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Locating Baptism Record for Mary Downey


I am trying to locate a baptism record for my husband's great, great grandmother, Mary Downey. I have managed to locate Mary's emmigration details through the 'NSW, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896'. Mary emigrated with her husband James Hanny on board the 'Alfred' which arrived in Australia on 19 January, 1841. Mary's 1st child James was born just 9 days earlier at sea. The extract which I have uploaded, records that Mary Hanny (nee Downey) was a native of Galway and daughter of John Downey a farmer - Bridget his wife there. Mary was a laundry maid and her age - 23 years last May. This information re her age, tends to suggest that Mary was 23 years and 8 months old on her arrival in Janurary 1841, and her birth would have been May 1818. Mary and James were catholic, and both could read and write.

Unfortunatley I have been unable to find any baptism records for Mary Downey, with parents John Downey and Bridget ?, born around May 1817/1818, in County Galway. I did manage to find Mary's death record, which states that she was 65 years old when she died in Australia in 1882. Mary's son was the informant. This would suggest that Mary was born in 1817, which is pretty close to the information on the emigration record.

I have also tried to locate a marriage record for Mary Downey and James Hanny without any success. I would assume that Mary and James would have been married around 1840/1841.

Any help in locating Mary's baptism details would be very much appreciated.

Kind regards



Saturday 23rd May 2020, 02:01AM

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  • Gabrielle:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    After a number of searches on the subscription site Roots Ireland, I think your Mary Downey was baptized and married in a parish that does not have baptismal records back to 1820 and marriage records back to 1841. There are at least twenty parishes in this category. Also did not find an earlier baptismal record for a James Hanny.

    I looked at the 1855 Griffiths Valuation head of household listing just to get a sense of where the surname Hanny was found since it is not a common surname like Downey. There were only eight records: three in Killimorbologue parish, two in Killeenadeema parish, two in Kilmalinoge parish and the final record in Lickmolassy parish. All of these parishes are in southeast Co. Galway and three border each other. The RC parishes that correspond to the civil parishes all have baptismal records starting in the 1830s. There is one RC parish in the area (Ballinakill) that has late marriage records (1854) so my conjecture is that Mary Downey came from Ballinakill civil parish. She likely lived not far from James Hanny who may have been in Killeendeema civil parish. Almost all marriages were held in the bride's RC parish 

    This is only a lead based on the records available. You need to be aware that there are actually four Ballinakill civil parishes in Co. Galway. One in the northwest, two in the northeast part of Galway and finally the one I mentioned in southeast Galway.

    Let me know if you have any questions. I know my explanation is confusing and it might help if you looked at this map from  Keep in mind that RC parishes boundaries differ from the civil parishes.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon

    Saturday 23rd May 2020, 02:06PM
  • Hi Roger,

    Thank you for the time and effort you have put into researching baptisimal and marriage records for Mary Downey - it is very much appreciated. 

    After much searching, I did suspect that perhaps Mary Downey may have been baptised in a parish where the records did not go back to the 1820's, including marriage records dating back to the 1840's. I always worry when doing my research, that perhaps I have missed searching a site where I may have been able to find that information. 

    The information you provided me regarding the Griffith Valuation is very interesting, and I will study the maps and information in more detail. 

    Many thanks,



    Sunday 24th May 2020, 01:39AM