Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Dunraven Papers - Visit 1

For now I am just dumping my notes from Visit 1 to the University of Limerick Library which houses the Earl of Dunraven's papers, many of which are of direct genealogical relevance to the Spearin family and the families into which its members married.

Highlights from this first visit were as follows:

  • the incredibly helpful staff at the library (Jean Turner, Ken Bergin)
  • the musty smell of old paper as I opened the first document
  • finding a Spearin in the first document!
  • the above record was from 31st July 1697 and a Matthew Sperin witnessed the document. A Thomas Hart(well) was the next witness.
  • Records from 1772-1780 in Rower indicate that there was a George Spearin living there. This is probably the father of George (Adare) Spearin who is the patriarch of many of the Canadian families (John, Tobias, Luke, James, George and Catherine ... all ON1 families). Thus we have pushed back an extra generation in this particular family.
Digital photography is not allowed, although digital copies can be requested via the Library from Lady Dunraven, who is the guardian of these papers (the last Earl sadly passed away in 2005 or so). I therefore dictated relevant information into my iPhone and made an initial transcription of it which you see below. This will eventually be worked up into a more "user-friendly" and visually appealing post in due course.

Here is the initial transcription of my dictated observations:

There is a detailed Finding Aid / Calendar (DC) with more info than the online version.

Italics are my own comments.
Italics within verbatim text indicate there is uncertainty in my transcription.

1st May 1696 mortgage from John Hurly to Lady Elizabeth Southwell of Ballyliddane and Lispane

Southwell’s of Castle Matrix had connections to John Wall

Title deeds of Baybush 1699-1796

D/3196/K/8/1-13 (p245 DC)

Estate rentals, etc 1697-1891

D/3196/K/9/1-26 (p249 DC)

Estate rentals, etc 1855-1937

envelope of papers concerning the impropriate rectorial tithes of the vicarage of Adare [purchased by Valentine Quin from the Earl of Burlington in 1713 - see K/5/1]

Certificate of Return of Land Tythes due
Vicarage of Adare
Diocese of Limerick
by Edwd Ingram, Vicar

The smell of the old paper wafted up to my nose. When was the last time this had been opened? When was the last time that human eyes had read this script? It was quite easy to read - light brown ink on beige-coloured paper, frayed at the edges and almost torn along the creases where it had been folded 3 times to produce 8 rectangles. The content was of no particular interest, but then I got down to the end of the document. Here’s what it said:
 … as witness my hand this 31st day of July 1697. Edward Ingram Vicar of Adare
According to ye best of our knowledge ye Terxier(?) Contained in ye two withinthes(?) 
is a true account of ye Glebes Tythes & dues belonging to the Vicarage of adare as
witness our hands this 1st day of augt 1697   Henry Winthorn  Francis Wide
Henery Tesbury   Math: Sperin   thos Hart:  Ric Lecy  Parish Clerk  a coppy  Robt Gala

no date
A list of the quinty Lands in the parish of Adare

The Burgess plow land of Adare in several small denominations  3  3  6  
Moity of Rower the accos* formerly lett to Spirin  1  0  3
Castle plowland     4  0  4

* maybe accounts

10 May 1714
Lease from Ingram of ye Tythes (similar to the previous one) containing a list of townlands and some numbers (either acreage or £ s d)

The Burgess plow land of Adare in several denominations  3  3  6  
Moity of Rower and Plananora except 44 acrs lett to Mr Mathew Sperin  0  5  9
Castle plowland     4  0  4
14 other entries below this
Followed by dictated transcription Adare 1

no Spearin’s

George Spearen
see Adare 2 recording

latest date of lease commencement was 25 Mar 1827

Adare 1 recording

I Edward Ingram, Rector of Croom in the county of Limerick do hearby devise, lett, and xxxx unto Val: Quin of Adare in the county of Limerick due to me out of the above denomination of lands in the parish of Adare during my incumbency upon the parish under ye yearly rent of 6 pound fourteene shillings and two pence £10  together with 6 shillings and 9 pence ...

In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand and oath? this 10th day of May 1714 being present when it was allowed xxx the xxx for which ...

