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Hello, I am new to this site as I only discovered it.  I have traced my ancestors to Aghagower in Mayo.  They are two brothers Daniel and Michael Gavan whose entries in Roots Ireland show them being baptised in Aghagower RC Parish with an address of Goulane.  Their father is Daniel Gavan and mother is Bridget Duffy.  They have two sisters Mary and Bridget.  The family moved to Selkirkshire, Scotland between 1861 and 1871.  I have Scottish records where Daniel's father is given as Peter Gavin and his mother is given as Bridget.

I have tithe applotment records from 1836 giving a P Gavin at Gowlane.  I also have Marquis of Sligo amd Altamont Estate records showing a Peter Gavin alongside David Gavin at Gowlan and Goulane over various years between 1837 to 1849.  I also have another record from Roots Ireland showing a Peter Gavin dying at Goulane in Louisburgh district in 1864.

However, I have hit a brick wall, mainly due to finding the location of Goulane.  Can anyone help with finding the location of Goulane, Gowlane in Aghagower RC Parish, (Louisburgh District)?  I have been told it is the Townland called Gowel or Forkfield.  However, this doesn't seem to fit and Gowel is a separate entry in the Estate records suggesting it is a different place.

One other question.  Peter Gavin appears to have "Ho" next to his name in the Estate records.  Can someone tell me what this means?

All help will be greatly appreciated.  I have been across to Mayo before but it is hoped that Goulane can be found so another visit can be arranged in the future.  Thanks



Thursday 16th April 2020, 03:13PM

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  • Townland names sometimes changed over time, and there does not appear to be a townland in Aghagower/Aughagower now by that name.  There is also the possibility that it was what is known as a "sub-townand", a name used by locals for an area within an official townland.  Sub-townland names did sometimes appear in older records as townland names.

    There are three townlands in Mayo, all based on the Irish name An Gabhlán ("the fork", like a fork in a creek), which have been anglicized as Gowlaun or Goulaun.  Two are in East Mayo, in the neighboring parishes of Kilmovee and Kilbeagh, and the third is in northern Mayo, in the parish of Crossmolina.  You can see all of them in the list of Mayo townlands at this link:

    Sorry not to be able to help further there but, in case you are interested, I can provide some inffo about the Gavan surname.  There is an Irish surname originating in north Connacht, Ó Gáibhtheacháin, which was anglicized in several ways, such as Gavaghan, Gaughan, and Gavan (the Gaughan surname also exists in Ulster, but is based on a different Irish name).


    Thursday 16th April 2020, 05:58PM
  • GPGavin:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    I've been searching on Roots Ireland and the only baptismal records I can locate are for a Michael Gavan and a John Gavan with parents Daniel and Bridget. I do not see records for Daniel, Mary or Bridget and you did not mention John. Also the mother is shown as Bridget Gavan not Bridget Duffy. Normally, the maiden name of the mother was shown and sine there are many Gavans in the parish, I would wonder if she was a Gavan.

    As Kevin mentioned, Likely Goulane is/was a local place name and was subsumed into an official townland in 1851 when the townlands were standarized.  The 1855 Griffiths Valuation head of household listing for Aghagower parish shows 11 Gavan/Gavin records. Peter is not listed which is unfortunate. Possibly the Daniel entry in Sraheen is the father of Michael and John. Also, the 1864 death record you mentioned shows his son Patrick as the informant and there are two Patrick records on Griffiths. in Boheh and Arderry. 


    Do you have any information on Patrick?

    Roger McDonnell


    Name:Michael GavanDate of Birth:
    Date of Baptism:05-Sep-1848Address:GoulaneParish/District:Aghagower RC parishGender:MaleCountyCo. Mayo
    Denomination:Roman Catholic
    Father:Daniel GavanMother:Bridget GavanOccupation:
    Sponsor 1 /
    Informant 1:James GavanSponsor 2 /
    Informant 2:Mary Duffy

    Name:John GavanDate of Birth:
    Date of Baptism:22-Mar-1846Address:GoulaneParish/District:Aghagower RC parishGender:MaleCountyCo. Mayo
    Denomination:Roman Catholic
    Father:Daniel GavanMother:Bridget GavanOccupation:
    Sponsor 1 /
    Informant 1:Patrick ReileySponsor 2 /
    Informant 2:Mary Gavan

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 16th April 2020, 07:00PM
  • Thanks for your prompt replies Kevin and Roger.  Sorry for the misleading information.  The two brothers are John and Michael, Daniel is their father.  John is in fact my great grandfather.  Daniel, my great great gandfather was married to Bridget Duffy.  From her side we have her brothers Philip and William.  Philip was born in 1828 in Eriff, Aghagower. Interestingly on Philip's birth certificate his father is given as Timothy but on Bridget's, (Daniel Gavin's wife), death certificate her father is given as Tady.  I am assuming Tady and Timothy are interchangeable.  Is this correct?

