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I was intrigued by the following in the Petty Session Court Register (a great place to hunt!) but it left me with questions.

"the Guardians of the Poor in the Boyle Union in the parish of Boyle and County Roscommon, complainants. Bartly Farrell late of Boyle and Bartly Bruen of Boyle, defendants. Witness for the complainants Bridget Kilbee. That Bartly Farrell is the father of two illegitimate children namely Mary Farrell and Anne Farrell and that Bartly Bruen is the father of her illegitimate child James Bruen by Bridget Kilbee" (1862) At first I wondered if there were a connection to my g gmother Bridget Kilboy Moffit of Moyoran but she was married in 1854 and would have had the last name Moffit by then. Does this rule her out? Then I wondered about my gg gmother Bridget Tighe Kilboy, her mother, also of Moyoran but she seems too old. There is a family story about children by a "previous marriage" but that was said to be of Bridget Moffit's spouse, not herself. The two children I haven't been able to find in the Cootehall RC Register are a James and Mary. So my questions, how would an illegitimate birth get brought to attention? How long after the fact? Did this Bridget hope for child support? Could James and Mary have been blended into the Moffit family and taken the last name of Moffit? I think this is a long shot but it is so tantalizing.


Friday 3rd February 2017, 03:27PM

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  • Dear jmjrph:


    Many thanks for your query to Ireland Reaching out.


    Yes, that is a very interesting case that was mentioned in the petty sessions.  It would appear to my mind that the Poor Law was aware or believe Bartley Farrell and Bartley Bruen to be responsible for the two children. 

    Illegitimate children were usually noted as such in parish registers--but not always.  In addition, they may have taken the name of the stepfather once the mother married. 

    As to your comment of Bridget looking for child support, it was most likely that the Poor Law Guardians wanted Bartley to take responsibility for the children or to give some type of support.  James and Mary could certainly have taken the name of Moffitt.  However, their baptism record would probably have listed them under their mother's name or noted that they were illegitimate with the father's name (sometimes) noted. 

    I hope that the above gives some answer.  It should also be noted that Civil Registration began in 1864, so baptisms were noted in the parish registers.  They may or may not exist for this period.

    The very best of luck with your research.


    Kind regards,



    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Monday 6th February 2017, 01:39PM