A Chronology of My Father’s Family in Ireland

By carefully working my way back in time by searching out church records, land records,  census returns, and courthouse documents, I have been able to trace the roots of our family in Ireland as far back as my great-great-grandfather, Darby Nestor.  Following is a time line which introduces some of the people in my father’s family. 

1790s: Darby Nestor was probably born in the 1790s in what was then called Allaclowin, an area which is now part of the townland of Maghera, three miles northwest of Tulla in County Clare.  No written record of his birth exists, but the date can be approximated based on when his own children were born.  And as it appears likely that Nestor’s Bridge was named for Darby’s father or grandfather, his place of birth would have been Allaclowin.

Incidentally, the name Allaclowin comes from the Irish language, and the spelling of it varies slightly in the old handwritten records, sometimes appearing as “Allaclune.”


March 25, 1816
March 25, 1816: Darby Nestor and his wife, whose maiden name was Mary Magrath, have their daughter Honor baptized.  The baptism record appears on the second page of the oldest book of records kept at the rectory in Quin.  This baptismal record is the oldest written record of any of my ancestors.

February 20, 1817: Darby Nestor’s son Patrick is baptized.  As the tradition in rural Ireland at that time was to always name the first-born son for St. Patrick, it’s safe to assume that Patrick was the first son born to Darby and Mary Nestor.

Patrick Nestor would later appear in land records as a tenant of the land where the Nestor family farmed, but little is known about his adult life.  

August 4, 1820: Two children born to Darby and Mary Nestor, Darby and Honor, are baptized.  This seems to indicate that the earlier daughter named Honor had passed away.  Nothing more is known of these two children, as their names appear in no other records.


May 12, 1824
May 12, 1824: Darby and his wife, whose name appears to be rendered inaccurately as “Margaret” in the baptismal record, have their son John baptized.  John Nestor would grow up to farm the land the Nestor family rented adjacent to Nestor’s Bridge.  He would be my great-grandfather.

1825: Land records are compiled in compliance with a notorious anti-Catholic law of the time in which Catholic citizens had to pay a tithe to the Protestant Church of Ireland.  Darby Nestor appears in the “Tithe Applotment Books” as a tenant farmer in Allaclowin.  This would be my ancestor’s earliest appearance in Irish land records.

Approximately 1826: Bridget Donohoe, John Nestor’s future wife, is born.  While no written record of her birth has yet been located, her birth date can be approximated based on her age as given in later records (such as the 1901 Census Return, which she signed).

Late 1840s:  The Famine ravages Ireland.  While nothing is yet known about how the Nestor family survived the Famine, it is safe to assume that they faced extremely difficult circumstances.  Yet, at a time when many families perished, the Nestors seem to have been resilient in the face of the rampant disease and starvation which devastated their society.


February 22, 1852
February 22, 1852: John Nestor and Bridget Donahoe are married in the parish of Clooney (which was conjoined with the adjacent parish of Quin).  The witnesses were Martin Donohoe (who was perhaps Bridget’s brother) and Mary Griffey.   

It’s known that during the years of the Famine people were not inclined to marry, and this wedding in 1852 seems to indicate an awareness that the horrors of the Famine years were at last considered to be safely in the past.

Approximately 1853-55: Patrick McNamara, my grandfather, is born, presumably near the village of Tulla.

January 9, 1853:  Patrick Nestor, the first child of John and Bridget Nestor, is baptized.  


July 6, 1855
July 6, 1855:  Mary Nestor, a daughter born to John and Bridget, is baptized.  Mary Nestor would be my grandmother.

May 17, 1857: Margaret Nestor, a daughter born to John and Bridget, is baptized.

April 8, 1860: John Nestor, a son born to John and Bridget, is baptized.

January 14, 1866: James Nestor, a son born to John and Bridget, is baptized.

June 16, 1870: Jeremiah Nestor, a son born to John and Bridget, is baptized.

Little is known of my grandmother’s siblings except that some of them emigrated to the United States.  At least one of my father’s Nestor uncles lived in Massachusetts.


February 3, 1878
February 3, 1878: Patrick McNamara marries Mary Nestor.  Patrick and Mary would be my grandparents.  

December 4, 1878: Bridget and Ellen, twin daughters born to Patrick and Mary McNamara are baptized in the parish of Tulla.  

Bridget would emigrate to the United States, and lived in Paterson, New Jersey, where she married a man named Charles Parmalee.

Ellen remained in Ireland, becoming a school teacher in the townland of Maghera.  She married Michael “Mick” Broderick on January 21, 1903 at the Chapel of Clooney.  She passed away on November 20, 1948.  To this day she is fondly remembered by elderly residents of Maghera as “Mrs. Broderick,” the teacher who taught many of them to read.

To Continue the Timeline, click here.



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