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I want to connect with the Cowley families in Meath. My great-grandfather was Bernard "Barney" Cowley (1827-1892). I do not know in which parish he was born and baptized.

Can you help me find the parish?

My great-great-grandfather was Bernard "Bryan" Cowley (1788-1867), born in Meath.

I have much material on the County Meath Cowleys in Corning, New York.


Richard Cowley (1944-


Sunday 10th April 2022, 02:22PM

Message Board Replies

  • Richard:

    I searched on the subscription site Roots Ireland in Co. Meath and did not find any Bernard Cowley baptismal records, I then seached for Bryan Cowley records. Bryan is a variant of Bernard and located a November 7 1823 baptismal record for a Bryan Cowley with father Bryan Cowley and mother Margaret Hopkins. The RC parish was Ratoath which is in southeast Co. Meath. No townland was shown. Do you know if the mother of your 1827 Bernard was a Margaret? When did the family emigrate to America?

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 10th April 2022, 03:49PM
  • Good morning, Roger.

    Thank you for your response. Ratoath Parish sounds right.

    Interesting question. I could not firmly establish Margaret Hopkins as Bernard "Barney" Cowley's mother. The preponderance of records shows Mary Anne Flood (b. 1806 in Meath - d. 1872 in Corning, New York)

    I have Bryan marrying Ms. Flood on 28 Nov. 1831 - Ratoath, Meath, Ireland. My great-grandfather, Bernard "Barney" Cowley, was born in Meath in 1827, verified by my visual inspection of the date inscribed on his Cowley monument located on the Cowley plot at St Mary's Cemetery Corning, New York.

    The following are taken from my work, The Cowley's of Corning: a History, published in 2019.


    Generation # 1: Children of

    Bernard “Bryan” Cowley b.1788 Meath b.1867 Corning

    Bryan m1. Margaret Hopkins (1790-ukn.) in Ireland


    Generation # 1, All born in County Meath, Ireland; 2nd Great Aunts and Uncles

    1. John Cowley, b.  1814 -Cork, d. 1901- Corning

    2. Margaret Cowley Sullivan, b. 1819-Meath, d. Ukn.

    3. Jane Cowley, b. 1821 – Meath, d. ukn.


    2nd Great Grandparents

    Bryan m2. Mary Anne Flood, b. 1806 Meath, d. 1872 Corning


    Generation # 2, All born in County Meath, Ireland; 2nd Great Aunts and Uncles


    4. Bernard “Barney” Cowley b. 1827, d. 1892 Corning

    5. Daniel Cowley, b. 1831, d. 1873 Blossburg

    6. Michael Cowley, b. 1833, d. 1909 Golden City, CO

    7. Laurence Cowley, b. 1836, d. ukn.

    8. Thomas F Cowley, b. 1837, d. 1917 Downs, KS

    9. Catherine Cowley Smith, b. 1938, d. 1901 Corning

    10. Patrick Cowley, b. 1839, d. 1908 Corning

    11. Philip J Cowley, b. 1845, d. 1925 St Paul, MN



    John Cowley first arrival on 13 Jun 1837

    Barney Cowley arrived on 28 May 1849

    Bryan Cowley and family arrived on 9 Jul 1850

    No arrival record for Margaret Cowley Sullivan and Jane Cowley.



    The Bryan Cowley Spouse Conundrum


    Research into Bryan Cowley’s (1788-1867) life in Ireland remains an enigma for now.  Here is what I have found and what I believe to be true.

    1. Bryan married twice in Ireland before relocating his family to Steuben County, New York in the United States.
    2. Hs second wife was Mary Anne Flood (1806- 1872) whom he married on 27 Dec 1831 in Raroath Parish, Meath, Ireland.
    3. Bryan and his family sailed on the ship, Lady Sale out of Liverpool, England and made landfall in New York on 9 July 1850.
    4. The following are issue from Bryan Cowley and Mary Anne Flood, all of whom were born in Ireland:
      • Daniel Cowley (1831-1873) – Daniel was baptized in Meath, Ireland on 27 Dec 1831.  There is a good chance that Daniel was born before Bryan and Mary Anne were married, as baptisms often did not happen in a timely fashion.
      • Michael Cowley (1833-1909) – Daniel was born in Mar 1833 in Meath and baptized in Dublin on 17 Dec 1833.  Due to poor penmanship his mother Mary Anne was identified as “Hooley,” or possibly “Sweeny.”  Michael was identified as Bernard.  He was a Civil War veteran who died on 16 Aug 1909.
      • Laurence (Lauren) Cowley (abt. 1836- ukn.) – Laurence was baptized on 18 Jul 1836 in Meath, Ireland.  Bryan and Mary Anne identified as parents.
      • Catherine (Katherine) Cowley Smith (1837-1901) – Catherine is the mother of Sarah Jane Cowley Smith Gorman (1854-1932).  Sarah Jane first appeared on the 1855 New York State census in 1855, identified as the two-year-old granddaughter of Bryan Cowley.  She appears in Bryan’s home in successive enumerations for 1860 and 1865.  She was born in Steuben County.  Catherine would have been seventeen years old at the time of Sarah Jane’s birth. 
      • Thomas Cowley (1837-1917) – Possibly a fraternal twin to Catherine.
      • Patrick Cowley (1838-1908)
      • Philip Cowley (1846-1925)

    From there the record is far less revealing.  The record is best addressed in the form of questions, as follows:

    1. Was Margaret Hopkins (1790- ukn.) Bryan’s first wife?  Problems:  Many Margaret Hopkins in Ireland, England and Wales.  Problem:  At least two Bryan Cowleys born, one in 1788, one in 1796.  Who’s who?
    2. How many children did Bryan have before he married Mary Anne Flood?  Mary Anne Flood who was born in 1806 could not have given birth to John Mathias (1814-1901) in 1814.  Margaret Cowley (1819-1847) could have been Mary Anne Flood’s child, but not likely.  Mary Anne would have been thirteen years old at the time of Margret’s birth.  In all likelihood Barney Cowley (1827-1892), born in 1827, could have been Mary Anne Flood’s child.
    3. I have the sense that there were other children unaccounted for in the statistical records.
    4. Who was Bryan’s first wife? 
    5. Where did John Cowley (1814-1901) pick up the middle name, “Mathias?”  No idea except that it helps to differentiate him from all the other John Cowleys.
    6. Bryan Cowley identified himself as Bernard on the first New York State census on which he appears in 1855.  Other Bernards in my family line have gone by sobriquets “Barney” and “Bert.”  Same true for Bryan?

    The Cowleys of Corning is available on Amazon.

    I would like to establish a connection with Cowley descendants living in Ireland.





    Monday 11th April 2022, 01:57PM

    Attached Files

  • Richard:

    You may want to place an article in either the Meath Chronicle or the Meath Herald.

    Also, have you tested your DNA? 

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 11th April 2022, 03:30PM
  • Thank you, Roger.


    I will follow up with your suggestions.

    I have had my DNA tested.

    My ethnic profile As of September 2021:

    Ireland 49%

    England and N/W Europe 29%

    Scotland 17%

    Norway 3 %

    Wales 2%



    Tuesday 12th April 2022, 08:01PM