Who was the Irish interpreter in Monterey in 1822?

Who was the Irish interpreter in Monterey in 1822?

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Kirill Khlebnikov was a Russian business agent who made several visits to Alta California. His "Travel Notes" from 1822 describe Khlebnikov's visit to Governor Sola in Monterey, who sent for "the Irish interpreter". (I think this means that their discussion was held in English.)

Who was the Irish interpreter?

Apparently John Mulligan, our Irishman from this question, was a man of many talents( and a couple of names).

From Forgotten Pioneers: Irish Leaders in Early California By Thomas F. Prendergast

Milligan acted as interpreter, as noted in the State papers

From The Irish Cultural Directory for Southern California - Page xvii

In March 1816, he acted as an interpreter when the captain of the Lydia was tried at Monterey on a charge of smuggling.

From Indians and Pioneers of Old Monterey

John Mulligan, or Milligan, the Irish weaver, may have arrived on the same occasion… an Irish resident, appears in 1 8 1 6 as interpreter for some English-speaking visitors.

Rosegarland House

FRANCIS MacLAOISIGH, MacLYSACH, MacLYE, or LYE, petitioned for a lease of the dissolved monastery town and lands of Killeigh, near Geashill, King's County, in 1551, and obtained a lease of them the following year.

Two months later, in 1552, he obtained a grant of English liberty to enable him to hold the lands.

He married the daughter of John O'Carrol, and had issue,

Francis MacLaoighsigh or Lye was dead in 1573, and his lands were in possession of his eldest son,

JOHN MacLAOISIGH or LYE , who having a perfect knowledge of the English language as well as the Irish, was appointed Interpreter to the State, and was granted for his services as interpreter, in 1584, in the reign of ELIZABETH I , the fee of the monastery of Killeigh, which he then held under the lease of his father, and obtained a grant of Rathbride, County Kildare, dated 1591.

This gentleman married Amy, daughter of George FitzGerald, of Tircroghan, County Meath, and sister of Sir Edward FitzGerald, Knight, of the same place, and had issue,

He died in 1612, and was buried at Kildare Cathedral, where his tombstone still remains.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN LEIGH , of Rathbride, who with mother having alienated some of his father's lands, got a pardon for alienation dated 1613.

He had by his wife, whose name was Dowdall, the following issue,

John Leigh died abroad and intestate. Administration was granted in 1660 to his eldest son,

FRANCIS LEIGH , of Rathbride, Escheater-General of Leinster in 1663, MP for Kildare, 1689.

Having supported JAMES II , Leigh was attainted of high treason in 1691, when all his lands were forfeited.

He espoused, in 1662, Judith, daughter of Henry Spencer, and had issue,

FRANCIS LEIGH , of Rathangan, County Kildare, succeeded his brother in the Wexford estate, and became of Rosegarland.

He married firstly, in 1699, Alice, widow of John Rawlins, of Rathangan, by whom he had no issue and secondly, Miss Carew, and had issue,

Mr Leigh died in 1727, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN LEIGH (c1703-58), of Rosegarland, MP for New Ross, 1727-58, who wedded, in 1727, Mary, daughter of John Cliffe, of Mulrancan, County Wexford, and had issue,

Mr Leigh was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT LEIGH DL (1729-1802), of Rosegarland, MP for New Ross, 1759-1800, Lieutenant-Colonel, Wexford Militia, 1763, who espoused, in 1750/1, Arabella, daughter of Robert Leslie, of Glaslough, County Monaghan, and had issue,

Mr Leigh was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS LEIGH (1758-1839), of Rosegarland, Collector of Wexford, 1794, Sovereign or Mayor of New Ross, 1799, who married, in 1788, Grace, daughter of Richard Baldwin, and had issue,

Mr Leigh, MP for Wexford Borough, 1785-1800, Wexford, 1801, New Ross, 1821-24, was succeeded by his grandson,

FRANCIS AUGUSTINE LEIGH JP DL (1822-1900), of Rosegarland, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1867, Lieutenant, 10th Hussars, who wedded Augustine, daughter of Monsieur Charles Perrier, of Metz, Lorraine, France, and had issue,

Mr Leigh was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS ROBERT LEIGH JP (1853-1916), of Rosegarland, 3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, who espoused, in 1903, Elizabeth Scott, daughter of Barton Bell, of Black Hall, Lanark, and had issue,

ROSEGARLAND HOUSE, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, is an early 18th century house comprising two storeys and a high basement.

It stands beside an old tower house, once the seat of the Synnotts.

In the late 1700s, a bigger two-storey, gable-ended range was added at right angles to the original mansion house thus providing the building with a seven-bay front.

There is a fine doorway with fanlight and columns.

To the rear of the house there is a notable office courtyard, close to the old tower-house which was transformed into a kind of folly, with crenellated turrets.

The estate today is renowned for its equestrian and shooting activities and extends to 650 acres.

The house itself is private, though self-catering accommodation is available to rent.

David Jacks and Monterey Jack Cheese

David Jacks' story begins in Crief, Scotland, located 40 miles northeast of Edinburgh, where he was born in 1822. Letters written to Jacks by his sister years later portray life in Crief as bleak. It is no wonder David Jacks immigrated to America in 1841, at the age of 19, to join his two older brothers who had already established themselves as shopkeepers on Long Island. He ventured out on his own in the mid 1840s, finding employment at Brooklyn's Fort Hamilton, overlooking New York Harbor.

