They Hailed From Donegal

The Sweeney’s

James Baxter Sweeney is my 2nd great grandfather; and from the limited information I have on him it would seem he was born about 1834 in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.  James father was also James Sweeney and his mother was Mary.  Unfortunately, I don’t know Mary’s maiden name for sure; however, due to the often used naming patterns… she might be a Baxter.  Much more evidence is required to substantiate this belief.

Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

At some point in time, in his mid twenties; James met and married Fanny (Frances) Robinson.  Her parents were James Robinson and Margaret, whose maiden name I’m also searching for; from Garrowcarry, Edenacaran, Co. Donegal.  James & Fanny were joined in marriage at the Ramelton 1st Presbyterian Church in Aughnish, Milford.  David Stevenson and William Ritchie witnessed their wedding.

James Baxter Sweeney & Fanny Robinson  Marriage Record

James Baxter Sweeney & Fanny Robinson
Marriage Record

James and Fanny had a large family; comprised of six sons and four daughters.  Their youngest daughter was Lizzie, who is my great grandmother.  In 1875, at the time of her birth; the family was living in Church Hill, Co. Donegal.

On July 12, 1898 Lizzie’s marriage record to Thomas Murdock, my great grandfather; shows that the family was living in Garryharry, Letterkenny.  The record also reveals that James was a farmer.  I’ve since discovered that some of his sons where cattle dealers in the area.

Lizzie Sweeney & Thomas Murdock Marriage Record

Lizzie Sweeney & Thomas Murdock
Marriage Record

On 16 Mar 1901 James passed away.  His Will can be found at PRONI; the Probate Record reads:

“Probate of the Will of James Baxter Sweeney late of Garryharry, Co. Donegal.  Farmer who died 16 Mar 1901 granted at Londonderry to William J. Wilson and Samuel Russell, Farmers.  Effects – £77.”

James Baxter Sweeney Will Calendar

James Baxter Sweeney
Will Calendar

Who are William J. Wilson and Samuel Russell:  Two more “Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches” to follow to find a connection!

The 1901 census shows that Fanny, who was widowed; was residing at 11 Garrowcarry, Edenacarnan, Co. Donegal.  The census records reveal that her son John, his wife Matilda and seven of their children; along with her sons Henry & James, the cattle dealers; were also living in the same place.  Although Fanny was widowed; I can’t imagine that she ever felt alone.

1901 Census 11 Garrowcarry, Edenacarnan, Co. Donegal

1901 Census
11 Garrowcarry, Edenacarnan, Co. Donegal

Sadly too, by 1909 my 2nd great grandmother Fanny also had passed away.  So much more to find out about this particular “crooked branch”!

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About CJ Murdoch

Looking For "Dead People"! My Journey Back In Time - Tracing my ancestors and researching the counties, cities and towns where they resided. Taking a “Glimpse” into their lives and stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash”! “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning – to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the second with tears, but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.” I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us... I didn't ask enough questions when elderly family were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen! I'm researching many family lines, including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson and Elvin; just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of them, both maternal and paternal lines, originally hailed from Co. Donegal. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and now live in Ottawa, Canada, making frequent trips back home to visit with my family. Of course those visits also include treks to the many burial grounds of my ancestors. My most recent trip back home was during the summer of 2019! Looking forward to August of 2020 when I will return. If you are interested in help tracing your ancestors I’d love to hear from you!
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5 Responses to They Hailed From Donegal

  1. Pingback: The Garryharry Sweeney’s | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

  2. Rachelle says:

    Colleen, Oh Donegal! I have ancestors from this region but they came in 1732 and 1790’s. I haven’t been brave enough to start the research in Northern Ireland yet. I look forward to reading your blog for ideas! Also, on a purely blog note – I like the way you integrate the pictures and research. It’s very readable and appealing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cjmurdoch says:

      Thank you for the kind compliments Rachelle. If you need any help with the Donegal area, I’d be happy to give you a hand. It seems many of my family were from there. I will be heading “back home” at the end of July for 3 weeks and Donegal will definitely be on the itinerary. I have many living family in Northern Ireland; but since I just recently found distant cousins in Donegal I’m hoping to meet up with them too! They just don’t know it yet! 😀 Thanks for reading and don’t be shy to ask for help once you’re researching Donegal.


  3. Pingback: A Full Circle Moment! | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

  4. Pingback: From Garryharry, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal to Montgomery, Pennsylvania, U.S.A! | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

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