google-site-verification: google1a99cbc777ffb68f.html

Day 4 - National Library

image-12 med

Reading Room of the National Library

    A jacket was a definite requirement today, my rain jacket doing double duty.  There were periods of heavy rain and bright sun today, sometimes happening within a few minutes of each other.  There was also a stiff breeze making it quite cool.  Definitely sweater/jacket weather today.

   On Saturday the National Library is open from 9:30 - 12:45 and I used every minute of that time.  I had a list of books I wanted to look at, and since I've been focused on my Mackey family I wanted to look at the Ordnance Survey Memoirs for County Leitrim.  Perhaps I could find out something about the townland that would explain why they doesn't show up in the Tithe Applotment.  I had checked the catalog for the Library and thought that Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Vol 40: Counties of South Ulster  would help me out.  This book covered parts of Monaghan, Cavan, Leitrim and Louth, the first two being part of historical Ulster, and Leitrim and Louth being border counties.

    In the 1830s when the Ordnance Survey teams were making maps of Ireland, they also commissioned parish accounts to accompany the maps and these were known as the Memoirs.   At the time, only one parish in Londonderry was published and the project was discontinued after the completion of Ulster and some parts of the border counties.  In the 1980s  the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University of Belfast, in association with the Royal Irish Academy published the Memoirs in 40 volumes.

   To obtain books in the National Library you first have to have a reader's card and then, from the catalog you complete a request form, using your reader's number and desk number.  From the picture above, you can see that this is a beautiful facility.  When I received the book I discovered that only the Union of Manorhamilton in Leitrim was included (my ancestors were from Ballyshannon, just to the north).  Disappointing…I thought perhaps since the Union of Ballyshannon contains areas in both Donegal and Leitrim that it might be in the Dongegal book, but it wasn't.  While looking at the index, I discovered that it did cover the parish of Magheracloone in County Monaghan where my husband's Martin family resided, so I read through that section.  It's difficult for us to get much specific information on our tenant farmer ancestors, but this was a goldmine for social context.  It provided topographical, population and religious information and under "Remains of Antiquity" told me that at the eastern side of Lough Fea at the foot of a steep cliff was a ledge believed to be the chair of the mythical Finn McCool.  There were also sections on the Habits of the People, including how their houses were built, what they ate and how they dressed (remember these were done in the 1830s).  What a shame these books aren't available for all of Ireland.  

   I had only a little time left, so I spent the last half hour using the Irish Newspaper Archive database.   This is only available for use in the Library and your only option is to print what you find…no emailing or digital copies.  I pulled up the Westmeath Examiner which began in 1882 and typed in "Moughty Obituaries."  I didn't find any way of limiting by date (which in this case was lucky) and among others, I came up with the obituary of Mrs. Mary Moughty in November of 1935.  It was happy dance time!  This is my husband's great grandmother and I have searched for her death for over 20 years.  Her husband didn't die until 1954 but no one could give me any idea when she died.  I have manually searched the Indexes to Civil Registration, both in Ireland and on microfilm at the Family History Library and I thought for sure I would find her when the FHL Civil Registration Indexes were completed, but no she's not there.  I even checked again now that I have a date with various spellings and I still can't find her.   Sometimes the record you're looking for just doesn't exist!

    Happy Hunting (I'm very happy today)!

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2013