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Mealy Auctioneers yesterday sold a copy of the 1916 Proclamation which they claim was in the possession of my grandfather Dr. James Ryan, a member of the GPO garrison. This provenance is based on a letter from a nephew of Dr Ryan who originally sold the document through Mealy’s approximately 20 years ago. Dr. Ryan’s family, including his son Seamus O’Riain and daughter Nuala Colgan, strongly refute this claim for a wide range of reasons. Below is a synopsis of our knowledge and beliefs in this matter:

1. The 1916 proclamation is a hugely historic document, yet nobody in Dr. Jim Ryan’s family has ever heard of a copy being in his possession, or indeed of its possession by any member of the wider family in Dublin or Wexford.

2. Despite the fact that Jim Ryan left detailed accounts of his experiences as medical officer in the GPO, and of the evacuation, there is no mention whatever of his supposed removal of this document. During the last-minute plans for evacuation he was busy getting the wounded ready, and notes that immediately prior to departure “there was an accident inside the GPO which resulted in the wounding of four men. This meant delay for me as I had to bandage them as quickly as possible, and provide stretchers and stretcher bearers, and I was consequently one of the last to leave the burning building’ (1). There is no mention here, or in his other articles (2) of any Proclamation being taken. Neither is there any such story in the accounts of any of the other final evacuees which are available in the Bureau of Military History database (3).

3. When the GPO garrison surrendered, they were thoroughly searched several times. One of Jim Ryan’s companions, Liam Tannam, wrote about their arrest and noted that “Just around the corner of Moore Street towards the Parnell Monument, a couple of yards or so, we were searched. … Before being put into the guard room we were again searched. Our personal belongings were carefully inventoried…” (4) . This process is well documented. All of the prisoner’s belongings were confiscated and put in storage in Richmond Barracks. The files related to the confiscation process, and to the recovery of some personal items and money by members of the garrison, are in the Military Archives (5). Political documents were not returned to the prisoners.

4. Dr. James Ryan and his family were actively involved in the 1916 rebellion and he and three of his sisters were imprisoned following the Rising. They were also prolific letter writers. Hundreds of these letters survive and have been presented to the National Library (6). In the ~130 letters for the period around 1916 and there is no mention whatever of a copy of the Proclamation in the family possession. A second batch of letters from the period immediately following 1916 is in the Military Archives, and a third batch of letters (1918-23) is still in the family’s possession. Nowhere in these hundreds of letters is there any mention of a copy of the proclamation being in the family possession.

In summary:

• Even if the document had been taken from the GPO by James Ryan, it is highly implausible that the British Authorities would have returned this seditious document to him after his release from prison.
• The possession of this important historical document could not have escaped attention or reference by members of James Ryan’s immediate or extended family for over 80 years
• It is highly unlikely that the supposed presentation of the document to the family home would have escaped attention in any of the hundreds of letters written by the political-active members of that family
• It is not credible that my grandfather ignored his possession of this important document in any of his accounts of the Rising, or in any subsequent conversation with any family member.

In summary, we do not believe that this document has ever been in the possession of Dr. James Ryan. Mealy Auctioneers were made aware of these points and it is regrettable that this highly dubious provenance has been used as the basis for sale of this important document. For reference, all of Jim Ryan’s files and documents have been presented to public archives by himself or his family. These archives include UCD Archives; National Library of Ireland; and the Military Archives and are available for all to view.

Footnotes:
1. My Easter Week in the GPO. James Ryan, Capuchin Annual 1944.
2. ‘In the GPO: the Medical Unit’. From ‘The Easter Rising 1916 and UCD. Browne & Nolan 1966.
3. The Bureau of Military history contains witness accounts by over 1700 persons who were active in republican activities from 1913 to 1921. www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie
4. Statement by Liam Tannam. Bureau of Military history Document WS 242 www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie
5. Military Archives file. BMH CD 264/1/6D.
6. Papers of the Ryan Family of Tomcoole 1879-1977. National Library of Ireland Ms. 48,017/1 – 48,018/18. www.nli.ie

