Author Archives: Dr. Jane Lyons

Rathdowney Marriages 1769 to 1773

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Rathdowney Roman Catholic Parish
Marriages 1769-1773

Rathdowney Roman Catholic parish is an unusual one in that we have a parish register that goes back to 1769 for marriages.  Admittedly incomplete but very interesting to read.  The Parish Priest indicates the family relationship of some witnesses (it not all) to the couple being married.  Also, when the groom comes from a different parish this is also noted

A few names have been illegible there are also some names which are missing off the sides of the page and I have put can’t read in the columns for these entries.  The surnames of some of the witnesses can be read so for anyone who can’t find a marriage they are interested in they could go look at the witness surnames.  There are generally speaking always more than two witnesses.

Batt=Bartholomew ; Danl=Daniel ; Denns=Dennis ; Jams/Js=James ; Jerry=Jeremiah ; Jn=John ; Kyran=Kieran ; Michl=Michael ; Patt/Patk=Patrick ; Richd=Richard ; Thoms=Thomas ; Wm=William.
Betty=Elizabeth ; Bridgt=Bridget ; Catharine=Catherine ; Honner=Honoria/Honor ; Jenny=Jenifer/Jane ; Kate=Catherine or Kate ; Margt/Peggy=Margaret ; Nelly=Eleanor ; Winny=Winifred

Surnames : Fitzp = Fitzpatrick ; Fitzg=Fitzgerald ; Kiervick=Kerwick ; Clynch==Clinch ;

