Thursday, November 7, 2019

Patrick Mullarney of Glencullen

Patrick Mullarney (1844-1906) was brother to my 3rd great grandmother, Sarah Mullarney-Howlett.  He was born in Ballymanus, County Wicklow to Thomas Mullarney and Elizabeth Ellis, on land rented from Daniel Tighe, a prominent local landlord.

Patrick had ambitions to become a national schoolteacher, and I believe that he idolized and was mentored by Thomas Howlett, who ended up marrying his sister Sarah.

In 1863, Patrick worked at Rathnew National School in Wicklow, not too far up the road from Ballymanus.

In 1867, Patrick started working in County Dublin (where the money and opportunity may have been better) at Lucan National School as well as Raheny School.

In 1873, he married dressmaker Ellen Flyght at St. Patrick's Parish in Wicklow, and they ended up having seven daughters together.

By 1874, Patrick had officially left Wicklow, to begin work as a national schoolteacher in Glencullen, Dublin.  By 1881, he ended up being promoted to schoolmaster, a position he kept until at least 1894.


In 1882, Patrick was charged by the Rathdown Union with failure to vaccinate his children.  It's unclear which vaccine was available at this time.  There weren't many, only the ones for cholera and smallpox, to my understanding.  

In 1884, a dog bit one of his daughters, and Patrick pressed charges against Dr. Mackay for failing to treat her.

In 1892, a few months after his mother Elizabeth died, Patrick accused John Cullen of Glencullen of kicking his dog, causing a broken leg and shoulder, but the case was dismissed.  In 1895, he was arrested for public drunkenness, and in 1897, he lost his two youngest daughters to diphtheria (they were only ten and twelve years old).  To add insult to injury, his house was inspected by the local doctor (Mackay), and he was ordered to clean up and sanitize the room, to prevent the spread of the disease.

Late in 1905, Patrick contracted tuberculosis.  He checked into the Rathdown Union Workhouse for treatment for his sore eye in December of that year, a complication of his TB.  He was released a month later, in January of 1906.  He was dead by March of 1906.

His wife Ellen remained at their house until her own death in 1932.

Of his seven daughters, only four appear to have lived to adulthood, but I don't believe any of them had any children of their own.  His eldest daughter Elizabeth ended up in Mountjoy Prison for a week in the summer of 1915 for stealing a box of polish.  She married a few years later, and I think she was the only child of Patrick's to do so.



Dog License Registers (Dublin)
Petty Court Sessions (Wicklow and Dublin)
National School Teacher Salary Books (Dublin)
Slater's Royal National Directory Of Ireland (Dublin)
Catholic Parish Registers (Wicklow and Dublin)
Civil Birth, Marriage and Death Records (Wicklow and Dublin)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Thomas Howlett of Dublin

This is a post about my third great grandfather, Thomas Howlett (1828-1878).  Thomas was a National School Teacher in Wicklow and Dublin counties.

A National School was, and still is, a secular elementary school, or public primary school, fully financed by the government.  It was set up in the 1830s to accommodate the need for a non-religious schooling, an alternative to parochial schools administered by the Roman Catholic Church or the protestant Church of Ireland.

Thomas appears in the salary books ("pay books"), which I was able to locate at the National Archives in Dublin, October of 2019.  I learned that from 1860-1862, Thomas was employed at Glenealy National School in Wicklow.

Patrick Mullarney, Thomas' brother-in-law, was also a National School Teacher in Wicklow and Dublin during the same time as Thomas.  I suspect that this might be how Thomas met his wife Sarah, Patrick's older sister, in Wicklow.

From a variety of records, it's clear that his parents were Jacobi (aka James) and Elizabeth Howlett of Wexford.  The one baptismal record that seems to match is from Ballyculane, Wexford, dated 1840, with parents Jacobi Howlett and Margarita Commins.  However, his marriage and death records declare him to have been born in 1828.