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Below are the sources of the items cited by James Ryan of Flyleaf Press during his presentation at Who Do You Think You Are Live, Birmingham, UK on 9th April 2016. The title of the paper was ‘Strange and Unusual Sources for Irish Genealogy and it attempted to highlight the importance of smaller sources in dealing with Irish Research. The more comprehensive sources for Irish research are now mainly available on-line. These include the Catholic Church Records, Griffith Valuation etc. However, an approximate median date for the start of Catholic records is 1820. Therefore when searching for Irish ancestors in the period before this (particularly in Western and Northern counties) we are dependent on smaller sources. Many of these are created for strange purposes, and the paper highlighted the wide range of bizarre and sometimes comic purposes for which useful records were created. Flyleaf Press publish guides to sources in 14 counties, and each of these contain a chapter listing ‘Census Substitutes’ such as these. Many are not available on-line, but are in Irish or UK archives and/or in Journals or Newspapers. Newspapers may be accessed (for a fee) on www.irishnewsarchive.com and other on-line sites. Most journals and periodicals are available on JSTOR (www.jstor.org), which is accessible in most public libraries. The illustration below shows RIC (Irish Police) involved in measuring head-size as part of the Charles Browne study listed below. The cited items were:

• Charles Browne: Ethnographical Paper on Galway/Mayo. Royal Irish Academy Proc. Vol. 3 (1893-96): pp 360-80.
• Irish Reproductive Loan Fund. UK National Archives record series (PRO) T91. Available on www.findmypast.ie
• Register of Trees. 1786-1916. Mss. for several counties is in local Public Libraries
• Cork New Guide 1803. National Library of Ireland. Dix Collection
• Inquests, Co. Monaghan 1846-1855. Clogher Record 1995, pp 90–100
• Louth Corn Census. Louth Arch. Journal Vol. 11(4)
• Wicklow Corn Carriers. Irish Genealogical Sources No. 2 https://familyhistory.ie/wp/igs-series/
• City of Dublin election May 11,1831. National Library of Ireland EPH D499
• Clare 1768 Election List. National Library of Ireland Ms 45,375/1
• Select Committee on Fictitious votes: Parliamentary Papers 1837 2 (2)
• Galway Marksmen. Galway Roots Volume 4, p.23
• Creditors and Debtors of J.R. Eastwood. www.jbhall.freeservers.com
• 1798 Compensation claimants. Widely available on websites
• Reward for Conviction of Clare ‘Villains’. Clare Journal. 5th May, 1803
• Ennis Residents give thanks. Clare Journal, 13th February 1797
• Publicans’ Warning. Clare Journal, 17th December 1799
• Mr Fortescue’s friends. Freeman’s Journal. 17-21 November 1767
• Missing Friends. http://infowanted.bc.edu
• Workhouse paupers. HMSO HC Paper No. 192 Vol. 52 (1) 1863. p.407-
• Tenants of Aylmer Estate, Kildare (1859-63) JCKAS VII (1912) pp 415-16
• Dog Licences. Original in National Archives of Ireland. Available on www.findmypast.ie
• Bog Book, Fennagh, Co.Carlow; National Lib. of Ireland, Ms. 29,805(12)
• Youghal Fishermen. www.csorp.nationalarchives.ie
• List of Poitín-makers 1822. www.csorp.nationalarchives.ie
• Apothecaries list. www.dippam.ac.uk
• Cork City Wall residents. www.corkarchives.ie

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This document lists the tenants on 57 holdings on the estates of Hon. Francis A. Prittie during March and May 1826. It lists 71 names as several are in joint tenancies. It indicates the townland, rent and arrears for each. Only the rent amount is shown here as an indication of the holding size. The list is among the ”Dunalley Papers, of the Prittie family Lords Dunalley, 1665-1937” in the National Library of Ireland; NLI Ms 29,808 (2).
The holdings appear to be in 2 counties. Loughan or Loughane is in the Parish of Finglas, Co. Offaly close to the Prittie family home at Corville, which is just across the county border in Tipperary. Most of the remainder are in the area South of Nenagh, Co. Tipperary in the Civil parishes of Kilnaneave, Dolla and Ballynaclogh.
Ballyandrew, which is the location of 19 tenancies, could not be found. There are townlands called Ballyandrew in Cork and Wexford. However, this property would appear to be in Tipperary, based on the family names. Does anyone have suggestions? It might not be a townland.

