This is the second post from professional genealogist, Lisa Walsh Dougherty, about how she found her townland of origin. To read her first post scroll down, or click here.
Lisa (Walsh) Dougherty has been an avid family history researcher for nearly 20 years. Since 2009, she has shared her knowledge and experience with many through her volunteer hours, workshop trainings, and commissioned research. A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and a graduate of the ProGen Study Group, she specializes in helping people with Irish roots discover their “Townland of Origin”. Lisa is based in Upstate New York near Albany, and provides a free consultation toward assisting you in finding your own unique family story! You can find out about Lisa's professional genealogy services on her APG profile page.
Her website is Upstate NY Genealogy.
My great-great grandmother, Anne Mortimer, left County Laois (then Queen’s County), Ireland in the mid-1860s. She married a man, James Walsh, who was native to nearly the same area, and they settled in Troy, NY. Two brothers and a sister also emigrated and lived nearby, at least initially. A brother John remained in Ireland, where he raised a large family. The Mortimer letter writers of the 1970s, and the Mortimers who remain in the area today, are descended from John and his wife Maria Bennett.
Over the years 2000 to 2013, while busy with raising our son, I posted on a variety of genealogy message boards, and received sporadic replies from various family members, telling me of other Mortimer family members. One who owned a pub in Kinsale, another who played in Wham’s backup band, still another who was a member of a popular UK “boy band” of the 1990s. Those Mortimers were indeed a talented and diverse bunch, scattered all over the globe.
Recently, comparing family trees on Ancestry.com, I stumbled across a tree that contained many of the same Mortimers that mine did. I contacted the owner, who turned out to be a local Laois woman with a wealth of knowledge about the area and its families. She gave me information about family members who had remained in Ireland that I did not have, and I was able to fill her in on those who had emigrated. After an absence of 14 years, I finally returned to Ireland in April 2014. My new-found Ancestry contact was able to arrange for me to meet my cousin, Sean Mortimer, brother of Brendan Mortimer who had shown us around in 1999, now, sadly, deceased. We had a wonderful visit—he lives very nearby the townland of Killinure where my great-great grandmother was born.
|3rd cousins Lisa (Walsh) Dougherty and Sean Mortimer, Killinure, County Laois, April 12, 2014|
Since returning home, I've become Facebook “friends” with several other Mortimers from County Laois, many of whom heard of my visit through the grapevine. Plans are underway for the formation of a Facebook group dedicated to the descendants of Michael Mortimer and Catherine Phalen, where we can all connect, share pictures, stories and interesting tidbits, 140 years after the family was separated. Modern technology continues to propel my research forward, but the foundation laid by those 1970s letters is the strength the Mortimer family tree is built on. My dad would approve, wherever he is today.