website search for family

For my BYU-I British Isles course I had to get a subscription to website. When my course finished I wanted to search for my own family as much as possible before the subscription ran out. In this blog post I not only share how exciting this was to find proof and family records but also the steps used when searching a family on a website by using multiple searches strategies. 

Background Information
From my family, I was given the following information. Richard Dowd and Mary Donaheau married 1824 in Ireland. I was also given the following children. They had Elizabeth (22 Jan 1825), Jane (1827), MaryAnn (abt 1829) and Richard (1832) in Ireland before coming to Canada in 1841. In Canada they had Robert James (8 May 1842 Quebec, Canada) and Margaret (1829 Ireland). Margaret was listed as the sixth child and that she was born in Canada but birthdate is given too early and in Ireland. I will come back to this later. 

There was confusion in the information I was given as to Mary's maiden name. Donaheau or Summerville/Somerville, although it was later stated that Summerville was her mother's maiden name. 

Search for individual records
I searched on the RootsIreland website for each of the family members' baptism record with the father's first and surname, the mother's first name, the child's name and the year born with +/-5 years. I was so excited to find the first three of the children listed. 

I was given the information that Elizabeth was born 22 Jan 1825 Monaghan. 

Note the date of the baptism. 

I was given the information that Mary Ann was born about 1829 in Monaghan. 

Note the spelling of her first name

Note the date of the baptism. 

I was given the information that Jane Dowd was born in 1827 Monaghan.

Note the date of the baptism. 
Parish is consistent. 

The records for all three girls spelled Mary's last name as Donoughy, verifying the correct maiden name but Richard did not show up. 

Search by parents
Now I knew how Mary's surname was spelled and I knew there was another child, I searched for baptism records with the father and mother's names only. I did not enter a child's name in the search field. I found another son, who was not recorded in family records! Thomas Dowd.  The mother's name this time was give as Donahoo. The spelling was close enough that the search engine picked it up. 

I was so excited but I still didn't have Richard but sometimes not all children are recorded even for Church of Ireland records. Another possibility is that he was baptized Thomas. This baptism is later than what I was given, so I believed Thomas is another child, and it is always good to search in a variety of ways.

Surname Index
As time is running out, I decided to use the websites surname index. They did not have Dowd in their list by itself, so I searched for any baptism in County Monaghan with the surname Dowd. There were 6 pages, of 10 on each page, of names listed chronologically starting in 1820. I found Richard and another daughter!

I had tried Rich* but that had not worked on this site. 

I would not have found these two if I had not tried searching for just the surname. 

The Margaret I mentioned above appears here in Ireland. Did this one die in Ireland and another daughter born in Canada named the same
or is this the one I was given?

I do not know... yet.

As I went through the surname list, I also saved Dowd families in the same townland and was able to construct a Family Group Record for them, as there is a chance they are related. One name was a Robert son of Hamilton Dowd. One of my Dowd family is a Robert Hamilton. Because of naming traditions I knew I should record this family for future reference. 

Death records
I searched for any death records for Dowd in County Monaghan. No death records were available for any Dowds in County Monaghan. Therefore, at this time I do not know what happened to the two children Thomas or Margaret. Death records were not recorded often for anyone or any religion in Ireland so this is not a surprise. 

Here is the family group sheet now of the children born in Ireland. There is a Robert James born in Canada and possibly another Margaret. 

Richard and Mary (Donoughy) Dowd

Eliza Dowd
Bap: 26 Jan 1823

Jane Dowd
Bap: 3 Jul 1825

Richard Dowd  (Listed as Richey)
Bap: 5 Apr 1829
(Father’s name Richey, Mother’s surname Donoho)

Marianne Dowd
Bap 29 Jan 1832

Thomas Dowd
Bap: 9 Aug 1835

Margaret Dowd
Born: 10 Feb 1839
Bap: 22 Feb 1839
(Mother’s surname Donogho)

Each record records:

Religion: Church of Ireland
Townland: Corringshigo
Civil Parish: Currin
County Monaghan

I now know where in County Monaghan they are from with the parish name. This will be a great help to find more information. 

Information given to me from family is that the family immigrated to Quebec, Canada in 1841. Robert was born in Quebec in 1842. Margaret is the last child I found for this family on the website which seems to confirm this but the next step is for me to obtain a copy of Robert's birth record, Margaret's birth certificate, and immigration information. 

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