Adare 2 & 3 recordings

List of tithes 
30 people on first page, each paying tithes that varied from 4 pounds and 1.10 down to 5s, 3s
On second page, there is George Spearen  0. 4. 0 (presumably pounds, shillings, and pence)
Total tithes for this area were 63L 19s 2p
John Quinn
John Lacklam?
Will Shanassy
Pat Mulqueen
John Saxsmith
George Spearen
Thomas FitzGerald 
John Roberts
Pat Daly?
Xxx Xxx
Denis Lyons

Adare 4
List of tithes
25-35 on list
Also has column on left with list of townlands associated with each name
The heading is A List of the Tithes for the year 1774
Halfway down the list is 
Dan Lyons
Edmund Sheehy
Conor Gorman 
John Saxsmith & Spearin  2s 9d (on crease in paper)
John King
John Roberts
John Fitzgerald

A List of the Tithes for 1776
George Fosberry 3L
Cecil Westrop 4L
Vere Hunt
Mr Jackson
John King
Francis Boland 
William Ormond
Laurence xxx
Patrick Barlam
John Hogan
Richard Westby
Michael Daniel
Thomas Harigan
James McNamara & partners
Thomas FitzGerald
Steven Reddick
Edward Beauman
Thomas Harigan?
Francis Hanrahan
Matthew Harigan
Thomas FitzGibbons
James Harigan and partners
John Hickey and partners
John Davy?
Dan Lyons
Edmund Sheehy
Conor Gorman 
James king
Darby flood
Owen Willam
John hickey
Tim Maloney
James Hyer
John Harigan
James benson
Patrick Fraley
Timothy Brown
Patrick Benk and partners
James Shanassy
(Next page)
John Costelly and partners
Dan Power
Darby FitzPatrick
Patrick Power
Darby Healy
Morgan Sheehy
James Costello & Lynch
john Kelly and power
Thomas Donoghue
James Donoghue
John Ormond
Watford and Smith
Watson and Cunningham 
James Comain
George Spearin 4s 4d
John Saxsmith 
David welch
Con Hannon and partner
Stan Moloney and partner
John brian and partner
William Bleary
John Blackwell
Edward Kucher
James Cantillon and tenants 
Richard Duignan (with a note on there side saying will not pay)

Adare 5
With town lands
The is,and
Graigue - Dan Lyons, Edmund Sheehy, Conor Gorman, Saxsmith and Spearin
Knock ane

Adare 6
A List of the Tithes
John toomey
Geo Spearin 6s 0d
James Fitzgerald 

1779 (on reverse side)
Spearin 5s 5d
Total 48L 6s 10d

Adare 7
List of Tithes paid for 1780
Note at end says 
"The following did not pay their tithes"
George Spearen 10s
Total for tithes was 55L 2s 9d

Adare 8
81-12 is so faded it is impossible to make out a Spearin

Adare 9
Therefore Rentals of the Duke of Richmonds estate in and around adare consisting of 6782 acres at a rental of 1450 pounds and annual valuation of 3408 pounds a calculation of 1721 (from Finding Aid)

Townland - acreage (A,R,P) - tenant - term in years or number of lives - present rental LSD . Valuation LSD? . Current valuation LSD?
Totals 1450,2786,3407
116 1 20 . wid Spierin . 2 lives on term . 15,0,0 . 30,10,0 . 34,3,3,6

KILGOBBIN, baldly girl, dunmaraass, lismurinty, adare, castlelyons

Note at the bottom says: the above purchases being made by val Quin and to the sum of 155,18,0,1/4 The purchase money of the above land amounted to 14995,10,0 LSD 

23 Dec 1721
Letter from agent of the duke of Richmond (it looks like) who has set out the computation of his estate, the whole valuation being £43,965. No mention of any tenants within the document.

