Where in Ireland are your Boylan roots?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Boylan DNA Project?

I am starting to wonder if it makes sense to start a DNA surname project for the Boylan Clan through Family Tree DNA. This could help tie together various branches of the Boylan tree together and help us all find Boylan cousins. From the few people I have corresponded with and seen results from online it appears there are a few separate branches of the Boylan clan. I have been writing to a gentleman whose Boylan roots are in Mayo (far from the typical Boylan Counties like Meath, Cavan, Louth) during the famine and he is having little luck in pinpointing a particular place in Mayo or finding other relatives. Many Irish clans have created DNA projects that help everyone find more info about their deeper roots. There seem to be a handful of Boylans who have had DNA testing but so far no central place to examine the data. If you are reading this and find this concept interesting drop me an email at mboylen2@aol.com.

By the way, here are some pictures I took of Mayo during my recent trip for my newest Boylan contact.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Boylans: Shoes of Distinction

I found this shoe store in Dublin. I got a kick out of it. I somehow can't see my relatives being fashion magnets. It must be some distant branch. LOL

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Kilnaleck, Cavan Boylan's

So after leaving Dromin we decided to travel to Kilnaleck in County Cavan before going into Northern Ireland. As I wrote before, DNA tests had shown that I was related to two separate Boylan's from Kilnaleck. Both of these Boylan's connect somewhere before the paper trail as well. Upon searching Griffith's Evaluation it became clear that Kilnaleck and the surrounding area had one of the largest numbers of Boylan's in the area. DNA had given a very strong rationale for believing my Boylan's had migrated at some point from this area to Dromin.
I knew about Boylan's Bar before I traveled to Kilnaleck. Unfortunately, when I got to town it was still to early so I wasn't able to grab a pint here. We did go the pub across the street to grab breakfast and that pub's walls were covered in football pictures; many of these pictures showed local Boylan's through the years.

This clothing store was just a few storefronts down from the Boylan Bar.

Since I had not found a single Boylan grave in Dromin I decided to go to a cemetary in Kilnaleck to take some photographs of some Boylan headstones. A local told me there was no graveyard in Kilnaleck but there were two nearby. I decided to go to the one at the Catholic Church in Crosserlough. When I got there I happened upon this stone by a happy coincidence. You see, I've been corresponding with one of my "DNA cousins" and he was a direct decendent of Matthew and Marcella Boylan. Therefore, this family is related in some way to me. The gentleman I was corresponding with had never seen the grave so I was happy to share these photos.

Here is a close up of the names.

This stone was located near the other Boylan stone as well. Maybe these images will help someone else.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Images of Dromin

There really only seems to be one church and one bar in this little village. Its still a very sleepy town despite its proximity to Dublin on the new M1 highway. The town seems fairly well to do and the scenery is lush. Some photos of the town are below. More will follow as I edit them.

St. Finian's Church as shot from the Village Saloon

This is shot from the graveyard and the ruins of St. Finian's Monastary.

The inside of St. Finian's church.

The church graveyard.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Michael Boylan and the Jumping Church

One of the most interesting Boylan stories I found in County Louth was the tale of Michael Boylan of Blakestown, Louth. The son of Peter Boylan, a prominent Catholic farmer, Michael was the leader of the Louth freemen in 1798. The men of Louth, (supposedly 15,000 of them) gathered at his door to be led to Tara for the national uprising. Only Boylan's mother intervened and he would not come out of his house. Leaderless the men returned to their homes and no one from Louth would fight at Tara. Because of his cowardice Boylan was turned in by a man named John Kelly and hung for his role in the rebellion.

A local ballad tells his tale:

I am in close confinement and no hopes of liberty
Condemned to death for treason before his majesty.

In Collon I was taken being on the third of
The Drogheda guards conveyed me to where I met my doom
I lived in expectation that the speaker'd set me free,
But I received my sentence from Dan Kelly's perjury.

