Family of Valentine Ryan and Bridget Tobin of County Kilkenny, Ireland, and Grant County, Arkansas: New Information (3)

As my posting also states, I’ve concluded that, since couples normally married in the parish of the bride, Bridget Tobin’s family roots likely lie in Kilmacow parish — and perhaps in the part of that parish from which Mullinavat parish was formed in 1842. But since Kilmacow parish records apparently begin only in 1858 (though, as my posting also shows, there’s confusion about that fact when one consults various sources), finding a baptism record for Bridget Tobin naming her parents appears to be a lost cause. I have relied on a diocesan-level transcript of Catholic parish records in the diocese of Ossory to find any information I can find about Tobin families in Kilmacow and Mullinavat Catholic parishes, as I search for clues about Bridget Tobin’s family in the sparse Catholic parish records available for this area in the early 19th century.

The previous posting notes that John Walsh married Catherine Tobin in Kilmacow parish on 20 January 1833 with Edmond Hayden and Margaret Fitzgerald witnessing this marriage — the same two people who would witness the marriage of Valentine Ryan and Bridget Tobin in Kilmacow parish in September 1836. As the last posting also indicates, in the Ossory diocesan transcript of Catholic parish records of marriages from 1801-1842, the marriage immediately above the marriage of John Walsh and Catherine Tobin is the marriage of Walter Costello to Elenor Walsh in Kilmacow parish on 26 November 1832. The marriage record indicates that the couple married in Buckstown, which is where Valentine Ryan and Bridget Tobin lived from the time of their marriage in 1836 up to the point of the family’s emigration to America in the early 1850s. Buckstown is a “suburb” of the town of Mullinavat, contiguous to the town itself, and fell into Mullinavat Catholic parish in 1842.

My posting asks whether Catherine Tobin was a sister of Bridget Tobin, and whether Catherine’s husband John Walsh was a brother of Walter Costello’s wife Elenor Walsh. As the posting points out, Griffith’s Valuation in 1849 shows Valentine Ryan renting a house in Buckstown from Walter Costello, suggesting the two were farming together. And it shows a John Walsh who is, I suspect, the man with wife Catherine Tobin, living and farming in close proximity to Valentine Ryan and Walter Costello. Walter Costello’s wife Elenor Walsh seems to have died by 22 September 1845, by the way, when the register of Mullinavat parish shows him marrying Bridget Dungan with John Costello and Ellen Hoban as witnesses. The register states that the marriage occurred in Buckstown.

Walter Costello(e) of Buckstown (Killahy Civil Parish, Inchacarran Townland), County Kilkenny

Walter Costello shows up on Griffith’s Valuation, by the way, holding property in both Inchacarran townland — i.e., Buckstown — in Killahy civil parish and in Ballymorris townland in the same parish.[1] In both cases, he was renting from the Moore family. His land in Ballymorris adjoined land rented by Richard and Michael Walsh. Ballymorris is contiguous to Buckstown, where Walter Costello and Valentine Ryan lived, joining Buckstown on the west.

We’ve met Walter Costello in past postings. As a previous posting notes, when Valentine Ryan and Bridget Tobin’s daughter Ellen was baptized on 7 May 1840, Watt Costello was one of her godparents. Also noted in the posting I have just linked: the 5 January 1865 will of Thomas Ryan, a farmer of Mullinavat and Buckstown, names Watt Costello, a farmer of Buckstown, as well as William Costello, a grocer of Mullinavat, as people to whom Thomas Ryan was indebted when he made his will. 