Tenant – Place – Rent (£.s.d)
Michael Carroll & Wm.Brenan – Loughane (Offaly) – 16.1.6
Benjamin Talbot – Loughane – 2.17.7
William Williams – Loughane – 10.12.0
Michael Hickey – Loughane – 16.19.7
John Toohey & son – Loughane – 19.0.0
James Toohey – Loughane – 19.4.10
John Carroll & M Greene – Loughane – 1.3.3
Roger Tracy – Loughane – 0.11.4
Francis Pye – Loughane – 1(?).3.3
John Blackwell – Loughane – illegible
Thomas Pye – Loughane – 11.10.19
Dennis Cummins – Loughane – 19.18.3
George Minchine – Loughane – 2.5.3
Francis Pye – Loughane – 4.8.3
Connor (Cannor?) Kennedy – Loughane – 12.17.9 –
Michael Carroll – Loughane – 6.10.3
Thomas Wall (Meagher) – Loughane – 6.4.10
George Minchine – Loughane – 9.15.8
William Talbot – Demesne (Offaly) – 8.4.9
William Talbot – Cow Park (Offaly) – 16.12.8
Michael & A Bourke – Killawardy (Tipp) – 25.5.9
Edmund Buckley – Killawardy (Tipp) – 30.6.5
John & Wm. Bohan – Killawardy (Tipp) – 32.17.0
John Davis – Killawardy (Tipp) – 18.17.4
M Halloran & P Morrissey – Killawardy (Tipp) – 6.3.3
Thomas Lloyde – Killawardy (Tipp) – 47.8.3
Michael Treacy – Killawardy (Tipp) – 16.3.3
Michael Treacy – Wood (Tipp) – 7.10.3
John Gleeson – Clonknockane (Tipp) – 26.7.4 –
Henry Allen – Ballyguivane (Tipp) – 39.5.0
James Mara – Clonknockane (Tipp) – 0.11.3
John Gleeson – Cloncane (Cloncare?) (Tipp) – 13.7.1
Richard Prittie – Ballyglasheene (Tipp) – 3.17.11
Richard Hawkshaw – Sragh little (Tipp) – 19.10.2
Richard Hawkshaw – Sragh big (Tipp) – 43.6.6
Philip Going & J Bennett – Coolagh & Ballyquinane (Tipp) – 72.15.0
Benjamin Hawkshaw – Barnagore (Tipp) – 45.0.0
Lord Dunally – Dolla bog (Tipp) – 18.18.2
William Cullinan – Ballyandrew – 21.2.6
Thomas Kennedy (both rents) – Ballyandrew – illegible
Thomas Corcoran – Ballyandrew – Illegible
Thomas Kyle – Ballyandrew – Illegible
Morgan & M. Connery – Ballyandrew – 19….
Thomas Mara & son – Ballyandrew – 20…
Martin & Pat Mackey – Ballyandrew – 2?.6.11
Michael & P Ryan – Ballyandrew – 1.5.0
John Ryan & J Kyle – Ballyandrew – 2.11.2
Patt & James Ryan – Ballyandrew – 40.13.9
J Ryan & S Mackey – Ballyandrew – 2.6.11
Edmund and John Kennedy – Ballyandrew – 4.14.4
James Horan & M Caine – Ballyandrew – 2.2.8
John Brien – Ballyandrew – 27.17.4
John Horan – Ballyandrew – 4.13.11
John O’Meara – Ballyandrew – 30…..
Michael Hanley – Ballyandrew – 6.14.9
William Cullinan – Ballyandrew – 40.8.0
Morgan Connery – Ballyandrew – 2.0.0

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The following list is of 26 persons who purchased flax seed from the Monteagle estate in the Shanagolden area of county Limerick in 1808. It is from the correspondence of Stephen Edward Rice and the original is in the National Library of Ireland (NLI Ms 605A). The heading on the list states that 124 pottles of flax seed were sold to these persons at 1 shilling 7 pence halfpenny per pottle on 15th May 1808. These people would clearly have had access to land for planting and may have been tenants of the Monteagle estate. A pottle is an old measure of liquids equalling a half-gallon. Each purchaser bought from 2 to 7 pottles. Note that 8 of the purchasers are women. Many of the stages in the making of linen, particularly spinning, provided employment for women in the home. Growing of the flax would therefore have been of direct interest to women in the area.