Tom Hand he acted as a foe, tho' he favored me that
When in walks Dan Kelly and he swore my life away
He swore I had 10,000 men all at my command
Just ready to assist the French as soon as they
would land.
He swore I was united to support the unuon cause
And the jury cried out Boylan you must die by martial laws

When I heard the dismal verse
Twas in the jail I lay
I scarcely got one moment more than one hour to pray
And with my trembling fingers I took my book in hand
The tears came rolling down my cheeks to the ground where I did stand

I met my honoured father as from the jail I came
Heavens must part with you my dear and loving child
I bowed my tender body and they soon hauled me away
Until I reached the tholsel the place I was to die

I wasn't the least bit daunted till the fatal tree I spied
my sight began to fail me, my book I could not read
For to think I'd be cut down in all my prime
A tender hearted blade

Farewell my loving father its parted we must be
Likewise my loving mother your face I'll never see
Farewell my loving brother and loving sisters too
In the 26 year of my age I take my leave of you

I own was united the same I neer denied
Its in the speakers Cavalry I oftentimes did ride
If I woulf turn traitor I would get my liberty
But I won't be called deceiver I will die on the gallous tree
I always behaved myself the country round can tell
It's true Dan Kelly's perjury has proved my sad death knell
Farewell all friends and neighbors its parted we must be
My name is young Mick Boylan. Good Christians pray for me.

Michael Boylan was eventually layed to rest in the Boylan family plot in the Kildemock Cemetary near its famous Jumping Church. The grave is now covered in moss and difficult to read but old transcriptions of the stone report it says:

Per Santam Crucem Tuam Redemisti Munum
This monument was erected by Peter Boylan of Blakestown for himself and his posterity. Underneath lie interred the mortal remains of his son Michael Boylan who departed this life on the 22nd of June 1798 aged 26 years. Also the remains of Stephen Boylan brother to the above Michael who departed this life on the 20th of August 1801 aged 18 years. R.I.P.

Blakestown is only a few miles from Dromin. John Foster was the landlord for Peter Boylan's land. He was also the speaker referenced in the song who did not save Mick Boylan. Interestingly, a Honorable John Foster was also the landlord for one of my Boylan family's plots in Dromin. There were not many Boylan's in Louth during this period and with such small distance, such similar given names, and a common landlord perhaps Michael Boylan is a distant relative of this Michael Boylen. I dount I'll ever know for sure.

Monday, June 25, 2007

O'Baoigheallain to Baylon to Boylan to Boylen?

So I'm back from Ireland...amazing! I learned so much and will be adding new information for awhile. I think the biggest personal revelation is that my Boylan ancestors likely spoke Irish when they immigrated. I had suspected this from my previous research but it was only a theory; now I feel its confirmed. I think I read somewhere that roughly 25% of the residents of Louth were primarily Irish speakers at the time of the Famine. This was true mainly in the rural areas. Well, Dromin is definitely a rural village.

My previous clue had been that in all American records my g-g-g-g grandmother's name was Julia but in all Irish records it was Judith. Some internet research showed that both Judith and Julia came from the same Irish root.

The parish priest in Dromin (more about that in a later post) gave me more useful info. There are still members of the Boylan clan in Ireland that spell their name Baylon. Baylon is a more phonetic English translation of the Irish O'Baoigheallain. In the 1844 Ardee Union Poor Law Rate Book my g-g-g-g grandfather, Matthew, listed his last name as Baylon. I had seen this but considered it a mistake (I should know to never do that...). But in the 1854 version of the same record he listed his last name as Boylan. The Baylon spending seems a further indication of their primary language.

Finally, the priest showed me the grave of the parish priest during the 1830's in the parish cemetary. The picture to the left is of the grave of Father Magee of Dromin. Father Magee delivered his sermons in Irish at the church. This is further evidence that the Catholic population of Dromin spoke Irish.

It is interesting for me to see the evolution of this name over time as the Irish language was assaulted and replaced by English. And then how the name was further altered upon my relatives immigration to the U.S.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Trip is Here

Work has ket me from blogging for some time - and suddenly the my trip has arrived. The first few days should be the most informative. Besides my time in Louth I am really looking forward to the Irish American Heritage Park (I think thats what its called) in Tyrone. Its supposed to be a recreation of famine life in Ireland, on the coffin ships, and in America. Hopefully, there will be enough internet cafes in Ireland to update often!