Rathdy= Rathdowney ; Dunaghmore=Donaghmore

Name GSurnameName BS BPlaceDateYear
?N..??HonnerCarrollDunaghmore Rathmore05-Feb1771
????KateMaherDunaghmore Rathmore27-Feb1772
????????????Rathdy Clonburn07-Feb1771
Thoms?DouenMargtFletcherRathsaran Park01-Mar1772
JsBerginCatharineBurkeRathdy, Barney parish20-Jun1769
DennsBerginElizabethCommerfordDunaghmore Raheendorenogue12-Feb1770
PattBerginMargtShallowSkirke 12-Feb1770
MalachyBerginCatharineGaiggRadhty Lismorae29-Apr1771
DennsBerginJoaneGormanRathdy Errill21-Aug1772
JnBoodonMargtMaherSkirke Kilasmista 14-Feb1773
JnBourkeMaryFitzpkRathdy Dunacligan02-Mar1772
WmBoweMaryPhelanRathdy Ballybuggy08-Jan1772
ThadyBrophyAnneDelanyRathdy Ballybuggy8ber1st1772
JnBrophyCatharineFitzpkRathdy Clonburn29-Apr1773
BattCahillMaryGormanRathdy Bealedy13-Feb1772
JnCahillNellyTracyRathdy Errill05-Feb1773
WmCampionCatharineFitzpkRathdy Eglish23-Jul1770
MalachyCampioncan't redcan't readSkirke Kilasmista8ber29th1773
Ma…can't readcan't readBrophyDunaghmore Rathmore9ber9th1773
RogerCarrollBettyBrennanRathdy Monninonra27-Apr1772
AnthonyCashenMaryBerginRathdy Clonmeen8ber4th1773
JamsCleerMargtHoyneRathdy Knockeel30-Apr1770
RogerClinchMaryCarrollRathdy Erill09-Jan1770
MichlClynchKateHenesyRathdy Erill07-Jan1772
PattColemanMaryMaherSkirke Kilasmista parish30-Jul1769
JamsCommonBettyHenesyRathdy Lisduff31-Jan1773
MarkCormickKateShallowDunaghmore Rathmore23-Jul1772
PattCrearyBettyDelanyRathdy, Eglish parish28-May1769
MichlDaly??CarrollRathdy Rossmore27-Feb1772
DarbyDavinHonnerQuiglyDunaghmore Raheenshera?9 Mar1772
WmDelanyBridgtFitzgdRathdy Ballybuggy11-Feb1771
JnDem(?s)yHonnerCommon Rathdy Eglish26-May1771
PattDonneRoseKellyRathdy Coulouly16-Jun1771
DanlDoranSarahHughesRathdy Bealedy03-Feb1773
JnDoranCatharineMahercan't read?Aprl 23rd1773
JnDoyne (?Hoyne)AnneMulloneRathdy Monninonra11-Feb1771
WmDullahantyJulia???RyanRathdy Ballymullin30-Sep1769
RichdFitzgdBettyMagillRathdy Harristown13-May1773
MartinFitzpkMaryBerginRathdy, Eglish parish17-Jun1769
ThomsGormanCatharineDunneRathdy Kilcoran 18-Feb1770
KyranGormanKateMcGrathDunaghmore Kiladowly8ber8th1772
JnGydrahHonnerPhelanRathdy Erill18-Feb1770
PattGydrahAnneDullehantyRathdy Knockacha10-Feb1772
JnHackettMargtRyanDunaghmore Raheenshera9ber 26th1772
JnHenesyMaryDouenRathdy Errill26-Apr1772
JnHickeyBridgetMaherRathdy Rossmore13-Aug1769
WmHoganJoaneKilmichaelSkirke Garren27-Feb1770
MichlKealyBridgtShallowRathdy Erill31-Aug1770
JamsKynahanCatharineGormanRathdy Erill24-Jun1770
Name GLahyNellyHayseRathdy Lismorae09-Feb1772
PattLaniganWinnyMcGrathRathdy Lismorae03-Mar1772
JnLoughman?BessKavanaghSkirke Liss20-Feb1770
JnLourySarahHo(?n)seyRathdy Shraduff17-May1773
DarbyMaherBettyRyanRathdy, Eglish parish18-May1769
DennsMaherJoaneMaherRathdy Dunacligan16-Jun1773
JsManusMaryMulkeenRathdy Ballybuggy09-Feb1773
DanlMaraCatharineRyanRathdy Gintard8ber21st1773
PattMentonNellyLalorRathdy Clonmeen18-Feb1773
LaurenceMooreJoane??Brien???can't readAprl1773
??MorrysyMaryDelanyDunaghmore Raheendorenogue11-Feb1770
KyranNealonCatharineKealyRathdy Shraduff05-Aug1770
PattPhelanMargtRafterDunaghmore Gurtnalee13-Sep1770
DennsPhelanJudithFitzpkDunaghmore Gurtnalee08-Jun1773
LukePhelanMaryGormanRathdy Shraduff19-Jun1773
JnPhelanJoaneMaherRathdy Lisduff26-Aug1773
JamsQuinlanCatharine??Rathdy Ballybuggy17-Feb1772
PattRafterJoaneTracyDunaghmore Gurtnalee28-Jul1770
JamesReedMaryDorihan or HorihanRathdy Coulkerry24-Sep1769
JnReedMargtDunneRathdy Kilcoran 16-Sep1771
JnRyanMaryWhiteRathdy Monninonra21-Jul1771
JamsSanefortMaryHoyneRathdy Ballybuggy25-Feb1770
PattSullivanMaryConrahyRathdy Monninonra26-Oct1771
JnTynanMargtGorbyDunaghmore 20-Feb1770
JnTynanHonnerBrophyDunaghmore Raheenphelan9ber24th1772
JsWatsonMaryBurkSkirke Harristown21-Feb1773
PattWhiteAmastaceMaherRathdy Garryduff Castlefleming7ber7th1773
can't readcan't readDunaghmore Tullacommon9ber..1773
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Rathdowney EasyRiders Outing 2016

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EasyRiders Rathdowney Charity Cycle, 2016

Every year the Rathdowney EasyRiders cycle from Rathdowney to another place as a charity fundraiser.  This year, Martin McCormack asked me if I’d go in to town and take a few photos.  This charity cycle took place in March of last year, just a year ago and it really shouldn’t have taken me this long to get the photos online!

Mostly, the photos are just of the social interaction before the cycle took off.

2016, they cycled from Rathdowney to Portlaoise, then Athlone, Mullingar and finally to Cavan.  They motor bikes leading them they had at least one van, there were cars, supporters and from what I have heard all had a good time.


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Kilkenny City some photos

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Kilkenny City, a few photos

I’m over in Kilkenny so often and these are from a few years ago

St. Canice’s and the Round tower.  The greenish building WAS the Loreto Convent boarding school where I spent a few years and I just decided I had to take it for memory’s sake.  The rest mainly taken around Kilkenny Castle and then a note about the Shee house.

