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Help With Place Name - Donegal

Margaret Flood and James Armstrong were married in Donegal on January 15, 1865 according to birth records of their first two children who were born In Scotland. Can anyone decipher the place name for the marriage from the attached records?  Thanks.      (edited to re-upload second attachment (Extract 2)) 



JT Strong

Saturday 1st August 2020, 03:55PM

Attached Files

Message Board Replies

  • Can you repost that second link?  I'm just getting an error message. That is a tricky one - I'm sure you've been through these >  






    Saturday 1st August 2020, 05:13PM
  • JT Strong:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    I was unable to locate a civil or church marriage for James Armstrong and Margaret Flood. I looked at the image for the first link (Elizabeth) and it appears to be Clare but I can't interpret the word after Clare. I was not able to open the image for Bridget.

    There is a Clare townland in Moville Upper parish in the Inishowen peninsula. Not sure if that is your townland.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon

    Saturday 1st August 2020, 05:15PM
  • Thank you.  Could this possibly be a refernce to Clar, near Donegaltown?  Parish is called St. Agatha's?

    JT Strong

    Sunday 2nd August 2020, 05:12PM
  • Can’t really help with the place name.  I can’t fit it to anywhere certain. Looks a little like Clarcam near Donegal Town (RC parish of Tawnawilly) but I am not certain. 

    I think the year of the marriage may have been 1868 rather than 1865. Have a look at the way the Registrar wrote the 5 in Jan 15th. I think the other year is an 8 not a 5.

    Doesn’t help find the marriage though. It should be in both the civil records and, assuming it was RC, the on-line parish records but I don’t see it in either. However some priests didn’t always notify the civil authorities of marriages and if the couple did happen to come from Tawnawilly, their parish records don’t start till 1872. (Earlier records were either never kept or have been lost).   So I suspect your problem might be the marriage took place in a parish with no records for the 1860s and that the priest didn’t notify the civil registrar either (which he was supposed to do from 1864 onwards).


    Sunday 2nd August 2020, 08:08PM
  • There appear to be several (inconsistent) sets of records for what appear to be your James and Margaret in the Family Search database, which you may already know.  One set, with James having ID number K8SL-BK9, shows his parents' names as Adam Armstrong and Margaret McIlroy, and traces the Armstrong family back to the 1500's, but I suspect that someione has mistakenly connected two unrelated families, since the earlier generations are all English.  Of course, the Armstrongs may have been Protestant settlers in Donegal, but the jump to Ireland in the records seems odd, and very late.  In case you want to check it out, here's a link to the database:

    If you do look at those records (after creating a free membership at the site), you'll note that you can see the screen name of each person who created or modified a given record, and send that person a private message, and you might try contacting whoever linked to the English family, to see whether they can tell you more (or correct the mistaken connection, if that's the case).

    None of those records indicates anything more specific than Donegal as a place of origin, but I've found a possibility for the place name for which you're searching, and my expanation has in part to do with the fact that the place I located is still in the Donegal Gaeltacht today.  It might be that the Armstrongs didn't know how to spell the place name, because many people were still illiterate back then or, if they were literate and Irish-speaking, would not necessarily have known how to spell words in Irish.  If so, the priest, minister, or clerk in Scotland may have had to guess at the spelling, based on what he thought he heard them say.  Although (contrary to popular belief) there were some parts of the Scottish Lowlands where Gaelic was still being spoken back then, I think Lanarkshire had become pretty much English-speaking, so the priest/minister/clerk might have heard things with an "English" ear.  Even if he was an immigrant Irish priest, he may not have been Irish speaking, or may have been unfamiliar with Donegal place names.

    Taking all that into account, I think the townland of Clogherachullion (in Irish, Clochar an Chuilinn, meaning "stony place with the holly") is a possibility for what you have in those records, given how it would have been pronounced by someone from Ireland.  The "gh/ch" in the first part of the name would have been silent in Ulster, making it sound to "English" ears like "Clore" or possibly :"Clare", and the latter part of the name might easily have been heard as the "calin" which I think I see in the latter part of what you have in those records.

    Clogherachullion is a couple of miles to the west of Fintown in central Donegal, and there's more info about the townland at this link:

    That townland is in the Catholic parish of Inniskeel, and unfortunately the parish records which are available online started the next year (in 1866).  Still, in case you have any use for them in future, here's a link to the Inniskeel parish records:

    Even though the surnames sound English,  Maclysaght, in his Surnames of Ireland, says that Flood in Ireland is usually from Ó Maoltuile or MacMaoltuile, Ulster surnames which were mistranslated later, when names began to be anglicized, due to confusion with the word tuile, meaning "flood".  He gives a very interesting origin for the name Armstrong, too.  There was an Ulster sept Ó Labhradha, which was usually anglicized as O'Lavery, but he says that there were three branches of the family:  Ó Labhradha bán (white O'Lavery), Ó Labhradha rua (red O'Lavery), and Ó Labhradha tréan (strong O'Lavery), and that the third one was misunderstood later as meaning "strong arm", through confusion with the word lámh, meaning "arm" or "hand".

    Since you have an exact date for the wedding in Ireland, you might try contacting the parish priest in Inniskeel, in case there is still a hard copy of the register from earlier times (this assumes, of course, that my guess about the townland is correct).  Also, there should be a civil record of the marriage, since civil records started the year before (in 1864), but I understand that not all marriages were registered as they should have been for a while after it became compulsory.


    Monday 3rd August 2020, 10:28PM