Dublin City
It's interesting that Thomas and Sarah were married in January 1863, at St. Mary's Pro in Dublin City, and that they baptized their daughter there in August of the same year.  It's quite possible that this was a shotgun wedding, with Sarah being two months pregnant at her wedding, and also being 11 years younger than her groom.  This might have invited a variety of scandals.

Sadly, though, in 1865, about a year and a half after the birth of their daughter Lizzie, young Sarah died of tuberculosis, back at her home in Ballymanus.  Her death record states she had the disease for ten months before dying.  That must mean that she contracted it when her daughter was exactly one year old.  At the time of her death, she was under the care of her brother Patrick, who was the informant on her death record (and not Thomas).  It isn't very clear to me that Thomas and Sarah had any kind of strong relationship.  They likely met through the School connection, had an evening of intimacy and were forced to be married because of it, probably only knowing each other 2 or 3 years total.  Given that Sarah was highly contagious, it's also quite possible that she left Dublin City to go back home to Ballymanus, leaving her daughter and husband behind, so she wouldn't infect them.


After Sarah's death, Thomas worked briefly at St. Peter's National School in Dublin in 1867, but soon afterward was working as a school teacher at Kinsealy School, and there he met a farmer's daughter by the name of Bridget Campbell.  They were married at Baldoyle Chapel in 1870.

Thomas had been promoted to schoolmaster at Kinsealy by 1877.  He died of accidental drowning in Artaine, North County Dublin, on 2 Jan 1878.

In 1889, his daughter Sarah had sailed to New England, and in the same year married my 2nd great grandfather, Mathew John Leonard of Portland Maine (originally of Dublin).  I wonder if they knew each other in Ireland.  Her father had spent many years working in Kinsealy, about five miles south of Portrane, where Mathew John grew up...



National School Teacher Salary Books (1868-1890)
Civil Birth, Marriage and Death Records
Catholic Parish Records (Marriage and Baptism)
Maine Death Record of Elizabeth Howlett-Leonard

Friday, November 1, 2019

Thomas Mullarney of Wicklow

My 4th great grandfather was Thomas Mullarney of Ballymanus Upper Townland, in the Glenealy Parish of County Wicklow.  He was born around 1808 and died around 1877. 

In 1835, in Old St. Michael's of Rathdrum (church is no longer there), he was married to Elizabeth Ellis, and they were both living in Garrymore, Ballinacor, Wicklow at the time. 

It's unclear when they moved to Ballymanus, and became caretakers of one of Daniel Tighe's properties there, but it was certainly between 1835 and 1841.

I learned of this ancestor upon a trip to Ireland in October 2019, by procuring the death record of known ancestor Sarah Mullarney-Howlett, who was mother to my 2nd great grandmother, Lizzie Howlett-Leonard.  On Sarah's death certificate, it stated she died in Ballymanus Townland, and was wife of schoolteacher (Thomas Howlett).  This was a revelation to me, as all my Irish ancestral research had, up to that point, been confined to North County Dublin.

Once I studied a bit more about Sarah, I learned that her parents were Thomas Mullarney and Elizabeth Ellis, also of Wicklow.  The 1852 Griffith's Valuation matched up the name Thomas Mullarney, at House Lot 3 of Ballymanus Upper:

I paid a visit to the Valuation Office in Dublin, and managed to get a nice copy of the Valuation Map for Glenealy Parish, which was used for the above valuation document:

Griffith's Valuation Map
Thomas Mullarney Lot (See Arrow at the bottom)
Click to Enlarge

Ballymanus Upper/Glenealy
2019 Aerial
(See Yellow Pin for Mullarney Lot)
Is an old house still there?

