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The Moughty's of County Westmeath

Jack Moughty of County Longford and my
father-in-law, Bernard Moughty

    The Moughty family came from a little town on the border of Westmeath and Longford.  I wrote a blog when I first launched my site in 2007 describing my first trip to Ireland with my daughter.  When we first arrived in Ireland, Sarah sent a note to two Moughty’s she found in the phonebook explaining that she was flying home after a week, but her parents would be staying in Dublin at the Berkeley Court the following week.  Both individuals called us, but Jack Moughty insisted on driving to Dublin to meet us.  

    On the appointed day, the concierge called us to say that Mr. Moughty had arrived and would meet us in the pub.  My husband Brian, went down first.  He, of course did not know who he was meeting, but when he entered the pub, a gentleman was just turning from the bar and as he explains it, “the hair stood up on the back of my neck.”  The man at the bar looked just like his father (who had been dead for over ten years).  There was no doubt that he had met Jack Moughty.

    When I tell this story, people frequently ask how we are related.  The answer is, I don’t know.  I’ve never been able to get back far enough to discover the relationship, however I have no doubt that it is there.  Perhaps on my trip next year I see if Jack will agree to a DNA test.  

    On a subsequent trip, Jack was able to clear up one mystery for me.  I had researched all of the Moughty’s that had come from the registration district of Ballymahon, and had put together an entire family group.  James Moughty had married twice...his first wife died shortly after the marriage and there were no children, but he and his second wife, Maria Duggan, had ten children.   I had discovered a number of the children had emigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina .  I couldn’t, however, make a connection with the family.

    Jack took us to the cemetery where Brian’s great grandfather and great uncle were buried.  He said he remembered attending both their funerals.  The headstone was one of the largest in the cemetery, however the names on the headstone did not include Bernard and Jack (Brian’s ancestors) but James, his wife Maria, two of his daughters and his father, also Bernard).  When I asked Jack how Brian’s great grandfather Bernard was related to this James, he said they were brothers!  He also said that Bernard (James and Bernard’s father) was the son of Patrick who had been evicted from his land at Barnacor in Longford.  Both James and Bernard named their eldest son Patrick.

    Confused yet?  One of the most difficult issues in Irish research is sorting out the large number of individuals living in the same area with the same name.  Although not a hard and fast rule, it was not uncommon for the eldest son to be named after the paternal grandfather, the second son after the maternal grandfather and the third after the father.  Here, both James’ and Bernard’s first sons appear to be named after the great grandfather.  James goes on to name his second son after his father, the third after his father-in-law, the fourth is named Michael and the fifth, James.

    Because of the uniqueness of the Moughty name, I’m hoping there is a hint here.  Jack Moughty’s father was Michael, his grandfather James, and his great grandfather Michael.  The repetition of all of these names (besides the obvious resemblance <g>)  has me speculating that possibly Jack’s great grandfather, Michael, and Brian’s great great grandfather were brothers.  Church records appear to go back to the 1830’s in the area so I’m hoping for a breakthrough.  Stay tuned!  Although Brian’s grandfather, Patrick said the name was “always” spelled MOUGHTY, I’ve found a number of variations on the name.  In Griffith’s it spelled Muchty and I’ve found church records as Muchy and Mooty.  In fact, my father-in-law’s birth certificate from New Rochelle, New York is spelled Moody!  According to Jack, there is also a protestant line of the family (converted during the penal laws) that changed their name to Auchmuchty.

    Happy Hunting!

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2018