"Robert E. Lee, then a young captain of army engineers, was stationed at the Fort during those years, and David Jacks could remember Captain Lee's visits to the shop to inspect caisson wheels" (Bestor 1945:6). It was 1848, while a civilian employed by a wheelwright at Fort Hamilton, that David Jacks heard news of the discovery of gold in California. Jacks joined the rush to California two months later. "As an accountant, he found employment with a sutler attached to the 3rd Regiment of Artillery, and he sailed with them around the Horn, leaving New York in November 1848 and reaching California in April 1849" (Bestor 1945:6). He spent the rest of the year aiding the 3rd Artillery in the collection of customs revenues. "On 3 December 1849 Jacks was legally naturalized in San Francisco" (Bestor 1945:6). Resisting the lure of gold, David Jacks traveled to Monterey by sea, arriving New Year's Day, 1850. "Monterey was his home for the rest of his life" (Bestor 1945:6).

There are no documented records, but the Jacks' family tradition tells us that David Jacks' first job in Monterey was as a clerk in Joseph Boston's store--the building knows as Casa de Oro. The building was originally constructed by Thomas Larkin, who sold it to Jose Abrego, who in turn rented the building to Joseph Boston. The Boston Store served many purposes: it was first a general store and because one of Boston's partners was the deputy tax collector the store became the depository for county taxes. It was there too, that David Jacks, the clerk, dealt with miners who brought their gold dust into Boston's store in condor quills. Hence, the name Casa de Oro. The Boston Store was David Jacks' first Monterey home. After putting in his day's work, ". he pulled his bedding out from under the counter and slept in the shop" (Bestor 1945:7). The 1855, David Jacks bought Casa de Oro from Jose Abrego. "By 1851 we find David Jacks in the employ of James McKinlay, a fellow Scotsman. " (Bestor 1945:7). McKinlay's place of business was in the Pacific Building, where he had a grocery and dry goods store. McKinlay also loaned money and sold real estate. ". David Jacks was entrusted with considerable responsibility in handling his employer's affairs" (Bestor 1945:7).

Correspondence between McKinlay and Jacks shows Jacks to be an invaluable employee. Not only did he take care of all McKinlay's local business while he was away, sometimes for months at a time, but he took care of his personal business as well. In 1869, David Jacks bought the Pacific Building from D.R. Ashley. For reasons of security, he didn't put title to the Pacific Building in his own name until 1880. Within his first two years in Monterey, David Jacks proved himself a talented and successful businessman. "As early as 1852 Jacks was chosen Treasurer of the County of Monterey" (Bestor 1945:10). His foremost interest, however, was in the acquisition of land. "As early as 1852 his name appeared in the register of deeds of Monterey County as the purchaser of half a league of land from an Indian, and there is evidence that his transactions in land began during his very first year in Monterey.

The Official register of mortgages shows that as early as 1851 Jacks was lending money on the security of land, and a number of his acquisitions were made through foreclosure. Jacks also followed tax sales carefully" (Bestor 1945:10). The land acquisition that would give David Jacks a "black eye" for the rest of his life was his purchase of the pueblo lands of the City of Monterey. ". the confusion that occurred was largely due to the Mexican land titles that existed at the time of the transfer of California to American Sovereignty, by the treaty of February 2, 1848" (Bestor 1945:11).

William C. Jones, a confidential agent of the United States Government, who was sent to California in 1849-1850 for the purpose of procuring information as to the circumstances of the land titles wrote: There were not, as far as I could learn, any regular surveys made of grants in California up to the time of the cessation of the former government. There was no public or authorized surveyor in the country. Strictness of written law required that they should have been made by exact measurement, with written titles, and a record of them kept. In the rude and uncultivated state of the country that then existed, and lands possessing so little value, these formalities were no doubt to great extent disregarded and if not then altogether disregarded, the evidence of their observance in many cases now lost (Bestor 1945:2). For this reason, ". the cost of defending a claim was great many legitimate grants were forfeited and others changed hands at bargain-sale prices" (Bestor 1945:12). David Jacks, a businessman, would take advantage of these opportunities.

The Monterey pueblo, by special concession from the Spanish crown, was entitled to more than the four square leagues [about 4,400 acres] of land generally allotted. The Monterey pueblo was approximately 30,000 acres, whereas most pueblos were approximately 20,000 acres. In order for the trustees of Monterey to clear title to the 30,000 acre pueblo, they retained Delos Rodeyn (D.R.) Ashley, the city attorney. He petitioned the U.S. land commissioners and the U.S. courts for the board of trustees on March, 2, 1853, ". praying for a confirmation of the pueblo grant to the pueblo of Monterey, and a decree was made accordingly on January 22, 1856, confirming its title" (Bestor 1945:13). An appeal by the United States was taken and then dismissed on June 16, 1858. "On January 24, 1859, said Ashley presented to the trustees of the city of Monterey a claim amounting to $991.50 for services as its attorney in presenting such pueblo claim to the commissioners. The claim was approved and allowed. " (Bestor 1945:14). However, there was no money in the coffers to pay Ashley. The city trustees, according to the act incorporating Monterey, passed a resolution dictating the sale of the pueblo lands to raise the necessary money to pay Ashley's claim. "Notice was given announcing the sale and the sale was held. in accordance with the notice" (Bestor 1945:14).

