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Comments on the Genealogies

Posted by Seoirse on 4/30/2011 in Commentary | Genaology

Creation of the new Ferriter Family website moved me to a review of certain items that I had in hand, for inclusion on the site. A number of these are now posted as blog entries, including the following. None of these observations, speculations, and theories have been altered by the time that has passed between having been written and now…enjoy reading, and comment, please!


Quite a few citations involving the Ferriters of the 17th and 18th centuries exist. That said, there are no birth marriage or death documents for any of these people, nor will there ever be. Records keeping within the Catholic communities was proscribed, and records destruction as in the case of legal documents, has been apocalyptic. However, much can be done within the existing record.
Within the Ferriter Family, the Big Mystery — The Enigma — has been in sorting out the lines of descent from Piaras. Family oral tradition has most frequently maintained that Piaras Feiritear was, in his time the last male Ferriter, and all living Ferriters extend from him. Via DNA studies, we know that the Ferriters seem to have had a single common male ancestor…but whether this was Pierce, or the original le Fureter arrival in ireland is unknown. We do know that there were very few Ferriters alive at the time Piaras was born. There was no colony of related Ferriters living around Ballyferriter as there is now – the tribe had been substantially wiped out during the late 1500s. It is very unlikely that Piaras had many cousins, if he had any cousins at all. It seems more likely that he might have had a brother.

1. In order to make the known genealogy work out such that Piaras was every Ferriters direct ancestor, he is sometimes required to have had two families, one early one late. To fit that scheme, the idea that he was married as a young man to a Helen Trant, who died about the time the Rebellion of 1641 began, (which seems to be supported within the record) and then later married an O’Moriarty has been posited for a number of years. This may be correct. (Tree A)

2. Alternatively, Piaras may have had a younger brother, Thomas – who was listed as forfeiting with him following the failure of the Rebellion, in 1654 or so. They probably were both already dead – we know for certain that Pierce was. In this case, Thomas may have been the father of the “second family”, which included Redmond and Maurice. This does not, however support Cardinal Rinuccini’s description of Piaras being Thaddeus Moriarty’s brother-in-law, unless Piaras was not married to Helen Trant. (Tree B)

3. OR…Redmond and Maurice may also have been Perse’s sons, alongside Edmond, Dominick(2), and Richard. This makes some sense, in terms of the chronology… and aligns with Maurice beinge Pierce Ferriter’s son – just not the first Pierce.  It also aligns with Moriarty Family information that would have Redmond’s Daughter, Mary as being first cousin to Edmond’s daughters.  There are plenty of examples where Irish families produced many children – all it took was a strong, healthy woman with good child-bearing characteristics. Again in this scheme, Pierce would have never been married to a Helen Trant, but only to an O’Moriarty. (Tree C)
So, We have these three choices. As stated we can pretty much safely rule out “shadow Ferriters” or widely spaced inter-relationships…one way or the other, this was a small, genetically close family in the mid-1600s. So one of these three choices is probably substantially correct.

Your Choice?


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Know Your Ancestors

Sister Helen Theresa Ferriter

photo b. October 8, 1870
d. November 17, 1945

Helen Theresa Ferriter was born in 1870 to immigrant parents from the Dingle Peninsula area of Ireland.  She was the tenth child of Nicholas and Mary Ann (Sullivan) Ferriter.  Her oldest brother, Michael James Ferriter, was 17 and working in the coal mines along with his father.  Her youngest sibling was John Joseph Ferriter, age 5.  Four of the nine children born before her had not survived childhood, with one dying as an infant and three dying as toddlers.  Barclay Village no longer exists. At one time, it was a very busy community that sprouted up in 1850 around the coal mines and the rail... Read More