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Inhabitants of Scattery Island, Shannon Estuary, Co. Clare by Senan Scanlan

3.5 Inhabitants after 1840: Origins of Surnames

Origins of the other Surnames that were already on the island c1855
MacLysaght summarises these five Irish names as follows:
Hehir, the name of a Dalcassian sept which is numerous in Counties Clare and Limerick.
Faul or Fawl found in Clare: an abbreviation of Mulfaul and MacFaul.
Crotty, originally of Thomond, the majority of the sept migrated to east Munster.
Mahony, a well known sept of West Munster where the name is still mainly found.
Connors or O Connor the name of six distinct and important Irish septs.

The following soldiers together with a note of their origins were stationed on the island in 1851:[44]

Gunner Henry Baker, an English occupational surname first noted as William Le Bakere in the Pipe Rolls in 1177 in Norfolk[45]. Gunner John Clark, this common English name usually stands for O'Clery in Ireland[46]. Gunner James Domigan, a rare Irish surname in County Meath[47]. Gunner John Dougherty, a numerous Irish surname in Down, Antrim and Derry, a variant of Doherty[48]. Sergeant Alexander Fraser, a Scottish clan surname from de Frisselle, still common in Tweeddale their home and in Lothian[49]. Gunner Henry Ferguson, a Scottish surname an anglicised form of Mac Fergus widely scattered in Scotland, also numerous in Ulster[50]. Gunner David Graham, this Scottish name of Anglo-Norman origin, very numerous in Ulster, is used as an anglicised form of two Irish surnames, Gormely and Grehan[51]. Gunner James Roy, this English name, derived from the French roi king, is not numerous in Ireland where it is usually an abbreviation of MacIlroy[52]. The eight soldiers’ names divide into three English, three Scottish and two Irish.

Five further soldiers with English surnames were married the first two of them to McMahon sisters from the island and had children while based on Scattery as follows[53]. Gunner George Bloomfield surname first noted as William de Blunuill in 1207 in the Curia Regis Rolls in Suffolk. Sergeant Stephen Trowell surname first noted as Richard de Trowell in the 1204 Pipe Rolls in Nottinghamshire. Bombardier William Taylor, an occupational surname first noted as William le Taillier in the 1182 Pipe Rolls in Somerset. Master Gunner Thomas Drought, also Drouet or Druett first noted in 1206 in the Curia Regis Rolls in Suffolk. Gunner William Whiston first noted as Gilbert de Wiscand in the Domesday Book in 1086 in Suffolk. In addition soldiers with English surnames including Day, Lamb, and Williamson and with Scottish names Thompson and Lumsden together with three unusual English names Smeadley, Buckingham and Pennington are recorded in the Church Registers as serving with the Royal Artillery on the island.

To provide details of the inhabitants after 1840 the memorial inscriptions as outlined in section four together with the following four appendices are utilised:

  1. Scattery Graveyard Plan. (Chapter 4)
  2. Details and Pedigrees of the Main Families after 1840 AD. (Appendix I)
  3. Details of pilots and land division for Scattery Island. (Appendix II)
  4. Genealogical details of the main inhabitants after 1840 AD. (Appendix I)

The following outlines the information in this appendix starting with a brief description of the sources used: Kilrush Catholic Parish Register for Births Marriages and Deaths 1881 to 1905 at Parish Priest's house, Toler Street, Kilrush, Co Clare and microfilm copy of the register in the National Library Dublin reference p2487 (1827 to 1880). Church of Ireland Kilrush Parish Register for Births, Marriages and Deaths 1804 to 1841(Ref P25) in the Representative Church Body Library, Braemor Park, Churchtown, Dublin 14. & 1842 to 1892 at St Columba's Rectory, Bindon Street, Ennis. The 1901 and 1911 census for Scattery in the National Archives and at More than thirty copies of Births, Marriage and Death certificates obtained from the General Register Office were utilised to provide additional information such as occupations and names of parents. Research on War Office records at The National Archives Kew, London provided some details for the soldiers that lived on the island from 1814 to1891. The Pilot Books of the Limerick Harbour Commissioners at Limerick Archive, O’Connell Street, Limerick provided details of the inhabitants that were pilots. Memorial Inscriptions were also used to determine approximate dates of birth. The Registry of Deeds provided two useful deeds one relating directly to the island. The Valuation Office also provided useful dates and name changes in their post Griffith’s books. Some newspapers, the internet and a large variety of secondary sources were used to provide additional information and these sources are detailed in section seven finally oral family information also played an important role.