The entire pueblo tract was bid on by D.R. Ashley and David Jacks successfully for $1,002.50, ". the amount of indebtedness and the necessary expenses of sale no one offering to purchase less than the whole, or bid a higher amount" (Bestor 1945:14). On September 4, 1869, D.R. Ashley yielded his interest in the Monterey pueblo land to David Jacks for $500.00. From the beginning the trustees were criticized for transferring ownership of the lands belonging to the city for the purpose of paying its debts. Suits were filed and the case was eventually taken to the California Supreme Court. "This question--whether the pueblo lands were held in trust by the City of Monterey in such a way as to render their sale to Ashley and Jacks illegal--constituted the principal issue before the courts" (Bestor 1945:6). The decision was handed down in favor of Jacks. "In the end, the case was carried to the Supreme Court of the United States" (Bestor 1945:16), which on July 11, 1903 handed down a decision in favor of Jacks. By this time, David Jacks had acquired another 30,000 acres of Monterey County, making the Monterey pueblo lands only half of his 60,000 acres. "The bitterness of the land controversies of the day tended. to be directed against David Jacks" (Bestor 1945:17). The argument was not just a theoretical discussion, but a flaming economic battle.

David Jacks' opponents considered him a "landshark" while he considered his opponents (ranchers and farmers, who had been living on the land in controversy) "Squatters." Among Jacks' documents was a letter from "The Executive Committee of the Squatters League of Monterey County" (Bestor 1945:17) which threatened his life. Robert Lewis Stevenson, in Across the Plains, wrote: Kearny is a man too well known in California, but a word of explanation is required for English readers. Originally an Irish drayman, he rose, by his command of bad language, to almost dictatorial authority in the State throned it there for six months, his mouth full of oaths, gallowses, and conflagrations. It was while he was at the top of his fortune that visited Monterey with his battle-cry against Chinese labor, the railroad monopolists, and the land-thieves and his one articulate counsel to the Montereyans was to "hang David Jacks" (Bestor 1945:18).

David Jacks could not travel anywhere in Monterey County without his bodyguards. "As far as can be determined, he never broke any law" (Stone 1989). But he may not have been as ethical as he could have been either. Many believe he took advantage of the Spanish and Mexican rancheros. When their books were insolvent, Jacks was always willing to lend them money, but at the same time he was always ready to foreclose. He would post a foreclosure notice in the most inconspicuous place and "If the owners were Spanish-speaking, the notice was in English, and if English-speaking, in Spanish" (McGinty 1967). It was said that local rancheros who lost their lands to Jacks placed an "Indian curse" on him and his family, so ". the seeds of his greed would not spread beyond his children" (Costello 1963). The desire was that he leave no descendants to enjoy the harvest of his, so called, greed. At the same time, Jacks was a benevolent contributor and benefactor. "David Jacks was deeply interested in higher education, as well as in religious and adult education" (Bestor 1945:31). He served on the University of the Pacific Board of Trustees. (University of the Pacific was then located between San Jose and Santa Clara.) "He was the joint donor of its observatory furnished with a telescope he contributed $5,000 for the erection of a new building in the 1880s and he was the man to whom the University frequently turned in times of stringency" (Bestor 1945:31).

In 1875, Jacks donated the land and financially backed the Pacific Grove Methodist Retreat. The Pacific Grove Retreat was "not merely to hold a religious meeting, but to afford a summer resort for Christian people--a place of recreation as free as possible from the follies and vices of the fashionable watering places" (Bestor 1945:31). At the end of his life, ". he prided himself on being the oldest Sunday-school teacher in continuous service in the state, with fifty years to his credit" (Bestor 1945:29). He was generous to foreign missions in Asia and never forgot his family and friends back in Crief, coming to their rescue financially on numerous occasions. An enterprise that ". contributed directly to the prosperity of Monterey County and its agricultural interests" (Bestor 1945:24) was the Monterey and Salinas Valley narrow gauge railway. Of the total $375,000 cost, David Jacks "sank" $75,000 "borrowed on his ranchos in Chualar and Zanjones" (Stone 1989). He was also the--unpaid--treasurer of the railroad. The intent of the railroad was to "force the Southern Pacific to reduce freight rates on grain to San Francisco by offering an alternative outlet from Salinas--via rail to Monterey and then via steamship from Monterey" (Bestor 1945:19).

David Jacks was married to Maria Soledad de Romie, who was often seen giving food away to the needy. They had seven children, five daughters and two sons. "He gave his children the best, but drew only $150.00 a month salary for himself" (Costello 1963). His two sons and two of his daughters married. When Jacks died in 1909, his estate was passed on to his family. David Jacks had no grandchildren, so ". when the last of the family, Miss Margaret Jacks, died in 1962 millions of dollars had been dispersed to California colleges and universities" (Stone 1989).

Gifts to the City of Monterey were: the Pacific House, Casa de Oro, and Don Dahvee Park (Don Dahvee was the name David Jacks was called by the Mexicans who were in his employ and by his close friends). "The lands now part of Jacks Peak Park were also returned to the city a little over one-hundred years after Jacks bought them in February, 1858, on the steps of Colton Hall" (Stone 1989). "Carmel Martin, a prominent attorney in Monterey once noted, 'The Jacks' land deal was a terrible thing, but it was the best thing that ever happened to Monterey and the Peninsula.' His point was that David Jacks held on to the land he purchased, . selling it in large tracts rather than subdividing" (Stone 1989). In this way he encouraged planned growth, which was advantageous to the Monterey area in the long run. Although the legacy of David Jacks and his land dealings are controversial, from that can be determined in researching the man, his real estate acquisitions, and the end result, one living or visiting here today would find it difficult to argue with Carmel Martin.

