There are numerous tales of evictions in Ireland during the nineteenth century. Some families were evicted for not paying their dues, while others were removed to make way for the landlord’s own family. One Australian family, whose ancestors were Minogues from Ballyshrule (County Galway) who left Ireland in the early 1930s, paid the Irish Family History Centre (Dublin) a visit in April 2017. They had some family research completed, but were particularly interested on finding out if the rumour was true that their Minogue family had been removed from their farm so that the land could be gifted to a returning British Army officer who had served in the Boer War in South Africa.
Intrigued by the story, I started having a look at Griffith’s Valuation to see if the family were in the area of Ballyshrule at the time. No evidence was forthcoming. However, in the 1901 and the 1911 Irish censuses, I found members of the family living close by. I then decided to use the Petty Sessions records to see if their Minogue ancestor had been caught for a misdemeanour, such as having his animals on the road or in someone else’s field – anything that might confirm his location.
We struck genealogical gold. There was a report from the Galway Petty Sessions in which appeared a Thomas Minogue from Ballyshrule. The session report said that Thomas had been the caretaker of lands owned by the Most Noble Hubert George, Marquis Clanricarde of Portumna Castle, and the report went on to say that Thomas did ‘refuse or omit to quit and deliver up possession of the said premises’.
So, in the space of about 30 minutes, we found good supporting evidence that the Minogue family rumour was true.
By Gerard Leen