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My great grandfather, James Cummings born about 1875-1877.  According to marriage license James was from Clare, his father's name was Peter Cummings and his mother's name was Ellen Lynch.  He met and married Hanna Lynch (from Cork) in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A. , they had 3 children Joseph, born 1909, Nellie, born 1912, and James, born 1914.  My great grandfather James, died of pneumonia 29 March 1915.  The children were eventually placed in orphanages and Hanna, his widow, worked as a live in servant.  When the children became adults the family reunited. 

I would appreciate any advice on tracing my Clare roots.  Thanks.


Kim W

Friday 4th May 2012, 03:22PM

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  • Hi there,

    Do you know what part of County Clare James and his family were from? Where were their children born, in Ireland or the US?

    You might find Peter and Ellen's details in some documents here (maybe James too):

    You could try checking the land records called the Tithe Applotment Books (1823-38) or the later Griffth's Valuation (1848-64). Griffith's is freely available here: or here: Failte Romhat has lots of other useful links you could try looking at.

    Civil registration records are available from the General Register Office (GRO). These start from 1864 however. You can access the website here:

    Did the marriage license offer any other information? If you have any documents, letters or bibles in your family, you should dust them off and read throough them. There might be more vital information in them that might give us a clue about your family origin.

    Have you tried checking the Ellis Island records ( or the Castle Garden records ( Generally, more information was given at the port of arrival rather than the port of departure. If you knew which city James arrived at, this could be a good place to find more information, and perhaps even find out an exact place of origin.

    There is an excellent website you should look at:

    Please make sure you link anyone else in your family who is interested in their Irish heritage to our site - and indeed anyone else you know of Irish heritage.

    Kind regards,

    Sinead Cooney

    Genealogist (Ireland XO)




    Tuesday 8th May 2012, 01:16PM