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To Whom it May Concern: my ancestors are from the Waterford area.  I don't have good birthdates or any information about their parents.  I do know that my great grandparents did not marry in Waterford but were married in Chicago, IL in 1870.  I know little about them before this.  My great grandmother, Catherine Fitzgerald had a sister by the name of Mary.  They were probably born between 1848 and 1855 with Mary being the youngest. The story goes that Mary didn't come to Chicago until after her sister, Catherine and her sister's husband , Michael Gooley, died 3 weeks apart in 1887.  Michael could have a brother by the name of James.  He shows up on the 1870 census in Illinois as living with Catherine and Michael.  It doesn't say on the census that he is the brother, I am just assuming.  Based on the census, James would have been the oldest by 6 years.  Michael might have been born in 1847 and James in 1842.  I have no information on any of them in regards to their immigration to the states. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Sincerely, Jane




Waterford City, Waterford

Saturday 11th Apr 2020, 09:17PM

Message Board Replies

  • Hello Jane,

    Thank you for your message.

    Fitzgerald is a common surname in Co Waterford but Gooley is unusual. Most Waterford Gooleys lived in or near the copper-mining village of Bunmahon. Confusingly, there was also a family there named Gully, but the two families seem to have been separate. The Catholic parish registers for that parish (Rossmire/Newtown and Kill) are available here: You can also search parish registers (for a fee) on, but there are sometimes errors in transcription so it would be well to cross-reference with the NLI registers. is a useful website for searching civil records (1864 onwards). This might help you to trace other branches of your family who remained in Ireland. You're probably familiar with the free website - it may have the relevant passenger lists which would help you ascertain when they emigrated. 

    Best wishes with your research,


    C Flaherty, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 15th May 2020, 12:51PM
  • Hi C Flaherty,

    Yes, you are right Fitzgerald is too common and my great grandmother and great aunt have very common first names as well.  

    I am sorry I didn't see this before but I have forgotten to check the message boards based on the last name.  It does get frustrating doing research for the Irish side when I don't have much to go on.  I did find a long lost Fitzgerald cousin through DNA but we haven't been able to figure out where the connection is as of yet.  I also have lower back problems so sitting at the computer is limited.

    I will use the information you have sent to me.  Yes, familysearch was the first site I ever used and that was back in the late 1990's when you could get a lot more documents free.  It is unfortunate that the Irish census records were destroyed.  My ancestors were in the states (the ones that I know of) by 1870 and 1887.

    I apologize for not getting back with you earlier.  I hope all is well with you and your family.

    Stay safe and healthy-


    Waterford City, Waterford

    Saturday 6th Feb 2021, 12:05AM

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