Irish Family History Society

Connecting People With Their Irish Roots

Irish Mystery To Family History: A Forgotten Heritage

David C A Wilkins
Paperback     Published privately in the UK with DVD   Pages 283
ISBN 978-0-9562080-0-2
David C A Wilkins is based in Stockport, Cheshire, UK and is a member of the Irish Family History Society.  His family heritage is no longer forgotten with this most detailed and well researched book.  His Irish ancestry relates to the counties Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Meath and Offaly.  Ancestral names includes: Armstrong, Harrison, Seymour, Mangan, Clarke, Donnellan, Madden, Odlum, and Corbally among others.  The research covers some major periods in Irish history from the Battle of Aughrim, Co. Galway,  the Penal Laws, the Great Famine, 1846-1850, the British Empire and right up to the 1950s.
The book contains case histories on the Galway Militia and the Seymour family of Co. Galway.  The surname Seymour “has its origins in Normandy and possibly even further afield in North Africa”.  The first Seymour documented in Ireland is a John Seymour Esq. of Dublin, who married a Mary Eyres of Eyrescourt Co Galway in 1688.  John was the second son of Sir Edward Seymour, the third baronet of Berry Pomeroy, Co. Devon.  Both families had holdings in Wiltshire and Devon in England.  In Ireland the Seymours leased land from the Eyres and possibly originally came to Ireland as retainers of the Eyres for the crown.
The story of Somerset House, a picture of which appears on the cover of the book, and Ballymore Castle in East Galway is fascinating.  Two branches of the Seymours settled in Galway and lived there for three centuries.  Somerset House in the parish of Clontuskert, East Galway in the post famine years, ended in the Encumbered Estates Court and was purchased by a Seymour in 1870.  The family remained in possession of the house until 1957 when the Irish Land Commission arranged a relocation to Co. Meath.  The research does not say where in Co. Meath they moved to.  Unfortunately the house has been demolished.  Ballymore was also sold in 1958, out of the family possession but that house is still lived in.
Over the years the family became part of the Irish diaspora living in such faraway places as Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.  The early family pedigree was recorded in Burke’s Landed Gentry and the Landed Gentry of Ireland.  Nowadays the family is still remembered in East Galway as there is a townland named Somerset there among The Longford Townlands, south of the town of Ballinasloe. David also contributed to the Irish Family History Journal in 1999 with an article entitled “The Army a Family Business” and “The Parish of Clontuskert, Glimpses Into its Past” in 2008.
Margaret N Loftus B A, Certificate in Genealogy UCD.

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