(former USA Vice President)
his Irish Finnegan Ancestors.
IRELAND - SOURCES
Owen Finegan's Family
Owen Finnegan and
Jane Boyle were married in Cooley Roman Catholic
Parish, County Louth. on 8 December 1839. Following
is a copy of the marriage entry now available online
on the National Library of Ireland website. Previous
to this service permission was required of the local
parish to upload a copy or part of a page.
took place in the bride's parish.
The parish registers of Cooley Parish commenced in
1811 and baptism entries included the local, usually
townland, address. So if Owen had remained, after
marriage, in this parish his address would be given.
The baptism entries found of the children of Owen
Finnegan and Jane Boyle, born in Ireland, were on
the registers of Lordship Parish. It adjoins to the
west Cooley Parish.
The registers of the former parish only commenced in
and no specific addresses were given on it. So it is
difficult to determine, from Irish parish registers,
if Owen was also born in Lordship Parish.
The names of Owen Finnegan and Jane Boyle's
children, including born in USA, so far known would
appear to be:-
18 December 1840
(Math Finegan & Cath Ruddy)
Stephen (baptism entry not located)
(John Connor & Mary Boyle)
5 March 1848
(Michl Boyle & Margt Finigan)
Margaret (born USA)
Thomas? (born USA)
(Source: Ovid Bee dated 15 Aug
John (born USA)
Thomas (born USA)
Michael (born USA)
From above, it would appear, by repeating again
forenames 'Thomas' and 'Michael' that those names
were important to the family. There was also a
trend, among Irish Roman Catholic families although
not always followed, of naming the first son and
daughter after the paternal grandparents, the second
son and daughter after the maternal grandparents and
the next boy and girl would be named after the
father and mother. A slight variation on it would be
to name the second son after the father with the
next children after the maternal grandparents etc..
As already stated, on earlier research, the family
had left the Cooley area before May 1850 (approx.).
As a matter of interest it is quite possible Jane
and the children had seen the Marchioness of Bute
ship, in February 1850, before they sailed. The
local newspaper of the time,
dated 23 February 1850,
had the following report:-
the same date:-
(Source: The Dundalk Democrat and
Peoples Journal dated the
23 February 1850 &
For the journey
taken by Jane and her children it stated:-
(Source: Dundalk Democrat dated 8
The boundary of the parish of Cooley with that of
Lordship would appear to be around Castlecarragh
Townland. But baptism entries of children with
address of Castlecarragh
were found on the Cooley Parish
Registers. However Roman Catholic Parish boundaries
followed natural features and means of travel such
as roads etc..
From the main land record of the mid nineteenth
century known as Richard Griffith's General
Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland,
surveyed in County Louth around 1852, it would
appear the combination of names found on the baptism
entries of the children of Owen and Jane etc.
were in Castlecarragh Townland.
Travelling east to Carlingford the plots 1 and 2
would be along and to the south of road R173 (the
Dundalk to Carlingford Road), after crossing
Riverstown bridge and on entering Castlecarragh
townland. So it could be that Owen and Jane, before
emigrating, lived near the Riverstown area.
This is a copy of the published survey for
Civil Parish of Carlingford, page 185.
(source: www.ancestry.com but is
A previous land record to above was the Tithe
Applotment Books. Tithes were assessed on land
holders to determine the amount of tithes payable to
the Established Church. This survey for Castlecarra
[Castlecarragh] Townland was taken in 1833 and in it
a George Finegan was listed with a James and Michael
Finegan for 12 acres of land. This
assessment was based on Irish acres while Griffith's
Valuation used statute acres.
Below is a copy of this survey for part of
Civil Parish of Carlingford, page
Owen Finnegan, since the baptism entries
of his children were found in Lordship Parish, would
likely have lived in that parish in the 1840 to 1848
period. At that time families sometimes moved around
a rural district depending on work etc.. He may, if
working as a shoemaker or learning the trade, have
lived along or near a main road route such as near
The family possibly intended staying in Ireland
since they remained here during the worst of the
Great Famine years. It is quite possible for his
family there was both the 'pull' and 'push'
influence. That is news arrived from former
neighbours, who had already emigrated, of the
opportunities in the USA and also by remaining at
home the uncertainty for the future resulting from
the effects of the Famine years. Another push,
for persons looking for business from local road
travellers to the ports, may have
been the proposal to extend the railway line from
Dundalk to Carlingford via Greenore.
While the railway line
was not opened until the early 1870s the proposal
possibly to obtain the land for the route, south of
the now R173 road, would have
been known. In Rockmarshal
Townland the line crossed the now R173 and passed
just north of Riverstown bridge towards the junction
of the R173 with the now R175. A station was built
at Bush and the line went on to Greenore. So the
locally used lanes and passes, found in rural areas,
to the southern part of the peninsula
would be closed off.
Many years ago research on another family, from the
Bellurgan area which was to the west of Riverstown,
revealed that they emigrated to New York, in 1848,
on the Sea Bird from Galway. They were among other
emigrants on what were termed an assisted emigration
scheme from that county.
Their small plot in Bellurgan was later
severed by the railway line. Their ages were about
the same as Owen and Jane Finnegan and they could
have been known to the latter while living in this
area. So there maybe some
connection with the west of Ireland and families
from the Cooley peninsula. Research of railway
archives may reveal further information.
As stated, in genealogy, there is always some grain
of truth in family lore.
When in Lordship Parish, Owen, Jane, and the young
James would likely have known a place, along Dundalk
Bay, called 'White House Point' near Giles (aka
(Source: Ordnance Survey map, County Louth, surveyed
1823, Sheet 8, Mountbagnall
'White House Point' is to south west of
Below is a recent road map of the area, along
Dundalk Bay, showing, Riverstown bridge, and
the Castlecarragh, Rathcor & Templetown area.
(Source: OS Discovery Series, Louth
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