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My husband's 2nd great-grandfather, John Nolan (?-1886) married Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Halpin (?-1900) Their marriage date and place is unknown. She gave birth to 3 children, having them baptized in RC parish of Clonegal:

Mary (1845), Anne (1848), and Patrick (1851--my husband's great grandfather). For all 3 baptismal records, the residence was listed as "Melitia". After rummaging around the internet, I believe that was another spelling for Moylisha. Is that correct?

Looking at Griffith's Valuation, and the maps that go with it, there seem to be a number of Nolans in that townland, as well as Halpins, so I'm thinking that is the correct area.

I've paged through the marriage register for Clonegal, looking for a marriage record for John and Betty. I started at the beginning (1833) and went past Patrick's birth in 1851 and came up empty. Is there a different parish I should be looking in?

A tree at Ancestry suggested that John's birth occurred in Rathvilly, in 1815, based on a baptismal record that person found with a father, Patrick Nolan, and a mother named Ann. John's death certificate had listed his father's name as Patrick. While the birth year correlates to a number of records for John in the USA, I don't know that the one in Rathvilly is the correct one. I counted at least 4 other John Nolans in the Clonegal baptismal register, so it's not an uncommon name! Nevertheless I searched the Rathvilly marriage records page-by-page, looking for John & Betty, with no luck. I noticed there were no Halpins in that marriage register, though Nolan was common.

It's possible they moved into that area from elsewhere, but I don't know where it would have been from. Any suggestions of other parishes I should be checking would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!



Friday 16th April 2021, 05:03AM

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  • Christine:

    As you know Clonegal is a border parish meaning the parish covers area in two or more counties for Clonegal, three counties.

    Most marriages occurred in the bride's parish and likely the parish where the marriage occurred no longer has records back to the 1840s. For example, the nearby parish of Kilrush in Co. Wexford does not have any marriage records on the NLI site which possibly means those records are not available.  

    Moylisha sounds like Melitia and since you found Nolans and Halpins in the townland, likely you have the correct area.

    With out more evidence, I would be hesitant to use that 1815 reocrd. Too many John and Patrick Nolans.

    Have you tested your DNA?

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 16th April 2021, 06:53PM
  • Roger,

    Thank you for confirming that Melitia and Moylisha were equivalents. I feel better about that!

    I agree, the Rathvilly record is highly suspect. The communal tree at has parents attached for both John Nolan and Betty Halpin, but none of them have documentation, so I'm not inclined to latch onto those names, either.

    When I first discovered their connection to Clonegal, I was thinking the town, not realizing it was also a parish with much larger boundaries. Are you suggesting that the Kilrush parish would be a likely location (though from the link you provided, I see they have only baptisms). What about Clonmore? Could that be a possibility? They seem to have some earlier marriages and baptisms, and it seems somewhat near Moylisha. Unfortunately, I don't have time right now to dig into them. But I can certainly add them to my to-do list.

    Yes, my husband has tested at Ancestry, and we've transferred his data to FamilyTree DNA, MyHeritage, Living DNA, and GEDMatch. He has way more matches than I do--all because of his Irish lines, I'm sure. He has Carmodys from Co. Clare; Needhams supposedly from Tipperary; the Nolans and Halpins from Carlow/Wicklow area; plus Varcoes from Cornwall, England--but we try to keep that branch hush-hush . . . . Unfortunately, there are not enough hours in the day to track down matches for the 2 of us! 

    I am not too familiar with this side of Ireland. I know the County Clare Library has created a lot of digitized databases and made them available (not to be confused with the Clare Heritage Center). Is there a similar resource or repository for Co. Wicklow? Or, since the Clonegal RC parish spans 3 counties, do I have to look in all 3? I get a bit muddled with the various jurisdictions, and how they criss-cross over one another. There's a definite learning curve!

    Thank you again for your help.



    Sunday 18th April 2021, 04:46AM
  • Christine:

    I listed Kilrush as a possibility because the NLI register does not show any marriages in the 1800s. There may be other possibilities. Clonmore, however, has marriage records back to 1813 and the records are on Roots Ireland so I don't see Clonmore as a possinility.

    The Co. Clare library is somewhat unique with an online genealogy subsite. I just checked the Co. Wicklow library site and do not see any genealogy resources.

    All the best with your research.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 18th April 2021, 07:43PM