Years ago, I wrote to a cousin in Ireland asking what she knew about our family history. She wrote back and said that she didn’t know much about my great-grandmother, Bridget Clark. Just that Bridget was from Drumlish and some relation to the Bohan boys. My dad told me that the Bohan boys were cousins to my grandfather, Cornelius O’Neill. More recently, I was looking through some cards and letters that had been sent to my O’Neill grandparents. Included was a Christmas card from Jim and Bessie Bohan in Ireland with this return address:
The return address reads: Bohan Esker Drumlish!
I consulted a map and Esker North is a townland in County Longford that is not far from Creelaghta which is the townland where my grandpa O’Neill was born. So next I searched the Ireland 1901 cesus for Bohan in Esker North. Here’s what I found!! (Click on image to enlarge)
On line 5 is James Bohan, age 7 which made him about the same age of my grandfather, Cornelius O’Neill. The mother of this family is Ellen, age 40, who was born in County Leitrim. For James to be my grandfather’s cousin, Ellen would have to be Bridget Clark’s sister. Next I used the Irish Heritage website, https://rootsireland.ie/ and looked for Ellen Clark born in County Leitrim about 1861. I found an Ellen Clark baptzed in Gortletteragh Parish, County Leitrim in 1861 who was the daughter of Edward Clark and Anne McCormick. So next I searched to see if this couple also had a daughter, Bridget, baptized a few years earlier and they did! I knew Bridget’s approximate age from her death certificate. ( Finding her death certificate was another treasure hunt that I will describe in a later post.) I had found Bridget’s family! While the Irish Heritage website has records that you can’t find anywhere else online, the site also charges for each record viewed. So I went to https://familysearch.org/ and looked in the Family History Library Catalog for Gortletteragh Parish and yes, it had been filmed. So I ordered the microfilm and spent several happy hours finding Bridget’s siblings, their spouses and children and even Anne McCormick’s baptismal record which included the names of Bridget Clark’s maternal grandparents!
This past weekend as I was looking through old pictures, I found this one. Left to right; Rose Ann Lennon, my grandpa O’Neill’s sister, Bessie Bohan, Edward O’Neill, my grandfather’s brother, and Jim Bohan.
So thank you, Bessie and Jim for sending that Christmas card 50 or more years ago. It helped me find your family!