Sunday, February 10, 2013

GRIERE's in Derrynoose

A few posts ago, I mentioned finding an article published in an Irish newspaper in New York in 1812. It was written by Joseph Grier, inquiring about his brother John from Roghan, Derrynoose, Armagh, Ireland. Well, this is a location that is next door to the Lisnadill parish which is one place we know where Gillespie's lived. So now I add Derrynoose as a place to look.

Today I found a wonderful website called the Irish Genealogy Project with lots of information about and links for the few surviving records in Ireland. The information is broken down by county, and the link for County Armagh is run by Pat Connors who has his own wonderful website. There is so much helpful information here, it's hard not to feel just a little excited, especially given that I have been rather frumpy about doing any serious Ireland research because given the near totality of record destruction there, really, what is there to find?  So even though it's still true that Irish research is not easy, these websites spark some inspiration and even a little bit of hope. For that, I cannot thank these people enough.

Now to add to the pile of hope, comes a few more small details that might come to some use for our family story. I was looking at the 1825 Tithe Applotments for Derrynoose Civil Parish. No Gillespie. No Greer. I have been sticking with the spelling of GREER in Ireland and GRIER in early New York, and back to GREER in Michigan, which for some reason seems to be the pattern of the spelling of this surname in documents found in each place and time. But today, I went back to the Derrynoose records and searched for GRIER. Ta Da.
  • Grier, Widow ???, Cormeen
  • Griere, Robert, Roghan
  • Griere, Widow ???, Drumgar
  • Griere, William, Roghan
OK!  We have two widows and not one, but two freeholders in the townland of Roghan!  And for the first time ever, we have the spelling GRIERE.  I have no idea what that is telling us, but it's something to pay attention to.

And finally, these records appear after the 1812 Grier inquiry from New York, which suggests that the Greer's, like the Gillespie's, still had relations back home.  I try to imagine letters somehow making their way across the Atlantic between the two places.  What was the news from post-war America?  And what news from pre-famine Ireland?  What wouldn't we give to find such letters?  Apparently, there's always hope. 

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