Saturday, 29 August 2015

Genealogy quest: Mapping the Donovan family homes

The newly discovered family grave, located in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin is quite remarkable. The plot itself does not look to be anything out of the ordinary and there is nothing to distinguish it from all the other unmarked graves in Curran Square, the oldest section of the cemetery. Yet, it is the final resting place for fifteen members of my Dad's Donovan family. 

The cemetery's burial register shows the last address of everyone interred in the grave and for over forty years, this extended family lived in the same small area of Dublin city, near the north shores of the River Liffey. It is interesting, don't you think, to chart their addresses on a nineteenth-century map of Dublin:

Dublin streets of Donovan residences are marked in yellow

Glasnevin Cemetery Register, Donovan family plot          
Name
Date
Last Residence
Age
Pat Donovan
1832
Gt Strand St
-
Mary Anne Donovan
1832
Gt Strand St
-
Eliza Donovan
1833
King St
-
Cathe Donovan
1834
Essex Bridge
-
Margaret Donovan
1837
Green St
45
John Donovan
1839
Charles St
46
Eliza Donovan
1848
Charles St
48
Eliza Donovan
1853
Bull Lane
1
John Flood
1854
Upper Liffey Street
68
Thomas Donovan
1856
Gt Britain St
2
Thomas Donovan
1859
49 Mary St
1
Francis Donovan
1861
30 Upr Dominick St
2
Catherine Donovan
1861
30 Upr Dominick St
1
Catherine Donovan
1873
51 Great Britain St
86
Marianne Donovan
1873
6 Blessington St
40

At the time of her death in 1873, my great-great-grandmother Marianne (Coyle) Donovan (also known as Maryanne) lived in Blessington Street. Blessington Street runs parallel and to the north of Dominick Street, though it is not shown on the map. I suspect Catherine Donovan of Great Britain Street (now called Parnell Street), who also died in 1873, was Maryanne’s mother-in-law. The four infants who died between 1856 and 1861 were her babies.

Apart from that, I have not yet figured out who the rest of these people were or how they fit in my family tree.

Baby Eliza of Bull Lane, who died in 1853, might have been another daughter of Maryanne and her husband John Donovan, making her a potential sister to my great-grandmother, Mary Agnes. The surviving head of household extract from the 1851 census includes a John Donovan living in Bull Lane – possibly my great-great-grandfather – but Eliza’s baptism record has not been found. 

There again, no baptism record for Mary Agnes has been found either. She was probably born around the same time as Eliza, maybe a year or two later, so perhaps they were both christened in the same church, and the relevant pages of this register have somehow missed digitisation.

Bull Lane was in the parish of St Michan, while all the younger Donovan children were baptised in St Mary's.  I have already, fruitlessly, searched St Michan's church records on www.irishgenealogy.ie, but maybe I'll have more success with the copy registers newly released on the National Library’s web-site.

Wish me luck.

See previous post in this quest: 
Genealogy Quest: Striking gold - the search for Maryanne

Sources: Glasnevin Cemetery burial register (O 54 Curran Square), Glasnevin Trust; ‘The 1851 Dublin City Census’, FindMyPast, citing Dr D. A. Chart’s index of heads of households in Dublin City, 1851, National Archives of Ireland.

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© 2015 Black Raven Genealogy

4 comments:

  1. Wishing you loads of luck Dara! great post.

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  2. This is exciting -- comparing an old map with last known addresses can really help clarify family relationships, even if it's just imagining your ancestors walking from their house to their sister's house or whatever. I believe I can do something similar with my great-grandmother and her siblings who were clustered within blocks of each other in the early 20th century. Anyway, it looks like you are zeroing in on finding your answer.

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  3. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Wendy.

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