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Searching for Irish ancestor

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Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby DavidEdwardSpencer » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:57 pm

I am just starting on research of the Feeney family. I know that my father and grandfather were both born in Swansea. My great grandfather, William Henry Feeney, was born in Ireland and moved to Wales in the second half of 19th Century (he married in Pembrokeshire in 1870). The 1881 census records his birthplace as Dublin. The 1901 census changes this to Belfast. The 1911 census says Trimley - which my have been an Anglicised misspelling of the village of Trimoleague in County Cork. Searches have failed to reveal a record of William Henry's birth (circa 1840) in any of the places. So I'm stuck. Any suggestions?
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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby lojo41 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:10 pm

Do you know William Henry's parents names?


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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby DavidEdwardSpencer » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:17 pm

His marriage certificate records his father as William Feeney (deceased), with the occupation of Moulder.
Also, William Henry's occupation on the 1881 census is given as Labourer Pensioner Army; I haven't been able to discover any information about this organisation; could it mean he was receiving a pension form the Army, I wonder.
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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:22 pm

DavidEdwardSpencer wrote:...Any suggestions?

None helpful.... ;)

You need to sort out what his religion was (or what it seems to be) as this was before the start of Irish Civil Registration of births.

If he was a Catholic, then, while the Catholic registers are now online in Ancestry and FindMyPast (plus unindexed versions of the films for free), the basic problem is that it's fairly clear that coverage is less than 100% as Catholic registers occasionally turn up even now in backs of cupboards, etc. Indeed the films used by Ancestry and FMP date from some very early date (hence the low quality) and exclude later discoveries. The poor quality of film also means bad indexing, not to mention the different spellings of many names.

If he was a member of the Church of Ireland, then something like 2/3 of the CofI PRs were destroyed in 1922 on the Four Courts Fire in Dublin during the Irish Civil War.

So that's all fine then... (Pause for hysterical laughter). (And note I have not mentioned the Presbyterians of Belfast because know nothing of them).

Trying to be a bit more helpful - you should spend some time with http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/ learning about Irish research techniques. Not the only place to do it but recommended by many. Newspapers seem a profitable line of approach for CofI births but I guess that the less well off CofI families may not have used them much.

Any further thoughts welcome but please note that Irish research is not really capable of explanation in a forum like this - the problems and solutions are too immense.
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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:43 pm

DavidEdwardSpencer wrote:...
Also, William Henry's occupation on the 1881 census is given as Labourer Pensioner Army; I haven't been able to discover any information about this organisation; could it mean he was receiving a pension form the Army, I wonder.

That would be the most logical deduction. He's an Army Pensioner and is currently working as a labourer because the pensions were hardly generous. In theory this should mean that he's in the Army records on FindMyPast. This might not help but if you find a full size discharge form, it might give his place of birth.

I am slightly puzzled though by the dates - you had to serve for something vaguely, roughly in the approximate region of 20y to get a pension. Does his 1870 marriage mention the Army? If he's just a labourer there, then it seems very tight to get in a career in the Army to merit a pension - though ill health pensions didn't need quite as much service.

In any event, rule 1 is always try and find out as much as you can, so look in FMP's military - set your search to include variations and spend a long time doing it because there are a lot of them...
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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby DavidEdwardSpencer » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:49 pm

Thank you. I have found my great grandparents grave, at St Barnabas Church in Wales, Swansea; so it seems unlikely he was a Catholic.
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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby DavidEdwardSpencer » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:55 pm

I agree that the dates seem incongruous re Army service. His occupation is given as Labourer on his marriage certificate - which suggests any Army service would have been some time between 1870 (wedding) and the 1881 census.
I will pursue it with Army records as suggested.
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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:08 pm

Army service more likely to be before marriage as he's about 30 on marriage??? But still tight...

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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby ianbee » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:09 pm

DavidEdwardSpencer wrote:he married in Pembrokeshire in 1870

June 1870 Pembroke, 11a 1076, William Henry Feeney + Elizabeth Protheroe
with daughter Mary Jane Feeney born (in Tenby) the following year.

In the 1871 and 1881 census returns he appears as Henry Feeny
So could this be him? It seems a bit of a coincidence!
The Tenby Observer, 8th April 1869, pages 4 and 5
COUNTY SESSIONS.— Saturday.— Before John Adams, Esq., Earl Cawdor, Capt. H. Leach, W. Hulm, Esq., and several other gentlemen.—Mr. Robert Wrench, station-master, Pembroke, on behalf of the Pembroke and Tenby Railway Company, charged Henry Feeney, a soldier belonging to the 36th Regiment, with assaulting and annoying passengers in one of the carriages on the 29th of last month. Mr. G. Parry appeared to prosecute as the Company's solicitor. He said they did not wish to press the case of assault, but the annoyance only. He said that on the evening named, the prisoner was travelling in a third-class carriage from Tenby to Pembroke-Dock, accompanied by a drummer boy, several other persons being in the same carriage, amongst them were a man named Watkins, Mr. Wilfred Glanville, merchant, and Mr. Cock, B.A., both of Pembroke-Dock, all of whom he purposed calling as witnesses. After the train had left Tenby Station, defendant commenced beating the drummer boy........

A short news item in The Tenby Observer, 13 October 1870
POLICE COURT, October 6th.— Before the Mayor and W. Rees, Esq.— Henry Feeney, labourer, appeared to a summons charged by Thomas Protheroe, junr., with an assault. Fined 6d., costs 8s., or seven days' imprisonment. Money paid.

The name Feeney seems to have been not at all common in those parts.
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Re: Searching for Irish ancestor

Postby ianbee » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:16 pm

The chap in the 36th might be...
UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Admissions and Discharges, 1715-1925
Name: Henry Feeney
Pension Admission or Examination Age: 27
Birth Year: abt 1843
Birth Place: St Helen. ??, Seffoll
Pension Admission or Examination Date: 29 Mar 1870
Regiment: 36th foot
Rank: Private
Regimental Number: 829

Not sure that looks too promising though.
Might not be Irish!
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