Share This:


I am in search of any and all information for Peter E. Finnigan and Isabella Curtis, my 2nd great grandparents.  I have nothing other than the marriage record as noted below.  I would appreciate any assistance and would love to connect with any relatives as well.

This is the information I have from (copy of record also attached):

Name  Peter Finnigan

Gender  Male

Event Type Marriage

Residence Place Kilmore

Marriage Date 8 May 1846

Marriage Place Kilmore, Ireland, Ireland

Parish Variants Mulavilly, Mullavilly, Richhill

Diocese Armagh

Spouse Isabella Curtis

Household Members

Name Age

Name Peter Finnigan

Name Isabella Curtis


Thank you for helping!

Cindy Tominiyi


Cindy T

Friday 22nd March 2019, 11:31AM

Attached Files

Message Board Replies

  • Cindy,

    Statutory birth registration started in Ireland in 1864. I searched the birth records for the area around Kilmore, for children born to a couple named Finnegan and Curtis. I didn't find any, so that suggests that they had stopped having children by that year, or had died or moved away.

    Do you know anything about Peter’s occupation? (From a child’s death or marriage certificate perhaps)? Was he a farmer? If he was a farmer, then you would expect him to be in the tithes c 1833 and Griffiths Valuation in 1864. However if he was a labourer or weaver, then he may not be in those records and would be harder to trace.

    I searched the tithes for a Peter Finnigan, and found just one. He lived in Drumnahunshin (spelling varies), and a George Finnegan was also farming there:

    So if your ancestor was a farmer, then this might be him, but if he was a weaver/labourer or some other occupation it might not.

    By 1901, George is still farming in that townland:

    Peter has disappeared. There are a couple of possible deaths in 1875, aged 95 & 1876 aged 75. You would need to pay to view them to see if either lived in Drumnahunshin. Both would be a bit old for a marriage in 1846, but it might have been a second marriage for Peter, you never know.

    I looked for possible deaths for Isabella 1864 – 1901 but didn’t see any.

    The surname Curtis only appears once in the tithes and that’s for a Felix who lived in Kilmore townland. Again, do you have any knowledge of Isabella’s father’s name and occupation?

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 24th March 2019, 07:47AM
  • Hello Elwyn,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to research my family.  I apologize as I should have included that Peter and Isabella emmigrated to the US (New York) shortly after they were married.  I am guessing that Isabella was pregnant at the time they married as the first census they show up in the US in 1870 shows that their first child was born in New York in 1846, the year they were married.  However, I have not found an exact birth record at this point for their first child so the date could be off.  All of their children were born in the US and both Peter and Isabella, and their children, died in the US.   I was never able to locate any records for them arriving in the US.  The family name on their headstone is Finegan, however by the time my mother was born in 1929 it was somehow changed to Finnegan.  I have seen it spelled various other ways here too, but that is not unusual since the record takers for the census would have spelled it phonetically.  I assumed, maybe incorrectly, that the correct spelling would be on the record I uploaded of their marriage in Ireland. 

    Peter's occupation in the US was a laborer, however I doubt that there would have been much opportunity to farm in New York and it likely does not reflect what his occupation was in Ireland.  They did have children named Felix & George, but of course that was years after they left Ireland and could possibly be name after parents or other relatives.  However, I am unsure at this point since I don't know either Peter or Isabellas' parents or siblings names.  

    Would it be reasonable to say that Peter and Isabella were members of the church where they were married?  If so, could you possibly guide me as to how I could obtain those records- or is what you provided all that would be available?

    I am unsure if the records you provided are my relatives, however since you did not find but one Curtis, perhaps it is.

    Thank you again for assisting.



    Cindy T

    Sunday 24th March 2019, 09:35PM
  • Cindy,

    The church records for Mullavilly only start in 1845 so getting back earlier than that will probably be very difficult, if not impossible. So I see no easy way of finding out Peter & Isabella’s parents names from Irish records, but you might be able to find them from US sources eg a death certificate.

    To have married in that church indicated that at least one party was resident in that parish. (That was a general church requirement). Tradition was to marry in the bride’s church, so it’s most likely the Curtis family were from that parish. The groom might be from that parish too or he might be from an adjacent parish. He probably didn’t live very far away. Before the bicycle arrived in rural Ireland (around the 1860s) most courting was done on foot, so that limited your scope a bit. Consequently you tended to marry someone who lived nearby. Often the girl next door. So Peter probably lived in Mullavilly too but that’s not certain. And as a labourer he may have moved about a bit to follow the available work.

    Since we don’t know anything about Peter & Isabella other than that they lived in this area in 1846, and left shortly afterwards, then it’s hard to know where to look. There are unlikely to be any other records of them in Ireland apart from that marriage record. The church will have no other records other than those on Ancestry and the nli websites. Sadly RC marriage records from that period were very simple. Little additional information apart from the date, the couples names and their 2 witnesses.

    You mention the spelling of the surname. The idea of a single or correct spelling for a surname (or a place name) is very much a recent phenomenon designed to meet the needs of modern officialdom. Before that, especially in Ireland, there was no consistency. Names were spelled phonetically and each variation was down to the whim of the particular person recording the information. You will often see the spelling change as the records go back. This rarely indicates a deliberate decision to alter the name, nor even a mistake. Not everyone was literate, but even when they were, exact spelling simply wasn’t something they bothered about. In addition to varying the actual spelling, O’ or Mac prefixes were optional and were often omitted.

    In Irish (gaelic) the spelling and prefixes vary depending firstly on what case is used (eg genitive usually requires the insertion of an extra “i”), and secondly with a woman’s name, it changed according to her marital status. It is a further factor in explaining why no-one in Ireland worried about the “correct” spelling. There wasn’t one.

    Here’s an example of spelling varying within the same family in the same census:

    Expect the spelling to vary. It was the norm.

    Regarding Peter’s occupation in Ireland, Mullavilly was (and still is) a rural agricultural area. That he was a laborer in the US tends to indicate he didn’t have a trade eg stonemason, shoemaker, carpenter etc because if he did you would expect him to have pursued that in the US. Those sorts of skills were in demand and better paid than labouring. Therefore he was probably a labourer and weaver in Ireland. That’s what the majority of the population were in this part of Ireland. It was also one of several factors that encouraged them to migrate. Due to increasing mechanisation, the demand for labourers was starting to fall, and work was therefore slightly harder to find. (Whereas someone with a trade might find a bit more local employment).  There were other important factors behind the mass emigration but you tend to find labourers migrating more than farmers due to their weaker economic position.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Tuesday 26th March 2019, 09:44AM
  • Elwyn,

    Thank you again for all of the information, it has been helpful and will likely give me direction in the future.  I know that more records are being published in the US, particularly from New York where I suspect was the port of entry for my relatives.  Hopefully I will be able to get enough information to do further research in Ireland in the future.  I am hoping that I still have family there and can connect with them.

    Have a wonderful day! 


    Cindy T

    Thursday 28th March 2019, 03:42PM
  • Evening Cindy


    I think I can help you. Peter is my great great grandfather.  Have you connected with Jo (Bone-digger) in the US? 




    Sam Cullen

    Monday 20th July 2020, 07:26PM