Help me decipher this handwritten placename!
August 1, 2012 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Bad scan, old handwriting; can anyone decipher this handwritten Irish placename?

This is a scan of a birth registration. The word I am trying to decipher is one of those in the box outlined in red. The contents of that box read "Anastasia Boland 28 year ??? Co. Waterford Ireland". It's the ??? I can't read. Unfortunately I am not able to get access to the original document, and this is the best that the BMD register can produce.

I've been trying to trace the origins of my partner's Irish ancestors, and this is the only document I've found which lists any more detail for Anastasia than 'Co. Waterford' so I am very interested in finding out exactly what that word reads. It looks to me as if the last half of the word could be "gate" but I haven't found any placenames in Co. Waterford that seem to work.

For comparison and to help decipher the handwriting, the rest of the entry reads:

1649 | September 14th 1861 Warrenheip | John Byrnes not present | male | James Byrnes Labourer 32 yrs Grange Kilkenny Ireland | 1856 Gammons Field Co. Tipperary Two living none dead

Even a vague idea or suggestion could give me a lead for further research. Any suggestions gratefully accepted!
posted by andraste to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've looked at some older documents and this looks much more like a census listing than a birth record. Whose record would it be? It notes that John Byrnes, presumably regarded as the head of the house, wasn't present, and mentions two other people living in the house. I presume "two living none dead" refers to someone's children, probably James Byrnes' children.

Could the writing be something like "Wife of previous" meaning she was married to James Byrnes? Either it's that, or she was a servant living in the household.
posted by zadcat at 7:30 PM on August 1, 2012

Best answer: Have you checked out the Placenames Database of Ireland?
posted by Knappster at 7:32 PM on August 1, 2012

Best answer: It kinda looks to me like two separate words, Windgap at times was written Wind Gap? (I thought the initial letter resembles the W of Waterford but with the different connection an "i" demands over an "a").
posted by saucysault at 7:32 PM on August 1, 2012

Lime gap?
posted by muirne81 at 7:32 PM on August 1, 2012

There is a Lime Grove in Waterford.
posted by muirne81 at 7:35 PM on August 1, 2012

Response by poster: zadcat, it's an entry from an Australian birth register - I ordered it direct from them. John Byrnes is the child being registered. Anastasia and James are his parents. The '1856 Gammons Field' is the place and year of their marriage, and the '2 living none dead' is their two previous children from the marriage. Sorry, I didn't want to include the header rows because there are a whole lot of other people's entries in there and I didn't want to clutter it up.

saucysault - Windgap is definitely a possibility! It look as if it's very close to Kilsheelan in Co. Tipperary, where the family were living just before they emigrated to Australia.
posted by andraste at 7:48 PM on August 1, 2012

I'm also leaning toward Windgap/Wind gap—possibly misspelled (as here) "Wine gap."
posted by Knappster at 7:49 PM on August 1, 2012

This is not answering the question at all, but my grandmother was named Anna Stasia Boland. She was Polish, but her husband, my maternal grandfather, was a Boland from County Waterford. MeMail me, and I'll dig up the genealogical information we have.
posted by Ruki at 8:02 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I don't think that is two words, if that's a g starting the second word; look at the other capital Gs on the document - they don't look like that at all.* I don't know the geography of Co. Waterford very well so I can't hazard a guess, but I suggest emailing the Waterford Library.* I think they have a genealogy section and they will know possible. (The big problem in Ireland is the issue with transliterating Irish place names, which is not always consistent, so talking to someone who knows the various options will be helpful. Also, although Boland is a common name a lot of Irish names tend to be centered in one town, so, for example, Spencers are connected with Gorey, and so on, so they may have a bit more of a sense of where your best options are.)

*Unless this is an Irish word, in which case the orthography and capitalisation would be different.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:31 PM on August 1, 2012

That doesn't look like "gate" to me. It looks like an F, not a T, or perhaps an old letter for double S instead of F. "Gasse" does come up as a name when I google it, but I am not entirely convinced that starts with g.
posted by Michele in California at 9:45 PM on August 1, 2012

Best answer: Another vote for Windgap. The 'W' from Warrenheip is very similar and most of the other letters match as well, apart from the 'd'. That could simply be a scratchy pen or a misspelling.

It's also in about the right place, in between Grange and Gammonsfield. Instinctively I'd assume most people wouldn't have travelled far to find a spouse in those days. Having his birthplace, her birthplace and the place they got married in three adjoining counties seems to restrict the search area.

Google Maps link
posted by matsho at 6:48 AM on August 2, 2012

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