Thursday, 13 July 2017

Brick wall: Longford and Cavan roots

In addition to my Donegal origins, I also have undiscovered roots in County Longford and County Cavan.

At some point before 2 Jun 1834, my paternal second great grandparents Hugh Edward Caroline (abt 1798-1879) and Mary Donovan (abt 1807-1892) arrived in Montreal, for it was on this date that they were married there, in Notre Dame Basilica. I first wrote about Hugh and Mary here.

Did they meet on board the ship that brought them from Ireland or did they know each other before they left Ireland? The record of their marriage gives me the names of their parents:
  • Edward Caroline
  • Rose Sheridan
  • Hugh Donovan
  • Bridget Connor 
pg 69, parish register, Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal, from Drouin Collection
The entry also gives us a few other pieces of information. Hugh was living in the small village of St-Césaire at the time of the marriage. St- Césaire today is about a half hour drive from Granby, where he and his brother Mick eventually farmed. Mary was living within the Notre Dame parish boundaries in Montreal. My 3rd great grandfather, Edward Caroline, was deceased by June 1834, but otherwise, the parents of Hugh and Mary were living in Ireland. The record tells us that Hugh was from County Cavan, while Mary was from County Longford, areas that border on each other in a small part. County Cavan is today in Ulster while County Longford is in Leinster.

Their marriage was witnessed by three men: John McCartan, John Cassidy and Patrick Murray. These names aren't at all familiar to me. Were the men friends of Hugh and Mary, or were they enlisted to act as witnesses?

The structure in which Hugh and Mary were married wasn't the first Notre Dame on the site. The majority of the construction of the new church it had only been completed four years before they were married.

I know that Hugh arrived in Quebec with at least his brother Mick, but who were Mary's travelling companions? Other Donovans or Connors? Did they come to Quebec directly, or had they arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick, as many ships from Ireland did in the first half of the 19th century? Or perhaps they had sailed to New York, and made their way up to Quebec. What drew them there? So many questions. Always.

AncestryDNA testing has recently connected two of my family members to people who have Sheridans in their own ancestry. I hope that this begins a new journey of discovery. This is a first. We've had no Caroline, Donovan or Connor DNA matches. So far.

The never ending story continues....


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