The information on these pages relates to my paternal ancestors and
descendants of John Casey, Mary Holmes, Denis Howard and Mary Ryan of
Tubber (Tobar, in Irish), County Clare, Ireland. Tubber lies in the
West of Ireland on the Clare/Galway border. Part of it is in Clare and
part in Galway. The Tubber post office has moved back and forth over
the county border in the last 100 years and is now in Galway. Part of
Tubber is in the parish of Kilkeedy (Co. Clare) and part in the parish
of Beagh (Co. Galway). The name Tobar means "well" and there
is indeed a holy well in Tubber, that of Tobereendoney. Tubber must
have been a bustling place 165 years ago with a population of 4,975
in 1841. However, by 1911 the population had fallen to 996 and in 1991
it had fallen to 565, which was only 56% of the 1911 figure and just
14% of the 1841 census. The population of Tubber at the moment is about
The information on the old families of Tubber is, despite extensive
research, incomplete because the families retained few written records.
To complicate matters, official Irish records of births, deaths and
residence were - partly as a result of the turbulence of the times -
fragmentary in the 19th century. Records of Catholic christenings and
burials were partly kept by parish priests and archived unsystematically
by them or regional ecclesiastical bodies. Centrally archived records
were destroyed en masse in a fire at the Dublin records office in 1922.
To top it all, political oppression, systematic evictions and frequent
mass famines in the 19th century caused many people to move without
leaving a forwarding address. Others were cast into mass graves on their
death, leaving no archived record of their existence and demise. Nevertheless,
and partly thanks to the Internet, my research has sometimes hit paydirt
in unexpected places. An example is that of Thomas Casey (see below)
who emigrated from Tubber to Australia around the end of the 19th century,
enlisted in the British army in WW1, and was killed in France. Via the
Internet I was able to obtain 30 pages (!) of his military records from
the Australian archives.
Currently my earliest recorded male ancestor is John Casey. One proof
of his existence, and that of his wife, Mary Casey (née Holmes),
is a record of the baptism of their son, Michael, in Tubber in 1836.
I suspect that their family was much larger and that the majority died
prematurely, emigrated or were transported in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s.
Grounds for this assumption lie in the census data of their townland,
Shanballysallagh. In 1841 the population was 212; in 1851 it was 61.
John Casey's existence has also been documented by a Death Register
entry of 1876 which gave his age at death as 80 years, suggesting that
he was born around 1796.
This data collection project has been a collaborative effort of numerous
members of the family who supplied documents, reminisced, and humored
me as I jogged their memories and scribbled. The work has been greatly
simplified by the information facilities provided online by the Clare
County Library at www.clarelibrary.ie. These facilities are unique to
County Clare and, among other things, cover a wide spectrum of information
relating to Clare families and their diaspora - census data, social
and political history, folklore, archaeology, photographs, maps, you
name it. I also received help from the Clare Heritage Centre in Corofin.
An extraordinarily rich source of information has been the book "The
Parish of Kilkeedy - a local history" compiled by Frank Brew of
Castlequarter, Tubber. This book contains a wealth of contributions
from local people and I am very grateful to them for taking the time
to record their memories. Frank Brew passed on in March 2005. My cousin
Teenie O'Grady, née Casey, of Tubber had an almost biblical memory
of the Tubber families and their comings and goings. She filled in many
gaps and often directed my searches to more fruitful lodes. Hers was
usually the first phone number I would try when needing pointers on
the genealogy of a Tubber family. Teenie passed on in March 2005. Mike
Rose of Brassington in Derbyshire, an expert on the military side of
family history, gave a lot of direction to my search for the members
of the family who had fought and, in at least one case, died in the
two world wars. Various total strangers responded out of the blue to
my requests for help and information on the Internet. Some of them supplied
me with key data on our family - names, dates, places, events, repositories
of information - which either confirmed, refuted, or expanded on the
family lore and in many cases allowed me to target my research more
precisely. Some spontaneously conducted searches for me at no cost.
I have constantly been amazed at this pool of goodwill out there on
the Internet. It stands in stark contrast to some of the commercial
genealogical facilities and websites which request large fees.
For many years I had wondered about the fate of a member of the family,
George Casey, who had left Tubber in the latter half of the 19th century
and, so the family lore went, emigrated to Australia. Substantial research
effort had failed to reveal anything useful about this individual. Then,
in the autumn of 2002, to my total amazement I received a phone call
from an Australian lady, Helen Shogren, née Casey, who told me
that she is a descendant of this George Casey and my second cousin one
time removed. Whilst I had been ploughing my furrow over the years Helen
had been ploughing a parallel one on the other side of the world. She
has documented George Casey's Australian branch of the family and accumulated
many other items of data on the Casey families of Tubber.
Then an e-mail came from Mary Ann Howard in Needham, Massachusetts,
USA, announcing that she is a descendant of the Howards of Tubber and
thus a cousin of mine. Mary Ann, like Helen, has collected a large amount
of family information over the years (and, like Helen, has pilgrimaged
to Tubber) and she has been passing her data to me for inclusion in
this our common database.
In May 2003 the New World Caseys finally came to light. We had long
been fairly sure that at least two members of the family emigrated to
the US around the beginning of the 20th century and research in various
New England archives provided tantalizing evidence of their possible
identities and abodes. Then, when visiting Tubber in May 2003 I called
on cousin Pa Howard, a descendant of Denis Howard of Moyrhee. Pa mentioned
that some years previously he had had a visit from Emily Bunker of Gonic,
New Hampshire, and that she was descended from the Caseys of Moyrhee.
He gave me her address, I called her on the phone, she confirmed that
she was the daughter of William Edmond Casey, who emigrated from Tubber
to the US, and another set of genealogical floodgates opened. She informed
her nephew Paul Joseph Casey who had been documenting the Casey diaspora
on that side of the Atlantic and he then sent me a whole genealogical
tree of New England Caseys. Emily followed on with a thick wad of death
and marriage certificates, photos, and facts and data. The rest will,
as they say, be history. The team was then joined by Elaine Maynes,
née Ross, a great-granddaughter of Denis Howard of Tubber. Elaine
lives in Massachusetts, the headquarters of the Casey-Howard diaspora
in the USA, and pumped her Howard data into the collection. At the end
of 2005 Michael Kelleher, a Casey descendant who had seen the website,
mailed me and told me about a family cluster that I had long been looking
for. His data has now been added.
The data presented here is now a combination of Helen's and Mary Ann's
and Paul's and Emily's and Elaine's and Michael's and mine plus items
from the other major contributors listed above.
User IDs: each person listed on these pages is tagged with a so-called
User ID. This is simply a number allotted to each person in my family
tree so as to give that person a unique identifier, i.e. to differentiate
between the various Patrick Caseys, Denis Caseys, John Caseys, etc.
Patrick Casey, Switzerland