The Next Step After Griffith’s Valuation

The next step after finding your relative in Griffith’s Valuation is to head to the Valuation Office in Dublin, either in person or remotely, and some exciting news, read all the way through

What you can find there is a record of the land you have located in Griffith’s changing hands. You are charged 1 Euro per page. And no, you do not have to visit them in person to order the records. A friend was telling me that she has requested the information on-line. You can read more about the Valuation Office services here.

When using Griffiths, I had found a John Melody & Michael Melody owned land in Corrabaun, Galway. My recent trip to Ireland along with a handy lesson on using the overlay of Griffith’s maps along with modern ones allowed me to see that the land owned by Michael Melody had previously been owned by John, possibly his father? I still don’t know that yet, but likely.

Corrabaun Valuation record

A page from Book 6 (1847-1939) at the Valuation Office, Dublin.

By using the valuation records, I can see that the land changed hands about 1867, and John is no longer listed at all on the later valuations. I think John may have died but I will have to do some further investigations, although the index for civil death registration for Loughrea is on the Irish Genealogy website, the actual record needs to be ordered.


The entry showing John’s land being taken over by Michael Melody, 1867.

And now the news, these records I was told will hopefully all be on-line in about two years!! This will be a great boon to all genealogists.

A big thank you to Peter who took a day off of work to come with me to the Valuation Office and then he took me to the National Library. A great day of researching!

Conference Day

Today we drove into Nenagh, Tipperary today and I have some time before the Clans and Surnames Conference begins.

It is really hard to relate all that we have experienced so far on our trip. For us the highlight has definitely been our New Inn stay. It is great to see Ireland but also to have people who welcome you into their homes and take the time out of their lives to drive you to various places describing who lives there now and hearing the stories is an invaluable part of our journey.

Places we have been – 

Clontusket Abbey – close to where the McGuinness family lived when they arrived in Galway in the 1820s. (Featured image is of one of the windows from the Abbey
Woodlawn House – owned by the landowners of the New Inn are where the Melody & McGuinness family were living. Their landowner was Rev. Trench.
I received a thorough tutorial from a very helpful friend (thanks Martin) on how to do map overlays using Griffiths Valuation. This allowed me to see where John Melody & Michael Melody were living in the area of Corrabaun in the 1850s. Their farms were located side by side and John’s farm was eventually owned by Michael and then later by Michael’s son Thomas Melody.

I still have a lot to learn but another tip I received was that the Cancelation Books would cover every time the land changed hands and these books are located for viewing in Dublin. I hope to have a chance to have a look at them when we head back there.

Late Night Discovery

Time change had me up at 1 am. What did I do? I logged into my DNA on ancestry to see what was new. After checking on my matches I went into my distant matches which is something I generally avoid. Scrolling through I happened to click on a random person and looked to see if we had any surnames in common. I saw the name Pendergass and selected it on the off chance it would match up with my Prendergast family.

WOW is all I can say. This match could be a legitimate match through the Prendergast family.

First let me take you back a few months when I logged into Gedmatch and looked at my great uncle’s Herb’s matches and I was a close match with a person named Michael. I sent off an email and with his reply I discovered that he decended from Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh. These are the same people who I guessed to be the great grandparents of my great uncle Herb.

To be honest the Reddy/Prendergast line is the one I felt I would never make any breakthroughs on, the history of this family is limited. Herb’s grandmother Anne Reddy died when she was in her early 20s and her mother Margaret Prendergast also had an untimely death at a young age, both died in Quebec City.

With numerous records pointing me to Margaret’s parents being Thomas Prendgast & Margaret Walsh, I had them tenitively listed as  her parents. NO records I have found have proven that connection… yet.

With these new-found DNA matches with my great uncle and myself I felt that these parents are quite likely.

Fast-forward to me last night on Ancestry and the Prendergass match. They had a Cecily Prendergass who married a John Kennedy in Quebec City… Well, with a little further looking I found the marriage record on Ancestry and guess who Cecily’s parents were listed as? Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh. Are you kidding me? Is this even possible? Does DNA do this much?

I have found these same names listed on an Irish pay $$ website as parents for a birth of Margaret Prendergast (1822) in Mooncoin, Kilkenny, this place is where the earlier match named Michael had indicated the family was from.

My question is, how many maybes makes a proven?? How many clues do you use in your genealogy to call it fact? I am leaning closely to Margaret Prendgast’s parents being Thomas & Margaret (Walsh) Prendgast. Woundn’t you?

Summary – 

Great uncle Herb -> Anne Reddy – > Thomas Reddy & Margaret Prendergast 

Margaret Prendergast possible parents –  Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh

Great uncle Herb’s DNA matches Michael who descends from Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh

My DNA shows a match to someone who descends from Thomas Prendergast & Maraget Walsh

Found a birth record for Margaret Prendergast (1822) d/o Thomas Prendergast & Margaret Walsh in Mooncoin, Kilkenny

Airport Fun

I am sitting in the Edmonton airport waiting for the start of what in my mind is my ‘trip of a lifetime’. Although not purely a research trip, more of an exploratory journey, I will be doing some genealogy research. I plan to stay close or in the communities that I know my family has resided,  and I look forward to talking locals, exploring churches, cemeteries and breathing the Irish air. To pass the time I made a list of my Irish immigrant ancestors and where they were from. 

Out of 12 people I have a known location in Ireland for 5, I only know the Counties for 2, which leaves me with 5 that have the empty designation of unknown.

