Sunday, November 18, 2012

Need A Plan For The Irish Conlin Family

I've spent several years looking for the birthplace of Martin Conlin only to be at the same place I started...Roscommon Ireland, possibly. That's what I know, that's all I know and try as I might I've not been able to narrow that location down to a town or parish.

I've been doing what the books and research guides say to do; find as much information in U.S. records first. The main goal in that being the potential for a U.S. record mentioning the birth location of the individual in Ireland. Another goal is the possibility of finding the location in Ireland through a siblings or parents information.

I have collected several significant documents pertaining to Martin's life within the U.S.

  • County court index entry stating his first papers for citizenship were filed in July 21,1856 in Cuyahoga County Ohio
  • County court index entry for first papers state he arrived in the U.S. in March 1855
  • Marriage record from October 27, 1856 in Cuyahoga County Ohio
  • Naturalization document giving Oath of Allegiance October 27,1860 in Audrain County Missouri, witness John O'Dowd
  • Census records for 1860-1880 in Audrain & Linn Counties Missouri
  • Will dated March 9, 1896 in Missouri, witness John O'Dowd
  • Tombstone b: December 12, 1828 County Roscommon Ireland, d: April 28, 1896 Linn County Missouri. Burial in Linn County Missouri
  • Obituary May 2, 1896 in Linn County Missouri
  • Certificate of Probate dated July 19, 1897 in Linn County Missouri

The tombstone is the only piece of evidence that specifically states County Roscommon as Martin's place of birth. All other items state Ireland. None of the documents contain or make reference to parents, siblings, aunts, uncles etc. I have the obituaries for Martin's wife, Ellen and one of his children, Michael. Both state that Martin was from Ireland. 

So...what's a genealogist to do? I will continue to look for documents created with Martin's wife and children in hopes of finding some other nugget of detail. I also need to search for John O'Dowd. John was the witness to Martin's Oath of Allegiance and his Will; perhaps they knew each other before arriving in the U.S.

Is there anything I'm missing? Some glaring detail that I should be looking for that I'm not? I would love to hear from anyone that has any suggestions.


  1. Have you looked at his first papers, or is there only an index? His first papers should state which port he entered when he came to the U.S. Since you have the date, you could use this as a jumping-off point to find the ship and possibly the port of origin.

    Have you checked to see if there is a marriage application to go with the marriage certificate? Often, those have more detailed information. Church records may also give a little more information.

    Sometimes the census records show "Ireland (Free State)" or "North Ireland" for their place of birth? Were any such distinctions made for Martin? This would at least help you narrow down which part of Ireland (and possibly support the tombstone assertion).

    I'm going to have to heed my own advice, as I also have an ancestor who was born in Ireland. Unfortunately, my problem is the opposite of yours - every document says he was from a different place in Ireland! I've put him on the back burner for now. :)

  2. Jenny, I've been unable to find the actual first papers. The County Clerk has looked more than once and the index is all that has been found. I do need to look into the marriage more, perhaps they were married in a Catholic Church in Ohio and there could be more information there. The census say Ireland and that's all. :( Thanks for your comments!

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  4. Hmmm... I also have a mysterious Conlin/Conlon connection to - I think - Roscommon Ireland. Maybe we're related? Keep us posted on what you find... this should prove to be interesting. Good luck! ~ Jen

  5. I would definitely persist in Cuyahoga County for the original First Papers for Citizenship. I have done research in the courthouse in Cleveland(the one down by the lake?) It may not reveal a town but a port on entry will narrow down all the Conlins in the time period . Definitely follow the 0'Dowd connection.
    I'm still working on Irish in Cleveland .
    The earliest Cleveland churches for Irish were Saint Patrick Catholic Church, some at St. Peters Catholic Church which is closed now . St. Malachy's . Ours are from Ballaghaderreen,County Roscommon, Ireland.I always wondered how Cleveland got so many settlers from Roscommon . You were lucky they even have his county on the stone .

  6. Thank you so much for commenting and the information. The marriage index gives no clue as to if they were married in a church in Cuyahoga County. I will see what I can find out through the churches you mentioned. I appreciate the tip!

  7. I have made so many new friends and gotten great info from Facebook groups. The Cork Genealogical Society is so much fun. Everyone usually gets involved and tries to help as much as possible. I still can't locate the other half of my gg grandfathers obit from Co Cork in 1917 but have lots of group info for other pieces of the puzzle. Same goes for Galway Groups on FB.

  8. Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by. I do use Facebook but I've not thought of looking for a county specific group! I belong to the Irish Genealogy group, but I should look for a Roscommon group. Thanks for the tip!