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BYRNE aka BEIRNE aka BERNE aka BIRN (+/- O')
Any "Byrne" from North Co. Roscommon (or Connaught for that matter) should be considered to be a corruption of O'Beirne (Ó Birn of siol-muireadhaig) until proven otherwise. "Beirn" was numerouos in north Roscommon (mapped here) due to it being an ancient territory. (Byrne, has a totally different origin, i.e. Ó Broin, of Leinster).
In the 1749 Census, "Beirn" was the only name variation recorded in Baslick (with only 4 Beirn households in this district at that time). By 1857 Beirne was the most common surname in Baslick (particularly at Lisheen, Castleplunkett and further north at Ballyglass, Belanagare).
Church Records: In RC records, Baslick (aka Kilmurry, in combination with Ogulla) fall under the RC Parish of Tulsk mapped here (in yellow). Unfortunately, RC baptism records for Tulsk (Ogulla and Baslick) online are limited to 1865-1900. Civil Registration: From 1865, Castlerea and Frenchpark appear as Registration District for Baslick.
The civil parish of Baslick is a large area encompassing 42 townlands and the village of Castleplunkett. The nearest market town to the east was Castlerea and to the west was Tulsk. In the early 19th century Baslick was in the Barony of Ballintubber (now transferred to Castlereagh).
Castleplunkett in an of itself was a population centre, and this, Castlerea, Tulsk or Bellanagare may have been given as an "address" on emigration records (hinting to the nearest market town for your family). The Workhouse for the poor of Baslick was at Castlerea.
Your Centre of Origin
Look north of the village of Castleplunkett, pinpoint the townland of Gortnasillagh as your centre, and draw a circle around it to encompass (to the north) the townland of BALLYGLASS and southwards as far as Castleplunkett; highlighting the cluster of townlands Lisheen (Lissenivacane) Tonereagh, Carrowkeel & Mullygownan.
Perhaps your best (and only) ancestral lead is the record of cottiers Hugh & Catherine Beirn who were residing in the townland of Gortnasillagh, Baslick in 1749. As this was the only Hugh Beirn recorded in this civil parish, and Hugh being significant enough, he is likely to be the grandparent for whom your ancestor was named. As they were cottiers, their tenure was short-lived and they would have migrated around the townlands in this district. At that time, Hugh & Catherine Beirn were a relatively young couple with 2 children under the age of 14.
There only other Beirn households recorded in Baslick at that time: were at in "Lissinivicane" aka Lisheen (a) cottier Widow Brigid Beirn & her 4 children (2 teenagers); (b) cottier John & Catherine Beirn & their 5 children (1 teenager); and at Castleplunkett (c) labourer Pat & Rose Beirn (no children).
Cross-referencing that, the only McGuires recorded in Baslick in 1749 were cottier Hugh Maguire of Toberelva (again just north of Castleplunkett adj. to Lisheen) and Edmund & Anne Maguire of Ballaghabawbeg (just west of Castleplunkett). By 1857, only 3 McGuire households appear in this parish, 2 of which are curiously in the same townlands as Beirn (north of Castleplunket). With both of your ancestors originating from the same parish, odds are, they were neighbours.
All this would storngly suggest Castleplunkett as your starting point.
John Byrne (sic), parish of Baslick, was the sole flax-grower in this parish in 1796. This could be John Beirn of Lisheen (fl. 1749).
Unfortunately, pre-famine Tithe Applotment Records for Baslick are not available online.
Post-famine Griffith's Valuation Records, show the following Beirne clusters in Baslick:
- BALLYGLASS (near Bellanagare) See also 1901 x 2 Beirne households
- LISHEEN - TONEREAGH - MULLYGOLLAN -CARROWKEEL (Castelplunkett North)
- MILLTOWN (Castelplunkett South) No Beirnes by 1901.
This would also strongly support Castleplunkett as your starting point for both Maguire and Byrne and very possibly the family of BYRNE (Lisheen Castleplunkett, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon ) today.
To get a sense of what was happening here during your ancestor's time, check out the Dúchas Collection for Castleplunkett.