Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Identification of the Parents for John J. Barrett and AdditionalSiblings – the Power of Collateral Searching and a Bit of Luck

The identification of a townland in Irish research is critical to determining what records exist for the area as well as using the land records from Griffith's Valuation or the Tithe Applotment. When luck enough to have stories or old letters, research into the claims made through records and historical articles can piece together families in the absence of census records. The evidence may represent a reasonable conclusion since unfortunately so many records have been lost over the year.

An earlier attempt was made to establish the lineage of John J. Barrett and/or Anne Cormac Mannion. An old family “letter” provided some names with large gaps in the history. The letter led to research in various old books such as Mac Furbis', The genealogies, tribes, and customs of Hy-Fiachrach, commonly called O'Dowda's country, to records such as the Ordnance Survey Letters of County Mayo, and then early land record notations from historical articles found through JSTOR. The information allowed for a potential lineage to be drawn for the Cormac (Cormick/Cormack is often used) family with additional evidence compiled from the Tithe Applotment and Griffith’s Valuation.

Research did not however result in any reasonable evidence for John J. Barrett's parents or lineage. Obituaries for both John J. Barrett and Anne Cormac Mannion Barrett indicated that they and all but one child, Michael, immigrated from County Mayo, Ireland in the early 1870s1,2. Furthermore, John J. was apparently born in Ballycastle, Mayo while Anne was born in Castlehill, Mayo. The current information allowed for the creation of the following Barrett tree (spouses for the children are included):

Descendants of John J. Barrett and Anne Cormac Mannion

The Petition for naturalization for Charles J. Barrett, was located, having been filed 21 May 1889. Charles stated provided his date of entry or arrival into New York as 24 April 1871.

Petition for Naturalization of Charles J. Barrett

A search of immigration records online resulted in no records for that date. However, broadening the search dates resulted in a record for a Chas Barrett arriving 31 March 1871 to New York on the S.S. Erin3.

S.S. Erin Manifest for 31 March 1871 into New York.

The record shows a Barrett family with Ann, Thos., Chas, Maria and Edwd. arriving from England. John J. Barrett, his son John E. and daughter Catharine were not found in the records.

Possible record for Barrett family immigrating to the United States on S.S. Erin: Ann, Thos., Maria, Chas., Edwd Barrett.

The heading “the country to which they severally belong” indicates England which aligns with a biographical sketch for John E. Barrett4 suggesting that the Barrett family left Ireland for England before leaving for the United States.

The 1900 U.S. census record for Catharine5 indicated she potentially married in Ireland and immigrated to the U.S. after her husband, Martin Burke, in 1875. Michael, the only son to not have immigrated to the U.S. lived in England according to the obituary of John J. Barrett. The immigration ship list for John J. and his son John E. have not been found, however naturalization records for John E. Barrett indicate that he immigrated in March 1871. The ship list has not been located for John E. Barrett. 

As previously mentioned, the obituary for John J. Barrett identified his siblings, Edward in St. Louis and Thomas G. a doctor in the Scranton area. There was no mention of John J.'s parents. A search for records associated with Thomas G. identified his wife and children through U.S. Census records6,7 and a notice of his death8, with little historical information to elucidate the parents of Thomas G. and John J.

The path for identifying the parents of John J. Barrett and his siblings was running cold. A collateral search was started yet again, looking first to John J. Barrett's children, specifically, his daughter Catharine, who married Martin Burke and appeared to stay in Ireland or England until 1875 as noted previously. Thus, a search was undertaken to try and find any records in Ireland for John J. Barrett's daughter, Catherine (Barrett) Burke. A bit of luck shined during a Google search for Catherine Burke Barrett. A biography for Thomas G. Barrett, MD in “Portrait and Biographical Record of Lackawanna County”, was discovered in a free digitized book9. It was determined that this Thomas G. Barrett was the brother of John J. Barrett, and within the entry, the names of John J. and Thomas G.'s parents were listed, a Professor Michael Barrett and Catherine (Burke) Barrett.

This was not the Catharine of the intended search but paying attention to collateral lines was critical to at least stop on the search result and review the record.  The biographical sketch list the parents and identifies his brother John by name, location and occupation. In addition, the information indicates two brothers, the previously identified Edward in St. Louis, and a fourth brother, Dominick who was noted to have died in Illinois and was a teacher.

Included is a wealth information about Thomas G.’s life in the British Army and that there were eleven children of Michael Barrett and Catherine Burke, seven of whom were no longer living. Further information from the sketch noted that in addition to the immigration of John J., Thomas G., Edward (of St. Louis) and Dominick, both Professor Michael Barrett and his wife, Catherine immigrated to the United States, settling in the mid-west. The biography indicated Catherine died and was buried in Jacksonville, Illinois, while Michael lived a long life before dying in St. Louis.