Marriage of John Costello and Judith Fanning, Kilbeacon parish, County Kilkenny, 19 November 1838, from National Library of Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers (microfilm 05028/04), transcript of Ossory parish records from 1801-1842 at the Ossory cathedral parish, St. Mary’s in Kilkenny
Marriage of Thomas Ryan and Judith Fanning Costello, 9 January 1850, Mullinavat Catholic parish register, County Kilkenny

In addition, the previous posting states that the Mullinavat parish register shows that Thomas Ryan married Judith Fanning, the widow of John Costello of Mullinavat, on 9 January 1850 in Mullinavat.[2] John Costello and Judith Fanning had married 19 November 1838 at Kilbeacon (i.e., Mullinavat), with Patrick Delahunty and Ellen Fanning witnessing the marriage.[3] John Costello had died at some point after 18 September 1847, when the Mullinavat parish register shows Catherine, daughter of John Costello and Judith Fanning, baptized at Mullinavat with John Ryan and Bridget Costello as godparents.

Baptism of Eliza Ryan, daughter of Thomas Ryan and Judith Fanning, 17 October 1850, Mullinavat Catholic register, County Kilkenny

The first time the parish register mentions a child born to Thomas Ryan and Judith Fanning — their daughter Eliza, baptized 17 October 1850 — the parish priest writes her family name as Costello, then crosses it out and writes Fanning. This record confirms that Judith Fanning Ryan was the same woman previously married to John Costello. This is the same Thomas Ryan who left the 1865 will naming Walter Costello.

Baptism of Catherine Holden, daughter of William Holden and Judith Ryan, 21 May 1843, Mullinavat Catholic parish register, County Kilkenny

Look again at the record of the baptism of Thomas Ryan and Judith Fanning’s daughter Eliza at Mullinavat on 17 October 1850 in the image above, and you’ll see that the godmother at this baptism was Bridget Ryan. This is, it seems clear to me, Bridget Tobin Ryan, wife of Valentine Ryan, a family living at Buckstown where we know from the will of Thomas Ryan he also lived and farmed. The godfather at this baptism was James Holden, who appears to be related to a William Holden who married Valentine Ryan’s sister Judith. When Catherine, daughter of William Holden and Judith Ryan, was baptized on 21 May 1843 at Mulllinavat, John Costello was her godfather. The 1846 and 1847 Valuation Office field books for Mullinavat (on this set of documents, see below) show Wiliam Holden occupying house 19, with an office and yard, next to John Costello, who is in house 18, also with an office and yard.

Griffith’s Valuation for Kilbeacon civil parish (i.e., Mullinavat) shows Judith Costello, obviously the widow of John Costello, renting a house, offices, and yard in Mullinavat in 1849 from Rev. John T. Moore, Lewis Moore, and the Misses Moore, with her next-door neighbor William Holden, who was renting his house, office, and yard from David Holden. David Holden is living next to William. Judith is in house 56 and William Holden in house 57. House 49 is occupied by William Costello, also renting from the Moores. Living between Judith and William Costello are Richard Walsh Sr. and James Walsh (houses 51 and 52).[4] Note that Judith’s listing as a householder in Mullinavat — under the name Judith Costello — in Griffith’s Valuation indicates that John Costello had died after the baptism of their daughter Catherine and before this valuation was taken in 1849. The 1849 house books for the Valuation Office also show Judith (renting from the Moores) occupying house 56 in Mullinavat, with William Holden (renting from D. Holden) beside her in house 57.

If William Holden is the William Holden listed in the Civil Registration Death Index (Waterford district, vol. 14, p. 503) dying in County Kilkenny in 1866, he was born in 1808. Judith, daughter of John Ryan and Margaret Oates, was baptized 3 August 1806 in Templeorum parish in Piltown, County, Kilkenny.

Baptism of Johan(n)a Ryan, daughter of Thomas Ryan and Judith Fanning, 19 March 1855, Mullinavat Catholic parish register, County Kilkenny

On 19 March 1855, Thomas Ryan and Judith Fanning had another daughter, Johanna, baptized in Buckstown, according to the Mullinavat parish register. Again, this baptism record shows Bridget Ryan as a godparent, along with John Gaule. I’d be inclined to think this, too, is a record showing Bridget, wife of Valentine Ryan, acting as a baptism sponsor for a child of this couple, except that it seems Bridget and her children had sailed to America by this date. Though it seems there was, in the past, the option in Catholic baptisms for a godparent to be godparent by proxy, with someone else standing in his or her place for the baptism….

