Saturday, 2 April 2016

Roots in Tipperary

In a recent post, I mentioned the potential discovery of my Carroll family in county Tipperary, the same county Maurice Carroll claimed as his birthplace. The actual record of my great-great-grandfather’s baptism is still ‘missing’, but it seems his younger sister Mary was christened in the parish of Fethard, in South Tipperary, in November 1841. Her parents were David Carroll and Catherine Cummins, the same names Maurice gave for his parents.[1] 

Coolmoyne, Co. Tipperary on Google Maps

When Mary was baptised, the family lived in Coolmoyne, a rural townland situated between the towns of Cashel and Fethard. The family was still there in August 1850, when, according to a mid-nineteenth-century taxation survey, David Carroll leased a small house and a tiny garden. For tax purposes, the rateable valuation of the property amounted to only eleven shillings a year, a sure sign the family was poor.[2]

Although there were Carroll households in Fethard town in 1850, David’s was the only one in Coolmoyne or its adjoining townlands. Apart from an unknown Ellen Carroll acting as Mary’s Godmother, there is no indication they had Carroll relatives in the area.

David Carroll’s holding was supposedly situated at plot ‘5b’ on the below map of Coolmoyne, but '5b' is not apparent. Probably, the map was re-drawn after the tax survey was published and after David Carroll had left the area. Perhaps properties were renumbered and plot ‘4b’ marks the spot where the family once lived. A future visit the Valuation Office in Dublin may clarify this. [see update below] I do know David Carroll moved to Limerick before February 1859, by which time Maurice Carroll was in Dublin city, marrying Mary Anne Frazer. 

Coolmoyne, Co. Tipperary, 1850 (Griffith’s Valuation Map) [2]

Identifying a couple named David Carroll and Catherine Cummins living in the right place at the right time, is surely a step in the right direction. Yet, the possibility of it all being a big coincidence also crossed my mind. I wanted to find something directly linking my great-great-grandfather, the man living in Dublin, back to Fethard. 

Then, I discovered the baptism of his first wife, Mary Anne Frazer - she was born in Fethard too. It’s unlikely this was another chance occurrence. I'd found a link.

Robert Fraser and Mary Mara christened their daughter Mary in Fethard parish, in March 1829.[3] When she married Maurice Carroll, she went by the name Mary Anne and her parents were named as Robert Frazer and Mary Meagher (pronounced Mar), of Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.[4] The surname Frazer was not at all common in Tipperary. Plus, Mary Anne was said to have been forty years old when she died in March 1868, a variance of only one year.[5] So, chances are good these were Maurice’s in-laws.  

Robert Frazer had a small taxable holding in Fethard in 1828 and a trade directory shows he operated as a boot and shoe maker in Main Street in the town, in 1846.[6] However, no further mention of my David Carroll was found anywhere, apart from the baptism record of his son David, in 1847.[7] No one with the Carroll surname held taxable property in Fethard in 1828. Perhaps our Carroll family was poor enough to fall outside the tax net, or maybe they were living elsewhere.

Update 4 May 2016 - The first Cancelled Valuation Book in the Valuation Office is dated 1860, after David Carroll had left Coolmoyne. Mary Daly was named as the occupier of his house and garden of 38 perches. She was listed at plot 6b in the new book, but this plot is not immediately obvious of the map, either.

[1] Mary Carroll, Baptisms (1 Mar 1835 to 30 Jan 1847), Parish of Fethard, p. 73, Catholic Parish Registers at the NLI
[2] David Carroll, Tullamain, Tipperary South, Griffith’s Valuation, Ask About Ireland
[3] Mary Fraser, Baptisms (1 Jun 1828 to 27 Feb 1835), Parish of Fethard, p. 16, Catholic Parish Registers at the NLI
[4] Marriage register, Parish of St Nicholas, 1859,
[5] Copy death register, Balrothery, 1868, General Register Office.
[6] Robert Frazier, Tipperary, Tithe Applotment Books 1823-37, National Archives of Ireland; Robert Frazer, Munster, Fethard, Slater's Commercial Directory of Ireland, 1846, FailteRomhat
[7] David Carroll, Baptisms (1 Mar 1835 to 30 Jan 1847), Parish of Fethard, p. 129, Catholic Parish Registers at the NLI

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. In the movies, lawyers are quick to argue against circumstantial evidence, but if you have enough circumstantial evidence, you can make a strong case. It looks like you're there.

    By the way, what do the grey lines and dotted lines mean?

  2. Thanks Wendy, I do think it's them! On the google map the grey lines are minor roads and the broken line is the county border (between Tipperary and Kilkenny). On the OSI map the grey lines are field boundary and the dots represent trees. or I always thought they were trees, I might be wrong ;-)

  3. Thank you so much for your visit. I've read and enjoyed several of your recent posts and really admire the way you tell a story so your comment meant a lot.
    I agree with Wendy; it certainly looks as though you are there. Barbara.

  4. Thank you, Barbara, everyone appreciates being complimented now and then.

  5. I like the circumstantial evidence here. It looks like it to me. Congratulations!


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