Note: For privacy reasons, living people are not identified in this blog without permission.


Follow This Blog!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year!   I thought I'd start the year off by writing about the places my ancestors came from.  I am kicking these posts off with Termonfechin, County Louth, Ireland.  This is the location of origin for my Flanagan's, Maguire's, Bellew's, Kirwan's, and their cousin's, the Sheridan's.  For 300 years, plus or minus, my family has had the privilege of calling Termonfechin, "home", if you will.   Even today you can go there and find our family.  You have to love that!

So how do you spell Termonfechin?  Isn't it Termonfeckin?  I suppose it is Termonfeckin for today's official records.   Even Google Maps has it as Termonfeckin.   Google Maps also has the specific identifying property location for my Flanagan's listed online.  And of course, it is spelled wrong too.  I'm not at liberty to reveal the exact location name within Termonfechin since it is basically the address for my family residence there.  When I look at Griffith's Valuation from 1864, it has the property named misspelled and, thus, it has been spelled that way in official records from hence forward and maybe earlier too.  This seems to be the trend with census type government documents.  When spelling can really count, it doesn't get done correctly.  Oh, and that's what a genealogist must weed through.  Fun times!

Where does the name Termonfechin come from?  In Irish (That is the Irish language that we usually refer to as Gaelic) the name is spelled Tearmann Fechin, meaning Feichin's refuge.  St. Feichin of Fore founded a medieval monastery in the village in the 7th century.  The Vikings destroyed it in 1013.  It was rebuilt and destroyed a again.  There have been other monasteries and convents in Termonfechin but by 1540, the British had closed them down.

Today, Termonfechin is a farming community as it always has been.  My relatives are dairy farmers and in the past (1700s) they were flax growers who made Irish linen.  If you are looking to escape the modern chaos of city life in the U.S., this is a wonderful place to visit.

When I visited there in 2004, I had the opportunity to see many historical sites in the area including Newgrange, Monasterboice (High Cross location), Mellifont Abby ruins, and Slane Castle.   We also drove into the Seapoint Golf Course.  It's a stone's throw from my relative's farm.

You don't have to go far to find holy ground in Ireland.  This too is the case with Termonfechin.  In 2004, the Church of the Immaculate Conception celebrated 100 years.  This is the "new" Catholic church in Termonfechin.  It is, in fact, where you can find Rev. Richard Flanagan's remains interned at the base of the altar.   There is also a stained glass window dedicated to Fr. Richard and Michael Flanagan.

So where did the Catholics go to church before 1904?  St. Fechin's is now the closed and sold Church of Ireland.  In fact, I think it was sold to someone just last year.  The church only had a half a dozen parishioners in recent years.   The now closed church does present some concern, however.  It was the Catholic Church in the area up until sometime in the 1800s.  The historical value of this church would be worth preserving except that it is not safe to go inside at this point.  It was originally built in 1792.

St. Fechin's is also the location of a cemetery where several Flanagan's, including Michael Flanagan, are buried.  This cemetery includes the Celtic cross of Termonfechin.  It is a well known high cross.  See the cross below.

There are plenty of other historical sites to see in the Termonfechin area including the nearby town of Drogheda located where the River Boyne divides.  This historical city used to be in two counties - both Louth and Meath.  Now it is considered to be in County Louth.  County Meath is very close to Louth and offers so many sites to see also. 

I think about how far we have to drive to get to other places in California.  From Sacramento, it takes about an hour and half (barring any traffic) to drive to San Francisco.  For Californian's, that is nothing of a drive.  In an hour and a half on the Emerald Isle, you could probably drive half of Ireland.  Would you want to drive that fast and miss what is along the way?  Not there......there is so much to take in and you wouldn't want to miss it.