Thick connections, it seems clear, between Valentine Ryan, Bridget Tobin, and some Costello and Walsh families living at Buckstown and in Mullinavat town in the first half of the 1800s…. And with at least one other Ryan family in Buckstown, the family of Thomas Ryan and Judith Fanning (who was John Costello’s widow when Thomas Ryan married her) also fitting into this web of connections….

“Statutory Notice … In Goods of Walter Costelloe,” Waterford News (14 May 1880), p. 2, col. 6

What more do we know about Walter Costello? On 14 May 1880, the Waterford News posted a legal notice published by Thomas Costello of Currabehy, Mullinavat, who was administering the estate of Walter Costello, deceased farmer of Buckstown in County Kilkenny.[5] The notice (which uses the Costelloe spelling for the surname) states that Walter Costello had died 17 April 1880 and had been a farmer at Buckstown. On 5 May, Thomas Costelloe had been granted administration of Walter’s estate.

Death listing for Walter Costello in General Register Office, Republic of Ireland, Quarterly Returns of Deaths in Ireland with Index to DeathsWaterford Registration District, vol. 4, p. 655
Listing of estate of Walter Costello(e), The Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration Made in the Principal Registry and in the Several District Registries, 1858-1920Index to Wills and Admon 1880, vol. 12, p. 137

The listing of Walter Costello’s death in the Irish Civil Registration Deaths Index shows him aged 72 when he died in April 1880, placing his birth in 1808 — three years before the birth of Valentine Ryan, to whom he was renting a house in Buckstown in 1850.[6] The two men were close in age to each other, then. The Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration tells us that Thomas Costello was Walter’s nephew, and also has the death date of 17 April 1880.[7] Walter Costello’s listing in the Irish Civil Registration Deaths Index also tells us he was a widower when he died.

Other than these pieces of information, I know nothing else about Walter except that he was living in Buckstown by November 1832 when he married Elenor Walsh in Kilmacow parish. As noted above, when Thomas Ryan of Buckstown made his will in January 1865, he listed creditors who included Walter Costello, farmer of Buckstown, and William Costello, grocer of Mullinavat (the will uses the Costelloe spelling), and it seems reasonable to think that Walter and William were likely related to each other — and that the John Costello who married Thomas Ryan’s wife Judith Fanning as her first husband was related to Walter and William as well.

I do not find Walter Costello listed in the Tithe Applotment Books of 1823-1837. In this listing of those holding agricultural land in this period, I find in the civil parish of Rossinan a number of Costello men who may well be close relatives of Walter. The civil parish of Rossinan joins the civil parish of Kilbeacon (in which Mullinavat is found). In Rossinan parish are the townlands of Glendonnell and Scart, both of which, we’ll see in a moment, are connected to the family of Thomas Ryan who married John Costello’s widow Judith Fanning. All these places — Glendonnell, Scart, and Buckstown where Walter Costello and Valentine and Thomas Ryan lived — are cheek by jowl. Glendonnell townland is just east of Mullinavat and adjoins the town, and Scart is a mile or so south of Mullinavat.

Tithe Applotment listing for John Costello, Rossinan townland, Rossinan civil parish, County Kilkenny, 1833

The Tithe Applotment listings for Rossinan civil parish in County Kilkenny show a John Costello holding land in Rossinan townland in Rossinan parish next to Edward Ryan in 1833. In the same parish in Scart townland is to be found Thomas Ryan, as we’ll see in a moment. This is the Thomas Ryan who married Judith Fanning, widow of John Costello. Whether the John Costello in Rossinan parish in 1833 is the man of that name who married Judith Fanning, I can’t say for sure. But it seems to me very likely that this John Costello is closely related to William and Walter Costello of Mullinavat and Buckstown. As we’ll see in a moment, Thomas Ryan was born in 1790, so it’s entirely possible that Judith Fanning’s first husband John Costello was of the same generation and could well be the John Costello in Rossinan civil parish in 1833. William Costello married Mary Boyle 3 February 1845 in Mullinavat parish, by the way, with John Costello and Mary Power as witnesses, according to the parish register.

