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Montgomerys in County Cavan

Thomas Montgomery and wife Elizabeth Leech left Ireland between 1823 - 1827 with there first two children, Robert and George.  I'm looking to find the Parish they came from.


Friday 11th January 2019, 09:57PM

Message Board Replies

  • Dear Guinevere: 

    Thank you for your post to the message board.  I'm forwarding this message to one of our Cavan volunteers for her reply.  I did note that there was a Montgomery family in the years that you listed from Drumiheen townland in Cavan who were Church of Ireland parishioners, but the names do not match.  The best of luck with your research. 

    Kind regards, 




    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Monday 14th January 2019, 02:26PM
  • Dear Guinevere,

    I think that you are looking for any townlands that the name Montgomery & Leech features and hopefully you will find your family, I will try and give you some pointers.

    Getting back before civil registrations which started in 1864 is difficult, however, non-Roman Catholic Marriages are recorded from 1845.  You could also look at the church records that are available on Rootsireland (fee paying) and any records available on (available for free).  You can also contact Cavan Genealogy (fee paying) at 

    Genealogy Centre Contact Details
    Cavan Genealogy
    1st Floor, Johnston Central Library, Farnham St., Cavan 
    Tel: +353 (0) 49 4361094

    The substitutes for missing records are mainly land records and volunteers have transcribed some Registry of Deeds a link on how to search them can be found at  Also search The Tithe applotments and Griffiths Valuations, while you will find names their dates are missing, but with some effort you can track the plots of land and who lived there and hopefully find a link to your family.  For my own family research I have worked out spread sheets for the townlands that my family lived in, tracking the names and trying to prove when the names changed what the relationship was with the next name etc.  I have placed these unrelated on my family tree and with some luck I have had matches with other family trees, which have either confirmed or disproved my research.  This method may give you links to townlands and the occurrence of your Montgomery's & Leech's.  You could also use the 1901 Census in the same way, but make sure you utilise all spelling variations, I found 80 Montgomery's & 7 Leech's many of them were not born in Co. Cavan, but I found 13 Co. Cavan Leitch's in the one townland!

    Also keep a look out for burial records, again volunteers have recorded some of the older graveyards, they can be found at various sites including and findagrave.  I have had some success with researching my family in Ireland beyond civil registration but it was through wills and records from America that aided me.  Perhaps you have already done this research.  Some records for Co. Cavan & Co. Monaghan may also be found at PRONI, (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland) particularly before partition in 1921.  You also need to look and see where they settled and who are their neighbours, look at the various census and see can you find people who may be related to them or neighbours from Co. Cavan.  Would there have been chain migration after them, also consider middle names of any of the children, they may be carrying surnames from the previous generation and look at the places they buried and who is buried beside them, again it may be part of the extended family.  Were any family bibles kept?  Again you may find information within.    I know one family (McFadden's) who have set up a closed facebook page for people with that name connected to Co. Cavan, with some amazing results, so it might be an idea to seek or set up such a group which may help you in your research.  Consider also intermarriages, in my own family I have found many, so look at some of those distant relations, they may not be so distant after all.  I have also used DNA, it will give you links and again you are trying to find names, which can be frustrating but it helps you change your focus and will help you find female relations that changed their names upon marriage, which in turn may lead you to where your family was from and you may even find your family.  

    John Grenham advises the following about Church records (

    Church Of Ireland

    Records of the Established Church, the Church of Ireland, generally start much earlier than those of the Catholic Church. From as early as 1634, local parishes were required to keep records of christenings and burials in registers supplied by the church authorities. As a result, a significant number, especially of urban parishes, have registers dating from the mid seventeenth century. The majority, however, start in the years between 1770 and 1820; the only country-wide listing of all Church of Ireland parish records which gives full details of dates is the National Archives catalogue, copies of which are also to be found at the National Library.

    Burials:  Unlike their Catholic counterparts, the majority of Church of Ireland clergymen recorded burials as well as baptisms and marriages. These burial registers are often also of interest for families of other denominations; the sectarian divide appears to have narrowed a little after death. The information given for burials was rarely more than the name, age and townland, making definite family connections difficult to establish in most cases. However, since early burials generally record the deaths of those born well before the start of the register, they can often be the only evidence on which to base a picture of preceding generations, and are particularly valuable because of this.  

    Church of Ireland baptismal records almost always supply only:

    • the child's name; 
    • the father's name; 
    • the mother's Christian name; 
    • the name of the officiating clergyman.

    Quite often, the address is also given, but this is by no means as frequent as in the case of Catholic registers. The omission of the mother's maiden name can be an obstacle to further research. From about 1820, the father's occupation is supplied in many cases. 


    Since the Church of Ireland was the Established Church, the only legally valid marriages, in theory at least, were those performed under its aegis

    In practice, of course, de facto recognition was given to marriages of some other denominations. Nonetheless, the legal standing of the Church of Ireland meant that many marriages, of members of other Protestant churches in particular, are recorded in Church of Ireland registers.  After 1845, when marriages other than Catholic ones, were registered by the State, the marriage registers record all the information contained in state records, including occupations, addresses and fathers' names. 

    Marriage Licence Bonds:

    As well as straightforward information on baptisms, marriages and burials, Church of Ireland parish records very often include vestry books. These contain the minutes of the vestry meetings of the local parish, which can supply detailed information on the parts played by individuals in the life of the parish. These are not generally with the parish registers in the National Archives, but the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin have extensive collections. Click here for a full listing of RCBL vestry minutes.  

