Tag Archives: Dunne

The Townland: How To Use In Genealogy

How do we deal with finding out that there are four townlands of the same name? How do we find out exactly which townland our family came from? How do we work out which records are of importance to us, actually refer to our family and not another family of the same surname? They are really the questions that have to be asked and dealt with.

Two 19th century land surveys are of importance in Irish Genealogical research because of destruction of pre-1901 census returns. These are the Tithe Applotment Books(c.1823-38) and the Griffiths Primary Valuation (1848-64).

The Tithe Applotment Book s and the Griffiths Primary Valuation employ administrative divisions some of which are no longer in use e.g. the Barony and the Civil parish.

The Townland

The smallest division, the ‘townland’ can vary in size from a single acre to a few thousand acres. There are more than 64,000 townlands in the country of Ireland. They were used as the smallest geographical unit in the Tithe Applotment Books, the Griffiths Primary Valuation, census returns and are still in use today. Anything from 5 to 30+ townlands may be grouped together to form a civil parish. The civil parish is generally co-extensive with the Church of Ireland parish but NOT with the Roman Catholic parish. Roman Catholic Parishes are in general larger than civil parishes. Civil Parishes are collected together to form Baronies.

Each county has a number of townlands AND some counties have more than one townland of the same name, this can be very confusing for those who only have the name of the townland in a county that their ancestors came from.

What is the importance of the townland and how do I find out where in a county my townland lies?

The townland is used in the Tithe Applotment Books, Griffiths Primary Valuation , Census records and Civil Records. The area of land covered by each of the above mentioned resources can be different e.g. civil records can cover an area spread over two counties.

The spelling of the name of the townland can change from one to the other of the above mentioned resources, e.g. ‘Clough’ on the there are signposts which spell the name of this village as Clogh AND Clough.

The townland name as you know it may no longer be recognised as a townland whilst it was a townland in years gone by OR it may be a village now but in theory did not exist back in the past even as close back as the 1901 census e.g. Clough, Laois – there is no Clough listed in the 1901 census returns.

There may be more than one townland of that name in that county, e.g. Newtown, Co. Laois (Queen’s Co.) : Look in the Irl-Atlas website for Newtown, Queen’s Co. and we get four returns.
1. Newtown of 599 acres in the Barony of Clandonagh, Civil Parish of Skirk, Poor Law Union of Donaghmore.
2. Newtown of 842 acres in the Barony of Clarmallagh, Civil Parish of Aghmacart, Poor Law Union of Abbeyleix.
3. Newtown of 309 acres in the Barony of Upperwoods, Civil Parish of Offerlane, Poor Law Union of Abbeyleix.
4. Newtown of 158 acres in the Barony of Stradbally, Civil Parish of Stradbally, Poor Law Union of Athy.

How do we deal with finding out that there are four townlands of the same name? How do we find out exactly which townland our family came from? How do we work out which records are of importance to us, actually refer to our family and not another family of the same surname? They are really the questions that have to be asked and dealt with.

A different step:  I know that the Dunne family I am looking for came from Newtown, in Co. Laois pre 1860 so I go to the 1901 census to see how many people of the Dunne surname live in Newtown in Co. Laois in 1901 I key in Dunne as the surname, I list Newtown as my townland, Queen’s Co. as my county and click search – I give NO forename and I give no other information on the search form.

What do I get as a return? 12 people of the surname Dunne in Newtown but NOT in County Laois (Queen’s Co.)!! These Dunnes are listed as living in Newtown in Co. Offaly (King’s Co.) – what happened the 4 Newtowns of Co. Laois – where are they, are there no people living in these townlands, or, have the four townlands disappeared?

Let’s go farther back with this search. Let’s try for
1. Dunne, in Newtown, which is located in the civil parish of Skirk in the Griffiths Primary Valuation and in Donaghmore Poor Law Union. The Griffiths was carried out in Laois in the late 1840’s-50
Result: Martin Dunne lives there in the Civil parish of Skirk, BUT he is listed as having property in Garranmaconly sharing a & b with Robert Fletcher – each set of property has a house on it
Then, we have Robert Fletcher and Martin Dunne leasing property to Bernard Cahill with a house on it, and Martin Dunne leasing land to James Walsh with a house & garden.
The townland of Skirk Glebe is also listed on this page and both of these townlands are in the civil parish of Skirk BUT there is no mention of the townland Newtown which is what I was looking for!

Second Search for 2. Dunne, Newtown in the civil parish of Aghmacart, Barony of Clarmallagh, Poor Law Union of Abbeyleix.
I get 11 references to the surname Dunne – but one of these is to a Catherine Whelan.