Also listed in the Tithe Applotment Books in Rossinan civil parish in 1833 is a James Costello in Glendonnell townland, whose land was next to that of William and Patrick Walsh and close to land held by James Ryan. A Thomas Costello is enumerated in Rossinan parish in a townland called Carrickanawn (the spelling used now is Carrickinnane) along with a James Costello who is the man also holding land in Glendonnell townland, I think.

Listing of probate of will of Thomas Ryan, The Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration Made in the Principal Registry and in the Several District Registries, 1858-1920Index to Willis of Ireland, vol. 13, p. 137

Thomas Ryan of Scart (Rossinan Civil Parish) and Buckstown (Killahy Civil Parish, Inchacarran Townland), County Kilkenny

About Thomas Ryan, who married John Costello’s widow Judith and who mentions Walter and William Costello as his creditors in his 1865 will, I have a number of pieces of information. The Irish Civil Registration Deaths Index tells us that he died 6 January 1865 — i.e., the day after he made his will — and was aged 75 at the time of his death.[8] This places his birth in 1790. The Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration also states that Thomas died 6 January 1865 and that William Ryan of Glendaniel (i.e., Glendonnell) was granted execution of the will on 6 April 1865.[9]

Tithe Applotment listing for Thomas Ryan, Scart townland, Rossinan civil parish, County Kilkenny, 1833

As I’ve noted previously, the Tithe Applotment listings for Rossinan civil parish in County Kilkenny show Thomas Ryan holding land in the townland of Scart in Rossinan civil parish in County Kilkenny in 1833. Scart townland is, as I state above, little more than a mile south of Mullinavat. Thomas Ryan is also listed in the 1831 Tithe Defaulters list at Scart in Rossinan civil parish: that is, he was among those in the townland refusing to pay the tithe levied on agricultural landholders to support the Church of Ireland.

Thomas Ryan property holdings in Scart townland, Rossinan civil parish, 1846, in Valuation Office Books, Field Book, National Library of Ireland (film MFGS/54/159, catalogue entry OL/4/4216)

On 8 June 1846, the Field Book of the Valuation Offfice Books for Scart townland in Rossinan civil parish shows Thomas Ryan with considerable property in Scart, and a farm described as “comfortable.” His holdings in the townland included two houses and several offices, rated as in “good repair” and of good quality.

Richard Griffith, General Valuation of Ireland: County of Kilkenny, Barony of Knocktopher, Parish of Rossinan (Dublin, 1850), p. 64

Griffith’s Valuation shows Thomas Ryan renting a house, office, and land (#12) in Scart townland in Rossinan civil parish.[10] He’s renting this property from Mrs. Mary Ann Tighe, Mrs. Harriet Cuffe, and St. George Caulfield Esq. Next to him at #11 is Edmund Ryan renting from the same landlords. Houses #7 and #8 and their land are occupied by Patrick and John Costello, who are renting from the same landlords. 

Richard Griffith, General Valuation of Ireland: County of Kilkenny, Barony of Knocktopher, Parish of Killahy, (Dublin, 1850), p. 42

Thomas Ryan also held property in Ballyknockbeg townland of Killahy civil parish in 1849, according to Griffith’s Valuation.[11] He was renting this land from the Moores, who were the landlords of others mentioned above, and who were also renting to Walter Costello the property Walter rented to Valentine Ryan when Griffith’s survey was made. Ballyknockbeg adjoins Buckstown, where Thomas Ryan appears to have lived along with Valentine Ryan and Walter Costello, on the north — though Thomas Ryan is not listed as renting or owning property in Inchacarran townland of Killahy parish on Griffith’s Valuation.

