My “Holey” Birthplace Pedigree: The (Bad) Luck of Irish Ancestry

Everywhere seems awash with birthplace pedigree charts based on the one created by J. Paul Hawthorne. His template can be found  here:

So, as a bit of Easter fun, I thought I’d have a go at my own. I’ve modified his template and created two charts. One for my dad’s origins:

Birth Pedigree Dad

Paternal Birthplace Pedigree

The other is for my mum’s side of the family:

Birth Pedigree Mum

Maternal Birthplace Pedigree

What strikes me is how geographically constrained my family is: a mix of Yorkshire and County Mayo on both maternal and paternal sides. Only in the 18th century does my English family extend beyond the Yorkshire boundaries – and then only into County Durham and Northumberland on my paternal side. This is beyond the scope of the generations on the charts. This is why I’ve made an adaptation, to include the birthplace and year. Otherwise my chart is way too boring – and I haven’t broken the geographical mould. Guess it’s an illustration of how wonderful Yorkshire is!

The  other notable feature illustrated in the chart is the challenging nature of discovering my County Mayo ancestry. Whereas I can extend my English roots back to the 18th and, in some cases, 17th century there is no such luck with my Irish side. From the 1850’s onwards things are difficult with my County Mayo ancestors, but no real brick walls. Prior to this date it’s a real struggle. In fact I only know the names of two of my 20 Irish 3x great grandparents, and can only assume they all hailed from Mayo. And I’ve had to make that birthplace assumption for six of my 2x Irish great grandparents, based on the fact it’s their location in the earliest records I can find for them.

So I’m very envious of those who can fill in all their pedigree chart ancestral locations, many covering a wonderful array of almost holiday-like destinations. Sadly my birthplace pedigree chart will never match that, even in the unlikely event of tracing my Mayo roots.



5 responses to “My “Holey” Birthplace Pedigree: The (Bad) Luck of Irish Ancestry

  1. 2 of my sons and a friend went to Co Mayo last yr ,visited a son who lives there also. Waked into a derelict Cottage and a farm left behind during the potato famine, very emotional ,M Breheney , related Gavans ,Patrick Gallagher , born Mayo 1837, in Batley cem,wife , Margaret nee Doohan, born Mayo 1841,,nora gavan nee Gallagher,Catherine Gallagher born Mayo , 1867, all in Batley Cem

    • Amazing to think how many people in Batley have County Mayo ancestors. Was Norah Gallagher’s first husband Michael Callaghan? Son John William was killed in the First World War and is commemorated on the St Mary’s church War Memorial.

      • well its looks like the same, I didn,t realise she had 2 sons till MY son found it,knew my Mums bro Martin/martyn, gavan, met her son ?? Martin[ I think Callaghan, , met him in hospital, he gave me a pic which I have put on here, a charra trip, his wife was on too, ,just confirmed with son in Kent, yes thats the one ,We did n,t realise he was on 1 W W memorial ,My Mum and dad were married in that Church, I have been in a few times. We will visit when son comes up as I don,t walk far now. Thanks for all info, are we related then????
        Marie [ Molly] BREHENEY

      • I have Gavan and Callaghan ancestors who came from Mayo to Batley. I researched John William Callaghan for the St Mary’s War Memorial book but there was no obvious connection with my family.

      • well thanks, enjoyed all yours, a lot of work there, my son is reading at this time. What a beautiful place Mayo is, first time I went to Ireland , did n,t know the connections but felt at home, ,Marie

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