I was also able to look through the old cancellation books, to run the full chain of title from 1842-1978.  The landlord for the Mullarney House was Daniel Tighe, who was also a neighboring landowner/tenant (as you can see from the above roster).  The Mullarney lot was measured at 9 acres, 3 roods, and 0 perches (about the size of ten football fields).  The 9 acre land was long valued at 5 pounds sterling (inclusive of house).  The house situated on it was always known as the "Woodranger's House" in these cancellation books.  I would be very curious to learn which house this is, and if it's still there.  As of 1978, the house lot had been subdivided onto a smaller land, and was then owned by a Bernard Kelly.

In researching the other small number of Mullarneys living in Glenealy Parish during this time, I've come to believe that Thomas had brother named James (1823), and a daughter or niece named Eliza (1845).  Eliza had her own child in the Rathdrum Workhouse, named William in 1868 - no father listed, and Mullarney was listed as Eliza's maiden name.

Thomas was listed as caretaker of this particular property of Tighe's, and he appears in many petty court sessions in Ballymanus/Glenealy, where he complained of trespassers and thieves:
  • In March of 1841, Thomas witnessed Francis and Dennis Toole trespassing on his tenant property, breaking a fence, and apparently stealing holly crops.
  • Also in March of 1841, Thomas witnessed Phillip Doolin breaking a fence and stealing oak crops.
  • In January of 1842, Thomas witnessed Mary Toole and Elizabeth Dowdall breaking the fence and stealing oak plants.
  • In June of 1842, Thomas witnessed Luke Cullen stealing sod and a horse from his tenant property.
  • October 1842, Thomas witnessed John Fitzpatrick stealing oak trees from his tenant property.
  • In 1851, Thomas witnessed Keven Develin stealing heath from his tenant property.
  • March of 1854, John Beety stole oak trees
  • Sept 1857 and in June of 1862, Thomas was charged for allowing his mare to wander out into the street.
  • October 1857, Thomas was accused by a local tailor Richard Byrne of threatening his life.
  • April of 1860, Thomas witnessed the trespass of cattle onto his tenant lands, said cattle owned by James Bradshaw
  • In January of 1865, Thomas owed Joseph Cowley for goods.
  • June of 1866, Thomas stood up as witness for his son William Mullarney, who was accused of assaulting Mary Kerwin.  William served a week of hard labor.  William was also charged with assaulting George Booth in March of that year, and George Byrne in October of that year.  This may be the same William who died in Rathdrum 1871.
  • August of 1867, Thomas was charged with public drunkenness, and had to pay a fine of one shilling.
  • July 1868, Thomas was charged with having an unlicensed dog.  He licensed a male greyhound two days later
  • March 1869, licensed a slate mongrel.
  • July 1871, licensed a black sheepdog.
  • June 1873, public drunkenness again.
  • March 1874, licensed a brown mastiff.
  • March 1876, licensed a black sheepdog
Whom I believe to be Thomas' brother or father, James Mullarney of Ballymanus, had a few run-ins with the law:
  • In May of 1842, James trespassed onto Daniel Tighe's woods property in Ballymanus, and was convicted.  He had to stay in prison for a fortnight and pay a fine.
  • In July of 1864, he struck Martin Cullen on the public road in Glenealy, and had to stay in jail for a week and pay a fine.
  • In 1866, he landed in prison (unknown charge)
William Mullarney, mentioned above, who had spent a week in jail for assault, and who might be little brother or nephew to Thomas, also had a record:
  • One Eliza Mullarney had a child named William in the Rathdrum Workhouse on 19 Feb 1868.  No father listed.  Was this a child of William's?  Or was this Eliza the same who was wife to Thomas?
  • April and May of 1869, William was arrested twice for assaulting George Loftus Booth, although the cases were dismissed.
By 1877, Daniel Tighe's son, James, acquired title to the land, and most all other land in the Parish,  and at that point, Thomas Mullarney drifts off of title.  He had clearly lost the lease by then.  What is not so clear is what happened to him after that, or when he died.