It is often said regarding genealogical research to ensure time is spent on collateral lines. In this instance, while attempting to focus on a sibling of the the ancestor of focus, luck played a part in the identification of a different Catherine (Burke) Barrett, turning out to be my 4great-grandmother married to Professor Michael Barrett. They resided in Mayo until their immigration with much of the family.

Employing a well known technique in genealogical research combined with some additional luck resulted in the identification of the parents for John J. Barrett, Professor Michael Barrett and Catharine (Burke) Barrett,  adding an additional branch to the Barrett Family tree:

1The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) · Thu, Apr 27, 1899 · Page 10
2 The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) · Tue, Dec 26, 1893 · Page 8 Scranton
3Year: 1871; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 340; Line: 3; List Number: 241 New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
4Derby, George, and James T. White. "The National Cyclopedia of American Biography ... V.1-." Google Books. J. T. White, 2 Feb. 2009. Web. 14 Mar. 2015. <>.
5Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittston, Luzerne, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1433; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0110; FHL microfilm: 1241433. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.
6Year: 1900; Census Place: Hughestown, Luzerne, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1432; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 1241432
7Year: 1880; Census Place: Hughestown, Luzerne, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1150; Family History Film: 1255150; Page: 289A; Enumeration District: 139; Image: 0585
8Pittston Gazette, (Pittston, Pennsylvania), 26 Apr 1904, Tue • Page 3
9Chapman Publishing Co. Portrait and Biographical Record of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. New York, NY: Chapman Publishing Company, 1897. Original from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  DigitizedFeb 10, 2012

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leveraging Irish Records and Histories to Establish Potential Links between the Cormick/Cormack/Cormac Family of Erris and Tirawley to John J. Barrett and John Mannion

The family of John J. Barrett and Anne Cormac Mannion arrived in the United States in the 1870s, settling in the areas of Pittston, Luzerne, Pennsylvania and Scranton, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania. The obituary of Anne led to the discovery that the family immigrated from County Mayo, establishing a link back to Ireland1. The obituary identified her parents as John Mannion and Elizabeth Cormac and included the townland/estate, indicating it as “one of the most picturesque estates in Mayo, Ireland, Castlehill”.

The identification of Castlehill as the townland, resulted in two potential Baronies, Tirawley or Erris. Castlehill in the Barony of Tirawley is found in the parishes of Addergoole and Crossmolina, while the Castlehill in the Barony of Erris is found in the parish of Kilcommon. The two Baronies are adjacent to one another as observed in a map of the Baronies of Mayo2.

Map of Mayo showing the Baronies of Tirawley in Green and Erris in Light Orange

Baptismal records were discovered for three of John J. Barrett and Anne Cormac Mannion's children, Charles J., Edward M., and Marie3. The listing in the record included another townland, that of Terry, but it is unknown if the reference is to Terryduff or Terrybaun both within Mayo. The ability to map the area using Google Earth, indicates that both Terry's are within less than 1 mile (yellow line is 0.88 miles) thus, adding two more places to search for additional records.

Distance between Terryduff and Terrybaun, Mayo, Ireland
It seems likely from the current data that the townlands, Castlehill and Terrybaun/Terryduff are the areas that John J. Barrett and Anne Cormac Mannion resided in around the 1840s - 1850s in Ireland. The name Cormac/Cormick/Cormack has been noted in Mayo and of interest is the entry found within the Landed Estates in which Castlehill is identified as the seat of Major Michael Cormick until around the 1830s when it appears a John Walsh(e) of Dublin inherited the estate4.

The line of John J. Barrett has been more elusive. The obituary for John J. indicates that he was born in Ballycastle, Mayo and educated, graduating from Dublin College 5. A separate obituary for John J. Barrett identified two brothers still living in 1899, Edward of St. Louis and Dr. Thomas Barrett of Pittston, no reference was made to his parents other than he had “good parentage”6.

The known lineage for John J. Barrett and Anne Cormac* Mannion follows:
*Cormac has also been spelled Cormick and Cormack, thus the names will reflect what was found in each source and will switch based on that throughout.

Several sources have tried to provide some genealogical lines relative to Anne Cormac Mannion, however there was no definitive sources and much conflicting information.