Thomas Hanly
Molly Crowe
Cate Flannagan
Cate Shea
Peggy O’Brien
M. Mc Mahon
John O’Brien
Dennis Maddigan
John Browne
Norry Browne
Arthur Hassett (?)
Danl. Keating
Marks Gearan
Michael Clancy
Thady Connor
Molly Crowe
John Griffin
Peggy Browne
John McMahon
Jams. Collis
John Barrett
Thos. Neale
Danl. Moore
Dennis Corbett
John Kennelly
Molly Flannagan

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Tenants on the Colclough estate in Curraduff (probably Coorduff) and Ballycreen in the parish of St Mary’s Newtownbarry. Note there are two other townlands called Curraduff in surrounding Civil Parishes. Given the mention of Clonyburn and Ballycreen in the same document, it is likely that this property is in the townland of Coorduff in the Parish of St. Mary’s Newtownbarry, as the 2 other townlands are also in that parish. The Colclough family residence was in Tintern in the south of the county, but they held property in many parts of Wexford. The single-page document is among the Colclough Papers in the National Library NLI Ms 29,758 (1).

Tenant name (landholding in Acres/roods/perches)

Curraduff (Coorduff)
Michael Cowman (4.2.15)
Patt Flood (11.2.0)
Martin Nowlin (23.0.0)
Michael Rice (2.2.0)
Tho & W. Little (60.0.0)
Pat Osburne (6.0.0)
Dennis Connor (11.1.0)
Lau Tobin (1.0.0)
Mathw. Cavanaugh (11.0.0)
Walter Nowlan (11.0.0)
Tho. & M. Whelan (20.0.0)
Philip Tobin (12.0.0)
Maurice Tobin (37.1.0)

Ballycreen
W & J Robinson (19.0.0)
Owen Connors (3.0.0)

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The list of small farmers below is derived from 2 documents in Ms. 8344 in the National Library of Ireland, entitled “Rent ledger of lands in Co. Tipperary the property of the Maunsell (?) family, 1848”. Despite the title, the properties are in the townland of Carrig Beg (spelt Carraghbeg in the document) which is in the Parish of Castletown, Co. Limerick (403 acres). It is on the Tipperary border and in the Poor Law Union of Tipperary. The two relevant documents are a rental with a list of 22 tenants, and a separate letter from Michael Ryan (presumably the land-agent writing to the landlord) detailing the “..number of acres in tillage and meadowing in Castletown” dated Oct. 24 1849. The latter document contains almost all of the same names as the rental, but the final three on the list below are additional to the rental list and may have taken up tenancies from the original list in the interim. The file also contains rent receipts which clearly show the location of the properties as being Carrig Beg.

Thomas Crowe
John Ryan
Mary Ryan (Widow Ml.)
John Maher
William Ryan
Denis Berrane
James Stapleton
John Stapleton
Denis Stapleton
William Coffey
Denis Coffey
Connor Gorman (1)
John Berrane
Patk. Berrane
Denis Anderson
Patk. Anderson
Thomas Hammersly
James O’Brien
Widow Buckley (2)
William Power
James Doyle
Mary Ryan
Michl. Fraley (?)
Jas. Maher
Widow Birrane
John Crowe

(1) listed as ‘Cornelius’ in letter (2) noted as ‘Honora’ in letter

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Our new publication ‘Guide to Finding your Ancestors in Kerry’ by Kay Caball will be formally launched by Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Diaspora Affairs, on Monday Sept 7th at 2.30pm in the Library Headquarters, Tralee, Co. Kerry. All are welcome to attend. In addition to Minister Deenihan, there will be brief presentations by the author, and by Mr Tommy O’Connor the head of Kerry library.


Above: The author Kay Caball with Minister Jimmy Deenihan

‘Finding your Ancestors in Kerry’ is a comprehensive guide to all of the records available for tracing families in the county and is filled with information on what the records contain, and how and where they can be accessed. It is well illustrated with maps and with examples of the types of records to be found; and with other relevant background material. It also provides background on the social history of Kerry and how this history has affected the keeping and survival of records. There is also a comprehensive index. Speaking about the launch, the author Kay Caball noted that “A sense of pride in their origins and solidarity with each other is to my mind a defining characteristic of Kerry people. Whether a locally based Kerry person or a descendant of the one of the hundreds of thousands of Kerry emigrants, there is a hunger to find where we came from, and who went before us..

