Genealogical and Historical Research Service in County Louth, Ireland - Joe Biden ancestors


Dividing Line

Joe  Biden  (former USA  Vice  President)
and  his  Irish Finnegan  Ancestors

continued 03:-
Dividing Line on MC Research website


Owen Finegan's Family

Owen Finnegan and Jane Boyle were married in Cooley Roman Catholic Parish, County Louth. on 8 December 1839. Following is a copy of the marriage entry now available online on the National Library of Ireland website. Previous to this service permission was required of the local parish to upload a copy or part of a page.

   Owen Finegan and Jane Boyle marriage

Normally the marriage took place in the bride's parish. The parish registers of Cooley Parish commenced in 1811 and baptism entries included the local, usually townland, address. So if Owen had remained, after marriage, in this parish his address would be given.

          The baptism entries found of the children of Owen Finnegan and Jane Boyle, born in Ireland, were on the registers of Lordship Parish. It adjoins to the west Cooley Parish.
          The registers of the former parish only commenced in 183
3 and no specific addresses were given on it. So it is difficult to determine, from Irish parish registers, if Owen was also born in Lordship Parish.

          The names of Owen Finnegan and Jane Boyle's children, including born in USA, so far known would appear to be:-

Baptism date                      Forename                     Sponsors
18 December 1840             James                 
(Math Finegan & Cath Ruddy)

    James Finigan's baptism entry, 1840

(about 1843),                    Stephen (baptism entry not located)
5 September 1845             Michl [Michael]    
  (John Connor & Mary Boyle)

   Michael Finnigan's baptism entry 1845

5 March 1848                    Patt [Patrick]           (Michl Boyle & Margt Finigan)

  Patrick Finigan's baptism entry 1848

1852?                               Margaret (born USA)
1852?                               Thomas? (born USA)

Thomas Finnegan's death notice
(Source: Ovid Bee dated 15 Aug 1855,

1855?                               John (born USA)
1859?                               Thomas (born USA)
1866?                               Michael (born USA)

         From above, it would appear, by repeating again forenames 'Thomas' and 'Michael' that those names were important to the family. There was also a trend, among Irish Roman Catholic families although not always followed, of naming the first son and daughter after the paternal grandparents, the second son and daughter after the maternal grandparents and the next boy and girl would be named after the father and mother. A slight variation on it would be to name the second son after the father with the next children after the maternal grandparents etc..

         As already stated, on earlier research, the family had left the Cooley area before May 1850 (approx.). As a matter of interest it is quite possible Jane and the children had seen the Marchioness of Bute ship, in February 1850, before they sailed. The local newspaper of the time
, dated 23 February 1850, had the following report:-

   ship named Marchioness of Bute, 1850

and an advertisement the same date:-

   ship named Marchioness of Bute, 1850
(Source: The Dundalk Democrat and Peoples Journal dated the

23 February 1850 & 2 March 1850,

For the journey taken by Jane and her children it stated:-

   ship named Marchioness of Bute, 1850
(Source: Dundalk Democrat dated 8 June 1850,

          The boundary of the parish of Cooley with that of Lordship would appear to be around Castlecarragh Townland. But baptism entries of children with address of Castlecarragh
were found on the Cooley Parish Registers. However Roman Catholic Parish boundaries followed natural features and means of travel such as roads etc..
          From the main land record of the mid nineteenth century known as Richard Griffith's General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland, surveyed in County Louth around 1852, it would appear the combination of names found on the baptism entries of the children of Owen and Jane etc.
were in Castlecarragh Townland.
          Travelling east to Carlingford the plots 1 and 2 would be along and to the south of road R173 (the Dundalk to Carlingford Road), after crossing Riverstown bridge and on entering Castlecarragh townland. So it could be that Owen and Jane, before emigrating, lived near the Riverstown area.
          This is a copy of the published survey for Castlecarragh Townland:-

County Louth, Civil Parish of Carlingford, page 185.
   Castlecarragh Townland in Griffith's Valuation
(source: but is widely available)

       A previous land record to above was the Tithe Applotment Books. Tithes were assessed on land holders to determine the amount of tithes payable to the Established Church. This survey for Castlecarra [Castlecarragh] Townland was taken in 1833 and in it a George Finegan was listed with a James and Michael Finegan for 12 acres of land. This assessment was based on Irish acres while Griffith's Valuation used statute acres.    Below is a copy of this survey for part of Castlecarra.

County Louth, Civil Parish of Carlingford, page 25.
   TAB - Castlecarragh Townland

   TAB - Castlecarragh Townland

          Owen Finnegan, since the baptism entries of his children were found in Lordship Parish, would likely have lived in that parish in the 1840 to 1848 period. At that time families sometimes moved around a rural district depending on work etc.. He may, if working as a shoemaker or learning the trade, have lived along or near a main road route such as near Riverstown Bridge.
          The family possibly intended staying in Ireland since they remained here during the worst of the Great Famine years. It is quite possible for his family there was both the 'pull' and 'push' influence. That is news arrived from former neighbours, who had already emigrated, of the opportunities in the USA and also by remaining at home the uncertainty for the future resulting from the effects of the Famine years. Another push
, for persons looking for business from local road travellers to the ports, may have been the proposal to extend the railway line from Dundalk to Carlingford via Greenore.
          While the railway line was not opened until the early 1870s the proposal possibly to obtain the land for the route, south of the now R173 road, would have been known. In Rockmarshal Townland the line crossed the now R173 and passed just north of Riverstown bridge towards the junction of the R173 with the now R175. A station was built at Bush and the line went on to Greenore. So the locally used lanes and passes, found in rural areas, to the southern part of the peninsula would be closed off.
          Many years ago research on another family, from the Bellurgan area which was to the west of Riverstown, revealed that they emigrated to New York, in 1848, on the Sea Bird from Galway. They were among other emigrants on what were termed an assisted emigration scheme from that county. Their small plot in Bellurgan was later severed by the railway line. Their ages were about the same as Owen and Jane Finnegan and they could have been known to the latter while living in this area.  So there maybe some connection with the west of Ireland and families from the Cooley peninsula. Research of railway archives may reveal further information.
          As stated, in genealogy, there is always some grain of truth in family lore.

          When in Lordship Parish, Owen, Jane, and the young James would likely have known a place, along Dundalk Bay, called 'White House Point' near Giles (aka Gyles) Quay.

   White House Point, County Louth
       (Source: Ordnance Survey map, County Louth, surveyed 1823, Sheet 8, Mountbagnall
'White House Point' is to south west of
Castlecarragh Townland).

          Below is a recent road map of the area, along Dundalk Bay, showing, Riverstown bridge,  and the Castlecarragh, Rathcor & Templetown area.

   Map -  Giles Quay, Riverstown
(Source: OS Discovery Series, Louth no.36).


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© MP McConnon, MC Research, Seabank, Castlebellingham, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland.
(Original uploaded 20 January 2009). Last update 03 January 2022.