Thomas Mullarney and his wife Elizabeth had five known children:
  • My ancestor Sarah Mullarney-Howlett (1836-1865).  Sarah died quite young, of tuberculosis, about two years after giving birth to my 2nd great grandmother, Lizzie Howlett-Leonard (pictured below).
  • Patrick Mullarney (1844-1906).  Patrick was a national schoolteacher, just like Sarah's husband, Thomas Howlett.  Patrick was also schoolmaster of Glencullen National School in South Dublin from 1881-1894.
  • William Mullarney (1850-1871).  William was a troublemaker, and often accused of assaulting people.  He died quite young at Rathdrum, after one year of decline, and the informant on the death record was his brother Patrick.
  • John Mullarney (1852-1901).  John had a large family and lived in Georges Quay of Dublin City.
  • Thomas Mullarney (1854-1873).  Died as a teenager.

(ABOUT 1883)

Given that his wife Elizabeth died in 1892, a widow, at aged 82, it seems reasonable to believe that Thomas Mullarney was born around 1808 (Wicklow parish baptismal records from that period are hard to find online), and could have died around 1877, some point after he lost the lease to the Tighe family.

Thomas was born about ten years after the execution of Billy Byrne of Ballymanus, who put this townland into history.  I wonder if his parents knew Billy (or were somehow related to him)?

Patrick and his family lived in Glencullen, Rathdown, South County Dublin (just a bit north of Wicklow), so perhaps Thomas died in that area too.


1901 and 1911 Irish Censuses
Wicklow Cancellation/Revision Books
Griffith's Valuation
Catholic Parish Registers (Wicklow and Dublin)
Civil Birth, Marriage and Death Records
Petty Court Sessions (Wicklow)
Dog License Registers (Wicklow)
National School Salary Books (Wicklow and Dublin)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Francis Leonard (1859-1945)

Francis Leonard (1859-1945) was baptized in April of 1859 at Donabate Parish.  He was son to Mathew Leonard and Anne Brien, of the Portrane Cottages, Burrow Road, Portrane, Donabate, Dublin.

Frank (known by his loved ones as Fransheen), was a great believer in Irish fairy culture, according to old Paddy Lynders who lived in the Burrow near Frank.

As mentioned in his father's blog post, the Leonards were hit hard enough by the Famine to seek employment elsewhere.  Thomas D. Leonard was the first to leave the Burrow of Portrane, in 1850, and started a successful florist business in Portland Maine.  After a couple decades there, Thomas had purchased an entire block of the West End of Portland (Briggs Street), built houses there, and summoned his family over.  His nieces and nephews heeded the call, and Frank sailed to Maine with his brother Mathew John in 1881, along with other siblings.  Frank lived in Portland for three years, having worked at JB Brown's sugar mill in Portland.  But, he missed Dublin, and moved back in 1884, living at the old family homestead at House 15 in the Burrow, eventually taking over the lease upon the death of his father Mathew in 1904.

According to Paedar Bates' Donabate and Portrane, a History, Frank was a member of the Gaelic Football Club of Donabate at some point.

Frank first married to a Catherine Kent of Rush, in 1898, and she died in Portrane of tuberculosis at age 27, in 1901.  They had no children.

(courtesy of Peadar Bates)

On August 11, 1904, he married 17 year old Margaret Byrne (1887-1961), by pastor Anthony Murphy, at the newly erected St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Donabate (which had replaced the older and smaller one just across the street).  Margaret was born in Dublin, daughter of Joseph Byrne and Margaret Reilly of Balcunnin.

Frank and Margaret had eight children:

1.  Thomas Leonard (1905-1993) married Alice Cowley of Swords, and had three children, and at least 16 grandchildren.

(ABT 1980)

2.  Maria (1907-1909), died as a toddler.

3.  Margaret May Leonard (1910-2001), who married a Michael Hoey (1900-1986) from Meath.  They had two daughters.  Margaret and her family moved into the Rose Cottage owned by the Leonards.