Tony Donohoe presented information on the O'Donnells of Newport AND Killeen7:

Elizabeth O'Donnell married Thomas Cormack of Mullinamore and Castlehill. This Thomas has to be the father of Charles, who was the father of Michael. It was a daughter of Michael who married John Walsh of Dublin and Erris. He adopted the name John Cormack Walsh. The other daughter, Elizabeth, married John Mangan and they emigrated to Scranton. They had a daughter, Anne, who married John Barrett, who was born in Crossmolina and became an important figure in the business life of that city. He was editor of the 'Scranton Truth' and a successful businessman. Anne Mangan Barrett died on Christmas Day 1894, aged 70 years. I have related this about .the Mangan family because it has a local interest. It was always believed, the story goes, that a daughter of John Walsh married Mangan and like a lot of these stories there was an element of truth in it but the difference was, it happened a generation earlier.

This information suggests that a Michael Cormack had two daughters, one marrying a Walsh and the other Elizabeth who married John Mangan and immigrated to the Scranton. However, the landed estates information indicates that Major Michael Cormick died with no children and his estate in Castlehill was passed to his sisters, one who married a Walsh and the other who married a Coyne. In addition, it is known that Anne's son John E. Barrett was the editor of the Scranton Truth, not Anne's husband John J. Barrett. Thus, even though the conclusion is that there a generation difference from some stories that Donohue writes, it is likely that there is missing family members since the information presented still had multiple errors. However, this information suggests that Major Michael Cormick is the son of Charles Cormack who was the son of Elizabeth O'Donnell and Thomas Cormack of “Mullinamore and Castlehill”.

A letter, dated Sept. 1, 1903 and is believed to be have been written by Thomas F. Barrett8, son of John J. Barrett and Anne Cormac Mannion. The letter adds additional history with a few names relative to the Cormac line in Mayo.

The letter by Thomas Francis Barrett does not align with Donohue's reflection in entirety, but given that Thomas Francis Barrett was likely getting information direct form those involved, it suggests there was missing information in Donohue's analysis. The letter notes that Elizabeth Cormac (note the spelling variations continue), was the daughter of a Francis Cormac who was married to a woman named Elizabeth Cormac. He was the owner of an estate where he lived, Castlehill. Francis Cormac was noted to have three daughters, Elizabeth, Lettie and Maggie. It also indicates that Francis had a younger brother who had two sons, a Major and Captain in the British Army and two daughters. Comparing this letter to Donohue's information leads to the possibility that Charles was the younger brother to Francis. The letter offers evidence that the Major Michael Cormick from the Landed Estates record was brother to two sister's, one who married a Coyne and one who married a Walsh.

Furthermore, the letter indicates the daughters of the unknown brother, possibly Charles, who married a Coyne and Walsh, inherited the estate upon the death of their brother, likely Major Michael Cormick. The information from the letter aligns with the estate records in which Maj. Cormack dies and the estate essentially becomes owned by John Walsh of Dublin, later calling himself John Cormack Walsh. A record for a marriage license between a John Walsh of Dublin and Ann Cormick9 was found listing the license for 1819. There is reference to a John Walshe married to Anne Cormick, eldest daughter of Charles of Castlehill10 and Elizabeth Cormick daughter of Charles married to Edmond Coyne11. Thus, it appears Charles Cormick is the father of Michael, Elizabeth and Anne, who seems to have inherited Castlehill upon Michael's death. The Tithe Applotment records indicate for Terry and Masbrook that the owner was a Major Michael Cormick12 and Michael Cormick, Esq. for Castlehill13,14. The fact that Michael Cormick was a Captain and then Major, might explain the lack of information of another son of Charles and the reference to a Captain and Major in Thomas Francis Barrett's letter.

The combined information from Donohoe and Thomas Francis Barrett's letter provides the following tree for the Cormick family:

J.G. Simms wrote about Mayo landowners in which he states, “In the course of the Norman settlement the Barretts acquired extensive lands in Tirawley and Erris. They still held many of them in Strafford's time . . .”15. The reference to Strafford is in regards to work that resulted in gathering land and ownership information, commonly referenced as “The Strafford Inquisition of County Mayo” or “Strafford Survey” around 1635. The maps and information has since been destroyed but was possibly recorded in other works such as, County of Mayo, with maps of the county from Petty's atlas, 1683, and of Tirawley barony from the Down survey, 1657, prepared for publication with introductory notes by R. C. Simington.

Simms writes about a Michael Cormack, an owner of large amounts of land in Erris, in which he “... bought lands confiscated from the Barretts.” The article indicates that Cormack was an official of some sort or “clerk of the market”. There is mention that Michael Cormack's name appears in a list of “Irish transplanted by the Commonwealth”. This references a J.C. Erck, Repertory of patent rolls, James I, ii. 297; H.M.C., Ormonde MSSS, ii. 12616. The paper continues to discuss the confiscation of lands from Catholics through the course of changes of the rulers of England to the eighteenth century.