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St. Patrick’s Day parade, Rathdowney, 2017

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St. Patrick’s Day parade, Rathdowney, Laois. 2017

Video on Youtube – taken by Dr. Jane Lyons

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Lyons, Shragh/Srah, Woodford, Galway

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Lyons family Shragh, Drummin District Electoral Division, Galway.

IMPORTANT to descendants of my Lyons family. The genetic condition haemochromatosis is in this Lyons family. Haemochromatosis causes diabetes, liver cancer, cirrhosis, heart disease and osteoarthritis among other things. I have haemochromatosis.

My Lyons family come from a place called Shragh/Srah, Co. Galway.

My father was Matthew Anthony Lyons and he married Dr. Margaret Murray who had been born in Belfast but who was brought up in Celbridge, Co. Kildare.

My paternal Grandfather was Matthew John Lyons who was born in Galway c.1896. His father was Michael Lyons and his mother was Anna or Annie Porter. Michael & Annie had 8 children, 6 of whom were still alive in 1911.

Lyons family Shragh 1911 census

This family :
Michael 52 : born c.1859
Annie 38 : born c.1873
Matt John 15, born c.1896
Bridget Mary 13, born c.1898
Catherine A. 8, born c. 1903
Patt 6, born circa 1905
Michael 3, born c. 1908
Mary Anne 0

Michael & Annie had been married for 17 years and 6 of their 8 children still lived.

Matthew John Lyons married Helena Noonan and they moved to Longford, he was highly involved in the meat industry in Ireland.

In 1901 this Lyons family also lived at the same address only in 1901 Michaels mother Bridget was still living in the house. There is another child listed who is not listed in 1911 and that is Thomas Lyons who was aged 0.  A Thomas Ford is also listed, he is a cousin of Bridget the Head of House. Thomas Ford was born in America

Lyons family Shragh 1901 census image

Also in Shragh /Shrah we have another Lyons family. This is the family of John Lyons who is 40. His wife is called Bridget and she is 27. Living with them they have two of Johns brothers. Daniel who is 35 and James who is 31.

I believe that these two families in the same townland are related to one another.

The first Lyons baptism in the Roman Catholic parish of Woodford, Ballinakill, Galway (Roman Catholic parish records 2433) is that of a Matthew Lyons son of a John Lyons & Maria Donohoe (John is THE most common first male name but Matthew is in general Irish records not so common)

Link to first Lyons baptism

The Woodford, Ballinakill parish records are initially in Latin and no place name is given. I have not finished transcribing the information from these records so what I am giving here is a little bit itsy bitsy. The gaps will be filled in as time goes by.

1821 in these records we have
John & Maria Donohoe baptise their son Matthew on 23 November 1821.
Cornelius Lyons & Anna are sponsors.
Richard & Bridget Dwyer baptise Eleanor 31st Dec 1821
Michael & Maria Go?niry baptise Patrick 20th Dec 1821.
Malachy & Maria Torpy baptise Margaret 18th April 1822.
Laurence & Winifred Slattery baptise Anna, 27th June 1851. Thomas Lyons sponsor
James & Anna Donohue baptise James 23rd Dec 1852. John Lyons sponsor.

1865-75/6 Woodford RC parish records
We have
Martin & Anne Abberton having children baptised 1871-76 : Bridget, Laurence, Mary A., & William
Francis & Mary C…. 1875. Michael
Thomas & Mary Culligan, 1873. Anne
Francis & Catherine Fitzgerald, 1865 Michael
John & Helena/Elenora/Elanora Geeran/Gearin. 1865, 68, 71. Patrick, Thomas and John also possibly a James in 1875.
Thomas & Mary Gilligan 1875 : Mary.

I believe Mary Culligan is Mary Gilligan

We have John & Nellie Goery having a Margaret baptised in 1873.
Eleanor=Nellie. I believe this is the same couple as John & Eleanor/Helena/Geeran

Patrick & Elizabeth Hickey, 1865. Eliza

John & Ellen Joyran 1875 – this is never Eleanor Geeran again……phonetically it could easily be!! Daughter is Anne.
Francis & Mary Killeen/Killian 1866-72. Anne, Catherine, Richard.
can’t read & Bridget McDonald 1870 – Michael
Patrick & Bridget McDonnell 1872, Mary

McDonald=McDonnell – possible phonetic

Thomas & Anne, 1871. Anne M.

