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I am trying to trace my SHANNON (sometimes spelt SHANAN) family history pre-1900. This was the year in which my Grandfather, Farrell SHANNON, was discharged from the Royal Irish Constabulary, having enlisted in 1875 at the age of 19 years. Between 1875 and 1900 Farrell Shannon served in Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon. He was a Roman Catholic and by 1900 had become a widower. He married again in 1900 to Eleanor Charlotte GRAY in Westport, County Mayo. I have plenty of information about that particular Gray family but almost nothing about the Shannons pre-1900.
We believe that Farrell SHANNON was a native of County Cavan, and that his father was Robert SHANNON. Nothing else is known about either of them.
Where did Farrell live between 1855-56 and 1900? Did he have any brothers or sisters? Where was the family home where Robert is said to have been a farmer? Who was Farrells' first wife? Did they have any children? What became of her family? According to the R.I.C. Service Record Farrell had family connections in Leitrim, Donegal and Galway. This search could take some time!
Incidentally, many thanks to Jim Herlihy for the information from the R.I.C. Service Record. Jim is an expert on R.I.C. history and his book "The Royal Irish Constabulary, A Short History and Genealogical Guide" is highly recommended (contact Four Courts Press, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8).
I would like to hear from or about SHANNONS in any of the counties mentioned above.
Best Wishes to All for 2002.
I just posted the page of the gravestones from the Pres. Burying Ground,
Inch, Donegal at
(Sorry about the banners, but free web sites are like that.)
This is a very rough draft and will be improved. If you see any errors,
please, let me know and I will correct them. I will add more to the Inch
page as time goes on. Christmas is not the best time of year to start work
on a new project 8-)
I visited Inch Island in May 2001. I wrote down all of the names, with dates
on the gravestones in the Pres. Burying Ground beside The Grove in
Carnaghan, Inch Island.
The names are: McCandless, Creswell, Lynn, Fleming, Brown, Porter, MARSHALL,
Anderson, Ramsay (Ramsey), McDowell, ELDER, Bryce, Thompson,
Galbraith-Fleming. (ELDER and MARSHALL are lines I am researching.)
I have photos of all the gravesites and dates and inscriptions. If anyone
wants these contact me. faery(a)uniserve.com
Hi list! I got an email from Maureen asking about how to use the Valuation
records to help trace your ancestors - I'm no great expert on this, but I
can tell you what I did to find the land of my gr gr gr grandfather, to find
out what happened to it, and also how that led me to his death certificate.
My start was relatively easy as my gr gr grandparents married in 1866, 2
years after civil registration started - and their marriage was registered
(many events weren't)! The marriage cert had my gr gr grandmother, Fanny
Gallagher, with Upper Stramore as her place of birth and Hugh Gallagher as
her father............the 1857 Girffith's Valuation names all the heads of
the households, along with the details of the property and landlords names -
there was one Hugh Gallagher in Upper Stramore, where he held land, and he
also had his house, outbuilding and just over 19 acres in Stramore. What the
Griffith's Valuation also told me was the Ordnance Survey map number (51)
and the 'numbers and letters of reference to the map' (5 for Stramore).
There are a number of versions of the Ordnance Survey maps - from old to
modern - but the only place I know of for certain that you can get a copy of
THE map showing the reference numbers/letters is the Valuation Office in
Dublin. Being about as far from Dublin (and Donegal for that matter) as you
can get, a visit was out of the question. I found and went to the Valuation
Office website at http://www.valoff.ie/Genealogy.htm and emailed them. I
sent the name of my ancestor and the full reference from the Griffith's
Valuation to them, with a request for a copy of the map showing the location
of his land. I also sent my Visa card details requesting they make the
appropriate charge for photocopying and airmail postage, along with my snail
mail address (as an alternative you could fax or mail your request to them).
>From being on the Donegal lists, I had seen mention of the cancelled land
valuation books - it took a while to grasp what they actually meant and what
I could do with them .............these books relate to the Griffith's
Valuation (and later) and the Ordnance Survey maps I have just written
about. They cover the period from the 1850s through to the 1950s (earlier
and later if you're lucky). Along with the property details, they show the
name of the occupiers (heads of the households).........when there was a
change in the occupier's name, the year of change and the new name were
entered. Now, the main reasons for a change of name for the occupier would
be death or immigration. It sounded like those records from the valuation
books could help me so, along with the map, I requested a photocopy of the
pages of the valuation book from the earliest date to 1900ish, showing Hugh
Gallagher's land and/or name.