Will of Thomas Ryan, 5 January 1865, from the Will Registers search engine of the Genealogy section of National Archives of Ireland, which does not provide information about the will book in which the will is found.

As I’ve noted previously, on 5 January 1865, Thomas Ryan made a will naming himself a farmer of Mullinavat and Buckstown.[12] The will shows that Thomas had brothers Patrick and William Ryan in Glendonnell. The will bequeaths all of Thomas’s property to his brother Patrick, and makes his brother William executor to the will, which William also witnessed. The will states that Thomas Ryan had land and houses in Mullinavat, Ballynoony Hewitson, Ballyvera, and Scart. It also names Thomas’s daughter Bessy, whom her uncle Patrick is to clothe and house and is to send to the National School in Mullinavat, and to whom Patrick is to pay £300 on or before 2 January 1875. Bessy is the Eliza Ryan mentioned previously who was baptized at Mullinavat on 17 October 1850 with Bridget Ryan and James Holden as godparents. As also noted above, this document mentions a debt to Watt Costello, a farmer of Buckstown, as well as to William Costello, a grocer of Mullinavat. 

Thomas Ryan’s will was witnessed by Richard Walsh and by Thomas’s brother William Ryan. William Ryan proved and registered the will on 7 April 1865, stating that Thomas Ryan had died 6 January 1865. Richard Walsh proved the will on 28 March 1865.

The will of Thomas Ryan makes me suspect that his wife Judith had predeceased him, since the will makes no provision for her and leaves their oldest child Eliza in the care of her uncle Patrick Ryan. Had the other children of Thomas and Judith all died young? The Mullinavat parish register shows the couple having the following children (dates are baptismal dates, followed by names of godparents):

1. Eliza, 17 October 1850 (James Holden and Bridget Ryan)

2. Elenor, 20 May 1852 (Daniel Carroll and Judith Malone)

3. James, 8 August 1853 (John Carroll and Bridget Aylward)

4. Johanna, 19 March 1855 (Bridget Ryan and John Gaule)

5. Thomas, 25 June 1856 (Michael Ryan and Mrs. Malone)

6. Ellen, 7 February 1859 (William Ryan and Margaret Forrestal)

Note that if Judith Fanning Ryan died before Thomas made his will, she died between 7 February 1859 and 6 January 1865.

A tombstone in the graveyard of the Mullinavat Catholic parish (St. Beacons church) provides valuable information about the family and ancestry of Thomas Ryan.* I transcribed this tombstone when I visited Mullinavat on 22 June 1998. My transcript is as follows:

Erected by Thomas Ryan of Scart in memory of his father William Ryan, late of Glendonnell, who departed this life March 8, 1828, aged 84 years. Also of his daughter Mary Holden alias Ryan who died December 15, 1833, aged 27 years. And of four of his children who died young, Patrick, Edmond, Thomas, and John. Also of two of his grandchildren Margaret and Edmond Ryan who died young. Here lie also the remains of Mrs. Margaret Ryan of Scart who died December 18, 1843, aged 70 years. Also of his son James Ryan who died 11 November 1839, aged 50 years, and of Thomas Ryan of Mullinavat, son of the last-named who died January 4, 1861, aged 10 years. Also Eliza Ryan Malone who died January 6, 1880, aged 82. Also of Michael Ryan of Glenn who died April 20, 1887, aged 55. Also James Ryan, Glendaniel, died February 24, 1900, aged 29, and Mary Ryan Dungan, died Mary 10, 1911, 82 years, also Patrick Ryan, died September 24, 1912, aged 79 years, and William Ryan who died December 6, 1912, aged 72, and wife Mary Ryan nee Raftice, died 14 August 1929, aged 80, and their son James, died 15 November….[13]

Since Thomas Ryan of Scart (and Buckstown), who erected the original memorial in the Mullinavat parish cemetery to his father William Ryan, died in 1865, and various dates on the stone obviously postdate Thomas, this is a gravestone that obviously superseded an older one erected by Thomas Ryan, with additional information added to the original inscription at a later date. This is not an uncommon practice in Irish funerary customs.