Adare 10
C1825 but actually up to 1827
Survey of 2nd earls estate minus Adare (from Calendar) incomplete
Election check book
Names, rents, tenures
Other surveys available at ... B3,c26 ...
Substantial leaf of papers
20-25 a3 sheets
6 columns
Barony number electors, resident, ... CHECK
Candidates, for whom tendered, objection, how ruled, observations

Townlands and tenants underneath
John gleeson on p2
Kilmaureeg alias Scagh
Christopher sparling
Henry fasberry esq
Christopher sparling
Catherine his wife

Lessees, acreage, commencement of lease, duration of lease, lives in lease
George ruckle now held by john corneal,26, 1792, went to America all three about 10 years ago, George ruckle, Mary his wife, peter his son aged about 3 years

Thomas McDonald let to Christopher sparling, 25 Mar 1827, 

George sparling, 26, 1/5/1792, George sparling Catherine his wife Christopher hiss son aged about 7 years

Christopher Sparling, 25/3/1818

Adam Switzerl, 24 25/3/1783, Barbara his wife, Christopher his son aged about
John delmage, 1/51780, his wife, 
William his eldest son

John Sperin, 1/5/1780, john spearing lessee, George his brother aged about 9 years, Thomas fletscher son of man fletcher of croom
Liberty to cut xxx of turf in Inagh bog
Penalty on burning in alienating on 
George Sperin, 8,0,7, tenants at will
William Drew, tenant at will
Nicholas Saxmouth, 1/5/1780, Nicholas saxmouth lessee, james saxmouth, Nicholas the first and second sons of john saxmouth, lessees brother
Edward Barry, 1/5/1783, Margaret his wife, 
Eyre their only son about 1 year

John Gibson, 25/3/1???, andrew smith, William butt, second son to Isaac butt (note to say William butt is dead but no date)
Adam greeenbrry 
Christopher switzer
John hark
Philip Reynard
John sparling, 1/5/1780, wife, Christopher eldest son
Philip sparling, Samuel sparling, sixth son of john sparling of killagreene
Note saying gone to America

Courtakineen, John Southwell, 1/5/1782, john his wife john his eldest son

Michael switzer, Michael, George rose, richard rose

Michael Alfred, 1/5/1789, ma lessees, Michael, king George IV
Christopher sparling, taking over from William Cunningham who had lease in 1782, 18??

George ruckle, 35,1,35, 25/3/1783, George ruckle, his brother aged about 10 years and Michael ruckle aged about 8 years

James yes key, 25/3/1792, wife Toby switzer, son to Christopher switzer of Adare
Shire, Jacob, Rebecca his daughter aged about 10 years


George ruckle, his brother 10, Michael his brother aged about 8 years

Adare 11
Stock returns town land by town land and tenat by tenant for the third earl of Dunraven's estate
About 15 pages
Like a ledger

John Christine
James teskey
Jacob Shire

John ruckle
Christopher modler


Carroll x2

Adam bovenizer

A kv smith 
richard Alfred
Acre, house cattle, sheep, pigs, what barley turnips mango green crops potatoes meadow pasture waste

A shalom switzer
Valentine switzer

John ruckle

Peter long
Peter long

Baybush and Derryvinane
Path early
John spurring
George spurring
George spurring replaces crossed out patrick McCoy 
Reps of w Davies
Reps of r sparling crossed out and G spearing instead
Michael and Thomas butler
Crossed out mr Jeremiah o Grady and we mau sell instead
Mr john smith

Check back for acreage
Added up in margin

Pat gleeson
Thomas Wesley
Widow griffin


Resp of 
Reps of John SPearing
George spearing crossed out and Walsh put in instead
Nicholas saxmouth
Robert smith
John toomey
Reps of a switzer

Skipped no 3 which is the folio game book and also no 6 which are outsize maps

Draft dcensus returns for 1851 and 1861@

Adare 12
1851, 1861
See calendar
Return of servants
Sun April 7 q1861
29 house servants
Tic and estab church
No Spearin's

Painful to hold the 1851 returns knowing that most went up in flames in 1922

Also returns of those who died since last census
Earl of Dunraven's aged 68
Butler died of paralysis
Pulmonary consumption

Adare 13
Lease book brief info on tenures
Note says this was made in ai believe a1857
Henry ruckle lessee, 2/9/1817, 3 lives, town land of Adare, switzer, teskey 
Shier, Quin, 5 lives, riverroe
Rebecca daughter

23/5/1792, john Corneille, lessee, wife, peter son aged 3

Adare 14
Bundle of reports on valuation of town lands on the estate
George Speearings 
This tenant manages his land in a fair way.