4.  Elizabeth Agnes Leonard (1911-___), likely died young.

5.  Ellen (Nelly) Leonard (1914-____), who married Edward Willett.  Ellen is pictured above, second row, last girl on the right in this 1927 picture.

6.  Catharine (Kathleen) Leonard (1914-_____), never married.  She was a twin to Nelly.  Kathleen is pictured above, front row, first girl on the left in this 1927 picture.

7.  Agnes Leonard (1916-____),  who married a Daniel O'Rourke, and had two sons

8.  Alice Leonard (1917-abt 2002) (named after Frank's sister).  She married William McLoughlin in 1939, and had a daughter Ann.  She made a visit in 1964 to the Portland family, and she hosted her brother Mathew's and Elizabeth's children when they visited her in Donabate, Dublin.

Petty Court

On December 15, 1877, when he was 18, Frank filed a complaint against Charles Teeling, for failure to pay him his due wages (£13).

On March 1, 1913, the School Committee brought Frank to court because his son Tommy failed to attend school.

On June 19, 1915, Frank brought his sister-in-law (and neighbor) Mary into court because she hit him in the face with a shovel.  But she also brought a counterclaim against him for grabbing her by the back of the neck and throwing her violently against the hedge.  The case was adjourned until August, where neither of them appeared in court.

On November 4, 1916, neighbor Margaret Kelly assaulted Frank's wife Margaret, by pulling her by the hair across the floor.  Mrs. Kelly failed to appear in court.

On June 15, 1918, Frank brought his neighbor, Joseph Fulham, into court for hitting his son Tommy (aged 12).

Dog Licenses

Frank applied at least twice for dog licenses, in 1896 and 1898.  He owned red terriers (his father Mathew owned terriers as well, so Frank had grown up with them).

Based on the fact that Frank had marked "X" as informant of his father's death certificate (1904), his marriage license (1904), and also on his son Thomas' birth certificate (1905), it stands to reason he wasn't able to write - either during that time period, or permanently.

Frank farmed the land for most of his adult life.  At some point, the land was deemed unsuitable, though, and his son Thomas had to find other work.

In 1922, Frank and his family likely celebrated the liberation of the Irish Free State from the United Kingdom.  In the 1940s, about a year or two before he died, Frank acquired title to the Portrane Cottage that had been so long in the hands of the Estate of George Evans.  Upon his death in 1945, the fee land passed to his son Tommie, and is still in the hands of this family today.

Frank and Margaret are both buried at Old Donabate Parish Cemetery, next to an old limestone gravesite that may in fact be where his father Mathew is buried, and surrounded by grass (also potential other Leonard burial sites).


  • Donabate and Portrane, a History, by Peadar Bates
  • 1901 Census of Ireland
  • 1911 Census of Ireland
  • Baptisms, Parish Registers, Donabate
  • Civil Birth Records, Balrothery, Dublin
  • Civil Marriage Records, Balrothery, Dublin
  • Civil Death Records, Balrothery, Dublin
  • Memorials of the Dead, by Brian Cantwell
  • Petty Sessions Dog Licenses

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Patrick Leonard of the Burrow (1795-1865)

Patrick Leonard was born in 1795 at the Portrane Cottages in Burrow Townland, son to Thomas Leonard (who was likely the first Leonard to arrive in the Burrow).

Patrick was a tenant farmer to Irish landowner Joshua Evans, and had at least seven children with his wife Elizabeth Horish:

1. Mathew Leonard (1819-1904) (my 3rd great grandfather), who inherited the land from his father Patrick upon his death in 1865.  Mathew married Anna O'Brien of Blanchardstown, and had eleven children, most of whom migrated to Portland Maine in the 1880s to be with their uncle Prod (see below).  Two of these children (Frank and Patsy) came back home to Portrane to take over ownership of the houses upon Mathew's death.  During the time of Mathew, according to the 1901 Census, the family house had only two rooms, and outside there was a cow house, a stable, a fowl house (referred to as out-offices by the Census).  By the time of the 1911 Census, Mathew's son Frank had the homestead, and had added a second cow house to the out-offices.