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Donaghmore Workhouse Laois

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Donaghmore Workhouse, Laois

today, a Museum.

On the day that we kidnapped my American friends we took them to the final venue, Donaghmore Workhouse which is now a Museum.  Most of the Workhouse is now a Museum containing material collected over the years.

I have one photograph of Dorene Allen holding the lid of a pan.  That particular pan had been donated to the Workhouse/Museum by a lady after whom Dorene had been named.  The spelling of her first name is a bit different, but Dorene was named after Doreen Squires who had donated the pan.

When families entered the Workhouse they were broken up.  Very young children could stay with their mothers but when they were a few years old they were separated out to the children’s quarters.  What must it have been like to be in a building 2 minutes away from the one your Mammy was in and not be able to see her?  Donaghmore Workhouse is a very sad place as are all workhouses.

There is little to say about any of these photographs.  Once again, in some instances the light was not good for taking a photo.

The colours of equipment that you see in these photos are exactly as they were painted when they were created.

A lot of this equipment was upstairs in what was the Girls dormitory.  There are wooden panels lying down the centre of the floor and it was in this area that the straw for the girls to sleep on lay.




Breakfast was timed for 9am which consisted of a half pint of milk and 8oz of bread per inmate.  Bread was supplied by H. Odlum in 4lb loaves – 6.5d for white and 7d for brown.

d. = 1 penny
s.= Shilling.  12 d = 1 shilling

The Inmates frequently complained about the poor quality of the milk, that it was often blue, thick and sour.

Milk was supplied at 7d per gallon.

Lunch consisted of 8oz of bread and soup. Potatoes were used for thickening this soup, when available. At nearly 7 shillings a barrel i.e. 20 stone, they were expensive.  Flour was also used as a potato substitute at a rate of 12 oz per gallon.

Meat was sometimes used – there were 5 different types.  Officers meat, Paupers meat, Coarse meat, Hospital meat, and Meat for Soup.

Coarse beef – 3d per pound
Sheeps head – 7d each
Cows head – 1 shilling and 9d each
Hocks of beef – 3d per pound.

On special days such as Christmas and Easter Sunday Paupers were given a tea breakfast and a meat dinner.

For the evening meal, stirabout was served. Sometimes it was made of Indian meal and rice, but usually made of Indian meal and oat meal.  It was made of 4lb of meal and 2lb of rice in ten gallon of water.


Amongst the poorer people clothing amounted to little more than rags. Any decent clothes were given to the men at the fair.  Women scarcely ever wore shoes.

Suits were made for 5 shillings and 6d each and a local Tailor gave instructions for boys on how to repair clothes.

A Shoe maker was paid 7 shillings and 6d for making mens shoes, 5 shillings for women and 3 shillings 6d for children.

Oaten straw was used for puffing mattresses at 3 shillings and 6d per cuit.


A school was in operation in Donaghmore from 1853.  A Mr. Tuck was the first Teacher appointed.  A Miss Bergin was appointed School Mistress in 1862 on a salary of £7 and 7 shillings per year.  She was highly regarded by the Inspectors of the time. She was given 4lbs of chalk and snuffer tray and was regarded as being highly efficient.


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Heritage tour in Laois. Kidnapped!

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Kidnap Day!!

Heritage Tour in Laois

I’m calling this a Heritage Tour in Laois because for the most part, it was a Heritage tour and we did things that our friends might not have managed to do by themselves.  They definitely would not have had the company of people who know the area.

My friend Sue McDonald Welles along with her friend Mary Connelly Pereira and Mary’s brother Philip were over here in Ireland on holiday, they were going to spend 3 days in Laois because Sue’s family are from Raheen.  This was the second time in the last few years that Sue and Mary have been over and I spent a few days with them the last time as well.

My friend Dorene Allen is this incredible cook so I asked Dorene if she would cook dinner for my friends and we’d have it in her house (which was my childhood family home).  Dorene agreed to this, then it dawned on me “Jane, these are Americans and Americans go around Ireland wondering where they will get ‘Irish’ food.  Why don’t you cook an Irish stew for them”  I asked Sue if they’d like Irish stew or Bacon & cabbage, the reply came back that they would like the stew.  When I told my brother this he informed me that Dorene and her children do not like Irish stew so, I found another recipe which had lamb cooked in a red wine and tomato sauce.