During the reign of James I, it is reported that a Dermot or Darby Cormick, a Munster lawyer, purchased much of Irrus (or Errus). Several genealogical lines for Dermot exist and from the Ordnance Survey Letters, County Mayo, Vol. I17:

This genealogy of the Cormick family can be transcribed in the a different way and begins to provide additional links to the genealogy presented earlier on the Cormac family.

The information presented in the Ordnance Survey letters for the Cormick family, provides a potential link to draw in the previous analysis of the Cormick family as follows:

The sources in Ireland for establishing relationships begin to thin after church records. Land records including Griffith's Evaluation and the Tithe Applotment Books provide the names of the land owner/renter but the Irish census records prior to 1901 have largely been lost.

Another clue comes from the Tithe Applotment books for Castlehill located in the parish, Addergoole18:

This record shows Michael Cormick living in Castlehill and also found are an Edmond Barrett and John Mannion. The record is from 1815, John Mannion at some point married Elizabeth Cormack, they had Anne Cormac Mannion about 1823, among several other siblings. The Tithe Applotment record might be the best link between the fairly well documented Cormick family and the Barrett and Mannion line.

The land records and extraction of references form various sources provide information around the late 1500s and into the 1600s and 1700s concerning the names Barrett and Cormick [all spellings], however the absence of vital records or census to add further details to the family regarding the lineages of Anne Cormac Mannion, Elizabeth Cormac, and John J. Barrett, leave no definitive conclusion but the data analyzed presents intriguing clues to the potential lineages.

Probate and wills might be a source to consult, determining what exists for the lines of interest and the location of these records. Additional land records maintained from the late 1500s to the 1700s might offer further clues to begin generating a cluster of each names and areas to further look for more records, as well as additional stories relating to the Barrett, Cormick, and Mannion lines.

1The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) · Tue, Dec 26, 1893 · Page 8,

2Map of the baronies of County Mayo in Ireland; taken from Atlas and cyclopedia of Ireland, p.228, copyrighted 1900,, Patrick Weston Joyce
3A Registry of Baptisms and Marriages by the Rev. P MacHale, Commencing 13th of January 1840P.P. of Adergoole
4"Estate: Cormack/Cormick." Estate Record: Cormack/Cormick. National University of Ireland Glaway, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <>.
5Pittston Gazette (Pittston, Pennsylvania) · Fri, Apr 28, 1899 · Page 3,

6The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) · Thu, Apr 27, 1899 · Page 10
7Donohoe, Tony. "O'Donnells of Newport and Killeen." North Mayo Historical Journal III.1 (1992): n. pag. Untitled Document. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <>.
8Barrett, Thomas Francis. Letter, September 1, 1903. Collection of William Barrett. 
Recorded family history relative to Cormac Family of Castlehill, Mayo, Ireland. Digital Copy of Letter.
9Dublin, Ireland, Probate Record and Marriage Licence Index, 1270-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
10Vaughan, Roger. "The County Families of the United Kingdom by Edward Walford 1890 Search Page." Biographical and Reference - Roger Vaughan Look-up Service. Accessed February 28, 2015. 
11Walford, Edward. The County Families of the United Kingdom Or, Royal Manual of the Titled and Untitled Aristocracy of Great Britain and Ireland. 5th ed. London: R. Hardwicke, 1869. Sapienza University of Rome (Biblioteca Di Scienze Statistiche), 24 Oct. 2013. Web.
12"Ireland, Tithe Applotment Books, 1814-1855," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 February 2015), Mayo > Addergoole, 1815-1833 > image 7 of 61; Public Record Office, Dublin.
13"Ireland, Tithe Applotment Books, 1814-1855," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 February 2015), Mayo > Addergoole, 1815-1833 > image 55 of 61; Public Record Office, Dublin.
14"Ireland, Tithe Applotment Books, 1814-1855," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 February 2015), Mayo > Crossmolina, 1833 > image 90 of 323; Public Record Office, Dublin.
15J.G. Simms, Mayo Landowners in the Seventeenth Century.  The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland V. 95, No. ½. Papers in Honour of Liam Price (1965), p. 237-247
16J.G. Simms, Mayo Landowners in the Seventeenth Century.  The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland V. 95, No. ½. Papers in Honour of Liam Price (1965), p. 240
17John O'Donovan. Ordnance Survey Letters, Mayo Vol. I and Vol. II. (1838).
18Ireland, Tithe Applotment Books, 1814-1855," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 February 2015), Mayo > Addergoole, 1815-1833 > image 55 of 61; Public Record Office, Dublin.

© 2015 William C. Barrett