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   Welcome to the Frampton Irish Blog. I will try to provide a blog edition each month. Each edition will have a theme. I will try to include such items as updated information on my research activities, new things I am learning, interesting tidbits on Frampton Irish persons and families, and occasionally some research tips. If I present questions and issues to you, and you have answers or comments, I invite your feedback either on the guest book or if you prefer by email to me at

Genealogy Centres Oct 25, 2008

The theme of this blog is using the Irish Genealogies Centres to research your Frampton Irish ancestors. Last month I discussed determining the Irish origins of your Frampton Irish ancestors. It is most important to use sources in North America to at least identify the County in Ireland that your ancestors came from. But once you know that where do you go from there?

As many of you may know, doing Irish ancestral research can be difficult. This is especially true for the Frampton Irish as most of them emigrated to Lower Canada several decades before the "famine" and it was before any surviving Irish census. Further, ship lists for the Frampton Irish emigrants are virtually non-existant. While libraries in North America do have some Irish sources available, they are quite limited for the time period in question.

The good news is that Ireland has a system of County Genealogies Centres available to do searches on your behalf. A varying fee is charged for this service which perhaps has scared a few of you off. I too was once reluctant to use this service in that I wasn’t sure what I would get for my money.

The Genealogy Centres have somewhat "monopolized" the local records. They seemed to have done this as a "make work" project for local citizens as well as using their efforts to encourage "genealogy tourism." Most of the early church records (both Catholic and Protestant) are available for consulting at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin. However, there is not an index or search function, meaning that you would have to know the specific church where your ancestors may have come from. The Genealogy Centres have taken these church records and other records and indexed them and placed them in a county database that can readily be searched. Again a fee is charged, but it will most likely be far cheaper than flying to Dublin and lodging there while you make haphazard searches in the church record microfilms.

The first that I heard of someone receiving information from a Genealogy Centre was when a distant Doran relative of mine e-mailed me in 2001 to tell me that he got information from the Wexford Genealogy Centre that his Great Grandfather Michael Doran (my 3 Great Grandmother was his sister Elizabeth) was born on December 7 , 1825 at the Catholic Parish of Oulart and that his parents were residents of the Townland of Bolaboy. Later I heard from another Frampton Irish researcher who not only confirmed that her ancestor John McLaughlin came from Londonderry but she received information about his specific street address and the church he worshiped at. In another example a marriage record of Miles Duff and Margaret Doyle was found in the Catholic Parish of Wexford Town along with a birth record of one of their children. It was these examples that told me it may be possible to find information on my own Frampton Irish ancestors.

I made my first attempt to request information on my ancestors from the Wexford Genealogy Centre a few years ago. I was most interested in my Murphy ancestors who reportedly had come from somewhere near Enniscorthy. At that time the on-line instructions for the Wexford Genealogy Centre asked that a form be filled out on an individual ancestor and their family and to send about $25.00 for the request. About a month later I received a reply that said a record for my ancestor (Andrew Murphy) could not be found in the Wexford database. So this request did not work out so well for me. I set that effort aside and decided it would be best to wait a couple years so that they could increase their database somewhat and by then I might have further information.

My brother and I had been discussing the possibility of going to Ireland. However, I did not want to go until I had at least some location details about our ancestors in County Wexford. So I checked the County Wexford Genealogy website and noticed a few changes. This time the centre asked for 15 Euro to be sent to obtain a Genealogy Pack. The "pack" identified three kinds of searches: individual, family and location with the fee schedule for each. The individual and family searches are for parish records. Other searches are available for Census, Griffith’s Valuation, Tithe Books and Gravestones for additional fees. Because the Frampton Irish were such early emigrants, I determined that a search of the parish records was the best bet. The "pack" also identified which parish records were available and their years of coverage. And because I didn’t do well with an "individual search" with my first attempt, I determined a "family search" would probably be necessary.

This time I decided to request several "family searches." Using the format provided in the "pack," I identified the background information for the following five "related families": Miles Murphy and Margaret Nowlan; Michael Donahue and Mary Murphy; Phelim Doran and Catherine Murphy; Matthew O’Connor and Catherine O’Brien and Sylvester O’Connor and Mary Roach. Upon receipt of my request, the centre informed me that the search fee would be $473.00. So I took the risk and sent the money.