Among the very valuable pieces of information this tombstone tells us is that Thomas Ryan (who married Judith Fanning Costello and lived in Buckstown) was son of William Ryan of Glendonnell who died 8 March 1828, aged 84. William Ryan was born in 1744, then. From the will of his son Thomas, who was born in 1790 and had land in Scart, Buckstown, and other places, we know that William had sons Thomas, Patrick, and William, and that Patrick and William were living in Glendonnell in 1865. 

The tombstone also tells us that William Ryan had had children Mary, who married a Holden and died 15 December 1833 (so she was born in 1806), and sons Patrick, Edmond, Thomas, and John, who died young — so the Patrick living in Glendonnell in 1865 was a second Patrick evidently given the name of a brother who had died young. William Ryan also had a son James Ryan who died 11 November 1839, aged 50 (so he was born in 1789).

I haven’t found sufficient information to place the other people mentioned on this tombstone. If I read the stone correctly, it states that James Ryan, son of William, had a son Thomas who died 4 January 1861, aged 10. That would place his birth in 1851, long after James Ryan died, so I wonder if I mistranscribed something on the tombstone. I have not found a baptism record in the Mullinavat parish register for a Thomas Ryan, son of James Ryan, who was baptized in 1851.

I do find death listings for the Patrick Ryan who died 24 September 1912 and the William Ryan who died 6 December 1912, per the tombstone. The Irish Civil Registration Deaths Index shows Patrick dying at Glendonnell, on 24 September 1912, aged 78, a farmer and widower, with his son-in-law Matthew Woods reporting his death.[14] The same Index shows William Ryan dying on 6 December 1912 in Mullinavat, aged 72, a farmer and merchant who was married.[15] This death record states that William had a son James who was with him at the time of his death.

I think it’s likely that the Patrick Ryan who was brother of Thomas Ryan is the Patrick Ryan who was a godfather for William Ryan, son of Valentine Ryan and Bridget Tobin, when William was baptized on 22 September 1841 in Kilmacow parish, with the parents living at Buckstown. The godmother was Bridget McEvoy.

Article from an unidentified and undated newspaper regarding the legal dispute over the estate of John Hennebery, Buckstown, County Kilkenny, 1915

I can also provide some information about Thomas Ryan and Judith Fanning’s daughter Eliza. In May 2019, Sean McCarthy of Mullinavat contacted me to tell me that Eliza married John Hennebery, Sean’s great-uncle. According to Sean, the couple married in their latter years and had no children. John was a corn merchant. Sean McCarthy sent a clipping from an unidentified newspaper regarding the dispute that occurred when John Hennebery died, leaving his property by will to his wife Elizabeth. The Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration shows that John Hennebery died 4 November 1915 with execution of his will given to Mary Hennebery on 12 December.[16] This source states that John lived in Inchacarran (i.e., Buckstown), and that Mary was unmarried.

The article that Sean McCarthy sent to me, which is entitled “A Co. Kilkenny Farmer’s Will,” identifies Mary as a niece of John Hennebery. Mary and other members of the Hennebery family filed suit against Eliza Ryan Hennebery to contest the will’s provision making Eliza John Hennebery’s sole legatee. The court upheld the terms of John’s will.

Finally, there’s this piece of information from my visit to Mullinavat in June 1998 referenced above. On that visit, I met with a member of the McEvoy family of Buckstown who was a teacher in Mullinavat, Tom McEvoy. Tom told me that the last Ryan to have lived in Buckstown in his memory was a Miss Mary Ryan. Tom and his aunt Ann McEvoy Geary of Buckstown showed me the Mary Ryan’s house down the road from the McEvoy family and told me that Mary had operated a sweets shop out of the lower story of the house, while living in the upper story. At her death, Mary her land to the McEvoys.