In the meantime, Dorene and I are talking about my American friends and their few days here and Dorene says “Why don’t we kidnap them on Wednesday and show them all kinds of stuff they’d never get to see on their own? – A Heritage Tour” To which I replied, great idea and asked Sue to keep Wed free because we were going to kidnap them.

The Heritage Tour kidnapping day went like this:

1. We collected the three – Sues, Mary and Phil

2. We took them to the kennels for the hunt ‘hounds’ – I was calling them dogs!!

3. We went to Morrissey’s Pub in Abbeyleix for a cup of coffee

4. After that off to see the hunt people gathering and taking off from Abbeyleix Manor Hotel

5. Followed by Alissa Blundells shop ‘Horse n Riders’ in Abbeyleix

6. Then to Bramleys or the Gallic Kitchen in Abbeyleix (Titanic Carpets had been produced

7. Church of Ireland, Abbeyleix

8. Lord’s Walk beside Church of Ireland

9. Down to Durrow and Bowe’s Foodhall for lunch

10 Up to the Castle Arms Hotel Durrow – Castle

11. Off to Donaghmore Workhouse which is now a Museum

12 back to Sandymount house their Bed and breakfast for an hour break

13 Back to my family home in Rathdowney for dinner & a surprise.


I have no photos for the Gallic kitchen visit – at that point I was wrecked and just stayed in

Philip Sheppard was coming to dinner as well so I had asked him if he wanted to come earlyfor the surprise – he said yes.

We all got back to Rathdowney at 6.30p.m. where Dorene had everyone roll up their sleeves and she taught Sue, Mary, Phil, Philip & myself how to make brown bread.

Brown bread was supposed to go with dinner

Dinner consisted of Irish stew and a casserole of lamb cooked in red wine and tomatoes and
then a spinage lasagne which I had prepared for our vegetarian. Dorene did starter and dessert – she is an incredible cook.   As it turned out the American trio had a bit of both meat dishes.  The vegetarian stuck with the lasagne

They had an incredible day – I had an incredible day, Dorene and my brother Matthew had an incredible day

Almost forgot – over the course of the evening, Dorene and the children sang them songs

I am not going to load all the photos taken that day  to this page.  Most of the Hounds & Hunt went to a page created just with hounds and hunt.  Some of the photos taken there are not on that page so I include them here.  Most of the Donaghmore Workhouse photos will go to a Donaghmore Workhouse page.

Those pages will be linked to from this page.

From here – for the rest of this page, it is just going to be photos!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed our day overall.  My American friends have thanked us for a most incredible day and evening.  Philip has said similar as regards his evening out with us all.

Lead photo at top of page preparing to leave and go on Heritage tour not having a clue where they were going!!

The Hounds

Hunt gathering & leaving

If you are interested in seeing the rest of the Hounds & First Hunt Laois 2016 photos taken that day then please click the link.

Before the actual Hunt took off from the hotel we went to Mossirrey’s pub in Abbeyleix, a very famous place in it’s own right.  Years ago, and I am talking very many years ago this pub was only one story high.  There are photographs of it as a one story building in Heritage House Abbeyleix, although I don’t know if those photographs are available for public viewing or not.

Morrissey’s Pub, Abbeyleix

Out the door to the Hunt and then back onto Main street to

Horse N Riders

Church of Ireland, Abbeyleix & The Lord’s Walk (beside it)

Bowe’s Food Hall, Durrow 

and yes, I only have one photo from that day of the floor in the new bathroom of their extension.  A 2 cent floor!



Castle Arms Hotel, Durrow 

You can find photographs of the Castle everywhere but not of the trees.  Isn’t the colour beautiful?

The final venue of the day, the saddest place we were at.  I’ m only giving you a few photos here as the Workhouse (Museum) is going to get itself a full web page

 Donaghmore Workhouse

Everyone was exhausted at this time, it was about 5pm when we left the Workhouse.  I

dropped my American friends back to Sandymount House in Abbeyleix for an hours rest and
then got them back to our house in Rathdowney where we met Philip at the gate waiting to
go in (3 dogs in garden).  We got into the kitchen and Dorene had everyone roll up their
sleeves because she had a big bowl waiting – she taught us how to make brown bread to go

with our dinner!