Most of the information on David Jacks came from the book David Jacks of Monterey, and Lee L. Jacks, His Daughter, by Arthur Eugene Bestor, Jr. This edition of only 105 copies was printed for private distribution in 1945. This thoroughly researched and documented biography can be found in the California Room of the Monterey Public Library. Other important information comes from the Noticias del Puerto de Monterey, a quarterly bulletin of historic Monterey issued by the Monterey History and Art Association, as well as from articles in the clippings files of the Pacific Grove and Monterey Public Libraries.


Kevin Myers stated during an Irish Times May 23 rd , 2002 that from the Crimea we receive glimpses of an Ireland that is now perfectly vanished. Philip O ‘Flaherty – a soldier with the 7 th Foot, a fluent linguist plus a Presbyterian from Co. Mayo wrote to his mentor, Rev Michael Brannigan while he attempted to spread ‘England’s Religion’ to the Turks. [xxi]

Unable to access information re his family in Mayo. Perhaps readers may have the required information.

Volume 33 - Issue 131 - May 2003

Research Article

Interpreters and the politics of translation and traduction in sixteenth-century Ireland

The story of late Tudor Ireland is, in part, a story of language. The political and military developments that brought New English and native Irish into a closer and increasingly violent proximity also brought two languages into confrontation. The issue of language difference became caught up in the wider conflict: the Irish language joined glibs, brehons and pastoral nomadism as yet another element in the Elizabethans’ dystopic assessment of Gaelic Ireland in turn, the promotion of English — and the linguistic colonisation which that entailed — assumed its place in their agenda of conquest. Leaving aside larger questions of policy and ideology, language itself — and the experience of language difference — was part of the texture of that encounter. Yet the question of precisely how exchanges across the language frontier were managed has been largely ignored. The misunderstandings between Elizabethan newcomers and the Gaelic Irish were, at their simplest level, literal.

The Rockite movement in County Cork in the early 1820s

Chronic rural disturbances have featured prominently in the modern history of Ireland. In particular, the period from the 1760s to the 1830s witnessed frequent and widespread disturbances, ranging over several counties and lasting for years. The disturbers — contemporaries sometimes called them ‘Whiteboys’ — were often sworn into secret societies which operated at night under the command of a mythical leader, known variously as Captain Right, Captain Steel or Captain Rock. Historical scholarship has shed light on many of these disturbances. However, the Rockites in the south of Ireland in the early 1820s remain somewhat mysterious. Although this was the only instance of rural unrest in Munster in the early 1820s, the Rockite movement nonetheless constituted one of the most extensive and serious rural disturbances in Ireland before the Famine. Five regiments of troops were dispatched from Britain, ‘for the purpose of putting down actual, & most formidable Danger in Ireland’, as the home secretary admitted. The Insurrection Act, with its curfew at night and trial without jury, was introduced into eight counties, and in its first year the act brought to trial more than 1,500 men in Munster, of whom more than 200 were convicted and transported. In County Cork, where the movement was at its most formidable, open engagements between thousands of the Rockites and the military occurred in several places, while incendiarism prevailed to an extent unprecedented in the history of Irish agrarian disturbances. The special commissions appointed in February 1822, specifically to try Rockites in the county, convicted thirty-six men of capital crimes.

Personal letters and the organisation of Irish migration to and from New Zealand, 1848–1925

Between 1840 and 1914 approximately a third of a million people left Ireland for Australasia. Of this total, New Zealand received a comparatively meagre amount. For instance, when the Irish peaked in sheer numbers in New Zealand in 1886, they supplied just 51,408 of the country’s total population of half a million. Despite such low numbers in comparison with those arriving in other destinations in the Irish diaspora, investigation of the Irish in New Zealand has flourished during the last decade or so. This recent historiography, however, lacks the sustained intensity and depth of work exemplified in other regions of settlement in the diaspora from Ireland. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made in central issues such as the critical importance of kin and neighbourhood networks in the processes of relocation and adaptation from Ireland to New Zealand.

Venereal disease and the politics of prostitution in the Irish Free State

This article is intended primarily as a contribution to work on the regulation of sexuality in modern Ireland, but, more generally, it attempts to situate the Irish experience within a wider problematic concerning the relations of state and society in the regulation of prostitution. The regulation of sexuality in early twentieth-century Ireland has been a focus of concern for feminist historians in particular, and recent work has clearly demonstrated the salience of questions of gender and sexuality for the politics of the Saorstát. This article is directed at these same concerns, elaborating on a series of proposals to regulate prostitution in the Free State in the mid-1920s. But when discussing prostitution or sex work, the word ‘regulation’ can be used in a quite specific sense, ‘regulationism’ referring to the argument that the state should control venereal disease by registering prostituted women, inspecting them for signs of communicable venereal disease, and incarcerating the contagious in order to protect the health of both nation and state. The history of ‘regulationist’ policies in Europe and beyond allows a point of comparison by which we may understand the specifics of Ireland’s situation in the post-revolutionary era. The history of regulationism, in this technical sense, is a particularly useful context, not least because such policies amply acknowledge ‘the enduring power of the state as the author and executor of regulation’. Particularly important, in ways that suggest a direct parallel to the Irish experience in the early twentieth century, is the coextensive experience of state formation and the regulation of sex work, the most notable example being that of modern Italy.

Roman Catholic baptism, marriage & burial records

The bad news is that, as a result of restrictions placed on Irish Catholics from 1550 until the Emancipation Act of 1829, proper record keeping was difficult and potentially dangerous for priests and their congregations, and only a small proportion of Roman Catholic baptism, marriage and burial registers survive from before the 1820s.