What I ended up with was a big map (about £10) showing Stramore and the
location of '5' (and all the other numbers/letters of reference). You can
see that part of the map at
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~donegal/stramore.jpg (I have placed
a circle around the 5). So now I knew exactly where his land was. What
happened to Hugh? I had the copies from the valuation book - it ran to about
5 pages (40p a page approx) and to start with, Hugh Gallagher's name was
against 5 at Stramore..............then came a page where Hugh's name was
crossed out and the name Daniel Sweeny was written over the top - at the far
right was the notation '80', being 1880, the year the change occurred. That
page can be viewed at
I then wrote to the Superintendent Registrar's Office, Tirconaill House,
High Road, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland, asking them to check for
the death of Hugh Gallagher in Stramore about 1880............I had no idea
what had happened to his wife either, so I also asked if they could check
for the death of Ann Gallagher (nee Doherty) in that Townland too. A few
weeks later I got a letter back stating that Hugh had died there on the 18th
November 1878, with a Daniel Sweeny present at his death.............who the
heck was Daniel? The next line of the letter answered that - Ann Gallagher
died there on 30th October 1883, with a Biddy Sweeny, daughter, present at
her death! So my gr gr grandmother had a sister named Biddy (Bridget) who
had married a Daniel Sweeny - when Fanny and Biddy's father, Hugh, died,
Daniel took over the land and Ann, the mother, lived with them until her
I repeated the process with my gr gr grandfather (John O'Donnell from
Augullies) with similar success.
I found this way of getting info very helpful - I'd tried the parish
register path............I wrote to the priests at all the possible churches
which may have been used by my ancestors, including £10 donations, but one
priest took the money and replied saying thankyou, but he was too busy to
look and anyway, the registers probably start too late for there to be
anything helpful to me - and the other one just took the money! Not even a
reply!!!!!!!!!!!! And yes, I did include self-addressed envlopes and
international reply coupons.
So that's it - I hope this has helped some of you or given you a few ideas
of where to go next with your research.
All the best
Kaikoura, New Zealand
VENI, VIDI, VELCRO.....I came, I saw, I stuck around
The short answer is to be persistent and research everyone who MAY be
related to your ancestor. Warning: the rest of this is long.
I don't have the birth certificate for the daughter but also haven't even
tried to find it yet (here's hoping it exists!). She was my direct
ancestor; her dates and locations come from numerous different sources.
It's only been fairly recently that I've had a good idea where to look and
I'd like to know what/who else I may want to look for before I start a full
scale hunt to acquire Irish records.
Think laterally and don't be afraid of long shots. Don't believe "no record
exists" until you can prove to yourself that it doesn't exist (at various
times counties were often required to create an inventory of their records
for the state. Check local historical, genealogical or community college
libraries and collections for records that "don't exist").
I spent six months harassing a local cemetery I was sure she was buried in
and finally got the only copies of 1869 death certificates that appear to
exist, as county/state records weren't kept at that time. I also got a
bunch of other information (who bought the plots, who else was buried in
them, etc.) I spent two and half months (and counting) working the
courthouse people for naturalization records. Although I still haven't
gotten the ones I really want, I have gotten most. Never take "no" the
first handful of times; be persistent and bring/send candy (sweetness and
Having fairly quickly realized that my ancestor wasn't talking and knowing
the problems generally associated with Irish research. I decided to do as
much as I could on people who MIGHT be her family (right surname, place,
time). As I started making a connection here or there, the next step was to
really work on one each new person and include all of the known family
members (including in-laws, cousins, misc. people who just turn up with
them). I even went down the line to the grandchildren. I used U.S. Federal
Census, death certificates, directories, obituaries (often mentioned parents
or grandparents), biographies, land records, marriage certificates, business
records, tax roles, methodical and time consuming searches in local
newspapers (the entire paper - headline news down to the advertisements and
classifieds) for a glimmer or mention (enough gold found to make me think
this was well worth my time).
Her brothers were about the age to have served in the Civil War so I started
searching those records. Still working on two of the boys (narrowing down
the field to the right ones) but the military service and pension papers
were wonderfully helpful.
All of these gave me new leads not only for plotting the movement of the
family but on where to look for more info in this country and Ireland. I
still have weak spots in the American saga and have only really started the
true Irish research. But I feel good about focusing on Co. Donegal, the
Inishowen Peninsula, and the Malin areas. I actually believe I will find
some records of my ancestor's. As difficult as they have been in this
country, I see no reason for them to make things easy on me in Ireland. From
here, I still can do a lot of research, both pre and post immigration,
determine possible resources in Ireland, and save my pennies for a trip to
cold, musty libraries and warm Irish pubs.
Good luck and don't give up - after all, they never did. It's in your
From: BCofer612(a)aol.com [mailto:BCofer612@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2001 10:14 PM
Subject: Re: IRL-CO-DONEGAL-D Digest V01 #53
Mary, how did you get the birth certificate for the daughter??! I have a gg
grandfather who was born in Co. Donegal, and I have no idea what town, or
anything. I think the family was originally Scottish, but have no proof of
that. I've been trying for 20 years to pin this man down, and still haven't
succeeded. Have plenty of info on him after he came to America, but nothing
before that. What's your secret??
Barb (who happens to live on McClay Gardens Drive!)