    The reason I mention the above is that I see a Gowlan Bridge on an old map used in Griffiths.  It is down the road by about 2km from a place called Eriff Bridge on the N59.  Do you think this can be the Gowlan and Eriff mentioned on the certificates from Roots Ireland?  I, probably wrongly, made the assumption that Daniel and Bridget would live near to each other.  I also found on an 1837 Lewis map of Mayo where Gowlan is shown in the same area.  There is also a mention in a walking book of a Luga Gowlan  in the same area.

    What you both have made me realise is that I need to do more research on the other Townlands.  The problem doing it remotely is that there is no sense of scale, distance, between places, e,g, distance between Sraheen and Eriff Townlands.

    I have not looked any further into Patrick Gavin as I thought it would be quite a common name.  Am I correct in assuming it was normal for the tenant of land, e.g. Peter, to hand on his tenancy to his sons?  Or would it only be the oldest son?

    I really do appreciate all your help and I will appreciate any background information on the Gavin's in Mayo, Kevin.  Also, I see Roger mentioned that the Townlands became more formalised after 1851.  Where will the best place be to study or read about this formalisation?

    Finally, on the site there is a link to an Aughagower Parish map stating it is from Pat Deese's website.  Unfortunately when I click on it the key to numbered Townlands on the map has been cut off.  Do you know where I can get a better copy of this map?


    Once again, thank you very much for your help.



    Friday 17th April 2020, 01:30PM
  • The Irish first/given name Tadhg was anglicized in several ways, often for the very same person, as Thaddeus or in a few cases Timotheus (both originally used in baptismal records where the priest "Latinized" the name), Thady, Timothy, and even Thomas, as well as phonetic transliterations such as Taig, Taigue, or Teigue.  I have a great-great-grandfather who lived in Mayo, and whose name was apparently Tadhg, who was listed in Griffith's Valuation as Timothy, in the marriage record for one child as Thomas, and in another marriage record as Thady, which is where the name finally settled. 

    Unfortunatey, I don't more information about the Gavin family, except that I might have misled you with what I said above.  I see that you're turning up records using the Gavin form of your surname, and that may indicate a different origin.  In addition to the surname which I described above, there was also a Mayo family named Ó Gáibháin or Ó Gáibhin, which was anglicized as Gavan or Gavin.  As with Ó Gáibhtheacháin, the original meaning of the surname is uncertain, because the words gabh and gábh can have a number of meanings in Irish.  The names Ó Gáibháin and Ó Gáibhin originated in two places in Ireland, according to MacLysaght, one being North Mayo and the other being Cork (presumably, they are unrelated families).  MacLysaght says that the usual anglicization of Ó Gáibhtheacháin in Mayo is Gaughan or Gavaghan, so perhaps it is more likely that your family surname was originally Ó Gáibháin or Ó Gáibhin.


    Friday 17th April 2020, 05:42PM
  • Thank you very much for the information.  I am now going to work through the other Daniel's, Patrick's, etc. mentioned above.  I will see if I can make a connection that way.  If I do manage to find out where Goulane was I will post it here so that it can be found in the future.


    Saturday 18th April 2020, 12:45PM
  • GP Gavin:

    There were various Ordnance surveys in Ireland which identified all the placenames in Ireland which were used in the Griffiths and were officially published with the 1851 census. Here is a John Grenham blog post from two years ago which gives some more insight.

    I have a very thick reference book called the "General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland" which I use in my genealogical work which shows the official spelling of townlands as of 1851 but over time locally some spellings have changed.

    This map of Aghagower might be helpful

    You asked about how tenancy would be handled when the father passed. Sometimes, the widow assumed the lease and other times it went to the oldest son although there may have been an agreement that the land would be unofficially split into multiple plots one for each son but the offical records showed only one name.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 18th April 2020, 01:54PM
  • Thank you for that information Roger.  Very interesting blog from John Grenham.  The tenancy agreement about going to the oldest son is a line I can follow regarding Patrick and Peter.  Plenty time to investigate these lines at the moment.  


    Sunday 19th April 2020, 11:17AM