Our Barnes clan from County Offaly, Ireland died out with the family of John Barnes (1870-1949), his wife Bridget Larkin Barnes (1879-1934), and their only son, John Joe Barnes (1914-1998). Their son didn’t marry, and after his death the family farm went to the Larkin family. I took this photo of their gravestone at the Dungar Cemetery, Fancroft, County Offaly, in the Midlands, very near to County Tipperary and the town of Roscrea.
I’ve blogged previously on our Irish Barnes clan. It took quite a few years of research to get to the point that we knew exactly where in County Offaly our family came from. The Barnes name isn’t as common in Ireland, as it is in Scotland and England. We know our Barnes family originated in Scotland, but we still aren’t sure which generation emigrated.
John Barnes’s father and grandfather were both named John, and both died in County Offaly. Some of John Barnes’s eleven siblings that became citizens of the United States put down on census records that their family was born in Scotland, but others put down Ireland. While starting my research an aunt gave me all of the names of her aunts, uncles, her mother, and her grandfather, John Barnes, that had died suddenly in 1892 while driving his horse and cart back from work in Birr (Parsontown). Research from the Irish Midlands confirmed all the information that she had shared with me. John Barnes had indeed died at the age of 60, on 16 April 1892, at Roscrea No. 2, Dromakeenan, County Offaly. He was listed as a farmer on his death certificate.
Research also showed that his father, John Barnes, died at age 80, on 4 June 1866, at Aughadouglas, County Offaly. What amazes me is that this family of farmers survived after the Great Famine of 1845-1852, and that they held on to their farm through such hard times. I wonder how bad times were in their native Scotland that they resettled in Ireland. The family was Roman Catholic, and the church of Kilcolman has records of their marriages and baptisms. When my daughter and I visited County Offaly in 2008 the parish priest was away in Belfast. When we returned home I sent a letter and the priest supplied me with more information including that John Barnes (1832-1892) married Mary Ann Ryan on 13 June 1859 at the Kilcolman Roman Catholic Church. Ryan, in contrast to Barnes, is a very common surname in County Offaly. He also suggested we contact the parish ahead of time if we come back for another visit.
The National Archives of Ireland has the Census Records of 1901 and 1911 available free of charge, and for anyone doing Irish research it is an invaluable source to research for all 32 counties. For the 1901 Census, using only the surname Barnes, there are 836 entries, in contrast to Ryan which has 30,840. County Offaly, then called King’s County, have listed in the 1901 Census for the surname Ryan 1060 entries, and 37 Barnes’s including our family.
For anyone with family roots in Ireland that are thinking of taking a trip back to their ancestral lands, go for it. My daughter and I combined sightseeing with some family research, and along the way we met so many helpful and wonderful folks. It turned out that we found the end of the line of one branch of our Barnes family, but we discovered a beautiful section, the Midlands, not always suggested on itineraries for trips back to Ireland. Along the way we talked to neighbors that remembered John Joe Barnes with very fond memories of a kind, sweet old bachelor, that loved his family and helped his neighbors.
May neighbors respect you,
Surname Saturday is a blogging prompt suggested by GeneaBloggers. All photos taken by Maryann Barnes.