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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Looking for the Murray Family Home in County Clare

An American Murray cousin visited Ireland several times in the 1970s and 1980s. She wrote "Julia {Julia Murray Moylan} told us that her parents lived in the house and she and all her brothers and sisters were born there." However, good sources in Ireland say this house is much too new to be the Murray home in the 1800s. 

This post has more questions than answers. I know the Murray family lived in County Clare. Information from the Clare Heritage Centre in 1987 indicate my husband's grandmother, Susan Murray, and her family lived in Ballyvelaghan in County Clare, Ireland. However, researching this family is confusing as I have seen residences written as New Quay, Burren, and Ballyvelaghan. 

In 1920, James Murray, my husband's great-grandfather, applied for the "Extract from Census Return of 1851." On the application, his address was written as Balleyveleghan, New Quay, Burrin, Co. Clare

I love knowing James Murray applied for a census return in 1920 and he listed his parents.Was he interested in family history or property ownership? What was he expecting to find?  Who was M. J. Gaynor? Was he family? A friend? The postmaster? Unfortunately, James Murray's record was not found when he requested it and most of the 1851 census was later burned.

Looking at Google Maps did not resolve my confusion about the location of the Murray home. However, the website Irish Townlands, based on OpenStreetMap, did help with my understanding of townlands. 

According to Irish TownlandsBallyvelaghan is in the Electoral Division of Abbey, in Civil Parish of Abbey, in the Barony of Burren, in the County of Clare. 

Ballyvelaghan has an area of only .49 square miles and is bordered by New Quay and Finavarra Demense to the west, Cartron and Munnia to the east, and Mortyclough to the south. 

New Quay (also seen as Newquay) is in the Electoral Division of Abbey, in the Civil Parish of Oughtmama, in the Barony of Burren, in the County of Clare. 

According to Irish Townlands, New Quay has an area of only .42 square miles and is bordered by Ballyvelaghan and Finavarra Demense to the east and Rine to the west. 

Did James and Celia Murray live in the same home throughout their marriage or did they move between the townlands? Were the townland names used interchangeably in records? Or, was their property located on the townland border crossing into New Quay and Ballyvelaghan. Below you can see the Murray family's residence as recorded in church and other documents.
  • 1874 - Marriage record for James and Celia. James' home is written as New               Quay. Celia's home was Pullogh in County Galway. 
  • 1875 - Residence is Ballyvelaghan on Mary Murray's birth record. 
  • 1876 - Residence is Ballyvelaghan on Tom Murray's birth record. 
  • 1878 - Residence is Ballyvelaghan on Bridget Murray's birth record. 
  • 1880 - Residence is Ballyvelaghan on Sarah Murray's birth record. 
  • 1890 - Residence is Ballyvelaghan on Peter Murray's death record. 
  • 1896 - Residence on Susan Murray's birth record is New Quay. 
  • 1901 - The Murray family is recorded on the census as living in                                 Ballyvelaghan.
  • 1906 - James paid for a dog license. His residence was recorded as New                      Quay. 
  • 1908 - Ellen Murray (aka Helen / Sister Columbkill) reported her father's                address as New Quay.
  • 1909 - James residence is listed as Ballyvelaghan in court records - charged                with not having his name printed on a wagon when on a public street. 
  • 1911 - The Murray family was recorded on the census as living in                                Ballyvelaghan
James Murray was reported as the landowner of a house with 5 to 6 rooms in Ballyvelaghan on the 1911 census. One Irish cousin thought the house had been torn down. Another said that it was a two story farm house and is still standing. 
  • 1911 -  Catherine "Kate" Murray reported her father's address as Burrin                 on the ship manifest to the USA. 
  • 1920 - James requested a census record and his address was written                            as Balleyveleghan, New Quay, Burrin, Co. Clare
  • 1923 - James paid for a dog license. His residence was recorded as New                      Quay. 
  • 1935 - James' death record indicates his residence was Ballyvelaghan
  • 1943 - Celia's death record gives her residence was New Quay.
I wonder if someone reading this (Irish friends and relatives) can better explain these townlands - especially New Quay and Ballyvelaghan. If so, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page

AND, my last question - Is my post,  A Cemetery in New Quay, County Clarecorrectly titled? OR, should it be A Cemetery in Mortyclough, County Clare?

If you want to know more about the families I research, click here to like my Facebook page where you will see each post and other genealogical finds. 

© 2017

Sources "Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915."  Web. 10 May. 2017. <> "James Murray in the Web: Ireland, Census, 1901."Web. 10 May. 2017. <>. "James Murray in the Web: Ireland, Census, 1911." Web. 10 May. 2017. <>.

 Clare Maps. Web. 10 May. 2017. <!53.15536Z15F1L11L30a5*>.

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn. 

The Family of James Murray and Cecilia Linane. Freepages., 2005. Web. 10 May. 2017. <>.

Find My Past. Institutes & Organizations. Web. 10 May. 2017. <>.

Irish Townlands. "Townlands in Co. Clare."  Web. 10 May. 2017. <>.

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