Genealogical records for Clare are scarce especially prior to registration in 1864 and this has caused some difficulties. Although the Kilrush Catholic Register starts in 1827 there are no records from 9/12/1831 to 13/01/1833 and townland and street names are omitted from Births until August 1836 and again between October 1848 and October 1854. Records for the relevant parishes in West Clare do not start until February 1853. In addition despite extensive research in The National Archives in London it was not possible to get comprehensive details for the soldiers as the records included all the other Batteries on the Shannon Estuary but no specific locations were listed for individual soldiers. Lack of records has left some outstanding questions such that it was not possible in some cases to determine if a relationship existed between two families with the same name that lived on the island at the same time. Accordingly this database should be taken to represent available information to date and it has concentrated on the years 1840 to 1900 and the details for the main inhabitants are presented in Appendix I in four sections as follows:

  1. The main families that settled on the island in 1844 and 1845 and the other inhabitants that already lived on the island at that time.
  2. Details of soldiers that lived on the island from 1814 to 1891.
  3. Details of Lighthouse Keepers from the start in 1873 to 1930s and details of fishermen from the 1901 and 1911 census.
  4. Details under a miscellaneous category of other inhabitants that lived on the island for short periods or had children registered, as born on the island, in the Kilrush Parish Registers.
The information is laid out under the following headings:

Name, first name, in alphabetical order for children, followed by surname.
Birth, date of birth if known or c yyyy if approximate date is known.
Marriage, date of marriage if known or c yyyy if approximate date is known.
Death, date of death if known or c yyyy if approximate date is known and where the name of the deceased appears on a memorial inscription the date is printed in red ink.
Occupation, where known is taken from censuses or General Register Office copy certificates.
The final column combines three headings as follows,
Comment and Sources Reference, sources are listed here and usually include the sponsors name for births/baptisms or witnesses’ names for marriages taken from the Catholic Registers or miscellaneous other genealogical related information. Where information originated from Church of Ireland Registers or other sources such as The National Archives in Kew these sources are detailed in this column. All the principal sources are listed as the end of the database and in addition appendix 10 includes copies of four major sources.
Grave Number, where this is known it is detailed in red ink and the grave numbers refer to the graveyard plan included in Appendix 9.
Age at Census 1901 / 1911 where inhabitants can be cross references to these censuses their ages are given usually as per the following example due to space constraints <19/30>. This indicates that the person was 19 in 1901 and 30 in 1911.

All information for each family starts with the earliest available references and where these cannot be verified more fully such information is given in italics together with a ?. An example is the first reference to a pilot named Scanlan is for a John Scanlan as a licensed pilot in 1825 comes from the book A Rising Tide and this name also comes from manuscript OPW 8/65 however no further supporting references can be found so this detail is given in italics together with a ?. The information for the main and other miscellaneous inhabitants is in alphabetical order while the soldiers and fishermen are in date order beginning at the earliest date. Below is a summary of the four sections of the database that details the inhabitants that occupied the island for a significant number of years from 1840 onwards. The Brennans had two families come to the island and are recorded on leases while both Faul families were on the island and are also recorded on leases. Both Moran families were on the island before 1840 but are not recorded on any early leases. The reason why a second Scanlan and McMahon family came to the island is not clear. Both second families were married c 1855 and had children born there before leaving again after a period of approximately ten years. They may have come to the island to escape the ravages of the famine in West Clare as they were probably related to the families already established on the island. Where there are two families recorded on the island the main family has been designated “first” and the other family designated “second” to distinguish both families in the database. Individuals may not have always been known by their Christian names, which have been taken from the registers, given the popularity of nicknames on the island. Accordingly in a minority of cases some nicknames have been included in the database to help identification.