Unfortunately, it took about seven months for my search to be completed. The centre asked for my patience as spring and summer are their primary tourist season as the centre location is also a museum and tourist attraction. I finally received my report the first week of this month. For the most part, very few matches were found for the family members I submitted. This is most likely due to the fact that some of the most likely parishes have records available only for time periods after my ancestors went to Canada. However, several records were found that seemed to match several Frampton Irish ancestors. I had submitted the name of Miles Murphy, born about 1750. A record was found for a Miles Murphy born September 29, 1747 at Wexford Town. Another submission was for Margaret Nowland (Miles wife) born about 1754. A record was found for a Margaret Nowland born November 10, 1755 at Wexford Town (same parish as Miles). A record was also found for a James Murphy born on March 25, 1809 at the Parish of Oylegate with parents Peter Murphy and Margaret Lambert (later residents of Frampton). A record was found for a Anne Connors born October 24, 1819 at the Parish of Kilmuckridge with parents Matthew Connors and Catherine Brien. I believe this child was most likely my Great Great Grandmother Anastasia (Anny) O’Connor. The other record found was the same as the one mentioned above for Michael Doran and thus validated the search process. There were several records provided that were not matches for my Frampton Irish families but had the same names. The researcher also provided a complete list of all events searched for in which no record was found.

At first it didn’t seem like much for $473.00. But I studied what I received and compared it to some of the locations I had identified in my research in the Rebellion Papers and I discovered that all these records collectively pointed to the same general areas in County Wexford. So I believe now I am much better prepared to make the trip to Ireland when the opportunity presents itself. I also realized that what I spent was very small in comparison to what it would have cost to go to Ireland and do the research myself. This is especially true for all the search work for which records were not found.

I would be interested in hearing from any of you that may have made requests to the Ireland Genealogy Centres and what you may have found out. I would also encourage any of you that know the County in Ireland that your ancestors came from to attempt an information request and search. The different Genealogy Centres vary in their fees, search procedures and what records are available. Most of them have a website describing their services. You can find the Irish Genealogy Centres and the sources they have in their databases at the Irish Family History Foundation website at

Irish Origins Sep 20, 2008

The theme of this blog is Irish origins or "where did they come from?" One of the most often asked questions I get is where specifically in Ireland did a person’s ancestors come from. In many cases I have had to answer that I don’t know. This has been the case for my many years of research on my own Frampton Irish ancestor James McLane (he spelled his name McLean in notaire documents). All I have been able to find on him in the Canadian census is that he was born in Ireland. So this has been a "brick wall" for me for quite some time. When I first started my research, I was able to quickly find the Irish county of origin on my Murphy, O’Connor, O’Farrell, and Doran ancestors, which was County Wexford. But that sort of information was not quick to reveal itself for James McLean. I read in a genealogy magazine once that if you can’t find out where your ancestors came from, then you should study the origins of your ancestor’s neighbors. That is precisely how I got started with my study of the entire Dorchester County Irish community. At first I thought that this community was rather small and that they probably came from only a few places in Ireland. Well my database now contains almost 12,000 names. However, these 12,000 names are all descendants or relatives of about 516 Frampton progenitors for which Ireland was found in a record as their place of birth. So it turned out to be quite a large community. It also turns out that the records indicate that there were Frampton Irish progenitors that came from all of the Irish counties except Clare and Louth.

I am sort of a "graphics" person. I like to see information displayed on maps, graphs and illustrations. It provides a way to quickly grasp the "big picture." Prior to my last visit to Quebec for the St. Malachie celebration, I thought it might be nice to display a large wall map of Ireland that displayed the counties of Ireland and illustrated the counties where the greatest number of Frampton Irish came from. I went through my database to count the numbers of progenitors identified with each of the specific counties. I then calculated the percentage that those numbers represented and displayed in grayscale with darker gray representing the higher percentages. It served to illustrate that the greatest numbers of Frampton Irish came from Southeastern Ireland with County Wexford being the highest percentage. Most of these Southeastern emigrants came to Lower Canada prior to 1830.

For the past year, I have been working on extracting records for the Irish Protestant community and this has increased the number of progenitors for which I can identify a specific Irish county of origin. Further, I have had contact with many descendants of the Frampton Irish that knew the specific Irish county of origin for their ancestors through family lore. So now it was time to re-evaluate the data, recalculate the percentages and re-draw the map. This process yielded that out of the 516 Frampton Irish progenitors, 202 could be identified with a specific Irish county and 52 could be identified with a specific parish or townland. The percentage per county was as follows (in descending order):

Wexford: 25%

Limerick: 8%

Offaly (Kings): 7%

Tipperary: 6%

Antrim: 4%

Tyrone: 4%

Kilkenny: 4%

Longford: 4%

Westmeath: 4%

Kildare: 3%

Carlow: 3%

Cork: 3%

Donegal: 2%

Down: 2%

Leix (Queens): 2%

Londonderry: 2%

Dublin: 1%

Galway: 1%

Kerry: 1%

Meath: 1%

Armagh: 1%

Cavan: 1%

Fermanagh: 1%

Mayo: 1%

Monaghan: 1%

Waterford: 1%

Wicklow: 1%

Leitrim: .5%

Roscommon: .5%

Sligo: .5%

This information was all derived from record sources with genealogical value. There are only two literary sources available that describe where the Frampton Irish may have specifically come from. The first is a "History of Frampton" written in a series of articles by Priest Theodore A. Gagnon in the Catholic newspaper L’Action Sociale from1913 to 1915 (this history is available on my publications page). The other is the 1909 Histoire de la Paroisse de Saint Malachie, by Priest Jules Kirouac. Both of these sources appear to be based upon oral history from those Frampton Irish descendants who were still living in the Frampton vicinity at the time they were written. They were both written almost 100 years after the arrival of the first Frampton Irish emigrants from Ireland.