There are some real highlights, however.

A number of urban registers date back to the mid-1700s – examples include St Mary's in Limerick City (from 1745)and St Catherine's in Dublin (from 1740).

Even some small rural RC parishes managed to keep their registers more or less intact from these early days. 

Quick Links and Related Pages

Examples of the latter include Wicklow (1747), Nobber in Co. Meath (1754) and Kilkerley in Co. Louth (1752).

But the very oldest Irish Catholic records leap back almost another century registers survive for Wexford Town since 1671.

Admittedly, the legibility of these registers is poor for the first 15 years or so, and there are quite a few gaps in coverage across the centuries, but if your Catholic ancestors hailed from this town you have a real chance of being able to trace your family history over four centuries.

That's exceptional for Irish genealogy.

In general, the oldest records hail from the more prosperous and anglicised eastern half of the island. Registers for more densely populated and poorer parishes in the west and north usually do not start until the mid-19th century.

Of course, the poorer areas were also those that supplied the greatest numbers of emigrants, which means that the descendants of those that left Ireland are the most likely to be frustrated by the lack of Catholic records.

Fortunately, the majority of Roman Catholic baptism and marriage registers date from the first quarter of the 19th century ie some 40 years before the Irish civil registration system began. When it comes to burial registers, the picture is rather more patchy (see below).

Roman Catholic baptism registers

Surviving Roman Catholic baptism records usually record the date of baptism, the child's name, the father's name in full, the mother's first name and maiden surname, the name of any godparents (sponsors) and the residence of the parents. Unfortunately, this latter element does not always appear.

The inclusion of the mother's full maiden name, however, is the norm, unlike in Church of Ireland' registers.

This is a huge boon to Irish genealogists because it means you can be confident you are correctly matching each of the couple's children. In areas where surnames are especially common, this would not otherwise be the case. It also means you can trace your family history on your maternal lines as easily as your paternal lines.

(Well, that's the theory, at least. It isn't always so easy in practice!)

Roman Catholic marriage registers

Most marriages took place in the bride's 'mother' church, ie the place where she was baptised. The wedding ceremony was usually held in the afternoon or early evening, and Christmas Eve and St Stephen's Day (26 December) were popular dates.

A marriage entry typically includes the first name, surname, age, father's name and occupation, and place of residence for each of bride and groom. In addition, the address of the church where the ceremony took place is provided, as is the name of the officiating priest, and the names of two witnesses.

The latter are often a brother or best friend of the groom and a sister or best friend of the bride but this is not always the case.

The place of residence was sometimes omitted in earlier registers but after the 1860s this became rarer because priests were provided with new registers which included a section for addresses.

Roman Catholic burial registers

Less than one-third of Ireland's surviving 325 burial registers date from the 19th century and about half don't start until after 1850. For example, each of Co. Longford's 20 parishes has a surviving burial register, the earliest dating from 1782, the latest starting in 1853/4.

Compare that with Co. Cork, the island's largest county, where no burial registers survive, and Co. Clare, where only one register survives and that covering less than four years from 1844.

Where they do survive, Catholic burial registers contain only the name of the deceased and the date of burial. That's it. Which is why they are not of much value genealogically.

Don't forget to check the burial registers of the local Church of Ireland if you can't find what you are looking for in the Catholic register.

Tips for researching Irish Roman Catholic records

In the 19th century, new Catholic parishes were created (you can find out more about parishes on the Irish land divisions page). As a result, the starting dates given for may registers may not look very promising. Don't be put off.

Many parishes changed their original geographical spread so you may well find there are earlier records for your ancestors' locality in the registers of an adjoining parish. Getting to know the geography of your ancestor's place of origin is therefore time well spent.

Correctly identifying the parish of your ancestors can be tricky and the only readily available help is Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. This was published in 1837, just one year after Catholic emancipation ie just as the Catholic Church became free to expand. As such, the information may have been superseded. None the less, it is a good place to start.

Be especially relaxed about the spellings of names in Roman Catholic baptism, marriage and burial registers. Before the 20th century, only a small proportion of Irish people could read and write, and there was no standardised spelling of names such as there is now. With so many regional and local dialects, even phonetical spellings of the same name can show huge variation.

See the Quick Links & Related Pages menu boxes above. The most relevant pages for those seeking Irish Roman Catholic ancestors are:

RC records online , which focuses on the National Library of Ireland's register images collection and the indexes that link to it

Irish Church Registers overview Part 2 , which deals with finding records from all denominations

Latin in Irish RC records , a page that will help you translate the records if they were written in Latin. 

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide

Written by the creator of  Irish Genealogy Toolkit ਊnd  Irish Genealogy News , 'The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide' is full of advice, tips and strategies to ease what can be a challenging journey.

Its guidance will be useful to any researcher of Irish heritage, but especially for the target Irish-American researcher who's struggling to work back to Ireland from their immigrant ancestor.

McCain's Corner

Most likely Scottish or Scots-Irish not Irish. Mother was married in a Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe not a Roman Catholic church and fought for an Englishman and a Scotsman(Presbyterian) in the Lincoln County War,against Irish Roman Catholics. His mothers favorite dance was the Highland Fling which is a Scottish dance not Irish.
Even one of his aliases Billy Bonney was a play on Bonny Scotland. Not Irish,not by a long shot!

