John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Thursday, August 11, 2005
  Fōgarty not Fŏgarty
The reason for visiting Tipperary was to find out whether I could trace my ancestor Ellen Fogarty (which I find is pronounced Fōgarty not Fŏgarty [long o rather than short o]) who was born in Tipperary County in 1846 (which was the second year of the potato famine).

The famine and its consequential diseases killed around a million of the then 8 million population of Ireland.

The older records for the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly (which is almost co-terminous with Tipperary County) are all stored on computer and available for searches at a centre in Tipperary Town (the Excel Centre). There is a reasonably steep fee charged compared to the free searches of the Mormons (Church of the latter day saints).

The LDS people have spent special efforts on researching family history for many years because new converts also convert their ancestors. One of my own gtgtgrandparents' brothers moved to the USA and converted to Mormonism. This meant that I could find his research and make use of that. With GEDCOM files exchanged with others I have managed to build up a family tree including about 5,000 people and some record of the Hemming line back to Feckenham in the 1500s (Feckenham is near Redditch and a Birmingham Post Code). My main family line migrated from Redditch through Alvechurch, Kings Norton, Cradely Heath, Handsworth, Pype Hayes, Smethwick, Bearwood, Bromsgrove, Selly Oak, Kings Norton and Moseley over a period of about 500 years.

I have not spent much time on researching this, but given that I am a member of the Birmingham Tipperary County Association (and turn up and play guitar with them at the St Patrick's day parade in Birmingham each year), I felt I should actually visit Tipperary and try to find some trace of my great great grandmother. She has a Catholic Name (although Fogarty is mixed, Ellen is catholic), but married a man (Enoch Upton) with a protestant name whose protestant (anglican/baptist) family had been based in Birmingham for some time (and may have been hatters). Interestingly he was Christened in St Mary's Church, Moseley in 1845. Two of my children were also christened in the same church in the 1990s.

There were, in fact, three Ellen Fogarty's of that year and the most likely candidate is that christened in Cashel (not that I can prove this). Cashel is an interesting city because it was the capital of Munster when Munster was a separate kingdom in the south of Ireland in the 1100s.

Cashel is relatively small, but was a walled city and has stayed essentially within the same boundaries.

Tipperary was an area which was particularly supportive of Irish Independence and there are a many memorials of people who died including those executed by the British as part of that dispute.

As usual the history of this is something that should inform the disputes of the noughties. Sadly looking at the government by press release that seems to be happening at the moment I don't think the government's response is informed by any real information.

Tipperary is uniquely divided into two county councils. The southern one is chaired by a Councillor Derry Foley who my wife and I visited today. This was part of trying to improve communication between Tipperary and Birmingham. The South Tipperary County Council is based in Clonmel and has a population of about 74,000. One issue of concern in Ireland is the health of people who have migrated from Ireland to the UK who are now in ill health.

One thing I find impressive is the quality of the local musicianship in the local pubs. A large proportion of pubs have informal musical sessions where the musicianship is of a high order. I wonder to what extent the old "two in a bar" rule in the UK undermined the same approach to community music.
 
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