The Tithe Applotment record for Fanningstown1 (click here to see the Tithe record) shows 75 acres in two plots held by “Browne Jno & Brothers.” The Tenure Book for Fanningstown identifies four men who are likely those brothers – John, James, Thomas, and our Timothy (Thady). It is also highly likely that this property was previously held by one man, the father of the “Browne brothers,” and that the property was divided equally among the sons according to the Penal Laws.2 The task, then, is to identify this man. Since John was specifically listed by name in the Tithe records, the suggestion is that he was the oldest of the sons.
Baptismal records for any of the sons would be the first place to look to identify a father. We know the marriage of Timothy Browne and Honora Kelly took place in early 1830 in Patrickswell RC church.3 Marriages were normally held in the bride’s parish. However, since their children were also baptized in this parish, and, we know the Browne brothers were living in this location, we should look in this parish for other church records. Records for Patrickswell begin in 1801; early for the area. Records for surrounding areas do not start until the 1820s, much later than Patrickswell.
|Lithograph of Fanningstown Castle from 1860 sales catalogue|
As indicated in the January 2004 letter from the Limerick Archives (click here to see previous post), no baptismal record was found for Timothy, or Thady, Browne, nor for any of the other brothers, John, James and Thomas in Patrickswell or the surrounding areas. I did find other records that alluded to the family. One was a marriage record for John Brown to Ellena Kelly in 1825. One of the witnesses was Patrick Brown. This couple had a child (John) baptized in March of 1826. The sponsors at the baptism were Thadeus Brown and Honora Kelly. This certainly suggests that John is one of the brothers, but, the witness at the marriage, Patrick, is probably not the father since the earlier Tithe record was already in the name of the Browne brothers indicating that the father was deceased by this time.
|Lithograph of Athlunkard House from 1860 sales catalogue|
Irish records for the 1700s and early 1800s are scarce. Another record set that covers the period is the Registry of Deeds. These records are associated not only with land records as the name would suggest, but, include sales, assignments or conveyances, rent charges, leases, mortgages, marriage settlements, and wills.9 Registration was not mandatory and most seem to be recorded where there was a need to provide legal evidence, as in the case of a land dispute, and probably excludes extremely poor people. A tenant holding 75 acres on a long term lease could hardly be labeled extremely poor, but, that does not guarantee that any “deeds” were recorded. There is an ongoing project, (Registry of Deeds Index Project 10) started in 2007, to index principle information in each “memorial;” however, to date, that project has covered about one half of all deeds. There are some entries in the project for the Jackson family that owned Fanningstown, but, it is undetermined if all of the geographic area was covered or only selected deeds associated with the family. A further search of the records is indicated. This will take quite awhile to accomplish.11