Main Families
: the first and second families settled on the island and leased land in 1844
[54] and 1848 and both were involved in piloting, the relationship that existed between the two families when they settled on the island is not known and the second Brennan family left the island and moved to Dublin in the 1930s. A Patrick Brennan born c 1915 from Brennans first married Emily Brennan born c 1910 from Brennans second and it is therefore assumed that at this stage any blood relationship that existed between the families was diluted.
Costelloe: this family lived on the island for at least twenty years from 1848 to 1870 approx. and were described as farmers having started as perhaps a pilot.
Faul: the first and second families lived on the island from at least the early 1840s to c1890 again the relationship between these families is not known but it is likely that John a seaman who leased land in 1844 and Patrick a labourer who leased land in 1846 were brothers.
Griffin: this family settled on the island from 1844 until c 1960 and were all involved in piloting.
Hanrahan: the first settler was a pilot who leased land in 1844 and the second family were primarily seamen lived on the island from c 1866 to c 1930.
Hehir: this family were farmers and lived on the island from at least the early 1800s until c 1962.
McCarthy (Carthy): this family lived on the island from c1859 and are last recorded in the 1901 census.
McMahon: the first family settled on the island in 1844 and remained there until 1978 and they were pilots. McMahon second family lived on the island from c 1860 to c 1870 and were labourers and the relationship between both families is not known however no intermarrying took place between these families.
Melican: this family settled on the island in 1845 and remained on there until c 1962 and were principally involved in piloting. Another Melican family has been designated second as the exact relationship between both is not known.
Moran: the first and second families were on the island perhaps as one family from at least the early 1800s as their first grave number 79 states that Catherine Moran died in 01/02/1805. The exact relationship between these families is not known but no intermarrying took place. Both families had a significant number of seamen and fishermen, the Moran first family remained on the island until c1950 and the Moran second family left the island c 1940.
Scanlan: the first family settled on the island in 1845 and were involved in piloting and remained on the island until c1960 (Fauls). The Scanlan second family lived on the island from c1850 to c1860 and no intermarrying took place between these families.
Shepherd: this family lived on the island from c1865 to c1880.

The Scattery Battery was manned by soldiers of the Royal Artillery from 1814 to c 1860 and after time by the Coast Brigade until it was decommissioned in 1891. Information for the soldiers is given in date order and comes primarily from War Office records in The National Archives in Kew, London and from the Kilrush Parish Registers for the Catholic and the Church of Ireland Churches.

Gunner George Bloomfield married Bridget McMahon, a native of the island on the 17th July 1850 and Sergeant Stephen Trowell married Catherine McMahon a sister of Bridget's c 1858 both of these families moved to England. James Nolan married Ellen Scanlan on 09/08/1853 and Gunner Thomas McGowan married Bridget McCarthy c 1880 both girls were natives of the island. Mary Hehir another native married William Pennington and had a daughter Honora born on 10/03/1890. Details of these and other married soldiers and their children are given even where a small number of the children are noted as not born on Scattery. A number of other soldiers would appear to have married local girls as their spouses names include Connolly, Crotty, Kelly, Mahony, McInerney, McNamara, Quinlivan, Sullivan and Walsh all primarily either Clare or Munster names[55].

Details available for the soldiers from War Office records usually only contain name rank and number and year when they served on Scattery. The following is a summary list from the War Office records which were consulted at the archives in Kew, London. More complete records including relevant extracts from the Kilrush Catholic Parish Registers[56] and Kilrush Church of Ireland Registers[57] are detailed under the soldiers section in Appendix I.

