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Sources for tracing your Ancestors
Start with your grandparents you have 4.
Births, Deaths & Marriages Records
Available from 1864 onwards
Not available online in Roscommon – available from Roscommon Health Board Office
Geevagh Parish Microfilm 1851 – 1881
Baptismal Records are available for most parishes from 1800 onwards, usually gives fathers name and mothers maiden name.
Griffith Valuation (online)
Lists property owners in 1852, no family members are mentioned. This is taken shortly after the famine.
Synge Census 1749 online
The Registry of Deeds Record from 1708
You will need to visit the Registry of Deeds, Henrietta Street Dublin
Kilmactranny Graveyard – Historic Graves — NEW
Tirerrill Historical Society
Tirerrill Historical Society was founded in 1995 and is located in the geneinral Highwood\Geevagh area. The named Tirerrill is taken from an ancient Barony name which approximates to the south east of the county of Sligo bordering Leitrim and Roscommon. Its aims are to provide information about historical and archaeological events in the area and beyond, to preserve oral history and sites and inform others about these.
Most of its founding members had long worked in other community projects including L.A.D.A. (Lough Arrow Development Association) The Society immediately set to work on its first big project, the O’Higgins Memorial Garden. Ambrose O’Higgins was born in the townland of Ballinary on the shores of Lough Arrow. He went on to become Viceroy of Peru and Governor of Chile and is considered to be one of the most famous people in South America.
The Society continues to promote not only the wealth of local history and archaeology that exists within the greater Geevagh\Highwood area, but farther afield as well. To achieve this, they organise speakers (experts in their fields) to give a series of talks, lectures and slide shows during the winter\spring months and invite the public to attend. These are held on the first Monday of the month in Highwood Community Centre.
In summer an away day-trip is organised to such famous sites as Lough Crew in Meath or Rindoon Site on Lough Ree. En route, stops are made at famous landmarks, buildings, churches, etc.
A booklet written for Fr Tom O’Connor, Parish Priest of Geevagh 1994 – 2002
Geevagh Local History
In common with much of County Sligo, there are many signs of ancient habitation in the locality, including cairns, megalithic tombs, and ring forts. Later signs of early Christian structures includes the ruins of a church attributed to Saint Patrick. Many of these old structures have spawned a rich story-telling tradition in the locality with many outlandish tales explaining their origins, such as the tale “Balor of the Evil Eye” being associated with the disappearance of Lough Nasool.
There are however real and present evidence of many church ruins including in particular the notable Ballindoon Abbey on the shores of Lough Arrow, a Dominican Priory from the early 16th century. It contains the grave of Terence McDonough, a member of the local clan that governed much of the area prior to the post – Cromwellian seizure of the land in the parish and its dispersal amongst English settler families such as King and Nicholson, and later its transfer to landlords such as Duke, Keogh and Whitney. Despite undoubted hardship, including sustained emigration, the community survived through resilience, finding sustenance in the family, the Roman Catholic church, the Gaelic Athletic Association, music and the local pubs, though not necessarily in that order.
2008 marked a centenary in the history of Geevagh. It is difficult from today’s position to realise the distressed state of the parish in 1908. Widespread evictions from the local Keogh estate meant many poor families eked out an existence of sorts on the rough barren slopes of Carran mountain. A campaign of non-payment of rent exposed many families to such a fate, and in an effort to prevent further evictions, the Land League organised demonstrations to prevent delivery of eviction notices by local postmen, which led to several confrontations in January 1908 between a large number of citizens and the police. Court cases ensued against around two dozen locals, some of whom ended up serving hard labour in prison for up to six months. While the court cases and prison terms were ongoing, the local community rallied around the families of the prisoners, making sure their farms were worked and tilled. It was not until summer 1909 that a resolution came with the release of the last prisoners, to much local rejoicing by the parish as a whole. John C. Mc Ternan in his book Olde Sligo (1997) records the 1908 events in detail.
In the years after the millennium, the outlook was much brighter. Coinciding with a pick-up in the Irish economy in general, plus work from the local headmaster John Hughes, and the then parish priest Fr O’Connor and others, a new school was built in 2001. This was followed by several new building projects around Geevagh crossroads, invigorating the local area and making it a home to new families adding their lot to people whose families have lived there for over 10 generations. However, in keeping with many other communities post the 2008 financial crisis, emigration became the only option for young people in a stagnant economy.
Week 25th August – Highwood National School