Saturday, May 20, 2006

Pilltown, Which Pilltown ?

Hold the Presses!

I learned that William Foley, my great great great grandfather, and Alice Fitzgerald Foley, my great great great grandmother, had lived in Pilltown Ireland when their children were born. Being an internet user, I went to Google and searched for Pilltown, Ireland. Quickly, I found Pilltown or so I thought. It was 14 miles from the City of Waterford. William was supposed to have lived in County Waterford. This Pilltown was in County Kilkenny near County Waterford. It was a reasonable assumption that this was our ancestral home, but it was wrong!

My next step after finding Pilltown was to try to find a Foley or a historian there. I went back to Google and did a search for Foleys in Pilltown and found five. I wrote a personal letter to each one with a reply envelope and an International Reply Coupon so they could respond. I also included my email address.

Within five days I had a reply, way to go Postal Service! Tommy Foley didn't write back to me but he emailed me. He did indeed live in Pilltown in County Kilkenny. But his reply was intriguing. He said:
Hello Dan,
Received your letter today. I'm unable to help as I live in another Pilltown in a different county. Have you ever been to Clashmore? If not I can make enquiries on your behalf as it is only thirty miles from where I live. Let me know if I can be of any help.
Slainte (Good Health)

Naturally, I was stopped in my tracks. Tommy seems to be telling me that there is another Pilltown. If that Pilltown is located in County Waterford, it is definitely the family ancestral home. Back to Google again after I wrote Tommy back to ask which County he lived in and which County the other Pilltown was in. But this time I googled Pilltown, County Waterford Ireland and faster than you can say "Top of the Morning", I found it. Nestled in County Waterford in Kinsalebeg parish, in the Decies-within-Drum Barony immediately adjacent to Clashmore Parish. This is in the very southern most tip of County Waterford and is on the Atlantic Ocean.

Today Pilltown is a very small town with no retail establishments. Ardmore provides for much of the commerce in the area. There is a postal sub station there and I hope to find a local history buff and who knows, maybe some long lost relations.

Monday, May 01, 2006

William and Alice of Piltown, Part II

Continuing the validation of William Foley and Alice Fitzgerald as our Waterford great great great grandparents, I began to follow up on another one of their daughters. I had previously searched for Ellen Foley, their daughter who married Patrick O'Donnell. It was through her marriage record that I found the first name of Alice to be William's wife. However, on Michael (my great great grandfather and Ellen's brother) record of marriage, he listed his parents as William and Bridget.
I determined that a third source would prove or disprove the correct first name.
Mary Foley was another sister to Michael and Ellen who also came to the United States. Our written family history states that she married in Boston and died within the year. I felt she was the perfect candidate for further research since their should be a marriage and a death record for her. The name of her husband was not recorded.
After searching a relatively short period of time, I found a Mary Foley who had married a Mr. Patrick Rooney on January 10, 1858, in Quincy Massachusetts. She listed her home as being Cohasset Massachusetts, the same as Ellen would do the next year when marrying. Cohasset is also where Michael was living in 1857 when my great grandfather Daniel was born.
Mary also listed her parents as William and Alice. This was the further validation that I had hoped for. But just to close up any loose ends, I looked for a record of Mary's death. She was 19 when she married the 21 year old Patrick Rooney and she died of consumption within six months, on June 29, 1858. The time of her death removes any doubt as to the validity of William and Alice being the correct ancestors.