More Information on the Connaughton Family roots in Ireland

Today I’m trying something new on the blog. It may not be apparent to you at first, but instead of typing this blog post I’m dictating it using Dragon naturally speaking software. When I last wrote about the family history, I mentioned that we had a few remaining questions about the plot of land that the Connaughtons occupied in the 1870s when my great-great grandmother Honorah Connaughton left Ireland.

My mother, Patty, and my aunt, Mary, and I decided the best way to get our questions answered was to hire a genealogist in Ireland to visit some land record offices. We hired Eilish Feeley of Irish Clann Connections. Here’s what we learned:

The Connaughton family had ownership of the same plot of land either as tenants or full owners from the 1850s or before. The records also show that from 1911 the Connaughtons had begun to purchase the land and that they received assistance in purchasing the land from the land commission.

What began as a 3-acre plot with a house grew over the years to more than 10 acres with a house and a few out buildings. In 1978, the land was divided into two parcels with the house being separated from the larger chunk of land. This was one year after the death of Michael Connaughton, one of Honorah Connaughton’s nephews who had lived there with his sister Mary.

This is a page from a photo album belonging to my aunt, Mary Leonard. She and my uncle, Tim, (pictured at the bottom left) found the Connaughton family home during a trip to Ireland in the 1970s.

The portion of the land without the house is currently registered in the name of Michael and Mary Ryan of Williamstown, Castlerea. These may be descendants of Michael and Mary Connaughton’s mother, Katie Ryan. (I’m sure you’ve noticed the proliferation of Michaels and Marys.)

See the place on google maps here.

Eilish was able to get us a little closer to confirming another part of our family’s story, too. Honorah Connaughton’s father, Michael, married a woman named Mary “Bessie” Dillon. Several family members told the story that Bessie Dillon lived on the farm next-door to the one Michael Connaughton grew up on. Through the land records, Eilish was able to confirm that the Dillon family lived on plot 14 which was adjoining to the Connaughton’s plot 15. Since Michael Connaughton and Bessie Dillon’s marriage record does not list parents’ names for the two newlyweds, we cannot definitively confirm this. However, we may be able to do an autosomal DNA test on current Dillon-named relatives to do so. One further clue might be the fact that the father in the Dillon family who farmed plot 14 was named Thomas. Nora named her second son, Thomas Xaiver. Her first son, Richard Joseph, named his first son, Richard Thomas; he was my grandfather.

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