How I started my tree
The evidence to start
I started with my grandfathers handwritten tree, just First Names of two tiers above my father.
The names of some of the wives were also included for my direct line back but not for anyone else.
The top of the tree just said ‘Crowes of Glenanee’and a single word to the side,"Stuike".
No one knew of the origin of the Glenanee name.
There was no certainty of the names as only my grandfather’s wife and his sister were available for consultation.
My grandfather had died in 1929 in his thirties.
Anecdotal information (technical details further down the page)
Like many others my tree has evolved in fits and starts. Then I had bits of paper with odd things written on it and a collection of gleaned stories. I had to rationalise it all and it went neatly into notebooks, a page in small books for each person and a bigger book for diagrams of the tree.
In many ways it was impossible for me to know more than anecdotal stuff because I was too young and did not have the money to travel nor to purchase certificates. So, it limped along but all the while it was added to by many stories about Irish history and fuelled by differences between the two cultures I lived in.
Various authors decreed that the Crowe name was Irish in origin, going
back through McEnchroe to Concradha and starting from County Clare in the
west. That was nice and romantic and we even had a coat of arms.
My mother (ostensibly English - by culture) started to delve into the complete (and I do mean complete) history of the Irish - English conflict that had rumbled on for hundreds of years. She eventually turned up with a book by an old IRA volunteer that mentioned a Tim Crowe who was at the Soloheadbeg ambush. The name of my grandfather? It wasn’t my grandfather but my mum and dad went to see these authors and to try and verify truths that my grandfather was involved with the then newly formed resistance groups. He was, though he was a different Tim Crowe, he would have known the people in the ambush and some of the main antagonists. Later research showed a possible link between the two Timothys in Tipperary.They were reputed to be 'cousins' but no one knew how.
However, all this is frustrating and I realised that, especially due to the famine, a third of all Irish people left Ireland and emigrated later for economic reasons. There were possibly other ways to put the family tree back in place by tapping into those that knew their lineage and also provide emigration bridges for others to hook into. I wrote lots of letters and later e-mails to those members of the telephone directory with a Crowe name and genealogists. From this I started a one name study, partly in the hope that I could sift my family from any Crowe records. Classic approaches to getting a family tree were pretty useless in this instance................. The records were in another country, I had no money and it would take forever!
The computer has brought about many changes in society but Genealogyis one aspect that has been revolutionised. Fortunately, I have always kept abreast of technology and started to scavenge records from anywhere I could, keeping them on the computer.
Despite all this I never really made a breakthrough and like many others , held what I did have, as an answer of sorts. My tree seemed true, they were heavily involved in the military action against the English Army and also heavily involved in the new railway system. By now I was proud of both English and Irish sides of my family and it helped me reconcile the personal differences in my double culture too.
Then, I found myself without need to work too hard one winter and a need to set all these records out for my two sons entering adulthood. The ‘FindMyPast’ website had released all the Roman Catholic birth registers to the paying public, so I changed my free subscription from free to paid and literally spent days on end trying to squeeze the pips out of my membership and Crowe records to add to an already impressive pile of records from other sites.
The frustration was that I could get some records and not others – with my tree jeopardised by lack of records, I even went back to the notion of a fantasy tree. Where was it I was supposed to be looking other than the ‘Kerry Crowes’, Kerry being where my grandfather was born and Tipperary where there were other Crowes. Then ping! I found a baptism record where the address Stuike was given as residence. It was an incidental word on the side of my handwritten tree, it wasn’t Glenanee at the top of the tree but it was important that someone wrote that one word . This thin seam of gold was chased out mercilessly but was still inconclusive and then caused me to realise that there was another family or two of Crowes in the same place.
As always, it is a good idea to take a break. After four days of incessant rain (in Spain!) and spreadsheets and capitalising on a dry break in the weather I had my lunch outside and I stared up and I thought to look again for the place by map. Now, several years after my initial website searches there were ancient maps online. (see external sites) This time I found Stuike and searched nearby on several occasions and then used the Irish Ordnance Survey maps site which neatly listed a mountain, Glenaneigh. Could it be? It was the place. There was more, other mountains nearby also had residence names and a good many records I had laboriously transcribed, now had greater relevance.
The spadework of these finds was the production of a 1600 plus records spreadsheet of Crow / Crowe births, baptisms, carefully transcribed from trees, other researchers and several sites free records and the new ones, plus detail from the paid site and the National Library of Ireland images. I worked these into families by sorting them in the spreadsheet using the mothers name's first.
Months of eye crossing examination of spreadsheets and back creaking, leg cramping, arm seizing computer work paid off.
One of the interesting findings was how regular the parents produced a baby. Little of this myth of the conveyor belt baby system seemed true. This enabled me to see that gaps were due to natural abortion or other circumstances. One possibility for the gaps was that records were missing. Another was that Crowe is often misspelled. Checking this last situation some ‘Crow’ records, not in families, appeared to fit right in the sequence of Crowe families? Transcription errors presumably because there were not many of them i.e. they were not distinct families of Crow name.
Then on the hunch of my grandmother, giving her erudite advice on the matter, I looked at the results for the extra thousand or so records I had of Crowe variations. I looked specifically for Crough as she was convinced that some had a different spelling amongst some of the family. As she said, they were not stupid just uneducated at that time. The correlation between Crough and Crowe, especially in birth sequences of Crowe families in Tipperary was amazing. I think only a couple of times were there clashes of the same name parents in the same area at the same time. This is a dangerous assumption to make of course but I was so diligent and the records just proved time and time again to be successful, corroborated by time, place and parents factors all being relevant. I tried the same with Croagh and found some more but other variations were very unsuccessful. Croak for instance can be useful but is a name synonymous with Craig and Cray etc.
All this meant that the original baptismal images had to be checked painstakingly one by one to verify my results. Time and time again, the images verified what my results were telling me with few exceptions. This was enough encouragement to persist with the monotonous work day after day. Of course the images also told me that one or two supposed Crowe names were anything but. I was also able to offer many corrections to transcriptions of these records even when not part of my interests because this helps other researchers too. It was all part of the verification of my tree. One name off the paper tree still eludes me and there is a story for that I am sure – but it is not in the records.
I wondered if the aberration of names had been a local thing and so I also roughed out a county by name variation chart for the whole of Ireland. This also helped me to show how the name variations of Crough and Croagh were particularly useful for Tipperary.
See more on name variations here Page with name variations and chart
Seamus Crowe -- website2021Seamus Crowe -- website2021