  1. Thank you very much for all of your posts. They are extremely interesting to me. I am a Flanagan and direct descendant of James Flanagan;
    In at least one record it says that James (the Elder) settled in Fluvanna County, Virginia in 1740. Then he 'removed' to Albermarle County, Virginia. Another record says that he 'lived in Louisa Couty, VA. as early as 1744'.
    It is in 1747 that the first 'formal records' of James Flanagan (the Elder) are found. The first record of James Flanagan of Louisa County, Virginia, is found in the Fredericksville Parish Vestry Book, 29 July 1747. This was a Presbyterian church. Also during 1747 James married Serena Frances Whittall of Albemarle County, the daughter of Francis Whittall and Sarah Cole. In 1747 James (the Elder) and wife Serena had their first child named Ambrose. On November 18, 1749 their second child was born named Whittle. Sometime in 1750 their third child was born named James (2nd) after his father. Sometime in 1751 their fourth and last child was born and named Mary. In June of 1752 James Flanagan (the Elder) died in Louisa Couty, Virginia.
    Many from our line have tried to find the Flanagans who led to James as documented in 1747. Some think he may have been 'indented' as a vagabond 8-31-1743 from Donegal with a Bridget Flanagan. The Sarah, a convict ship, sailed from Dublin in August, 1743, landing in Delaware Bay. Others think that James was the son of an Ambrose and wife (? Winwright) who came from Ireland (Roscommon?) landing near the current Atlantic City. I've also found a Thady Flanagan, vagabond, indented 8-29-1738 from Dublin on The Appleby ship landing in Virginia.
    I wish you great luck in your searches, and if you come across 'the connection' to our James, please let us all know. Thank you again for all your efforts!

  2. Bob, Thanks for commenting here. Have you read my posts about the Flanagan's of Louth? It starts on Decmember 5, 2010 and is several parts. I have a James listed way back. My understanding is that these Flanagan's were all Roman Catholic. Many of them remained in the Termonfechin area during the 1700s. With so many on the family tree, though, it is hard to know where everyone ended up. Interesting info about your Flanagan's. Going back to 13th Century Roscommon, they may all be related!

  3. Yes, and your story line is fascinating! At least I can believe where we Flanagans started out, near Elphin in Roscommon in the 1200's. One of my ancestors, maybe it was James, converted to Presbyterian.Did any Flanagans move from Elphin to a place other than Louth? Or better yet, when and where did the first Flanagans convert to Presbyterian? Alot of early immigrants from Ireland to America, I've read, were Presbyterians settling around Virginia. Most, of couse, where Catholics who settled I think around New York. Thing is that I have found no documentation for the parents of James (1747, Virginia). Maybe James had to convert from Catholic to Presbyterian in order to marry his (American) wife. With the internet I'm pretty sure somebody in the future will fill the 500 year 'black hole' of my Flanagan line. Thank you again for all of the research you are doing! Keep up the good work!

  4. In looking at a map of the County Donegal, it will be seen that the north- eastern part of the county, which is the most northerly part of Ireland, is a peninsula washed on the eastern side by the waters of Lough Foyle and on the western by Lough Swilly. This is Inishowen, a mountainous and, to a large extent, a barren country.

    Immediately to the south of it is a fertile and comparatively flat country, lying between the river Foyle and the upper reaches of Lough Swilly, and extending in one direction from the City of Derry to Stranorlar, and in another from Lifford to Letterkenny. This is the district which in by­ gone times was well and widely known under the name of THE LAGGAN, and formed the most productive and desirable portion of the ancient territory of Tyrconnell. Never having been at any time a county or fiscal division of any kind, its boundaries were never accurately defined, but, roughly speaking, it might be said to correspond to the north Barony of Raphoe, running for a short distance at its southern end into the south Barony.
    Is there any documentation of Flanagans that migrated to this area from the Elphin, Roscommon region?
    I seem to be hung up on James Flanagan, vagabond, deported from Donegal to America in 1743....thinking maybe he was my first 'American' ancestor.

  5. Thanks for commenting Bob. I am not sure about the history of the Flanagan's in County Roscommon. The name originates there. In Ireland of old, Flanagan and Roscommon appear to go hand and hand. I am only back to 1690, or thereabouts, in Louth. Actual records before the 1700s seem to be tough to come but I have found records in Ireland to be tough to come by in general. The "luck of the Irish" in my Flanagan Family is that they wrote it all down and kept the records themselves. Flanagan is not actually a common name found in County Louth (or at least not in the "way back machine"). I'm not sure of any other Flanagan lines but my own and they have such a specific history in Louth. It has also been noted that there are quite a few Flanagan's who never married or had children in certain generations of my line. I find this quite unusual for a bunch of Irish Catholics. Anyway, I wish you luck in finding your Flanagan's. You never know when you might stumble across them. I found my McLaughlin's and Maxwell's online at I went from knowing next to nothing of the family tree to having hundreds of relatives sourced on the tree and back to Ireland. I am stuck in the late 1700s for those lines in Meath and Longford. There, I have hit my dead end....for now....and hope to find more someday. :-)