Ancestors name | Date of Immigration | Immigrated From | Location in Canada | Connection to me

1. Mary Potter – [ca.1820] unknown location -> Goulbourn, Carleton Co., Ontario – 3x great grandmother

2. Cornelius McMahon – 1850 Co. Clare -> Sherbrooke, Quebec -. Normanby Twp, Grey Co., Ontario – 2x great grandfather

3. Sarah McCue – unknown date, unknown place -> Normanby Twp, Grey CO., Ontario – 2 x great grandmother
4. Margaret Pendergast with parents Thomas Pendergast & Margaret Walsh – ca. 1830s – Mooncoin, Kilkenny -> Quebec City – 3x great grandmother

5. Thomas Hodgins – [ca.1812] – Dromineer, Tipperary -> Huntley, Carleton CO., Ontario – 4x great grandfather

6. Thomas Reddy – [ca.1840] – unknown place (possibly Kilkenny) -> Quebec City – 3x great grandfather 

7. Samuel Jordan – [before 1852] unknown place -> Quebec City – 3x great grandfather

8. Mary Quigley – wife of Samuel Jordan [before 1852 ] -> Quebec City – 3x great grandmother

9. Mary Loftus – [unknown date] – unknown place –  arrived with husband Felix McGowan to New York -> West Flamboro, Wentworth Co., Ontario – 2x great grandmother

10. Bridget Melody – 1879 – New Inn, Galway -> Montreal, Quebec

11. James Diver with wife Sarah Cheatley – 1862 – Milford, Donegal -> Picton, Prince Edward Co., Ontario – 2x great grandparents

12. Sarah Cheatley – 1862 – Milford, Donegal -> same as her husband James Diver (Sarah was from Dromore, Donegal)


List of Irish Counties – Clare, Galway, Sligo, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Donegal, 6 unknown

Earliest arrival was Thomas Hodgins ca. 1812

Latest arrival was Bridget Melody in 1879

Possible Famine immigration – McMahon, McCue, Reddy, Jordan, Quigley

Alberta AGS Conference Day 2

Day 2

A little late in posting this as I had to drive 5 hours back from Edmonton and I was concerned about the roads with all the snow that arrived to remind us we are in Canada.

My first session on day 2 after Kyle Betit’s Keynote, was his session on Advances in Irish Research. This was a great overview for those doing Irish research and he highlighted many of the popular websites and some less-known resources. Claire Santry’s Blog – Irish Genealogy News continues to be the go-to place for anything new in the Irish Genealogy Community.

Next up was Diahan Southard’s Genetic Genealogy : Advanced and I was not disappointed. My biggest takeaway was learning when you have stacks of matches showing up in your chromosome browser it is probably an IBS (Identical By State). Either I had missed this information in the past or she explained it in her usual awesome way that it sunk in! (More information on IBS can be found on the ISOGG Wiki )

My last session was with John Reid with his talk on Finding Your British Family History in Newspapers. John let us know of the various newspapers available and highlighted all the funny and quirky things that can be found in them. Newspapers are gold for me as I don’t have a lot of family stories that have been passed down and they can help add colour to my bare tree. A site John shared that I did not know about was the Irish Newspaper site called Irish News Archive, again, how did I miss this?!

As with any conference, there were a few glitches, some with tech, some with the food, but I think the organizers did a fantastic job. It is no easy task to plan and execute these events and kudos to all who step-up to the plate so we could have a weekend of connecting and learning! I am going to head over to the AGS website and fill out their feedback form, make sure you do too.

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 12.16.01 PM


Alberta AGS Conference Day 1

I am attending AGS Conference this weekend in Edmonton and I have thoroughly enjoyed the first day. They have provided us with a great line-up of speakers, it has been wonderful reconnecting with people, meeting new friends and so much learning. DNA has been the biggest hit for attendees with topics covering all aspects and levels.

Being days away from a trip to Ireland meant Ruth Blair’s talk on Preparing for a Genealogical Trip in 7 Steps was a great session to attend. It also has me with a few last-minute To-Dos.

Organizing Your Genetic Genealogy by Diahan Southard inspired me to sit in my room after the banquet working on my DNA spreadsheet.

Today has Kyle Betit is giving the opening Keynote and I will be attending his later session on Advances in Irish Research.

A surprise for me during the AGM was hearing my name announced and being presented with an award for an article I had written for our local genealogy society. I tend to not have a lot of confidence with my writing and I found this encouraging.


I guess I will keep writing!

Bring on Day 2.

My Genetic Communities

This morning Ancestry DNA has rolled out their new feature called Genetic Communities. I have done the majority of my DNA testing at Family Tree DNA so I do not have very many tests I can check at Ancestry.

My mother is grouped into two communities. The first one is the Connacht Irish which is no surprise to me as that is the area her McMahon line is from, but the person that is highlighted within her circle is her great grandmother Mary Loftus.Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 7.19.59 AM.png

The other group my mom falls into is the English Midlands. I immediately realize that it has picked up her Harrop line. Lewis Harrop was born about 1800 in Lancashire, England. Little is known about Lewis’ life other than he married in the USA about 1835 and came to Canada with his wife and kids in the 1850s.


Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 7.22.50 AM

Genetic Community – English Midland

A look at my results include the Connacht Irish like my mother but I also have Munster Irish. I thought my Donegal roots would show up but neither my brother or my results picked that up. I have two ancestor groups that fall into the Munster community, the Hodgins family from Tipperary and my Melody family from Galway.Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 7.38.03 AM


I think my brother’s results were the biggest surprise. His first community like me and my mother show Connacht Irish. The surprise is the second community, Southern English. Our Norton family from Great Yarmouth is the connection to this area and my brother is the great great grandson of the immigrant ancestor!

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 7.31.49 AM.png

Very cool to see this line show up. Once you have processed the results you can then explore your Genetic Community matches!

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 7.34.33 AM.png

Well done, ancestry for giving us this added tool for exploring where our DNA takes us!

My only wish is that all the people I have tested at Family Tree DNA could somehow access this amazing new Genetic Community feature!