Third Search : 3. Dunne, Barony of Upperwoods, Civil Parish of Offerlane, Poor Law Union of Abbeyleix.
4 Dunnes
Fourth Search : 4. Dunne, the Barony of Stradbally, Civil Parish of Stradbally, Poor Law Union of Athy.
I get 23 refs, but some of these are to people of other surnames, that is Dunnes leasing land to these people.


I have one Dunne in Donaghmore area, civil parish of Skirk
I have ten Dunne references in Clarmallagh area, civil parish of Aghmacart.
I have 4 Dunne refs in the Upperwood area, civil parish of Offerlane
I have 23 refs (have not actually counted the individual Dunnes leasing land) in the Stradbally area, civil parish of Stradbally.

I still have 4 civil parishes listed. The Dunnes I am looking for were all Catholics, do I have 4 sets of Catholic parish records for pre 1860 is my next question. I have also to remember that the civil parish might not have a Catholic parish of the same name!!

Skirk Civil Parish : NO Roman Catholic parish of that name – so, which RC parish is close to Skirk? We have Borris in Ossory. Borris in Ossory Roman Catholic parish records begin in 1840.

Aghmacart Civil Parish : Oh dear, NO Roman Catholic parish if that name. So, where do I go from here? Aghmacart is out the road from Cullohill on the road to Rathdowney. Cullohill lies between Durrow and Johnstown. There are no RC records for Cullohill. There are RC records for Durrow which begin in 1789. There are RC records for Rathdowney which begin in 1763 and then even though Johnstown is in Co. Kilkenny, there are records for places in Co. Laois in Johnstown records so Johnstown RC records begin in 1814.

Offerlane Civil parish : NO Offerlane Roman Catholic records. The Roman Catholic parish of Castletown covers the civil parish of Offerlane. Records begin in 1782.

Stradbally Civil Parish : Stradbally Roman Catholic records begin in 1820

So – 4 Civil Parishes.

Skirk – NO RC records with a parish of that name
Aghmacart – NO RC records with a parish of that name
Offerlane – NO RC records with a parish of that name but belongs to Castletown RC parish
Stradbally – YES!! We have a Roman Catholic Parish called Stradbally to look at.

Outside of Stradbally RC records, what else have I learned here. There is or was more than one townland called Newtown in Laois back in 1851 which date suits when my Dunne family left Laois.
I definitely have two sets of RC records to search for my Dunne family. 1. Stradbally and 2. Castletown
I also have a few other RC parishes to begin searching. 1. Borris in Ossory. 2. Durrow 3. Rathdowney 4. Johnstown (Kilkenny)

So, that’s some townland importance for you – I have not yet found which Newtown this Dunne family came from but I have cut it down to six sets of parish registers to search.

Marriage Records, Clonaslee, Co. Laois, 1849-66

The film number in the National Library of Ireland is Pos. 4202 and the LDS do not have a copy of this film according to my records.

The placename is mentioned only in some entries and there is a placename for the groom  and then another for the bride.

Spellings are exactly as I read them with no change. Question marks show you where I had difficulty reading a word.

I don’t know or can’t remember if I took all marriage entries for any year or if this is just a selection of marriages.  I’m sorry for that.  I probably do have a note in my computer but I have not found it yet.

The names are sorted alphabetically by the surname of the man.  I have one column listed as ‘she from’ and that speaks for itself.  The ‘From’ after the year of the marriage is the townland given for the Groom

