The following is part of an Genealogical Assessment provided by the nice people at Eneclann. The purpose of the assessment is to help me evaluate whether it makes sense to move forward with a more in-depth investigation of my Roche (Roach) relatives of Dublin, Ireland.. The people there are very nice and curteous. They did lose my initial request for the assessment which delayed the results by more than four weeks, but they did most certainly make the situation right with me in several ways. Thank you Eneclann. I do plan to use them for additional assessments and so far, would recommend them to others who need help researching in Ireland.
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The purpose of this initial assessment is to review the information you have given us on your Irish ancestors and, if possible, to develop a search strategy. As I am sure you will understand, we do not like to recommend commissioning research if we are not confident of finding more material about the family.
The initial information that you sent was that Margaret ______ was born ca. 1818 in Dublin. It is believed that Margaret trained as a doctor in Dublin. Margaret married Andrew Roche. Three known children issued from this marriage, namely Bridget (b. ca. 1831, Dublin), Anna (b. ca. 1838, Dublin) and Mary (b. ca. 1845, Dublin). Margaret Roche emigrated with her three daughters ca. 1851 (possibly on bard the Princess arriving in the US ca. 21st June 1851). Andrew Roche was not travelling with the family (the Andrew recorded on the ship’s manifest appears to be too young and is believed therefore to be an issue of the marriage). It is possible that a Patrick (b. ca. 1835, Dublin), John (b. ca. 1848), Michael, James, Rosanna and the aforementioned Andrew also issued from this marriage. Margaret Roche died in the US, most likely in Cleveland in 1875. A Patrick and John Roche resided in Cleveland, where the burial of a Margaret Roche has been located (27th April 1875).
Civil registration commenced in Ireland in 1864. Therefore, we will not be able to locate civil records for the births of the Roche children above or the marriage of Andrew and Margaret. Instead we will have to see whether we can determine an address for the Roche family in Dublin to allow us determine the relevant parish in which to search for family events.
Griffith’s Valuation was a nationwide survey of property holders, taken between 1847 and 1864 for the purpose of assessing the rate of local taxation, which was levied for the upkeep of the poor and destitute of the parish. Most of the census returns for the 19th century have been destroyed and now Griffith’s acts as a valuable mid century census substitute.
At the time of the valuation the individuals who would have been heads of household were:
- Andrew Roche, should he have been alive and residing in Dublin at the time of the Valuation in his parish of residence
- Margaret Roche, should Andrew have died prior to the Valuation in her parish of residence, and should Margaret still have been resident in Dublin at the time
An open mind is necessary in relation to surname variants: widespread illiteracy made consistency and exactness of spelling extremely rare. Therefore, individuals of the following surnames may be related to your ancestors – Roche, Roache, Roach etc.
Griffith’s Valuation did not record any ratepayers named Andrew Roche (all surname variants) in Dublin. The Valuation did however record one ratepayer named Mrs. Margaret Roche residing in Dublin:
Date of Printing: 10th March 1849
It is possible that this individual was the wife of Andrew Roche given that the Valuation was taken in March 1849. However, it is also possible that Margaret resided in a property for which she was not the recorded ratepayer and is therefore not recorded by the Valuation.
Mrs. Margaret Roche leased No. 24 Merrion House, Merrion Avenue from the Reps. of J. Murphy in the townland of Merrion, civil parish of Booterstown, which consisted of a house for which the total rateable annual valuation was £1. 10 shillings.
Without further corroborative information we have no way of knowing whether this information is relevant to your family.
A copy of the Valuation for Merrion Avenue has been enclosed with our assessment.
The destruction of the 19th Irish Census returns is probably the greatest loss that genealogy in Ireland has suffered. Irish genealogists have tried to fill this gap using extant documentary sources from the 19th Century, as ‘census substitutes’. One important census substitute has survived for the capital city, and that is an index of the heads of households in Dublin City from the 1851 Census of Ireland as compiled by Dr. D. A. Chart. This census only covered the part of the Dublin city situated between the two canals (which does not include the parish of Booterstown noted above).
We examined this index for evidence of an Andrew or Margaret Roche (of course it is possible that Margaret had emigrated prior to the enumeration of this census). We noted the following:
North/South of River Liffey
New Row West
However, again, we cannot confirm at this juncture whether this individual is of any relation to the family of your ancestors.
