Saturday, 3 February 2018

James Mahon in the Tithe records, 1823

By now, we can conclude, most of the Mahon families living in Swords parish, in the early decades of the nineteenth century, were near-neighbours of my GGG-grandfather, Patrick Mahon, of Yellow Walls, Malahide. And, chances are, some of them, if not all, were his siblings. And, James Mahon was the name chosen for most of their eldest sons.

So, if traditional naming practices were followed, James Mahon was quite probably the progenitor of most of the Malahide Mahons, and maybe even my GGGG-grandfather. Proving this theory has always been the problem, not least helped by the gap in the parish registers spanning the period June 1777 to June 1802.

This brings us back, full circle, to two earlier families mentioned in the Swords parish registers, that I discussed previously:
Patrick Mahon and Mary Cugan, who married in 1772, baptised two daughters, both called Mary, one in 1773 and another in 1776.
James Mahon and Elizabeth Owens married in 1774 and had a son John in 1776, before moving to the nearby Baldoyle parish, where they baptised Mathew in 1785, Mary in 1789, and Michael in 1791. 
But now, there is an even greater leaning towards James and Elizabeth being our progenitors. And, it's easy to conclude Patrick was James' brother, also living in Yellow Walls. In fact, the Tenure Book confirm a property occupied by the ‘Repts. John Mahon’ in 1845 was ‘John Cuggan’s holding’.

Further records for this period that might help are hard come by. The Tithe Applotment Books of the 1820s should provide additional clues. These records supposedly list everyone with more than an acre of agricultural land, along with the amount they owed in tithes (taxes) to the 'Protestant' Church of Ireland. But, unfortunately, the records are seemingly not available for Malahide. 
All that remain are the minutes of the Church of Ireland (COI) parish meetings held in 1823, introducing tithes in the district.

Taxes are never popular, but in a predominantly Catholic country, tithes payable to a ‘rival’ church were particularly reviled. Still, it appears Catholics were represented at the COI meetings, and even formed part of the ‘implementation committee’. Surprisingly, the signatories to minutes of the initial meeting held in Malahide included James Mahon:

Francis Chambly, Incumbent,
John Espine Batty, Chairman
James Reck
Charles Sadlier
Robert McEntire
John Gafney
Thomas Wogan
James Mahon

Excerpt from minutes, Special Vestry, Malahide, 13 October 1823

Prior experience of the Swords parish registers tells me Gafney, Wogan and Mahon were Catholic families.

At least, this proves there was a James Mahon living in Malahide, in 1823, but whether he was my GGGG-grandfather, his son, his brother, nephew or even his cousin, remains to be seen.

If this man was my GGGG-grandfather, he was likely in his seventies by 1823, but then again, longevity ran in the Mahon family; Patrick Mahon was in his eighties when he died in 1865.

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. You're doing a great job putting this family together!

  2. Thanks Dana, I'm struggling mightily to make any headway though.


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