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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In Search Of Your Irish Heritage - McMahon's Location

Lately, I've been consumed by my children's activities, some of which I lead.  It does take away from my blogging in my online journal about my family tree.  That's how life goes sometimes but I still have this nagging desire in the back of mind to keep on.   The search for my family does live online a bit without me pursuing it daily or even weekly.  I continue to receive emails, comments to my older blog posts, and message board posts on

The latest few message board posts on seem to have come from people who might have had more time around the holidays than I did to work on their family tree.  To be honest, I have to take a break in December because my children are home and off from school during the last 2 weeks of the year 24/7.  That's a great thing as I get to spend some quality time with them.  They are 6 and, soon to be, 9 years old.

Back to the latest message board posts.....I received no fewer than three posts since December asking about my McMahon's.  Now, I must admit that I have found my specific McMahon line back to my Patrick McMahon of Revale, Ballyvannon, County Clare, Ireland.  He lived from 1810 to 1885.  He attended church at the Bodyke Roman Catholic Chapel and his wife was Mary McNamara.

I've got the proof and am thankful for it.  My father's cousin pursued the information and the Clare Heritage Centre found them.  That was no small task as McMahon is an extremely common name in this part of Ireland.  It worked out so well because she went in looking our Coughlin's, had her grandmother's full name, date of birth, and her parents names plus had all her siblings names.  There were a lot of siblings.

It is so hard to grab onto your Irish family tree sometimes.  I am always hopeful that my McMahon line can be traced back further but this may be as far as I can get.  Yes, it would be nice to see the line traced back to Brian Boru but that will probably not avail itself anytime in the near future.  DNA may not even work out since I'm female and it seems disappointing and dismal to attempt any sort of hopeful linkage to my past ancestors going back hundreds of years.  Apparently, male DNA produces the results you need by and far.

Aside from the practicality of the whole thing, it is still fun to come across a "discovery".  The Bodyke Roman Catholic Chapel records indicate my McMahon's, Coughlin's, and McNamara's as being from Reveal or Revail.  One of the message board posts indicated that it is "Revale".  Now, I am no foreigner to Irish church registries.  Some are written in chicken scratch and some of the people who recorded information could have cared less about spelling.  When spelling really counts, people seem to blow it.  So, Revale it is.

A little detail, like the name of the property designation/location of your relatives, can be the difference between you finding them and not finding them.  Simply knowing (or being told down the line) that your Irish relatives came from Clare, is not enough.  You've really got to be willing to dig a bit harder.  Paying a small fee to locate your ancestors is well worth it.  Before paying a fee, I highly recommend you do some digging of your own.

Jumping across the pond to Irish records too soon can be short sided.  You need to do your homework.  Your Irish immigrant relative is the key (with their own marriage record information stateside and death certificate, for example).  They were born in Ireland but passed away in their adopted country.  In my case, I have many Irish immigrant relatives in this circumstance.  Mind you, I am not finished proving my various lines.

I leave everyone with this thought.  Location, location, location comes up in so many aspects of our lives as an important factor.  It is so true in family tree research.  In fact, your specific location, location, location is even more so in proving your line.

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