You state that it is believed that Margaret Roche trained as a doctor in Dublin. At the time Margaret was residing in Dublin, there were restrictions on woman obtaining a medical degree. In fact, Dr. Blackwell, an Englishwoman brought up in the United States, after much difficulty obtained a medical degree. Blackwell was the only woman able to have her name entered on the newly established General Medical Council’s register (under temporary provisions for overseas qualified doctors immediately after the passage of the 1858 Medical Act). Knowing the restrictions on woman with relation to obtaining medical qualifications at the time, the only source, which we could recommend searching, would be the Lists of Midwives. These registers are held in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin and date from the late 1600s. They record the name and date of licence for all midwives licensed by the college and may hold a record of your ancestor should she have worked as a midwife in Dublin prior to emigration. Alternatively, Margaret Roche may have worked as a nurse in Dublin. However, no record source survives which would allow us to confirm this.
Can you inform us of what occupation Margaret Roche recorded on her US census returns? This may assist in determining whether a search of the above source would be worthwhile and likely to produce a positive result. Again, we do not like to recommend commissioning research if we are not confident of finding more material about the family.
We searched, Slater’s Commercial Directory of Ireland, 1846 for evidence of Andrew or Margaret Roche. This book includes a full commercial directory for the entire country. Organised by Province, and then town, it lists all the principal office holders, gentry, professionals, trades, hotels, schools, public institutions, churches, and even pubs for each town in Ireland. However, our search of this directory did not locate any entries under either name.
We also searched the Dublin Heritage Group’s databases, which include indices to selected Dublin parish registers being developed by staff of Dublin City Public Libraries. We searched these parish registers for evidence of the baptisms of the Roche children (using all surname variants), searching across five years for each centring on the provided years of birth. We noted a Patrick Roche baptised in St. Mary’s RC parish on 24th March 1836, and two John Roche baptised in St. Andrew’s parish on 14th May 1849 and 22nd February 1850. However, the original registers would need to be examined in order to determine the names of these children’s parents. Unfortunately, we did not note evidence of any of the children confirmed as issuing from this marriage – Bridget, Anna and Mary. Nor did we note a marriage record for Andrew Roche and Margaret _____
The Dun Laoghaire Heritage & Genealogy Centre and the Swords Historical Society have made parish registers for these areas available digitally. Although these only cover small sections of South and North county Dublin respectively (not including Dublin city), we searched these for evidence of the baptisms of the Roche children. However, our search did not yield a positive result.
The difficulty in developing this search, is that the only event that you have positively identified as occurring in Ireland – the baptisms of the Roche children and the marriage of Andrew and Margaret – occurred in the first half of the 19th Century. Unfortunately, there are no vital records sources (Census returns or civil births, marriages or deaths) for this time. Indeed, prior to the introduction of civil registration in 1864, there is no one indexed source that provides coverage for all 32 counties in Ireland, for all economic classes and religious denominations. In order to develop this search, we would need to know an address or parish for the family in Dublin. Without a piece of information, which unequivocally ties us to a specific location, we will have to work systematically through a lot of records, which will take time and money.
At this stage, I would recommend that you do some more research in the US to try and find some additional evidence to work from, before commissioning any research in Ireland, otherwise you’ll pay for your lack of information, and the chances of finding anything definite are less likely. The following sources are those most worth consulting:
1) A death certificate for Margaret Roche – U.S. civil death certificates usually give the name of one or both parents, and this would help us to develop the search in Ireland.
2) A gravestone inscription or newspaper obituary for Margaret Roche or any of her children. These often give the person’s place of origin in Ireland.
3) Immigration papers. After 1883, immigration papers gave quite accurate information about the person’s place of origin. However, even earlier immigration papers sometimes record this information and so should not be overlooked. Earlier papers would also be of use in indicating whether Margaret wasmarried at the time of her arrival in America. These papers are kept in the National Archives in Washington DC. Their e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org, or see their web site,https://www.nara.gov/genealogy/immigration/immigrat.html – this will tell you which records they have. It would appear that you may already have consulted this source.
4) Census returns from the late 19th century can be a useful source of genealogical information. We have found that later census returns tend to record more accurate information on a person’s place of origin in Dublin.
5) Family letters / bibles. Through talking to relatives, people often find that old papers are still in existence that can help with this research.
I am sorry that we cannot give any more positive recommendation at present. However, the nature of genealogical research is such that it is necessary to work methodically backwards from each generation to the previous one. The more information you find on the family in the US, the more likely we are to be able to focus the research in Ireland.
When we hear back from you, I hope that we shall be in a better position to develop a search strategy (you do not need to complete another search assessment form).
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