Frank, would have to disagree with you. He spoke Gaeilge, acted as translator for a family from Cork. I have read some who suggest his family 'may' have been from Antrim, but have never been able to confirm that. I place no importance on his religion myself, many native Irish were Protestant. I work in the field and see quite a few native Irish Presbyterian families, especially in the Bann Valley (Antrim) and in the Lagan (Donegal). His surname native Irish and his language Gaeilge, and many Irish dance Highland dances. My own family Scots-Irish, but were Irish speaking when they migrated to the Colonies (1718). Not uncommon.

McCarty and its variants are commonplace in West Cork. It is the ancestral seat of the McCarthys at Blarney Castle. I have McCarthy forebears in and around Clonakilty

It seems that coming over in the 1870 mary would speak english as the irish language was outlawed that that's why they had hedge schools long before the late 1800's

I think the point that the Gaelic cultures and languages were far less divergent in 1718 than they are in 2016 is being lost here. Billy the Kid was a Gael! That's the only important part!

Barry is surely correct. At the time Billy the Kid was growing up in rural Ireland many - maybe most - people would still have spoken Irish as their first language. Indeed there would have been a significant minority who were mono-lingual speakers of Gaelige.

Your cultures are fascinating, just thinking, it would be great if they could get Billy Mc Cartys DNA after readying alot of Billy Books, he got around quite a bit
and may still have some living relatives especially here in New Mexico, maybe Texas as well, but without the DNA we'll probably never know!!

That is so interesting. I learned a lot from this article. I guess I'm Scots=Irish. My Scottish ancestors fled to Ireland during proscription. Is that what Scots-Irish means?

I'm sure you'll know. I'm also very Welsh with a little Viking blood thrown in from Gothenberg, Sweden and the rest of me is English and Hungarian.

Anyway, I just discovered your page and will be interested to read your posts and articles about my ethnic heritage.

Jean Baptiste Rives

Jean Baptiste Rives, sometime 'Jean-Baptiste Jassont Lafayette Rives (1793�) was a French adventurer who served in the court of the Kingdom of Hawaii. His first name was sometimes spelled John and last name Reeves by English speakers. Some sources give other middle names.

Jean Baptiste Rives was born in the city of Bordeaux (part of the region of Gascony) circa 1793. He arrived in the Hawaiian Islands sometime between 1803 and 1810, probably as a cabin boy or steward, given his youth. He must have had an ear for learning new languages, since he spoke at least French and English, and picked up the Hawaiian language quickly. About the same age as the sons of King Kamehameha I, he became a close friend of the boys and became useful as an interpreter for the growing number of foreign visitors. The Royal teacher John Papa ʻĪʻī had him give the princes language lessons. His short stature earned him the Hawaiian language nickname Luahine ("Old Woman").

He was not mentioned by a French visitor in early 1819, but when Prince Liholiho became King as Kamehameha II in May 1819, Rives became part of his "inner circle" he was his personal secretary and a binge drinking companion. Rives was granted land on four different islands.

On August 8, 1819 the French explorer Louis de Freycinet (1779�) arrived on the ship Uranie, and Rives acted as interpreter. On August 12, the ship chaplain Abbé de Quélen performed a Roman Catholic baptism ceremony on the chief minister Kalanimoku, and on August 27 island Governor Boki. Rives tried to convince others to join the ceremony, but people who would often plunge into the Pacific found it hard to believe a spoonful of water had much power.

Jacques Arago describes Rives as a curious sight: he was under four feet tall, at a time when native Hawaiians were much taller than even average height Europeans. Rives was wearing an elegant silk robe that had to be tied up because it was far too large. Although Rives boasted of having sailed to china several times, being the son of a famous physician and curing the natives with his medicines, the fellow Gascons of the crew were embarrassed by his claims. In his journal, Arago says:

". his fibs, if he told them with better grace and adroitness, would be the only indication by which you could guess what countryman he was."

When the first Protestant missionaries arrived in March 1820, Rives advised the king to send them away. However, the Queen Regent Ka⮺humanu and other chiefs were convinced by the British adviser John Young and some Hawaiians on the ship to let them stay. The religious tension between different denominations of Christians would be a long-lasting conflict.

The king appointed Rives as appointed captain of the royal yacht Cleopatra's Barge, after its purchase in January 1821, but probably served in only an honorary capacity since he was not known for his maritime skills. About 1822, Rives opened one of the first hotels in Honolulu, and ran a grog shop in the hotel.

Rives had several children while in Hawaii with Holau, his Hawaiian wife of noble birth. Their twin daughters were Theresa Owana Kaheiheimalie Rives (1815�) and Virginia Kahoa Ka⮺humanu Rives (1815-after 1869?), followed by a son John Lafayette Rives (1822-after 1869?). Queen Ka⮺humanu adopted these girls and raised them as princesses. Gideon Peleioholani La⮺nui married Theresa. Virginia first married an American, Henry Augustus Peirce, and had a son Henry E. Pierce (born 1833) with him. Since there were no official records kept in this era, the legitimacy claim became a notable court case when H.A. Peirce returned almost 40 years later. Virginia divorced Peirce in 1837 and moved to Siberia. There she married a Russian.

Rives was one of the party chosen by Kamehameha II to take the ship L'Aigle (French for "The Eagle") under Captain Valentine Starbuck on a state visit to London in November 1823. The English missionary William Ellis wanted to return to England and act as interpreter, and offered to pay for his own passage, but Rives convinced Starbuck to select him instead.