Evening :)

While the bread was baking we had music

Finally the Dinner table

Our guests left at 11.30 that night and I can only say that a wonderful day was had by all.

At the end of it all, I have to say that the Americans and everyone except our vegetarian all had portions of both the Irish stew and the wine stew AND the children ate every single bit!  It was great.

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Heritage Treasure Trove, Laois

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Treasure Trove – Heritage.  Laois


There is a ‘Treasure Trove’ relating to our Heritage in Co. Laois.  A friend of mine had told me that I really had to go and see this place and I am telling you now that it is incredible!!  The photos I have here don’t even do it justice.  The creator/owner of the Treasure Trove is of himself a Treasure also.

Some people know that I had 3 friends from the US staying in Sandymount House, Abbeyleix for 3 days last week.  The first day we met we headed off to Kilkenny, the 2nd day the plan was for me to bring them to the Rock of Dunamase (because that is an incredible Heritage treasure for Co. Laois).  En route, just as we got to a turn in Portlaoise I remembered that my friend had told me I had to go see this place and I changed route.

We got there, I spoke to the owners son he let us into the building and then telephoned his father to tell him that he had visitors.  His father returned and I have to say I was so glad.  As I’ve said he is a Treasure of himself and he walked all around telling my friends the history of every object – not exactly everything because there is so much ‘stuff’ there that it would take you a week to get round it all and even then you still would not be finished!!

My photographs do not do the Treasure Trove justice.  Light was bad and I only had my little camera with me.  Some of these photos may include my friends Sue, Mary and Phil.

Enjoy –  as we did :)

My ‘Header’ photograph on this page is of a Trolley which was used in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Athy, Kildare to transfer bodies to a paupers grave during the Great famine.


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Hounds & First Hunt, Laois. 2016

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Hounds & the First Hunt, Laois.

2nd November 2016

The Hunt in Laois was established in 1899 according to the date on a plaque where the dogs are kept.

We had friends over from America and we decided to ‘kidnap’ them for a day and bring them to places that they would never thing of going to in their lives.  The first hunt of 2016 just happened to occur on that ‘kidnap’ day.

First place of stop was to see the houndss which were not going out for the day. Meeting with the new Huntsman Dermot Hannify and seeing the hounds in their kennels was very interesting.  Laois Hunt has approximately 60 hounds, sexes are kept separately in the kennels.  When they first go out young hounds are tied to an older hound and the older hound will teach them.

An hour or so later we headed to the Manor Hotel, Abbeyleix where the Laois Hunt was about to take off from.

An interesting event to view.  I’ve never actually seen the hounds or the proper hunt take off before.



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Rathdowney. Baptism 1859

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Rathdowney Roman Catholic Parish

Baptismal Index 1859

This is a baptismal index of the names of children baptised in the Roman Catholic parish of Rathdowney (Co. Laois/Queen’s Co.) during the year 1859

The following table of baptisms is transcribed from Microfilm No. 5014 held online by the National Library of Ireland accessible through their Roman Catholic Parish Register Search page.   All names and surnames given here are as I read them.

The register is in English.  Place names are given.  My list is sorted by year, alphabetically using the surname of the child. Question marks indicate letters or words I had a problem reading.  The letters ‘sic’ indicate that is how I read the letters I have typed.
[ ] indicates that the letters within the brackets are my best guess at what the letters are
n.g.=Not given

Nicknames, Shortened names used in Irish records

I am currently transcribing all the Rathdowney parish records and decided to analyse these entries. There are 72 baptisms and when we look at the names of men and women we see that there are 23 female first names and 18 male first names.  These figures include the names of father and mother.  Of the total 72 baptisms there is only one child who was given two first names and that is Mary Jane Leahy.  The following table will give you an idea of which first names were the most common, or it will show you how little some names were considered.  The Index table follows this.

NameNo times
Mary Jane1
NameSurnameFatherMotherMaiden NamePlacenameDateYear
JohnCraghPattAnnCreary or CredryRathdy05-Jun1859
AnnHiginsJohnAbbyCreary or CredryRathdy05-Jun1859
Mary JaneLeahyJohnMarthaWillsErril03-Apr1859
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