The 1901 and 1911 census of Ireland show Mary as the daughter of a Thomas and Kate Ryan of Inchacarran (i.e., Buckstown) in Killahy civil parish in County Kilkenny. These documents shows Mary born in 1880 and her parents in 1849.  Both censuses list the Ryans as shopkeepers. The 1901 census shows the family living in a house with a shop belonging to Honora Shea and living near Michael McEvoy and his family. In 1911, the Ryans own the house and shop and are living next to Michael McEvoy.[17]

I’m pretty sure that Thomas Ryan and wife Kate are the Thomas Ryan and Catherine Butler of Buckstown who married 26 January 1875, according to the Mullinavat parish register. John Ryan and Ellen Hennebery witnessed the marriage.

Tom McEvoy also told me in my June interview with him that he believed the Ryans of Buckstown were related to Ryans living in Glendonnell on the northeast side of Mullinavat. He was speaking, of course, of the Ryan family I’ve tracked in this posting, stemming from William Ryan of Glendonnel, who was born in 1744 and died 8 March 1828, according to his son Thomas’s memorial to William in the Mullinavat Catholic parish cemetery. How or whether the family of William Ryan is connected to the family of Valentine Ryan of Buckstown, whose father John Ryan was evidently of generation of William Ryan’s son Thomas, I haven’t been able to determine. Since the inscription on the Ryan monument in the Mullinavat parish graveyard says that William Ryan had a son John who died young, it seems to me unlikely that Valentine Ryan’s father John was a son of William Ryan. It’s possible these two Ryan families living in Buckstown in the 19th century were entirely unrelated — and it’s also possible they were related in a way I have not yet determined.

* After I posted the preceding posting, a reader contacted me to say that he reads the inscription on the Ryan memorial marker in the Mullinavat parish cemetery differently than I do. Since I always want to share correct information on this blog, and never to mislead anyone, I think it’s important that I share this reader’s alternative conclusions about the Ryan memorial marker with you. He writes,

The problem, as I see it, is the use of the pronoun “his.”

Begin by stripping away the dates and places, and we are left with the following:

“Erected by Thomas Ryan of Scart in memory of his father William Ryan … Also of his daughter Mary Holden alias Ryan … And of four of his children who died young, Patrick, Edmond, Thomas, and John. Also of two of his grandchildren Margaret and Edmond Ryan who died young. Here lie also the remains of Mrs. Margaret Ryan … Also of his son James Ryan … and of Thomas Ryan … son of the last-named …”

The first “his” clearly refers to Thomas Ryan. I think the subsequent uses of that pronoun refer back to Thomas (not William) as well: his father, his daughter, his children who died young, his grandchildren who died young. Mrs. Margaret Ryan is not identified by relationship, but I would posit that she was Thomas’s wife. Only when the latter Thomas is named, is “his” replaced by “the last-named.” I think that language indicates the point at which the inscription is being composed by someone other that the original Thomas (or that Thomas recognized by that time that there were a lot of men on the memorial and saw fit to be more precise than before).

The family would look something like this:

Generation One:
William Ryan (ca. 1743-1828)

Generation Two:
Thomas Ryan, son of William
Margaret mnu (ca. 1773-1843), wife of Thomas

Generation Three:
Mary Ryan Holden (ca. 1806-1833)
Patrick Ryan (died young)
Edmond Ryan (died young)
Thomas Ryan (died young)
John Ryan (died young)
James Ryan (ca. 1789-1839) or (ca. 1809-1859)*

Generation Four:
Margaret Ryan (died young)
Edmond Ryan (died young)
Thomas Ryan (ca. 1850-1861)*, son of James Ryan

The inscription as transcribed does not allow Thomas Ryan, age 10 in 1861 to have been a son of James who died in 1839. I wonder if James actually died in 1859 and the “5” was misread as a “3.” That would place his date of birth at ca. 1809, near to that of his sister Mary. Moreover, James’s death is recorded after that of Margaret in 1843 and before Thomas in 1861. If the elder Thomas was adding inscriptions to the memorial in the order of the deaths, 1859 would make more sense than 1839.

