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Thursday, 2 May 2013

Online: Life & death in a Westmeath parish 1696-1786

The Document of the Month from the Representative Church Body Library is a sure-fire winner for anyone whose ancestors came from Killucan parish in County Westmeath (diocese of Meath).

The Combined Registers and Vestry Minutes of the parish cover the 90-year period from 1696 to 1786. In addition to the baptism and burial records, the register gives an insight to the lives of people who lived in the communities around the villages of Killucan and neighbouring Rathwire and the postal town of Kinnegad during these years, and of the workings of a country parish. The latter were not restricted to performing services and guiding the souls of parisheners; the parish also had civic duties such as overseeing education and social welfare.

Here's a random selection of entries to whet your appetite:
  • The renouncement of Roman Catholicism by David Nealy of Grifinstown (sic) on 30 January 1731-2.
  • A list of the poor of the parish (most of them widows) among whom the sum of £7 2s 11d½ was publicly distributed on Easter Monday 1744.
  • Ann Robinson daughter of Daniell & Jane Robinson of Killucan wheelwright Baptized
    May the 29th 1774
  • Elizabeth Davidson (wife of Joseph Davidson of Kinagad weaver) being bred an Anabaptist and being dangerously sick, was baptised on Sunday October 1st 1710.
  • Mary McDonnell, daughter of Edward McDonnell and Joan his wife, was baptised Wednesday 23 March 1704. Godfather Oliver Flood. Godmothers Mrs Margery Flood and Mrs Catherine Moore.
  • Susanna Stoakes wife of Robert Stoakes (of Banagher farmer) died on Fryday March 19 and was buried in the chancell of Killuckan on Sunday March 21 1707
  • Collected for Elizabeth Boid on Sunday November 4 1705; by the consent of the Minister & churchwardens the sume of 2s 8d½ consideration her having been a sufferer in the siege of Londonderry.
The 394-page transcription is the work of Andrew Whiteside and can be downloaded in pdf format from the RCBL site. The landing page gives a lot of background research about the villages and the clergy, and is well worth reading before you get stuck into the transcription.