John is absent from this report. 

John stark

James Doherty STR
James Corneille

Look like original documents for Griffiths primary valuation
Map associated with john and George estate on Graigue in PowerPoint slide
Drawn on linen??

Bay bush
George Spearing's holdings 3 this tenant has drained and xxx some of his bottom land and altered some of the fendes, the land is as well formed as others tenants, he ask for timber and do slates for a ... Shias planted a as all orchard near the house road

Thomas spearing 
This farm is improved by the resent tenant,m is kept clean if weeds and is a... Zbedrooms in upper story and a dairy and upper storey
Also a piggery and a double barn door near the present stable.

Did not go thru last set of papers completely. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Update - Spring 2015

Current Status

The project now has 71 members altogether. There are 42 members who have contributed their Y-DNA results to the project, and 40 people have contributed their Family Finder autosomal DNA (atDNA) results.

Y-DNA Results

New results became available for member 388986 whose ancestry goes back to John Spearin (b.1789) from Family CAN8-ON3. It was thus expected that he would match other people in Genetic Family 1 and indeed he does. His genetic distance (GD) from the modal haplotype is 1/37 indicating a very close match.

Interestingly, another member of this particular family has tested previously (kit no. 221180), and their common ancestor is the same John Spearin (b.1789) as above. However, these two members differ from each other by a GD of 2/37. One might expect that two people so closely related might share exactly the same genetic profile, but it appears that various mutations have occurred in the generations since John Spearin.

The specific markers that appear to have mutated are as follows:
  • DYS576 mutated from a value of 17 to 16 somewhere along the line from the Common Ancestor to member 388986
  • CDYa mutated from a value of 33 to 34 somewhere along the line from the Common Ancestor to member 221180
Based on these results, can we predict what John Spearin's genetic profile might have been? Yes we can. Assuming that no back mutations occurred during the 5 generations or so from the Common Ancestor, we can predict that the most probable profile was that of the current modal haplotype.

This process of "triangulation" potentially allows us to define the genetic signature of each of the MDKAs in each family, which in turn would allow us to help clarify which family branch is most closely related to the others.

Additionally, a member of the Maine Spearin's (family US41-ME4) has ordered a Y-DNA-37 test and we look forward to reporting the results in the next update.

SNP testing

Bob (kit 200083) has volunteered to undergo sequential SNP testing. Thus, with Bob acting as our proxy, members of GF1 are currently allocated to the group Cont 1 Group 2 in the I-M223 Y-haplogroup project.

Bob's SNP profile is as follows:
  • SNPs for which Bob has tested positive: Z78, Z185, L1198, Z166
  • SNPs for which Bob has tested negitive: Z190, Z79, F3195, PF5268
More downstream SNPs are being discovered all the time and there are 3 additional SNPs (so far) that we could test for, but we are waiting for the commercial companies (FTDNA or YSEQ) to develop specific tests for these new markers (S20905, Y6060, and P195.2, see green arrows in diagram below). In the long run, it may be cheaper to get one of the members of GF1 to do the Big Y test (currently $425 in the FTDNA Sales).

The particular subclade within Haplogroup I to which GF1 members belong, has been evolving. Previously, the positive presence of SNP Z78 placed us in the group Cont1-X (May 2012), then SNP Z185 placed us in the group Cont1-XXX (Jul 2012), then L1198 placed us in Cont1 Groups 1 and 1a (Sep 2012), and finally the presence of Z166 places us in the group Cont1 Group 2 (Oct 2014). There are currently 4 subgroups below this and in the future we may be placed in one of these, or alternatively in a completely different one (yet to be discovered). Further subclassification is bound to happen as time goes on, and it may be that the number of subgroups below Z166 expands from its current four to maybe forty. Ultimately, we will identify SNP markers that are specific for the Spearin family and will help determine our origins.

Unfortunately, reviewing the members characteristics in each of the subgroups currently at or below Z166 does not give any further clues as to the origins of the Spearin surname. It could be from the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, or Scandinavia. Many more people from Europe need to be tested in order to try to tease out on which of the finer branches of the human evolutionary tree the Spearin surname sits.