If you plan to attend, we would appreciate if you could let us know: to jim.ryan@flyleaf.ie

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Below are 4 list of labourers employed on the Vigors Estate at Burgage, near Leighlin Bridge, Co. Carlow in 1793/94. The 111 names are on four separate lists all apparently written by the same farm manager or foreman (based on handwriting). The lists are in the Cliff – Vigors Estate Papers in the National Archives of Ireland (Ref NAI 1096.2.12). A description of the holdings is in www.nationalarchives.ie/PDF/Cliffe-Vigors.pdf.

List 1 headed ‘Mowers 1793’ contains 20 names, all men; the second unheaded list has 21 names, all men except for 3 widows; List 3 is headed ‘January 1794 at Manure, Burgage’ which would appear to suggest that these workers were engaged in hauling and spreading manure. It contains 27 names of men and 3 widows. The final list, also unheaded, contains 43 names including 3 widows. Was it perhaps the custom to give work to widows? Other than names, the numbers of days worked are also listed. There are some names which recur in more than one list,e.g. John Lennon, Ned and Tom McCardell, P.Mulloy, P. Delaney and a few others.

Mowers 1793


Dargan
T Doran
Js. Kelley
James Connors
Tom Dundon
Larry Ryan
Js. Wall
John Connon ?
Robt. Welsh
Michl. Byrn
Owen Mahon
A Hughes
P.Collins
P. Neal
Tom Keef (Reef?)
Bryan Byrn
? McCabe
Redmonds
Jack Poor
John Lennon

Unheaded List 1

Joseph Reddy
Little L.McCabe
P Kinsella
Wid. Mulrooney
Robt. Cody
Jn. Kearney
Wid. Hearn
Dick Wynne
Tom McCardel
Dl. Mara
Dl. McDonel
Thos. Conway
Jams. Brennon (?) Wood
Mick McCabe
John McCabe
Widw. Kelly
Billy Mara
Darby Mara
Red McCabe
James Brohan
John Lennon

Janry. 1794 at Manure, Burgage


Widow Brennan
P. Byrn
P. Mulloy
C. Byrn
Wm. Mara
Js. Brohan
Widw. Fitzgerald
L Marks
Ds. Reddy
P Murphy
Ed. Laler
Ts. Brennon
Pat Mooney
W. Lynchey
Ts. Conra
Pat Delaney
James Kelly
John Poor
Wid. Mulrooney
Wid. Kerns
Ned McCardel?
Pat Lynchey
Paddy Marks
Michl? Welsh
Tom Cavenagh
Pat Ralf
Bryan? Doran

Unheaded List 2

Mich & Steven Byrn
Widow Brennon
Paddy Marks
Mick Lynchy
Larry Marks
P. Mulloy
P. Hannaway
Darby Caulfield
Wm Mara
Dargan
Js. Brohan
Sally Welsh
Judy Dun
Darby Mara
Sally Farrell
Widow McAnally
James Mooney
Dl. Mara
Darby Neal
James Trinity
Js. Cody
E. Foley
Js. McCabe
Js. Condra
Mich. Byrn Morris
Wat. Mooney
Ds. Laler
Tom McCardell
Widow Maher
John Divine
Tom Holran
Rich. Wymse
Mick Reddy
Jn. McCabe
Pat Kinsela
Ned McCardel
James Reddy
F Doran
P Delaney
Lancton
G. Byron
T McCardel
Js. McDonel

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Thanks to all of those who participated in our survey of family history practices. We had 553 responses and a lot of useful information, which we will analyse and use. As promised, we randomly drew 3 winners from the list of 428 respondents who provided their contact details. They are: Denise Gordon Martin of Tampa, Florida; Addys Reilly of Merrick, New York; and Karen Ahern from County Kerry and each will receive €50 in value of Flyleaf Press books.

One of the questions we asked was ‘What is the earliest date for which you have proven information on an Irish ancestor?‘. The results are interesting. Firstly, only 37% of respondents had proven information on an ancestor before 1800. This not unexpected as there is a general acceptance that a lot of the main Irish record sources only go back to about 1820. Only 10% had information on an ancestor before 1700. This may make some of you feel better. You are not alone in being unable to find information, but keep looking.

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