In some parts of Ireland, names are so common, you wonder if you will ever find your ancestors. You ask yourself how many Mary Kelly or Patrick Sullivans can there really be, as you sigh. There are ways around the problem, but you have to think creatively.
For example, I knew where a family was from based upon an Irish parish preserved on an American tombstone. Unfortunately, I did not know the man’s parents.
Knowing that most Irish birth dates are not correct, I went to the Irish parish registers and began to tally potential christenings. There were ten candidates.
I could eliminate many of them because they did not emigrate. I could eliminate others, because they were too young to have married in America, when the man in question did.
What I was left with was I had eliminated everybody but one family.The namingpatterns for this one family in Ireland did within reason match what the immigrant had named his children born in America. I also studied the tax lists for the townland where this one family lived to see if I could trace any potential neighbors to where the ancestral family lived in America. The results were mixed.
In the end, I could prove the one remaining candidate did not stay in Ireland, which was a big positive, which didn’t prove my case, but there were no other options. That may be only proof I have on this case, linking the family in Ireland, with the family in America.