gleeson Family  

Gleeson: the anglicized form of O'Glasain (male descenant of Glasain) from northern County Tipperary [1]

 

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 Part 1: Thomas Gleeson (c1822 - 1887)

 

The earliest confirmed Gleeson was Thomas Gleeson. He was born c1822, most likely in County Tipperary, Ireland. It is not known who his parents were. Civil registration in Ireland began in 1864, 27 years after it began in England and Wales (Scotland started in 1855). Parish baptism, marriage and burial records were maintained before and after 1864 but they provided few details so it is difficult to identify ancestors with certainty before the mid-19th century. Although there had been a census taken in Ireland since 1821 (detailing household members' names, ages, occupations and relationships - twenty years before the England and Wales' census would include such information), there are no surviving returns from the 19th century, except for a few random fragments. A fire in the Public Records Office in 1922 at the start of the Irish Civil War destroyed the 1821 - 1851 returns. The 1861 and 1871 originals were deliberately destroyed as a part of government policy (the individual household schedules from the English and Welsh censuses were also destroyed for this same reason but the information had been copied into enumerators' books beforehand and still survive). The 1881 and 1891 census returns were destroyed towards the end of World War I (some have speculated they were pulped because of paper shortages or to save storage space). [2]

Thomas married Mary Farrell (c1836 - 1891) in Boherlahan Parish, County Tipperary, 23 August 1858. Mary was heavily pregnant at the time of their marriage: their first child was baptised less than a month later. The couple were Roman Catholics and lived in Ballytarsna at the time (between Cashel and Thurles). Their marriage was witnessed by Patrick Gleeson (who may have been a close relative) and Mary Gooney. It seems they paid no fee towards their marriage - unlike others who married in the same month who paid 1 (about 43 today)! Nothing is known about Mary's parentage and neither Thomas or Mary appears to have had any education.

Thomas and Mary had nine children: Bridget, Margaret, Catherine (Kate), Patrick, Alice, Mary, Thomas (Tommy) and twins John (Jack) and William (Billy). The family stayed living in Ballytarsna until sometime between Tommy and the twins' birth, when they moved to Gortnahoe, near the border with County Kilkenny. Thomas worked as a labourer and died 23 February 1887, aged 65, after suffering from bronchitis for a year. At the time he and Mary were living in Kilmakill Townland (nowadays known as 'Kylemakill'), between Gortnahoe and Moyne. Mary went to live with their daughter Catherine's family in nearby Longfordpass and she died 01 February 1891, aged 55. She had apparently been paralysed for nine months and this may have been the result of illness or something like a stroke.

Bridget (c1858 - ?) was baptised 16 September 1858 in Boherlahan Parish. The family was living in Ballytarsna and her sponsors were Patrick Gleeson and Bridget Hogan. It is not known what happened to Bridget after her baptism.

Margaret (c1861 - ?) was baptised 18 February 1861 in Boherlahan Parish. The family was living in Knockanree and her sponsors were Ellen Gleeson and Patrick Walsh. It is not known what happened to Margaret after her baptism.

Catherine 'Kate' (c1863 - ?) was baptised 13 September 1863 in Boherlahan Parish. The family was living in Ballytarsna and her sponsors were Matthew Donnolly and Bridget Tynan. Catherine was known as 'Kate'. She was a couple of months pregnant when she married labourer John Hickey (c1856 - 1903) at Templetouhy RC Church, Moyne 14 November 1886. They probably lived with Kate's family for the first few years but by 1891 they had settled in Longfordpass and were tenants of the Hackett family. John worked as a farm labourer and according to the 1901 Irish Census, they were both able to read and write. They had seven children: Owen (1887 - ?), Thomas (1888 - ?), John (1893 - ?), Michael 'Mike' (1895 - ?), Patrick (1898 - ?), William (1900 - ?) and Catherine (1903 - 1906). John died 21 November 1903, aged 40, eight months after the birth of their last child. He had been suffering from heart disease for twelve years. Sadly Catherine Jr died in 1906, aged 3, from tuberculosis. Following their father's death, the surviving children all worked from their teenage years as labourers or farm servants for other families in the area. It is not known what happened to Kate after John died as there is no record of her. In the 1911 Irish Census, her youngest son William was lodging with a another family and it is possible her eldest son Owen might have emigrated to the United States. According to a relative of Kate's brother Billy, Kate might have died c1950.

Patrick (1866 - ?) was born 27 January 1866 and baptised the following day in Boherlahan Parish. The family was living in Ballytarsna and his sponsors were Edmond Morrisey and Kate Shannahan. It is not known what happened to Patrick after his baptism.

Alice (or Alicia) (1868 - ?) was born 18 August 1868 and baptised a week later in Boherlahan Parish. The family was living in Ballytarsna and her sponsors were Michael Donnolly and [illegible] Donnolly. It is not known what happened to Alice after her baptism.

Mary (c1870 - ?) was baptised 12 September 1870 in Boherlahan Parish. The family was living in Ballytarsna and her sponsors were Walter Kerwick and Mary Coman. It is not known what happened to Mary after her baptism.

Thomas 'Tommy' (1872 - ?) was born 03 December 1872 and baptised five days later in Boherlahan Parish. The family was living in Ballytarsna and his sponsors were John Walsh and Alice Donnell. He was known as 'Tommy' and it seems he was a farm servant for the Doyle family in Kilmakill in 1901. According to a relative, he married Biddy McGrath and they had a son, Tom, and two daughters. It is not known what happened to Tommy after 1901.

More information about John 'Jack' (1976 - 1963) can be found in Part 2.

William 'Billy' (1876 - 1959) was baptised 24 March 1876 at Gortnahoe Parish along with his identical twin brother Jack (it is not known who was older). The family was living in Urard and his sponsors were Denis Talbot and Bridget Gleeson (this might have been his older sister). According to Billy's daughter-in-law, they were born the day they were baptised. He worked as a labourer and in 1901 he was a farm servant for the Stapleton family in Kilmakill. He was able to read and write and he married servant Bridget Butler (c1887 - 1934) 29 January 1907 in Balingarry Parish. Billy was living in Moyne at the time and Bridget in Boulea. They lived in Urard and Rathbeg, near Gortnahoe, and had seven children: Mary (1908 - ?), Thomas (1909 - ?), Edward/Edmond 'Tweedy' (1911 - 1963), Michael (1912 - ?), Bridget (1914 - 1914), William (1916 - 1916) and Margaret (1918 - 1918). Two of their three children who died in infancy were born prematurely and all three died of 'debility'. Bridget died 25 October 1934, aged 47, and was buried in Buolick Graveyard, Gortnahoe. William had a memorial stone erected in her memory and he died 05 May 1959, aged 83, and was buried with her. [3]

Next: John (Jack) Gleeson

 

 

Footnotes

[1] www.surnamedb.com/Surname
[2] www.census.nationalarchives.ie; www.findmypast.co.uk
[3] Cashel diocese baptismal and marriage records courtesy of Tipperary Family History Research centre (http://www.tfhr.org); Irish civil birth, marriage, death records, Irish baptism records (www.rootsireland.ie); 1901 and 1911 Ireland Census (www.census.nationalarchives.ie);
Ireland Census records, civil birth, marriage, death records, Irish baptism records (Ancestry.co.uk)