parents were James Dugan and Julia Duffy. Ellen was best friends with Hannah Gallagher, daughter of Michael Gallagher and granddaughter of John and Hannah Roarty Gallagher. (See yellow boxes in diagram.)
Ellen and Hannah came to America together in 1883 to join Hannah’s father Michael. Michael had come to Lamar, Missouri a few years earlier to join his brother Patrick. More about this later. For now, it’s important that Ellen and Hannah were best friends in Donegal.
Ellen and her parents, James Dugan and Julia Duffy Dugan, probably lived near Hannah and her father Michael Gallagher and Michael’s parents John Gallagher and Hannah Roarty Gallagher.
Dugans and Duffys
Let’s employ our previous successful strategy. We will search the townlands where Gallaghers and Roartys lived to see if Dugans and Duffys lived there too.
Once again, we’ll consider spelling variants – Doogan and Dugan, Duffy and Duffey.
Once again, we’ll assume that these families lived very near each other. Of course, townland boundaries are arbitrary. The townlands were very small, so families in the adjacent townland could be well-known too.
We’ll take any results with a grain of salt.
Tithe Applotment 1830
Here is the amazing result. In the 1830 Tithe Applotment, we found only one townland where all four families lived – Meenderrynasloe.
Griffith’s Valuation 1857
Here’s a further amazing result. In the 1857 Griffith’s Valuation, there were only two townlands where all four families were found – Meenderrynasloe and Meenderryowan.
The Griffith’s citation for Meenderrynasloe is very compelling because it lists a John Gallagher and a Michael Gallagher. Those are the names of Patrick Gallagher’s father and brother. In addition, it lists James Doogan. That’s the name of Ellen Dugan’s father. Could be coincidence, those were popular forenames. Or…
This makes Meenderrynasloe a good candidate for the home townland of John Gallagher and Hannah Roarty Gallagher, as well as James Doogan and Julia Duffy Doogan.
Meenderrynasloe is a townland in Templecrone civil parish, bordering Tullaghobegley parish. It covered 1,003 acres, about 1.5 square miles.
Its Irish name is Mhín Doire na Slua. Mhin = mountain pasture + Doire = oak grove or thicket
In the map enlargement below, you can see groups of houses and small farms. These were typical of the clachans and Rundale farms where our families eked out a living.
In Griffith’s Valuation in 1857, Meenderrynasloe had 65 enumerated households in a 1.5 square mile townland. Most of those households were clustered in three or four clachans. It’s easy to imagine that our ancestor families that lived in these clachans knew each other well. They intermarried over the generations. Gallaghers were related to Roartys, who were related to Dugans and Duffys.
A DNA match
Once again, DNA adds to our knowledge. We have a close DNA match in Anne Nicholls. She writes:
I see we are 3rd cousins!! Máire Duffy born 1875 was my great grandmother. I live in Co Donegal. My great grandmother was Máire Duffy from Annagry in West Donegal and her mother was Hannah Duggan. I have Duggan’s on my mother’s side too.Anne Nicholls – Ancestry.com
Anne’s great grandmother Máire Duffy was born in 1875, just 11 years later than Ellen Dugan. She was from Annagry. It’s the townland that borders Meenderrynasloe on the west.
These are small townlands. Máire’s home in Annagry could be just across the road, or maybe one mile away from Ellen’s home in Meenderrynasloe.
It’s one more circumstantial vote that our Gallagher and Roarty and Dugan and Duffy ancestors lived in this area.
The Rosses and Gweedore
Meenderrynasloe and Annagry townlands are in The Rosses District. The other townlands we’ve identified are in the Gweedore District. They all run together in an area about 8 miles by 4 miles.
I think Meenderrynasloe is the leading candidate, based on finding all four of our ancestor names there and having a DNA match in neighboring Annagry.
Meenderrynasloe may not be the exact townland, but this general area was likely the home of our ancestors. It was certainly home to Roartys, Gallaghers, Duffys, and Dugans.
Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury
Recall that the Irish Record Treasury and its archives were destroyed in the Four Courts fire of 1922.
The Irish government has an extensive project to reconstruct lost records by restoration, finding copies in other archives, etc. When that happens, maybe we’ll be able to find the exact place where John and Hannah lived.
On the centenary of the Four Courts blaze (30 June 2022), we will launch the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland online. Many millions of words from destroyed documents will be linked and reassembled from copies, transcripts and other records scattered among the collections of our archival partners.Beyond 2022 – Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury
June 30, 2022
Just think! 100 years to the day, we’ll get to explore the reconstructed Irish record archives. The 1922 Irish Rebellion and the bombardment of the Four Courts Building have impacted our lives today, a century later.
Will the reconstructed records reveal more about the home and history of the Gallaghers in Donegal? Will it enlighten the history of our Large ancestors in Kilkenny?
Thus far, we’ve studied the available resources and drawn conclusions. Will our conclusions be proved right or wrong? Either way, we hope so. I’d like nothing better than to rewrite these past few stories of Gallagher history with new facts and knowledge.
We’re pondering this in June 2022, just before the launch of Beyond 2022 Project. So let’s take a few weeks off. We’ll be back in July with the results. Best case, we’ll have a whole new layer to add to our investigation. Worst case, we’ll continue where we left off.
Can’t wait to let you know what we find.
- Maps – composite of Gallagher and Roarty townlands – Google Maps
- Family tree – people born in Donegal – Ancestry.com
- DNA match – Anne Nicholls – Ancestry.com
- Tithe Applotment Books – Meenderrynasloe – National Archives of Ireland –http://titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie/reels/tab//004625721/004625721_00398.pdf
- Griffith’s Valuation Table and Maps – Meenderrynasloe – askaboutireland.ie – https://griffiths.askaboutireland.ie/gv4/z/zoomifyDynamicViewer.php?file=068166&path=./pix/068/&rs=4&showpage=1&mysession=2817347874550&width=&height=
- Image – Gweedore clachan – National Museums NI –https://www.nmni.com/collections/history/photographs/james-glass-album/belumy3903933
- DNA match – Anne Nicholls – ancestry.com
- Quotation and logo – Project Beyond 2022 – Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury – https://beyond2022.ie/
- Music – Henry Savage’s Favorite – Barndance – Heaton, Shannon- Seamus Connolly Collection – Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/connollymusiccollection