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Hello, I have been trying to trace my Irish ancestors for many years and I am stuck on my immigrant ancestor, Edward Carlin, who settled in Philadelphia, PA, USA sometime before 1856 when his first child, Margaret, was born in Philadelphia.

I know that Edward was born somewhere around 1820, although this date seems to move around alot depending on which record I am looking at. He married Margery or Margaret McMeniman. I always thought they were from Southern Ireland based upon family stories that I would hear, however my DNA is indicating Northern Ireland, specifically southern Donegal County. I also found a marriage record for an Edward "Carlan" and a "Magy" McMeniman on Nov 28, 1847 in what looks like "Mosshill." Robin Carlan was a witness. 

I also know that when Margery died, she was buried with a Henry Carlin, whom I am guessing may have been a brother or some other relation to Edward. I also have Philadelphia census records that indicate a Neal and James Carlin lived with them at one point, as well as a John Carlin. All of these may have been brothers or cousins because they seemed to be around the same age as Edward.  

Would appreciate any help that you can offer to help uncover this mystery a bit further. Thank you!!!



Monday 17th Feb 2020, 06:41PM

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  • Lauren:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    Themarriage record you located was from the parish of Lifford which is on the east side of Donegal on the Tyrone border. The townland is actually Masshill which is in Clonleigh civil parish. My Brennans also come from that parish and they also emigrated to Philadelphia. The baptismal records for Lifford RC parish are available from 1773-1795 1836-1837 and 1853 on. Fortunately for you marriage records start in 1846.

    The earliest Edward Carlan baptismal record in Donegal on the subscription site Roots Ireland is in 1859. I also did not find a likely Margaret McMenamin baptismal record.

    The 1857 Griffiths Valuation head of household listing for Clonleigh parish shows a number of Carland records but none in Masshill

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 17th Feb 2020, 07:38PM
  • Thank you Roger, very interesting. The Edward I'm searching for named his first son Patrick and I see a Patrick Carolan on the 1857 Griffiths Valuation for Clonleigh. I have heard that "Carolan" was another spelling for Carlin, so I'm wondering if perhaps Edward named his first son after his father, thus making him a Patrick? Might be a good place for me to start investigating. Do you have any idea how I could trace the Patrick Carolan living in Tironeill, Clonleigh Parish to get more information on him? Is there a way to see his family members, etc.? I also see quite a few McMenamins living in Clonliegh Parish as well. 

    Thank you!


    Monday 17th Feb 2020, 08:28PM
  • Lauren:

    Carolan and Carlin are likely the same surname. 

    No way to see family members for Patrick Carolan from the Griffiths data. Also if Edward was from Masshill not sure if his father would be in Tironeill.

    I did go back to the 1826 Tithe listings and checked out Masshill. I located a record for a widow named Rose Carlan. Not sure how she might be related to Edward Carlan.

    I also checked Tironeill but no Carlan/Carolans listed.

    I looked at Google Maps. Did not see Masshill but Tironeill is about 4.3 miles north of Lifford town.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 17th Feb 2020, 09:47PM
  • If it's any help, Tironeill and Masshill are beside each other. Masshill is immediately to the south of Tironeill and borders it. So the two are obviously as close together as you can get. Families in one could well be related to families in the other.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 19th Feb 2020, 12:47PM

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