    Presbyterian Records

    In general, Presbyterian registers start much later than those of the Church of Ireland, and early records of Presbyterian baptisms, marriages and deaths are often to be found in the registers of the local Church of Ireland parish. There are exceptions, however; in areas which had a strong Presbyterian population from an early date, particularly in the north east, some registers date from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The only published listing remains that included in Margaret Falley's Irish and Scotch Irish Ancestral Research, (repr. Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988). This, however, gives a very incomplete and out of date picture of the extent and location of the records. 

    For the six counties of Northern Ireland, and many of the adjoining counties, the Guide to Church Records: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, (PRONI, 1994) provides a good guide to the dates of surviving registers. The copy of the list held in the Office itself includes a listing of Registers in Local Custody which covers all of Ireland, but is much less comprehensive for the south than for the north. 

    Nature of the records

    Presbyterian registers record the same information as that given in the registers of the Church of Ireland (see above). It should be remembered that after 1845, all non-Catholic marriages, including those of Presbyterians, were registered by the state. From that year, therefore, Presbyterian marriage registers contain all of the invaluable information given in state records.Record Locations

    Presbyterian registers are in three main locations:

    • in local custody,
    • in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and
    • at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Belfast.

    The Public Record Office also has microfilm copies of almost all registers in Northern Ireland which have remained in local custody, and also lists those records held by the Presbyterian Historical Society. For the rest of Ireland, almost all of the records are in local custody. It can be very difficult to locate the relevant congregation, since many of them have moved, amalgamated, or simply disappeared over the last 60 years. 

    The very congregational basis of Presbyterianism further complicates matters, since it means that Presbyterian records do not cover a definite geographical area; the same town often had two or more Presbyterian churches drawing worshippers from the same community and keeping distinct records. 

    In the early nineteenth century especially, controversy within the Church fractured the records, with seceding and non-seceding congregations in the same area often in violent opposition to each other. Apart from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland listing, the only guide is History of Congregations (National Library Ir. 285 h 8) which gives a brief historical outline of the history of each congregation. Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837), records the existence of Presbyterian congregations within each civil parish, and Pettigrew and Oulton's Dublin Almanac and General Register of Ireland of 1835 includes a list of all Presbyterian ministers in the country, along with the names and locations of their congregations. Locations of Churches in the Irish Provinces, produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, flawed as it is in many respects, can be useful in trying to identify the congregations in a particular area.  

    Methodist Records 

    Despite the hostility of many of the clergy of the Church of Ireland, the Methodist movement remained unequivocally a part of the Established Church from the date of its beginnings in 1747, when John Wesley first came to Ireland, until 1816, when the movement split. Between 1747 and 1816, therefore, records of Methodist baptisms, marriages and burials will be found in the registers of the Church of Ireland. 

    The split in 1816 took place over the question of the authority of Methodist ministers to administer sacraments, and resulted in the Primitive Methodists remaining within the Church of Ireland, and the Wesleyan Methodists authorising their ministers to perform baptisms and communions. (In theory at least, up to 1844 only marriages carried out by a minister of the Church of Ireland were legally valid). The split continued until 1878, when the Primitive Methodists united with the Wesleyan Methodists, outside the Church of Ireland. What this means is that the earliest surviving registers which are specifically Methodist date from 1815-16, and relate only to the Wesleyan Methodists. The information recorded in these is identical to that given in the Church of Ireland registers. 

    There are a number of problems in locating Methodist records which are specific to that Church. First, the origins of Methodism, as a movement rather than a Church, gave its members a great deal of latitude in their attitude to Church membership, so that records of the baptisms, marriages and burials of Methodists may also be found in Quaker and Presbyterian registers, as well as the registers of the Church of Ireland. In addition, the ministers of the church were preachers on a circuit, rather than administrators of a particular area, and were moved frequently from one circuit to another. Quite often, the records moved with them. For the nine historic counties of Ulster, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland have produced a county by county listing of the surviving registers, their dates and locations, appended to their Parish Register Index

    No such listing exists for the rest of the country. Again, Pettigrew and Oulton's Dublin Almanac and General Register of Ireland of 1835 and subsequent years, provides a list of Methodist preachers and their stations, which will give an indication of the relevant localities. The next step is to identify the closest surviving Methodist centre, and enquire about surviving records. Many of the local county heritage centres also hold indexed copies of surviving Methodist records. 

    Online, at Google Books, Hill's An alphabetical arrangement of all the weslyan-methodist ministers [..] gives the postings of ministers in 1857.

    The Methodist Historical Society of Ireland also holds a large number of historic registers and has an excellent online catalog (, and a list of all Methodist preaching houses and chapels.

    Quaker Records 

    From the time of their first arrival in Ireland in the seventeenth century, The Society of Friends, or Quakers, kept rational and systematic records of the births, marriages and deaths of all of their members, and in most cases these continue without a break up to the present. Parish registers as such were not kept. Each of the local weekly meetings reported any births, marriages or deaths to a larger Monthly Meeting, which then entered them in a register. Monthly Meetings were held in the following areas: Antrim, Ballyhagan, Carlow, Cootehill, Cork, Dublin, Edenderry, Grange, Lisburn, Limerick, Lurgan, Moate, Mountmellick, Richhill, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and Wicklow. For all but Antrim and Cootehill registers have survived from an early date.  

    They can be contacted at:  Quaker Library,  Swanbrook House, Bloomfield Avenue, Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4. Tel. +353 1 668 3684. Thurs., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  


    I hope the above gives you something more to work on.  If you find something that you need more advice on please do share it with me.

    Best Wishes & Regards Carmel O'Callaghan








    Bailieborough Cavan

    Wednesday 16th January 2019, 04:28PM