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The Cavan Connection

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A Michael Collins Story

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The Cavan Genealogist is a 1000 word (or more), monthly e-mail, genealogy newsletter. It is available by subscription only and will not be archived on the web. The cost is $25 (US) for 12 issues. You can subscribe by sending a cheque or money order for $25 US dollars or it's equivalent in your local currency, made payable to Kevin Sweeney and snail mail it to

Kevin Sweeney
Co Cavan

Issue 1
25 October 1997
Cavan Church records
What's available, how to find it and problems researching in church records

Cavan Parishes
What's the difference between a catholic and civil parish

Useful WWW resources for Cavan Genealogy

Issue 2
25 November 1997
Cavan Census Records
Whats available

Cavan Surnames
The problems associated with looking for a common surname without knowing a location.

Cavan Genealogy Research Centre
A professional research service

Issue 3
25 December 1997
Tithe Applotments
Because of the destruction of many civil records Irish land records are a very important source of genealogical information. The earliest comprehensive nationwide survey of landholding are the Tithe Applotment Books.

Local Historians
Thirty years ago Cavan was a place that retained a large element of local production for local consumption. It was a society that retained a degree of independence from the global economic and cultural economy. Each place had it own local patterns, customs, stories and practices. Understanding these local variations can often help resolve confusion in a research project.

The National Archives are Irelands most important historical archive and they also have one of Irelands most useful websites.

Two online sources for Killeshandra genealogy

Issue 4
25 January 1998
Griffiths Valuation
A comprehensive survey of Irish house and land holding in the 1850s

Cavan County Library
Has an amazingly comprehensive collection of material on local history.

An Online Connection
The potential of the Internet as a research tool.

Letter to the Editor
How to use the Anglo Celt to look for help in a research project.

Local History
Ordering books on the local history of Cavan.

Issue 5
25 February 1998
Commercial Directories
Directories can be useful for locating ancestors who were in trade or the professions.

The townland is the smallest Irish administrative division. I often get email from people who have a townland name but don't know what parish its in.

Irish Surnames
I'm planning a series on Cavan surnames. To set the context I've included a short piece on the origin and meanings of Irish surnames.

The Phone Book
Until recently very few Irish people moved residence within rural Ireland. This has resulted in a distinctive local distribution of surnames. One of the most convenient sources to track this is the phone book.

Issue 6
25 March 1998
National Education
Most Cavan people since 1831 got their primary education in National Schools (and still do). The national education system dramatically reduced illiteracy in Cavan during the 1800s and helped to kill the Irish language.

Cavan Surnames
The O'Reillys were the most unusual Gaelic family in Medieval Ireland. They minted their own money, had a written code of laws, and their headquarters at Cavan was the only medieval Gaelic town in Ireland. There is a huge amount of material in archives about the family and this article is quite long (885 words).

Issue 7
25 April 1998
Poor Law Unions
The Poor Law Unions were established in 1838 to implement government welfare and health policy. They are an important genealogical division, as civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths were based on the poor law Unions

Cavan Surnames
The McGovern's were the last Gaelic family in Ireland to maintain the Gaelic clan system.

The Royal Irish Constabulary
From 1822 to 1921 the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) provided policing in Ireland (outside Dublin). In that time 85,000 men served in the force. If any of your ancestors were members of the RIC, the records of the force are of interest to you.

Irish Ancestors
The Irish Times new genealogy service. A wonderful new online resource on Irish genealogy, all done to the high standard I've come to expect from the Irish Times.

Issue 8
The Great Famine in Cavan
One of the critical events in Irish History, the dependence on the potato was cruelly exposed by the arrival of Potato blight in 1845. Patterns, which had persisted since time immemorial, were destroyed in the famine. New patterns became established in Irish life, emigration became a central part of Cavan life, the population of Cavan has fallen since the Famine.

Civil Records
Since 1864 civil authorities in Ireland have recorded births, marriages and deaths. The civil records are a major source of genealogical information.

Gravestone Inscriptions
I once went with an American friend to a graveyard outside the town of Ballybay, Co Monaghan. She was hoping to check headstones for inscriptions, but there was not a single old headstone left. All that remained were the weathered stumps of headstones all made from a soft sedimentary rock that had disintegrated in the open air. Headstones as a source of genealogical information are a hit and miss business.

Sources for Cavan History
There is plenty of published material on the history of Cavan.

Cavan Surnames

Genealogy Links on the WWW
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Back Forward
Issue 1

Issue 2

Issue 3

Issue 6

Issue 7

Issue 8

Cavan Maps
Civil Parishes
Catholic Parishes
Poor Law Unions
Religious Denominations
Cavan Population Figures


Cavan Census Forms
Cavan Surnames
Mc Govern

Cavan National Schools

Bawnboy Workhouse
The Royal Irish Constabulary
The Great Famine in Cavan
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© Kevin Sweeney 1998