Saturday, 25 February 2012

CONDRONs of Cloghan, Co. Offaly

In the nineteenth century, the densest population of CONDRONs was in County Offaly, Ireland (called King's County back then). Oops, that sounds like I might be insulting the Offaly CONDRONs! What I mean is that Co. Offaly had the largest number of CONDRONs as a proportion of the total population, or something like that. Anyway, that means it's quite a puzzle to sort out how the different CONDR*Ns in Co. Offaly in the nineteen century fit into different families. So here's a puzzle that I hope someone might be able to help me with.

Cloghan is a town in the west of Co. Offaly (see map below). It's not far from the town of Banagher. I have three CONDRON families all living in the Cloghan district electoral division (DED) in the 1901 census, and all three families were baptising children in the Roman Catholic church in Banagher in the period 1888-1900. The puzzle is, I cannot find any blood relation between the three families. So are they all related, or is it just coincidence that they're in the same place at the same time? Below are some details of each family.

Family 1 are living in the Ballingowan Glebe townland of Gallen civil parish in the Cloghan DED in 1901. The head of this family is Martin CONDRON who was born in about 1853 and died in 1906/7. He married Mary GUINAN in the parish of Moore, Co. Roscommon in 1878, and they had 7 children that I know of: Kieran (born 1880), John (born about 1882), Mary Jane or Marianne (born about 1884), Lucy (born 1886), Thomas (born about 1887), Edward (born 1891) and Martin (born about 1897). The last three children were baptised in Banagher, most of the earlier children were baptised in Ferbane.

Family 2 are living in the Tonlemone townland of Gallen civil parish in the Cloghan DED in 1901. The head of the family is Thomas CONDRON who was born in about 1840. He married Mary CLANCY in 1877. They too had 7 children that I know of: William (born about 1879), Kieran (born about 1880), Julia (also born about 1880), Patrick (born 1882), John (born about 1885), Kate (born about 1888), James (born 1890), Francis (born 1891) and Bernard (born 1894). Most if not all the children were baptised in Banagher.

Family 3 are living in Cloghan town in the Cloghan DED in 1901. The head of this family is John CONDRON, a railway porter who was born in Co. Laois (Queen's County back then) in 1868 and baptised there in Borris in Ossory. John married a Johanna (surname unknown) and they had two children: William Joseph CONDRON (born 1899) and James CONDRON (born 1900). The two children were baptised in Banagher. Unfortunately, Johanna died in 1902, and so by the 1911 census the two boys are living with their grandmother near Borris in Ossory, Co. Laois, while John himself is living in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. I also know that John's father was William CONDRON, who brought up a moderately large family in Borris in Ossory with his wife Judith or Julia (nee ROURKE) and was still living there in 1901. Going back a further generation, John's grandfather was also called John CONDRON: I don't know whether the grandfather lived in Co. Offaly or Co. Laois. William and Judith/Julia had 8 children, of whom I know of seven: John (head of Family 3), James (born 1870), Anne (born 1873), Michael (born about 1875), Thomas (born about 1877), Peter (born about 1880) and Johanna (born about 1883): most if not all were baptised in Borris in Ossory.

So, three CONDRON families with apparently separate origins, but living in the same place in 1901. Coincidence? Maybe.

If you know anything about any of these families, I would love to hear from you!

(Click to enlarge map).

Map of western Co. Offaly showing location of Cloghan and also parts of the adjoining counties of Roscommon, Galway and Tipperary. CONDRONs lived in quite a few places shown on this map. In particular, places nearby to Cloghan with early nineteenth century occurances of CONDRONs are Eglish (about 10km to the south), Lemanaghan (about 11km to the north-east) and Clonmacnoise (about 12km to the north-west: not indicated on the map, but approximately at the location of the R444 road sign on the banks of the River Shannon).

The map is copyright of Google Maps.