This reading of the memorial stone may well be correct. I am fairly confident, though, that the Thomas Ryan of Scart who originally made the inscription commemorating his father William is the Thomas Ryan who died in 1865 with his estate records indicating he was born in 1790 — and I doubt that the Mrs. Margaret Ryan born in 1773 was the wife of the Thomas Ryan born in 1790. If Thomas did have a family of children prior to wife Judith Fanning, and these are commemorated on the memorial marker, then they’d definitely have been by a wife earlier than Judith — though I don’t think that wife was the Mrs. Margaret Ryan commemorated on the stone.


[1] Richard Griffith, General Valuation of Ireland: County of Kilkenny, Barony of Knocktopher, Parish of Killahy (Dublin, 1850), p. 42.

[2] The Mullinavat parish records as available on microfilm digitized by the National Library of Ireland at the website of NLI begin in 1843, but unfortunately include only baptism and marriage records, not death records.

[3] See the Ossory diocesan transcript of records from parishes in this diocese available in a microfilm copy at the National Library of Ireland under the title Catholic Parish Registers (microfilm 05028/04). Ancestry has published this collection under the title Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915. The marriage of Valentine Ryan and Bridget Tobin in 1836 in Kilbeacon parish is recorded in a register of Ossory parish records from 1801-1842 at the Ossory cathedral parish, St. Mary’s in Kilkenny, found here in the Ancestry digitized copy of this collection.

[4] Richard Griffith, General Valuation of Ireland: County of Kilkenny, Barony of Knocktopher, Parish of Kilbeacon (Dublin, 1850), p. 35.

[5] “Statutory Notice … In Goods of Walter Costelloe,” Waterford News (14 May 1880), p. 2, col. 6. 

[6] General Register Office, Republic of Ireland, Quarterly Returns of Deaths in Ireland with Index to DeathsWaterford Registration District, vol. 4, p. 655online at Ancestry as Ireland, Civil Registration Deaths Index, 1864-1958.

[7] The Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration Made in the Principal Registry and in the Several District Registries, 1858-1920Index to Wills and Admon 1880, vol. 12, p. 137, online at Family Search.

[8] General Register Office, Republic of Ireland, Quarterly Returns of Deaths in Ireland with Index to DeathsWaterford Registration District, vol. 3, p. 491; online at Ancestry as Ireland, Civil Registration Deaths Index, 1864-1958.

[9] The Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration Made in the Principal Registry and in the Several District Registries, 1858-1920Index to Willis of Ireland, vol. 13, p. 137; online at Family Search.

[10] Richard Griffith, General Valuation of Ireland: County of Kilkenny, Barony of Knocktopher, Parish of Rossinan (Dublin, 1850), p. 64.

[11] Ibid. (Parish of Killahy), p. 42.

[12] The original will is available in digitized form online via the Will Registers search engine of the Genealogy section of the National Archives of Ireland. This site does not provide information about the particular will book in which this will is found.

[13] The final bits of this transcript appear to be missing in my paper record of it.

[14] General Register Office, Republic of Ireland, Quarterly Returns of Deaths in Ireland with Index to DeathsWaterford Registration District, 1912, p. 443, online at the Genealogy site of the Irish National Archives.

[15] Ibid., p. 444, online at the Genealogy site of the Irish National Archives.

[16] The Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration Made in the Principal Registry and in the Several District Registries, 1858-1920: Index to Willis of Ireland, 1916, p. 291; online at Family Search.

[17] 1901 and 1911 census of Ireland, Killahy civil parish, Inchacarran townland, image of original online (1901 and 1911) at the census section of the Irish National Archives.

4 thoughts on “Family of Valentine Ryan and Bridget Tobin of County Kilkenny, Ireland, and Grant County, Arkansas: New Information (3)

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