Subgroup Z166 - click to enlarge

Subgroups below Z166 - click to enlarge

Traditional Genealogy update

The second MDKA profile has been posted on the blog. This one is for Luke Spearing, Most Distant Known Ancestor (MDKA) of the US65-NJ1 branch. More profiles will be published in due course. The aim of these profiles is to characterise the MDKA of each branch and allow comparisons to other MDKA profiles of other family branches, in the hope that the parents of this individual can be identified or links with other family branches can be established.

Several new pages have been added to the website. On the Homepage, under the Traditional Genealogy Heading, there is a new heading entitled: All Records. Clicking on this brings you to a page where we are slowly building a collection of all the records available for anyone named Spearin anywhere in the world. This is part of the systematic approach recommended for all One Name Studies by the GOONS (Guild of One Name Studies) and complements the work we have already done on the website, in particular the table relating to the Orphan Records which Bob has done great work on. 

We are starting with the Irish records but this will be expanded to all records everywhere in due course. Data from the records available online have been "scraped" off the relevant website using Outwit Hub and then tidied up into spreadsheets that are stored on Google Drive. Clicking on the links at the end of each entry will bring you (in most cases) to an image of the original document (or further links which will eventually lead you to the original). Hopefully (in time) it will be possible to allocate each entry to a specific family and a specific individual - columns have been inserted into each spreadsheet to allow this.

Click to enlarge


Our Facebook group has 224 members and is a wonderful place for sharing information, photos, documents, and newspaper articles. There is currently some great discussions ongoing about the Maine Spearin's (US41-ME4) and it looks like the MDKA has been pushed back from John Spearin (born 1720) to his father Joseph (presumably born about 1690).

In the News

Here are several dates for your diary. I've been invited to give a presentation on the Spearin Surname Project at several venues over the course of the next few months. The details are below and it would be great to see you there if you are able to make any of them. I'll put the presentation up on YouTube as a video so those unable to make the event will be able to "join in" afterwards.

May 24th (Sunday) - The Simcoe County Museum (2-3pm)
1151 Highway 26, Minesing, Ontario L0L 1Y2
Sunday opening hours are 1pm to 4.30pm.
Admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, & $4 for children.

May 31st (Sunday) - Ontario Genealogical Society's annual meeting (1-2pm)
Georgian College, 1 Georgian Dr, Barrie ON L4M 6J8
Registration is required and is $115 but ends on May 15th.

Aug 22nd (Saturday) - The Genealogy Event, Limerick (10.30-11.15 am)
FitzGerald's Woodlands House Hotel, Adare, Limerick
Registration is required and costs 30 euro.

Maurice Gleeson 
Project Co-Administrator 
May 2015

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

MDKA Profile - Luke Spearing 1792-1860 (US65-NJ1)

Luke SPEARING is the MDKA (Most Distant Known Ancestor) of the family branch US65-NJ1. The purpose of this profile is to characterise this individual and allow comparisons to other MDKA profiles of other family branches, in the hope that the parents of this individual can be identified or links with other family branches can be established.


Luke (c.1792-1860) was born in Adare, Limerick.  Little is known of his early life, but he married about 1817 and had moved to Lancashire (by 1838). His son Michael (c.1819-1899) emigrated to New Jersey (1848). There are no records of Luke's marriage or his children's baptisms. He may have had a brother James, and another son John.

Click to enlarge

No birth or baptism record has been found for Luke. The 1851 England Census (taken on 30th March 1851) records a Luke aged 58 (giving a tentative birth year of 1792), living in Ashton in Makerfield,  and notes he was born in Adare, Limerick. His 1860 death certificate gives an estimated birth year of 1790, and the 1841 England Census gives an estimated birth year of 1801. This Luke is presumed to be the father of Michael below.

Luke's son Michael’s 1899 New Jersey death certificate records his parents as Luke & Catherine. Presumably they were married in Limerick about 1817, but no church record could be found for their marriage (according to a 2006 Report from Catriona Crowe of Limerick Genealogy). Catherine’s maiden name and her date of death are not known. There is currently no further evidence directly linking the Luke living in Ashton in Makerfield with Michael in New Jersey.