While waiting for the royal audience, the king, queen, and other members of the court contracted measles and all died. Rives wrote a letter to Kalanimoku giving official notice of the death of the king, which was printed in the English newspapers. He accompanied the royal bodies to St Martin-in-the-Fields church where they awaited transportation back to Hawaii. It would be one of his last official acts.

The royal entourage had left with $25,000 in their treasure chest, but only $10,000 remained by the time they arrived in London. Rives was suspected of taking or spending the funds, perhaps with Captain Starbuck as accomplice, who quickly departed. With so many of the royal court dead, Rives likely realized his services were no longer wanted. Another theory was he wanted to visit relatives for whatever reason, he did not accompany the surviving members of the court on the HMS Blonde on their way back to Hawaii on September 8, 1824. John Young's son, James Kānehoa, took over official duties as interpreter.

Rives tried to convince investors in London to partner with him in a business venture, but found no takers. He went to Paris, where he claimed still to represent the Kingdom of Hawaii. He raised financing in early 1826 from the banker Jacques Laffitte and other investors, including the Javal family, to form a joint stock company to profit from trade with Hawaii. He also signed a treaty with the French government too guarantee his firm favorable trading rights. They did not trust Rives with overall management of the expedition, so hired Captain Auguste Bernard Duhaut-Cilly (1790�) as commander. They sailed from Le Havre on Le Héros on April 10, 1826 to Alta California. The French were more interested in exploiting the vast western coast of North American than isolated Pacific islands.

Le Héros arrived March 29, 1827 at Santa Barbara, California under the Spanish commander José de la Guerra y Noriega. They proceeded to Monterey, and were surprised to see another ship flying a French flag. While in Paris, Rives had asked for Catholic missionaries to be sent to Hawaii, and promised to fund the Church after they arrived. Eventually word reached Pope Leo XII, who appointed Alexis Bachelot of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary to lead the group they left France November 21, 1826 on La Comète under command of Captain Plassard. when they arrived in Hawaii in July 1827, the missionaries learned they were not wanted in Hawaii. Plassard was told to take the passengers away but, his contract fulfilled, he departed without them. Duhaut-Cilly and Rives encountered La Comète in Monterey, and, hearing the story of the Hawaiian rejection, the senior Frenchman had more doubts about Rives.

They returned to Santa Barbara, where on September 13, 1827 they met the schooner Waverly under Captain William Sumner it had sailed from Hawaii. They chartered the Waverly for Rives to engage in trade along the Pacific Northwest coast and planned a rendez-vous with Duhaut-Cilly next summer. In October, Duhaut-Cilly left for Peru on Le Héros. He returned to Monterey from his trading expedition in July 1828. While waiting for Rives, he grew impatient, and started loading horses on board to sell in Hawaii. When the Waverley finally returned in late September to Monterey to meet Duhaut-Cilly, Rives was not on board.

From Captain Sumner and Rives' letters, he discovered Rives had gone south to Mexico and lost all his cargo "in consequence of his imprudent conduct and his incapacity." When Duhaut-Cilly finally arrived in the Hawaiian island, he learned that the general opinion of Rives was negative. In his absence, his lands were given to others.

Rives died August 18, 1833 in Mexico, never seeing his family nor Hawaii again.

Levuka History and Timeline

Research and documentation done by Henry Simpson a Master Mariner residing in Auckland, New Zealand – these are his notes. ” I, Henry Simpson a Master Mariner and residing in Auckland but born in Fiji, a great grandson of the European, William Simpson of Poplar, London, England, Ship’s Carpenter, am recording a brief history and genealogy of the Simpson, and Whippy families and their descendents.

Simpson and Whippy acquire land: David Whippy, of European descent of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, U.S.A., arrived in Fiji aboard a beche-de-mer ship in 1822, whose brother was the ship’s Captain, and did not rejoin the ship when she returned to America, but like Simpson, became a resident of Fiji and settled in Levuka, Ovalau, in the Lomaiviti Group.

Simpson dies, 1862: Simpson was older than Whippy. Mr. Simpson died May 24th, 1862 and was buried on the island of Wakaya. Mr. Whippy died January 25th, 1875 and was buried at Nakabuta, Wainunu Vanua Levu Fiji. Simpson and Whippy became landowners and having initially settled at Levuka, Ovalau and Mokagai, they later acquired land at Wainunu and Savusavu and as their interest were closely associated, building boats, their own houses and trading, and as they prospered their children inter-married and also married into the descendents of other Europeans, and the ancestors of whom had also married Fijian women.

Simpson and Whippy integrate into Fiji: In later years their families and connections spread throughout the Fiji Group, New Zealand and Australia. They are now probably the largest family group in Fiji. Other family names which do not appear here are also worthy of mention. I gleaned this information mostly from the elders of both families, including my mother who was Mrs. Lydia Simpson, and also from my brother Mr. William Simpson. We pass on this information for the benefit of the younger generation, which have also been checked from official records.

As there is no evidence of the exact dates of the arrival in Fiji of either Simpson or Whippy, but if we assume that Simpson died at the age of 68 years of age, he probably arrived in Fiji in 1820. (

The Fijians of Levuka knew him. They nicknamed him (Matai Vunivesi) Builder of Vunivesi, Vunivesi being the point of land by the seaside, adjoining the mouth of the creek of Levuka vaka Viti. In the history of Fiji, Simpson is hardly mentioned at all, but Captain Erskine of the H.M.S. “Havannah” in his journal of the cruise among the islands of the Western Pacific, which visited Levuka in August 1849, mentioned that Simpson piloted the ship in through the reef passage, to her anchorage.