In L’Action Sociale. Gagnon discussed the early pioneers of Frampton Township as follows: "The names of these valiant pioneers deserve to be recalled: they were the Brennans, the Reids, the Murphys, the Fitzgeralds, the Duffs, the Byrns and whose descendants yet inhabit Frampton. They came from the County of Wexford in Ireland." This source is certainly supported by the genealogical records that indicate that possibly 25% of the Frampton Irish came from County Wexford. This percentage is even higher if the neighboring counties of Kilkenny, Carlow and Wicklow are included. Clearly, the first Frampton Irish settlers came from this region of Ireland and these first settlers probably influenced their family and friends in Ireland to join them in Frampton. It should be noted that the early settlement occurred primarily in the Western part of Frampton Township.

Kirouac in his 1909 Histoire de la Paroisse de Saint Malachie, in reference to the Concession of Ballyporreen, stated: "It was Gilbert Henderson who gave the name to the Concession in memory of the towns of Ireland in the Province of Ulster, County of Antrim. The principle towns of that province had the names of Ballycastel, Ballymena, Ballymoney, and Ballyporreen." He stated further, "The greater part of the Irish emigrants, that arrived in Canada in 1830, came from the counties of Armagh, Limerick, Ardagh, Tipperary, and from Ballyporreen in the County of Antrim." First it should be noted that my research based upon genealogical records and on Irish place names has determined that Ballyporreen is actually in County Tipperary rather than Antrim and that Ardagh is actually a parish in County Longford. I am sure that Kirouac (a person of French descent) was not familiar with Irish geography and made assumptions based upon what he was hearing from the Irish descendants living in St. Malachie in 1909. So generally Kirouac’s statements appear to be true in reference to the settlement of the Eastern part of Frampton Township in the area that would become St. Malachie.

In my research I have found that family and friends from the old country tended to establish on farms quite near each other in Frampton Township and the neighboring Townships and Seigneuries. For example, the Northwestern part of Frampton Township where the first settlements were made are families that almost all came from Wexford and surrounding counties. Further, most of the settlers that lived in Concession Ballyporeen in East Frampton came from Tipperary (probably the Catholic parish of Ballyporeen). So knowing where your ancestors farm was and who their neighbors were can help in determining where in Ireland they might have came from.

In the case of my ancestor James McLean, I found through several notaire records that his neighbor in Concession St. Alexander of the Seigneurie of Jolliet (Ste. Marguerite) was Hugh McDonough. In one of those records, I found out that Hugh McDonough was his cousin. So it follows that if I can find out where in Ireland Hugh McDonough came from, I can find out where James McLean came from. I further found that Hugh McDonough’s parents were Philip McDonough and Elizabeth McCaffredy. However, I have yet to find anything on Irish origins on either family, so the search continues.

In terms of research tips, I would like to point out what sources have yielded information about Irish origins. One important source is Catholic marriage records where the parents of parties are named. When the parents were still located in Ireland, quite often the specific location is given. This is almost always the case when the priest was an Irish person. However, if you have taken marriage data from an extracted index, you might not get this information. That is why the original primary record should be consulted. Protestant marriage records seldom give the names of the parents or their origins. However, I have found several Protestant burial records where the specific Irish county is given for the deceased. So rather than just relying on index data or cemetery lists, it is wise to check the original record. Sometimes Irish origins can be found on gravestones. But just finding a ‘surviving" stone for people who died in rural Quebec in the 19th century is a challenge. As noted above, I have given you all that local histories in the Frampton vicinity provide in terms of Irish origins. But local histories written in other places in Canada and the U.S. have yielded information about Irish origins. Further, while obituaries are rare in Quebec newspapers in the 19th century, obituaries published elsewhere on Frampton Irish descendants have provided Irish origins. As always, the most overlooked source for Irish origins is notaire records. Quite often, when the Irish person was a recent arrival from Ireland, the notaire would identify them as "late of County Wexford, now of Frampton Township." Notaire documents were drawn up even when the person "fresh off the boat" went to rent or lease a room or house in Quebec City to live in. If such a document can be found, it may yield the information on Irish origins. I have found several Irish origins in notaire records. But finding and using these records is the subject of another future blog.

I have re-drawn the map of Ireland based upon the re-evaluation I have conducted. If anyone would like a copy of this image file, just e-mail a request to me at and I will e-mail it back to you.

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