To-day I want to tell you about just one Kerryman and the search by his descendant Anne MacKay for information on his birthplace and wider family.  There are a few ‘roadblocks’ and brick walls highlighted  in this search and the solutions may help another descendant on your hunt for that elusive Kerry ancestor.

Anne says :

My GG-grandfather, was Timothy C.Gallivan,  born 1843-1844 in Killorglin. His parents were John Gallivan and Julia Doona.   I am trying to find out if there were any other children of John and Julia, what their names were and who John and Julia’s parents and/or other family members were.  

A synopsis of my research is as follows:

Timothy Gallivan was baptised in the Catholic Church, Killorglin on  30 April 1843.  His address was given as ‘Carhunahone’, Killorglin.  Carhoonahone is a townland in the Civil Parish of Knockane, in the Barony of Dunkerron North.  

As Civil Registration of Births was not compulsory until 1864, we don’t know the exact date of Timothy’s birth but it is more than likely a day or two before 30 April 1843 the date of his baptism, as it was the custom to baptise children as soon as possible after birth, in case they died, when it was believed that without baptism, their souls went to Limbo (rather than Heaven).  He was not baptised or would not have been known as ‘Timothy C. Gallivan’.   Both males and females had only one given name (Timothy) in the 19th century.  They took on the second name (‘C’)  after emigrating when they saw it was the norm in the U.S.

At the time of Timothy’s baptism, the people of his townland Carhoonahone were baptised in Killorglin Catholic Parish Church.   At a later date Carhoonahone was transferred to the Catholic Parish of Beaufort

There are just two children of John Gallivan and Julia Doona recorded as baptised in Killorglin:

Baptism Name Address Sponsors Church
30.4.1843 Timothy* Carhunahone Timothy Brack/Catherine Sweeney Killorglin
19.4.1848 Julia** Gurthrú John Gallavan/Julia Gallavan Beaufort

*Parents: John Gallavan/Julia Duna, ** John Gallavan/Julia Doona.   Please note also : spellings as given.  Spelling at this time was not standardised and  based on aural sounds rather then written.

We can see from marriage record of Timothy’s parents, that John Galivan  and Julia got married on 30 May 1837.  As large families were the norm, it would seem likely that there should be more births/baptisms recorded for this family, particularly between 1838 and and 1842. We have searched for such records on a Kerry wide basis (rather than Killorglin) with negative result.  There is a major gap in the Killorglin records from 1850 -1880 with all records  ‘missing’.  While is a marvelous resource of digitisation of Kerry Catholic & Church of Ireland records, there is no warning about any of the many records that are ‘missing’.  

John Gallivan of Carhoonane married Julia Doona in Killorglin Parish Church on 20 May 1837.  While neither John nor Julia’s age are recorded, we would have to assume that as per the custom at that time, prior to the Great Famine, they were both in their late teens or early twenties.

We would expect that John Gallivan would be recorded as occupying a house or house and land in Griffiths Valuation of  1852, but there is no ‘Gallivan’ (or alternative ‘Galvin’) name recorded in the Civil Parish of Knockane at this time. This would indicate that the Gallivan family had emigrated, or John had died or was working as a labourer in another Kerry/Cork or Limerick parish as a ‘spailpín’ which was a tradition in the Killorglin area where the land was poor and mountainous.   There is one ‘vacant’ house in the townland of Carhoonahone,  perhaps this had been the Gallivans.   The McGillicuddy of The Reeks was the Landlord of this townland.

Timothy & Margaret’s descendant Anne Mackay brings us up to date on their life in the U.S. of  Timothy and his wife Margaret Teahan, also a native of Killrglin:

Timothy Gallivan per census, arrived in the U.S. in 1861 (perhaps Boston).  During the Civil War, a family and/or man could pay a substitute to take his place in the service (I believe it was up to $300).  Timothy was one who took advantage of this and joined the U.S. Navy in 1864.  He was assigned to the U.S.S. Little Ada as a coal heaver.  The next year, 1865, he was going down a ladder to the coal room, the boat jerked and Timothy fell off the ladder, separating his shoulder and he was discharged. 

From all indications, he went directly to Amherst, MA (which is just west of Springfield) where he and Margaret Teahan were married in 1865.   Margaret Teahan was also a native of Killorglin.  Piecing together what we already know, with the with the missing Killorglin, records, it would be reasonable to assume that Margaret Teahan was  the daughter of Patrick Teahan and Mary Rouke of Laharn, Killorglin.

Timothy and Margaret had 7 children, 3 of whom died from diseases.  Three of Timothy and Margaret’s remaining children moved to Boston and one lived in New York.  According to the city directories, in 1886 and 1873 Timothy’s occupation was “laborer.”  In 1893 and 1895, his occupation is listed as working on the railroad and starting in 1897 he is listed as a farmer.  The 1900 census states he was a farmer and owned his farm and the same census states he was naturalized (there are naturalizations records, but not enough personal information to indicate if it is my Timothy).

Timothy died on Christmas Eve in 1904.  Margaret stayed in Amherst; I don’t know if she stayed on the farm, but from 1911 until 1913 she owned a home in Amherst which was sold shortly after her death in 1914.

The County of Kerry that Timothy and Margaret had emigrated from, soon after the end of Great Famine (1845-1852) was a land of poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity.  The Civil Parish of Knockane had a loss of people, either through death or emigration of 18% during the Famine years, this was not high compared to a decline of 45% in places like Kinard on the Dingle Peninsula.  But there is no doubt that Patrick and Margaret would have lived a life of ‘hand to mouth’ existence.   Instead we learn that by 1900 Timothy now owns his own farm, an opportunity that would never have been open to him at home in Ireland