2. Elizabeth Leonard (1824-__), who married a John Harrison.  I wonder if John was a relative of Eleanor Harrison, the wife of the landlord?  There was a James Harrison in Donabate Parish records whose son Nicholas had Mathew Leonard as his godfather in 1850.  Elizabeth had some issues with her elder brother, Mathew, according to court records.  Apparently Mathew was often litigious against his sister, and others in the Burrow, for letting her chickens onto the crops on his property.

3. John Leonard (1826-after 1897) appears in a Donabate Parish baptismal record on April 16, 1826.  He may be the same John Leonard of South Dublin who married Lucy Dunne in 1867, since on this marriage return, he named his father to be Patrick Leonard.  He may also be the father to a John Leonard (1854-1906) who died at Portrane Mental Asylum (St. Ita's).  John appears in at least five Burrow dog license registers:

  • March 1878, black and tan terrier
  • March 1894, blue terrier
  • May 1895, red terrier
  • March 1896, grey and white terrier
  • March 1897, two red and white terriers (one male, one female)

4. Thomas D. Leonard, (1828-1912) nicknamed "Prod," a gardener who emigrated in 1850 to Portland Maine, and married Alice Wade.  Prod started the wave of Leonards in his family moving to Portland from Portrane.

5.  Ellen Leonard (1829-___) (and her husband Thomas Keane) are offering their son Patrick for baptism September 10, 1848.  Mathew Leonard is listed as godfather, so it's quite likely that Ellen is another daughter of Patrick.

6.  Mary Leonard (1831-___) appears in a Donabate Parish baptismal record on April 9, 1831.

7.  Charles Leonard (1834-____) appears in a Donabate Parish baptismal record on November 25, 1834.

Patrick (aka "Pat") appears on the Burrow tithe books in 1833 below:

A word about the tithe system from above:

From 1823 to 1838, there was a law called the Tithes Composition Act.  This required all Irish citizens to pay a monetary compensation to benefit the Irish Anglican Church (instead of an amount representing a portion of fee land holdings), regardless of whether the citizens attended this church.  I believe my ancestor Pat Leonard was a Catholic, so it's likely that he is listed above as having paid money to a church he didn't attend.  There was a rebellion in the 1830s whereby the peasants refused to tithe the church.  The rebellion was so popular that Great Britain couldn't enforce the Act.  In 1838, the Act was repealed, and a new law was put in place, requiring all Landlords to do the titheing.  Of course, Landlords simply raised the rent on their tenant farmers in response.  But it calmed the masses, as they didn't feel robbed by the Crown.

See Patrick's listing below on line 22 and 34 of the Burrow section of the 1847 Griffiths Valuation, where it shows the Burrow's majority landlord to be Joshua Evans, Esq. (who was also then a Commissioner to the Court of Bankruptcy).

Also below are the Wade and Smart families, also figuring into the Leonard family:

Patrick died in the Balrothery Workhouse in 1865 (just a few months after his father Thomas died at the Portrane Cottages).  I have yet to review the Minute Books from this place, now available online, to try and learn more about Patrick's time there.  While none of the Leonards died of starvation, it's clear that there were financial troubles stemming from the Famine, and the Workhouse was often a place for people to go when they needed care or a place to live.  It's interesting to me that Patrick had still owned the houses in Portrane at the time, which passed to his son Mathew after his death.  Was the house too crowded for Patrick?  Was there a disagreement with his son?  Did he need some kind of care that Mathew couldn't provide?  I may never know.

Across the road from the Workhouse is a mass grave with a single tall Celtic cross, bearing no names, but erected in 1918 "to the memory of the many unfortunate people who lie buried in this sad place."

I wonder if Patrick is buried in this mass grave, or if he is buried alongside his other family at Old Donabate Cemetery?