Luke had a son Michael (born in “Ireland” about 1819, from US censuses) and possibly a son John (the witness at Michael’s 1846 wedding). No baptism records for them have been found. It is not known if Luke & Catherine had any other children.

Michael (c.1819-1899) married Johanna Kelly (c.1823-1893) on 30 June 1846 in Askeaton, Co. Limerick. [1] Their witnesses were John Spearing (possibly a brother of Michael) and Martin Keeffe. They emigrated to New Jersey in 1848 (according to his Naturalization Record; no immigration records located to date) and had 5 known children – James, John, Mary, Catherine, & Eliza, all born in New Jersey (1852-1860). It is strange that none were called Luke (Michael’s father) or Patrick (Johanna’s father).

Sponsors at children’s baptisms
Despite several extensive searches, no baptism records have been found for Luke’s children, Michael and ?John (both probably born in Limerick).  It is likely that the records have been destroyed. Baptism records may be available for Michael’s children (born in New Jersey) and may mention his siblings (if they emigrated also). This may give clues to inherited family names (assuming some degree of naming convention was followed).

Luke was a tailor (England census 1841 & 1851; 1860 death certificate). He appears to have worked in Ashton in Makerfield, Lancashire, England from 1841 up to his death in 1860. It is not known if he returned to Limerick for periods during this time.

Luke probably had a brother James. A Sarah Woodcock (living at School Lane, Ashton) is the witness on Luke’s 1860 death certificate. She lived a few doors down from Luke (in the 1841 England census) in Ashton in Makerfield, Lancashire. And a Luke Spearing is a witness at her 1838 marriage to Henry Woodcock in Wigan, Lancashire (this is his first appearance in any records). Her maiden name was Spearing, she was born in Limerick, and her father was James Spearing, a farmer. Given their age difference, she is probably Luke's niece. Why she came to Lancashire and who she lived with are unknown. She had no children by her marriage to Henry Woodcock.

No further information is available for her father James. Presumably he was a farmer in Limerick, where she was born. There is a James Spearin in Griffith's Valuation for Limerick (dated 1852). He rented a House (but no land) from John O'Donnell in the townland of Carrigmartin (Parish of Cahernarry, Barony of Clanwilliam, about 1.5 km northwest of the village of Ballyneety in west Limerick). The fact that there was no land involved suggests that this is not the same James, unless perhaps he had retired. No James appears in the Tithe Applotements.

No direct information is available about Luke’s parents, but he probably had a brother called James (see above). Therefore their father or grandfather may have been called Luke or James.

Naming Convention
Luke’s only known children are Michael & possibly John. Therefore his father or grandfather may have been called Michael or John.

If his son Michael & Johanna followed Catholic naming conventions, and we have identified all their children and in the correct birth order, then their children’s names would imply the following:

Deductions from male children’s names:
Father’s father:                      James (incorrect – it is Luke)
Mother’s father:                    John (incorrect – it is Patrick)
Father:                                   n/a
Father’s oldest brother:         n/a
Mother’s oldest brother:        n/a

Deductions from female children’s names:
Mother’s mother:                  Mary (incorrect – Johanna’s mother was Catherine)
Father’s mother:                   Catherine (correct – Michael’s mother was Catherine)
Mother:                                 Eliza (incorrect – it is Johanna)
Mother’s oldest sister:          n/a
Father’s oldest sister:            n/a

As there is no apparent pattern, either they did not follow Catholic naming convention, or not all the children are known (e.g. they may have had children before they left Ireland in 1848).

Other information
Further details of Luke SPEARING can be found on the online trees available at the following links:

[1] Marriage of Michael Kelly to Johanna Kelly 1846Date of Marriage: 30/06/1846
Parish / District: ASKEATON
County: Co. Limerick
Husband: Michael SpearingWife Name: Johanna Kelly
Denomination: Roman CatholicOccupation:
Husband's Father: SpearingWife's Father Name: Kelly
Husband's Mother
Wife's Mother Name:
Denomination: Occupation:
Witness 1 Name: Martin KeeffeWitness 2 Name: John Spearing