He practiced his Christian religion, and was a friend of the Chief Tui Levuka. The Rev. James Calicut also mentions Mr Simpson in his book “Mission History” Vol. II in which he says it became necessary for the settlers to have some share in a boat for trading purposes and thus they formed partnerships.

The leading firm being that of Messrs. David Whippy (an American), William Simpson (English Ship-builder) and William Cusick (Irish Blacksmith) at Levuka”.
James WHIPPY Birth: 16 March 1705 Death: 17 April 1773 Nantucket Island Massachusetts USA
James married Patience Long and had 7 children who were Judith, James, Nathaniel, Mary, Jane, Susanna, Samuel. Samuel Whippy married Parnell Finch and their son David Whippy settled in Fiji.

John Nelson Darby

"The church is in ruins," wrote John Darby, then a successful Anglican priest in Ireland. Echoing the lamentations of Protestant reformers three centuries earlier, he believed that the Church of England had lost any notion of salvation by grace and that it had forsaken biblical ideas of what church should be. For Darby it was time to start afresh with a new church and prepare for Jesus' imminent Second Coming. What resulted from Darby's departure was a new way of viewing the church and history that still pervades much of evangelical Christian thought.

Ever-changing vocation

Born in London into a prominent Anglo-Irish family, Darby received the best education possible. He attended London's Westminster School until his parents moved to an ancestral castle in Ireland. He graduated from Dublin's Trinity College as a Classical Gold Medalist and continued his studies in law, being admitted to the Irish Chancery Bar in 1822.


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But Darby's law career was to be short-lived. Within four years, largely due to his desire to help poor Irish Catholics, he was made a priest as a curate of the Church of Ireland. "I owed myself entirely to [God]," he explained of his career switch. "I longed for complete devotedness to the work of God."

He was assigned to a parish in the mountainous regions south of Dublin, and he quickly became an excellent pastor rarely would he return to his cottage from pastoral visits before midnight. Still, as he read his Bible, he became frustrated with how "established" the church had become. The formalized Anglican church, so associated with the State, was lifeless beyond repair.

"It is positively stated (2 Tim. 3) that the church would fail and become as bad as heathenism," he wrote. "The Christian is directed to turn away from evil and turn to the Scriptures, and Christ (Rev. 2 and 3) is revealed as judging the state of the churches."

And so Darby resigned his position a mere two years and three months after receiving it. He joined a group of similarly disillusioned Christians who called themselves simply "Brethren." Committed to operate by strict biblical methods, the group had no professional ministers. Rejecting denominationalism, they believed the Holy Spirit would lead worship, so they focused their meetings on simple Communion services, served by a different individual each week.

Though officially no more a leader than anyone else in the group (now called the Plymouth Brethren because of their gathering in that city), Darby quickly became its most prominent voice. His pamphlet The Nature and Unity of the Church of Christ (1828), which described their beliefs and practices, quickly spread throughout the West. The former priest traveled to churches in Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand condemning denominationalism and calling believers to his new ecclesiology.

The end of the world

Believers came, drawn not only to Darby's view of the church but also to his view of history, especially the end of it. Premillennialism, the belief that the world will get worse until Christ returns to set up a visible, thousand-year reign of peace, had fallen out of favor for 1,500 years. Some occasional premillennalist movements had appeared over the centuries, but usually ended in disappointment after predicting Jesus' imminent return.

Darby, on the other hand, developed a new premillennialism, which he called "dispensationalism" after the division of history into eras or dispensations. Though later dispensationalists quibbled over the number and names of these periods, most agreed with Darby that there were seven, like the seven days of creation. Darby listed the ages as: Paradise, Noah, Abraham, Israel, Gentiles, the Spirit, and the Millennium.

Darby saw history as a "progressive revelation," and his system sought to explain the stages in God's redemptive plan for the universe. There was nothing especially radical about dividing history into periods. What separated Darby's dispensationalism was his novel method of biblical interpretation, which consisted of a strict literalism, the absolute separation of Israel and the church into two distinct peoples of God, and the separation of the rapture (the "catching away" of the church) from Christ's Second Coming. At the rapture, he said, Christ will come for his saints and at the Second Coming, he will come with his saints.

Harsh critic

Though Darby's teachings became increasingly popular (and became more popular still after his death when C.I. Scofield published Darby's ideas in the annotated Scofield Reference Bible in 1909), Darby's return to England brought a split to the Plymouth Brethren. Riled at a member's differences on issues of prophecy and church order, Darby excommunicated him even after the man admitted and repudiated his error. Darby demanded that public refutation of those beliefs be the basis of admitting people to the Lord's Table. When the Bethesda church refused to comply with the demand, Darby refused to receive any of its members.

Eventually, Darby's followers created a tight group of churches known as Exclusive Brethren (also called Darbyites), while the others, maintaining a more congregational church government with less stringent membership standards, were called Open Brethren.

Historians have criticized Darby's tendency to treat opponents harshly: "His criticisms of what he considered error were forceful and enlightening yet at times extreme, perhaps closing otherwise open doors," says one, noting that Darby condemned Dwight Moody (they disagreed on freedom of will), who made efforts to befriend his British colleague.

Though Darby may have burned his bridges, his message gained a larger and larger following. Today his dispensational premillennialism is the view of many modern fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.

Watch the video: Made in Germany. The Interpreter -- Nelly Kostadinova, Founder of Lingua World (February 2023).

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