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A number of years ago I posted here seeking information on my husband's Shiel/Sheel/Shields and Corr ancestors in Gort, Galway.  I am still searching and hope that someone will be able to assist me again.  Here is the information I have on the Shiel family:

James Shiel and Bridget Corr were married in the Gort RC Parish church on 6 December 1853.  Their residence at that time was Church St. in Gort, Galway.  On the church record their names were written as James Sheal and Bridget Cur.   Witnesses were Fardy Shaughnessey and Bridget McMahon.

Son Patrick Shiel was born 6 October 1854 in Gort and baptized on 7 October 1854 in the Gort RC Parish church.  The family lived on Church St. in Gort.  Witness was Winifred Corr.  She may have been a relative of Bridget Corr.

Son Thomas Shiel was born 4 September 1856 in Gort and baptized on 5 September 1856 in the Gort RC Parish church.  The family lived on Nuns Island Lane in Gort.  Witnesses were Martin Vurring(?) and Mary Geagan.  Thomas immigrated to New York, NY, possibly in 1880-1883.  In the 1900 U.S. census the census taker wrote that Thomas had lived in the U.S. for 13 years.  Thomas married, had three children; Ellen (died at age 3, James, died at 39 - no children, and John, died at 45 - two children, both deceased).  Thomas Shields' wife, Margaret Comerford, died in 1889 and Thomas died in 1907.  They are both buried in Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, NY.

Son John Shiel was born 2 September 1859 in Gort and baptized on 5 September 1859 in the Gort RC Parish church.  The family lived on Nuns Island Lane in Gort.  Witnesses were John Daly and Mary Feardon.

Listings for James Shiel on Land Valuation Lists for Gort, Galway show him living on Nuns Island Lane for the years 1862, 1863, 1864, 1866, 1867 and 1879.  These are on FHL film #836,079.

Griffith's Valuation 1855, Parish of Kilmacdaugh, Gort Union:  James Shields is listed as "occupier".  

Death record for James Sheel, age 72, widower, living on Church St., Gort, died 4 February 1899.  Witness: James Lamplin.

We would like to find any information on this family and/or descendants in Galway.  Son Patrick may have immigrated with his brother, Thomas, in 1880, but we could find no records for him in New York, NY, and no info on him or brother John in Galway other than baptismal records.  Since James is listed as a widower in 1899, his wife Bridget predeceased him, but we could not find any death record for her.  Patrick and John may have married in Galway, but we have no records of this.  A family member said the Shiel family may have originated in County Clare, but we have not searched there.  

Because of the various spellings of the Shields name in Ireland, it is not easy to trace this family, and we appreciate your help.  Is there a parish liason in Gort who might have any knowledge of them or their descendants?

Julie Shields


julie shields

Sunday 11th Oct 2020, 11:26PM

Message Board Replies

  • Dear Julie,

    I have just seen your request.  Sorry for the delay. I'm busy at present but I'll get back to you as soon as possible,


    de Lourdes Fahy

    GortGalway, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 28th Oct 2020, 07:18PM
  • Dear Julie,

    I haven't much consolation for you, unfortunately. Having researched all possible trails I have come up with a few hints:-

    • I think that the name Bridget Corr should be Bridget Carr. I looked at the record for John's birth 2nd Sept. 1859 and I'm sure that her surname was Carr. There never were any Corrs in Gort  but there are several Carrs in the area , especially in the rural parts of Kilmacduagh parish.
    • In Slater's Directory 1870 we find Andrew  Sheal, a tailor in Boland's Lane. On 6th January 1873 his daughter Bessie married George Gibbs, a nail maker , George's St., Gort. They had a large family and a few of the boys fought in World War One. Another son, Bernie, won an All-Ireland medal for Co. Galway in hurling in 1923. A year or two afterwards he emigrated to New York and continued hurling there. His sister, Lily, was the last of the Gibbs family in Gort, dying in 1977. Bessie died in 1910. Again, I have no proof that Andrew was a brother of James. 
    • This Andrew Sheal might have been a brother of James who died in 1899. Andrew's wife, Catherine, died in 1875. Andrew erected a headstone to her memory in Kilmacduagh cemetery., 12 July 1875 aged 50. I could not find any record of Andrew's death. 
    • In another part of Kilmacduagh cemetery there are two adjacent graves: the first records the death of Edmond Shiel on 29th March 1831, aged 61. The second records the death of his daughter Bridget  in 1894, aged 13. I could not find any reference to her death in the civil records and I'm wondering was that date meant to be 1794. (I haven't seen the graves: I'm going by a list done in 1996).
    • Has the name Edmond/Edward been continued in your family? 
    • The man who was present at the death of James in 1899 was James Ramplin. It's an unusual surname but actually one of his granddaughters lives with her family in Gort. The Ramplins were neighbours of the Sheils in 1855 and as James Ramplin was listed as "occupier" in 1899, perhaps James Shiel died in Ramplin's house if none of his own family were living in Gort at that time.

    I'm sorry that's all I can do for you, Julie. Keep safe and well,

    de Lourdes Fahy.

    GortGalway, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 30th Oct 2020, 02:36PM
  • Dear Sister de Lourdes,

    Thank you for all the information you provided on our Shiel/Sheal/Sheel and Corr lines.  Since we have not been able to locate any additional Corr family members, we are planning to change our search to Carr and hope for some success.

    We have no info on James Shiel's parents or siblings, so are not sure if Andrew is part of the family.  We did find Andrew's name on the Land Valuation Lists living in Gort on Bolands Lane, South East End, in 1862-1881.  I checked the Civil Registration Deaths Index and found a death record in Gort for Andrew Sheel, tailor, age 80, on 5 January 1889.  This death record lists Andrew's father as Michael.   I also found his marriage on 15 September 1875 in Gort to Sabena Healy, born in 1835.  However, I could not find a record of an earlier marriage to Catherine _______?  Do  you know her last name? 

    We found Edmond Shiels listed in the Tithe Applotment Books in Kilmacduagh, Galway 1826, but we don't know if he belongs to this family.  That name has never appeared on any records that we have seen and has never been used in the family that we know of.  The Shiel given names we have found are:  James, Patrick, Thomas, John, Joseph.

    We also found an Honoria Shields in the Land Valuation Lists 1864 shown as an "Immediate Lessor" living on Nuns Island Lane, as well as a Thomas Sheil living at 120 Crows Lane, Gort, in 1862, but we are not able to connect them to our family.

    You mentioned Kilmacduagh Cemetery - are there any records on-line that I might be able to check?  We would love to have some headstone photos of any family members buried there.

    Do you have any ideas where we can look for James Shiel's sons, Patrick and John?  We have their baptisms in Gort, but no info other than that.

    We appreciate all your knowledge and expertise and want to thank you again for all your help.  Do stay safe and well during these unprecedented times.

    Best wishes,


    julie shields

    Sunday 1st Nov 2020, 01:12AM
  • Dear Julie,

    I regret that Kilmacduagh cemetery records are not online.

    I could not find any further references to Patrick and John in the marriage or death records for Ireland. Perhaps they emigrated.

    You have done extensive research. It's frustrating to have reached a brick wall.

    I have tried to upload a list of free online sourcesseveral times. I think I have succeeded eventually.

    God bless.

    GortGalway, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 1st Nov 2020, 10:03PM
  • Dear Sister de Lourdes,

    The list of free online sources for family history, and especially your notes on them, will be extremely helpful in our research in Ireland.

    Thank you again for all your assistance in providing information on our elusive ancestors.

    Best wishes,



    julie shields

    Thursday 5th Nov 2020, 07:56PM

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