Name Surname Bride Bride’s Surname Date Year
Matty Barret? Jenenae Fiach?in 18-Feb 1862
Thomas Barnett Ellen Molloy 28-Feb 1865
Peter Behan Anne Maher 12-Feb 1866
Daniel Blake Julia Conroy 06-Jul 1861
James Bracken Bridget Scully 30-Nov 1849
Patrick Brennan Mary Byrne 19-Dec 1852
Martin Brien Eliza Grennan 25-Jan 1860
Michl Cahile Margt Holloran 17-May 1865
Stephen Carole Mary Dunne 05-Oct 1865
Bernard Carroll Catharine Conroy 22-Nov 1860
William Carroll Catharine Casey 29-Jul 1861
William Cleary Judith Grogan 14-Oct 1861
John Cleary Betty Dunne 18-Nov 1861
Daniel Coghlan Sarah Costigan 20-Feb 1849
Patrick Condron Catharine ?Cody or casy 11-Feb 1861
Peter Conroy Catharine Dunne 08-Feb 1860
John Conroy Mary Fiac(?ri) 30-Sep 1860
Stephen Conroy Margt Dunne 21-Aug 1862
Thomas Conroy Rose Mulhall 12-Nov 1862
Thomas Conroy Mary Keenan 11-May 1863
Thomas Conroy Eliza Egan 06-Jun 1864
Thos Conroy Mary Conroy 12-Oct 1865
Peter Conroy Mary Gorman May 1851
Mick Conroy Margaret Murphy 05-Dec 1852
Edward Conroy Anne Scully 18-Dec 1852
Patrick Costello Mary Dunne 20-Jun 1849
Pat Coughlan Sara Brophy 14-Jan 1866
Patt Cumberton Mary Lalor 20-Sep 1851
Patrick Daly Catherine Nolan 15-Nov 1849
William Deegan Anne Daly 31-Jan 1864
John Delany Sally Conroy 12-Nov 1861
Thomas Delany Catharine Dunne 08-Feb 1864
James Delany Judith ??? 27-Oct 1864
Denis Delany Bridget ?Conroy ?April 1864
John Delany Mary Troy June 1850
Mick Delay Margaret Deegan 10-Feb 1850
John Dermody Mary Davis 20-Jul 1862
Patrick Dillon Anne Rigny 20-Jan 1862
Patrick Dooley Margaret Murphy 06-Nov 1862
John Dooling Rosana Con?roy 24-Jul 1865
James Doyle Bridget Conroy 15-Oct 1849
James Dunne Margaret Donelly 07-Feb 1860
William Dunne Anne Delahaunty 11-Nov 1860
William Dunne Mary Douling 28-May 1861
?Martin Dunne Judith Conroy 27-Aug 1861
Patrick Dunne Catharine Scully 03-Feb 1862
John Dunne ?Johana Brophy 25-Feb 1862
John Dunne Margaret Behan 01-Mar 1862
William Dunne Rose Blake 03-Nov 1862
Patrick Dunne Sarah Dunne 10-Feb 1863
John Dunne Eliza Blake 27-Feb 1865
Jas Dunne Mary Deegan 12-Feb 1866
Patrick Dunne Bridget Brislan 07-Feb 1850
Timothy Egan Honner Molloy 20-Feb 1860
John Egan Julia Maher 10-Feb 1861
John Fitzpatrick Kate Mihan 08-Jul 1864
James Fitzpatrick Margaret Dunne 31-Jan 1865
John Flanagan Honer Houlahan 19-Aug 1860
James Fleury Mary Delany 20-Feb 1865
Danl Flynn Betty Fitzpatrick 01-Feb 1860
Martin Flynn Mary Conroy 25-May 1860
John Flynn Agnes Healy 01-Sep 1864
Thomas G?eth Judith Kelley 28-Nov 1861
Patt Galvin Margaret Salmon 01-Feb 1860
Thos Geahan Cath Cleary 20-Jul 1865
John Gleeson Sally not given 14-Oct 1852
Mick Gorman Anne Morriss? 08-Jul 1862
Denis Gorman Mary plunkett 23-Aug 1862
Michl Gounan Margaret Conroy 15-Feb 1860
James Heney Ellen Scully 07-Feb 1850
William Hogan Catharine Dunne 06-Feb 1861
John Hoggins Catharine Caulton 24-Dec 1852
Michl Kearney Cath Condron 18-Apr 1866
Michl Kelly Joanna Murphy 26-Oct 1865
William Lalor Mary Mangum 07-Feb 1860
James Mahon Margaret Conroy 23-May 1864
Jno Mahon Mary Kenny 30-Nov 1865
Patt Mc?Evoy Mary Morriss? 06-May 1863
John McGuire Anne Byrne 21-Feb 1860
John Mihan Mary Gorman 12-Nov 1861
Jno Molloy Eliza Tarleton 04-Feb 1866
Mick Mooney Anne Behan 11-Feb 1850
Kieran Mooney Anne Nolan 10-May 1850
William Moony Mary Donnelly 21-Jan 1862
Timothy Murray Catharine Giligan 08-May 1860
Andrew Nolan Mary Donahoe 24-Feb 1862
John Poole Mary Dunne 27-Nov 1851
Bernard Rigney Anne Scully 26-Jan 1860
James Rooney Gilly Kavanagh 01-Feb 1866
Michl Troy Rosanna Corcoran 22-Nov 1851
Thomas Westman Maria Dunne 16-Feb 1863
James ??? Mary Carrol 06-May 1863