Irish Genealogy Website Question: Help me find a lost baby?
January 27, 2014 1:18 PM   Subscribe

I need help with Irish genealogy websites and where to look. I've joined a couple of sites; the site that looks the most promising is nickel-and-diming me to death just to look at the info that shows up in their searches. Irish records can be spotty, so some of them are totally wrong. So, askMetafilter, where do I go from here without spending another 34 euros to see five records that are probably incorrect anyway? The details (What I know 98% for-sure):

My 2x Great Grandmother was from County Cavan, her name was Jane Foster, born at or around February 1819. Her father's name was John Foster.

My 2x Great Grandfather was from County Longford, his name was Thomas Elliott, born at or around 1810. His father's name was Edward Elliott.

They had a sone named William (b. 1838) and a son named John (b. circa 1839).

I am looking for John. They had to leave him there when they came to the United States in 1842. I've been wanting to find him for a while now.

Once they married, they lived in County Longford.

The documentation stateside has it that John was "adopted by an uncle and lived his adult life in Wales. He was, as far as anyone knows, living there when it was written of him in 1889 or so.

I've registered at Ancestry,, gone through Cyndi's list, and have been trying to find things that I don't have to go to Cavan and Longford to see.

Any ideas? I would love to find and meet John's family if there are any. It has been a sore spot in my family for about 160 years now.

Thanks so much!
posted by Tchad to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: First, I've been nickle and dimed by that Irish genealogy website too, so I feel your pain.

On your grandparents immigration records are there any addresses or mentions of who they're leaving at home? I know that information is on later (early 1900s) ship manifests, but not sure of the earlier ones. That may help you focus in on who they left behind, along with John.

I've found that the LDS often has records that doesn't have. You may want to check them out, for records in Ireland.

I've also had great luck with church records in Ireland here, but it looks like they don't have Longford--though they seem to always be adding new records.

Maybe focus in on Longford. I found a few sites: here and here which may help. If you know what parish in Longford, you may be able to call/email/mail them and find out if there's anyone there who could help you with finding records.

Good luck!
posted by jdl at 1:35 PM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do you know if he became a miner? He could have emigrated.

My dad got stuck on a branch of his family tree and made a journey to Cornwall and wales to try and find a link, he also hired a specialist, which was pricey. We found out some info, but he had given two different birth dates on 2 different census...and then he just disappeared. We suspect that he had runaway and later changed his name. So basically, sometimes our ancestors have made things intentionally difficult for whatever reasons. It was disappointing but a really fun adventure trying to find out!

Best of luck!
posted by misspony at 1:44 PM on January 27, 2014

Best answer: Tchad - can you give us any names of the towns or parishes in Cavan / Longford?

Don't underestimate what a resource the Irish National Archives are ->

The site also has scans of every document in the 1901 and 1911 census, which is a huge boon for researchers living abroad!

I had a poke about and couldn't find the men you outlined. But I found other stuff. For example, here is an 87 year old William Elliot living in Longford, originally from Cavan (but that would put his DOB 1814-ish). He's even living with a 30 year old unmarried female servant, the old dog!

Here is a Thomas Elliott, late 60s in the 1911 census ->

Also, don't forget the records of places like famine work houses, people often passed through a lot of these. Contact Longford library is your best bet.

While I'm in Ireland, I'm nowhere near Longford/Cavan, but I wish you the best of luck in your search!
posted by Chorus at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: No, I don't know any of the towns or parishes, but with the first and third comments I think what I am going to do is try to work backwards.

With the 1901 census, I can make an educated guess that folks in their 80s and 90s may be siblings or first cousins of my 2x Great Grandparents. There is every chance that the William Elliott you found was my 2x Great Grandfather's brother. I'll start with the Elliott side - in what I have seen from the recovered and reconstructed 1821 census, there weren't many Elliott families in Longford, and they seem to hang around.

Once they got stateside, they gave up on big families and no one really had or wanted any kids, so I am the end of it as far as I know over here.

Thanks so far, you guys! The later census may just work out for some newer link rather than trying to find the original one.

misspony, that would be really heartbreaking. They left him there with extended family and the rest of the family that came to the US did really well for themselves. He supposedly came to the States one time as an adult but went back because it wasn't his thing, but I only have that orally.
posted by Tchad at 3:50 PM on January 27, 2014

The Newberry Library has a wealth of genealogical information, both online and at the library itself, if you don't mind going downtown (and assuming you're still in Chicago). Lovely place to research, as well.
posted by carrienation at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2014

We're they Protestant? You won't find records in the parish if they were. You might try other churches instrad.
posted by fshgrl at 4:38 PM on January 27, 2014

Reddit has a genealogy subreddit. They have a brickwall posting where other people will give it a try. I'll tell you, some of the results are AMAZING. You could give it a try. There are some Irish genealogists that have other recouses and a real knack for it.
posted by beccaj at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Update: I found the baptism records for him in the Church of Ireland archives!

That gives me at the very least an area: Drumeel, Clonbroney, County Longford!

Once I get some more info I'll swing by the subreddit and work a couple of other things out...
posted by Tchad at 11:29 AM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: AND....

Got him!

I was able to use a couple of the church records and a partial from the 1821 census to contact someone who may be a cousin through his mother.

He went to the local parish church and found a wedding certificate from 1869 that seems to show him marrying a cousin.

I was then able to track him to Anglesey, Wales through the 1881 census and found his two children.

His daughter married very late in life, seems to have traveled, and then died in Canada.

His son seems to have stayed in Anglesey, Wales and raised two daughters after having joined the Royal Navy.

Thanks, guys. I'm off to track down his grand daughters now!
posted by Tchad at 5:14 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Unemployment is leading to a lack of enjoyment in...   |   Looking for fancy tea cup recommendations: Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.