Year Soldier Rank
1814[58]  Henry Keevy First Master Gunner appointed
1851[59]  George Bloomfield Gunner
1861[60]  Thomas Drought Master Gunner
  Stephen Trowell
1871[61]  James Enser Corporal
1877[62]  William Cooper Gunner
  John Driver Gunner
George Swanson Master Gunner
Table 8: Soldiers stationed on Scattery Island, 1814-1881

Lighthouse Keepers and Fishermen
The Lighthouse started operating on the 1st December 1872
[64] and one of the first lightkeepers was Bernard Sommers assisted by his wife Mary. They had four children born on Scattery between 1873 and 1879. A John Williams was the lightkeeper in 1891 and he gave a donation of 7s-6d to the Kilrush Memorial Altar[65]. In 1901 the Lighthouse was operated by John Redmond and his sister from County Meath and in 1911 by John French and his wife Ellen both from Wexford town. The following were Lightkeepers from 1919 to 1932:[66] John Moore 1919, Alfred Scott 1922, PJ O'Donnell 1926, George James 1929 and Alexander Murray 1932. All lightkeepers lived in a house built near the Lighthouse. In 1927 Senan O'Donnell son of PJ was born on the island and in 1993 he was appointed Bishop of Madiguiri in northern Nigeria following in the footsteps of St Senan, founder of the monastic island settlement and first bishop of Scattery.

Fishermen listed in the 1901 census include Robert McAllen, salmon fisher, and his wife Margaret who operated the weirs at the west of the island and lived in a purpose built house which included a specially built ice house nearby for storing the fish. The McAllens were natives of Tarbert in Northern Scotland. In addition Simon Mahony is also described as a salmon fisher, Martin Enright as a mackerel fisher and Michael Hennessy as a herring fisher. The 1911 census list Margaret McAllen and her brother John Simpson are listed as fishermen, Robert McAllen died on the 4th June 1911 and is buried on Scattery in grave number 43.

Miscellaneous Inhabitants
This section details the inhabitants in alphabetical order that are listed in the Kilrush Parish Registers with Scattery as their place of residence. The following is a list of the names of the heads of families and the approximate dates that they lived on the island:

Thomas Bonfill c 1840s,
Edward Colley c 1850s,
John Connors c 1840s,
Daniel Corbett c 1850s,
Denis Corbett c 1860s,
Daniel Corry (Coree) c 1830s,
James Corry c 1860s,
Patrick Corry c1840s,
John Crotty c 1840s,
Michael Crotty c 1830s,
Michael Crotty c 1870s,
Daniel Gorman c 1840s,
Pete Honnan c 1840s,
John Kelly c 1850s,
Thomas Lillis c 1870s,
Edward Long c 1850s,
John Mahony c 1840s,
Martin Mahony c 1850s,
Sinon Mahony c 1840s,
William McMullan c 1860s,
Thomas McNamara c 1840s.

It is likely that some of these families are related especially the Crottys, Mahonys and the Corrys/ (Coree) but due to the lack of early records it is not possible to positively identify any relationship between them.
At the end of the database a summary of the principal sources is listed.

Plan of Scattery Graveyard (Chapter 4)
This plan details and numbers the graves from 1 to 131 and should be utilised in conjunction with the actual inscriptions in section four to identify the individual graves.

Details of pilots and land division for Scattery Island (Appendix II)
This listing gives details of the pilots that lived on Scattery and were involved in piloting from 1843 to 1960 and also details a listing of pilots that were licensed in 1825. In addition it includes details of land leases for Scattery from the early 1840s to Griffith's Valuation of 1855.

Pedigrees of the Main Families of Scattery c 1840 to 1940 (Appendix I)
Pedigree sheets are given in Appendix I for the following families who spent up to one hundred years on the island: Brennans first and second, Griffins, Hehirs, McMahons, Melicans, Morans first and second and Scanlans. Unfortunately it was not possible due to lack of genealogical records to establish if there was any relationship between those families designated first and second. A brief summary of the main sources used is given with each pedigree.

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