My search for my great grandfather, Michael McDermottRoe, started with pieces of paper on which my father, Paul Dooley, had written some of the information he remembered of his Dooley family. Among them was a copy of the Baptism Certificate from the Parish of Kilronan in Ireland, of Anna McDermott, Paul's mother, and the daughter of Michael. My father died when I was very young so I never had an opportunity to ask about his family history.
In 1991, my husband accepted a job in Fairfax, Virginia. I had no interest in genealogy but before I left for Virginia my mother gave me all the family information my father had written down. It was a few more years before I realized how fortunate I was living in the Washington area. Here the National Archives surrounded me; two Latter Day Saints Family History Centers and the Fairfax Genealogy Library. So gathering up my pieces of information, I began in 1994 to visit the LDS centers and pour over microfilms. I also took some of the many adult education classes in genealogy that were being offered by the town of Fairfax. In fact I crammed classes in knowing we would not be in Virginia much longer.
I started with the"Dooleys" but hit a very large brick wall trying to trace my grandfather back to Ireland. But I had those "pieces of paper" and decided to look for the McDermott's. I almost went blind reading microfilms from the Kilronan Parish in Crosshill, Ireland but found quite a bit of information regarding birth and marriage dates. After going though those records, I was very lucky to find a helpful Irish gal who volunteered at the LDS on Fridays. She helped me so much in finding what I needed in Tithe Applotments, Griffiths Valuations and the 1901 census from Ireland.
We retired to Vermont in 1996 and while I did some searching in the Family History Center up here, I pretty much put everything on the shelf for a while. In 1999 we took a tour to Ireland. I had some free time to research records in Dublin, where I found the 1911 Census of Ireland and death certificates for my great grandparents. Back home I used the Internet at times to try and find more information and finally in 2001 came across the McDermot Clan Association web site. I registered and emailed information about who I was looking for. Some kind soul emailed me back and told me to contact Ken MacDermotRoe. Ken remembered meeting a woman at a clan meeting in Ireland who said she was the granddaughter of Henry McDermottRoe, (Anna's brother) and gave me her address. What a stroke of good luck! I contacted Kathleen and she responded immediately. I had found my second cousin! Soon after I received an email from my second cousin once removed, Hazel, another granddaughter of Henry. She sent a family history of all the descendents she had found, so between us we were able to fill a lot of empty branches on the McDermott Tree.
In May of 2001, Don and I flew to Ireland and met so many second cousins and cousins once removed. Kathleen's brother from Chicago was visiting, so we for the first time met him and his wife. What a wonderful time we had meeting many family members who were interested in meeting us. We rented a car and took off on our own to Roscommon and met Nan, Kathleen's sister, who is still living in the original McDermott house in Crosshill. She was so kind to take us to the Kilronan Church and Cemetery and many of the sites where McDermotts lived and worked. Kathleen had showed us a National Geographic Magazine she had from November of 1978. In it is an article "Where the River Shannon Flows" which contains two pages of pictures and a paragraph about Nan (McDermott) and Matt Leyden on the family farm in Crosshill. We were happy to find and purchase a copy back here in the states.
We are planning another trip next year to visit the western coast of Ireland. Perhaps we will be able to find the family of Michael's son, Thomas, who died in Moyoran and get some of those other empty branches filled.
Copyright Biatach 2014