Archive for March, 2013

It’s been a long time since my last post. Beacon is celebrating its 100th birthday and I am on the centennial committee. For the last two weeks I’ve been working with other volunteers from the Beacon Historical Society setting up our Centennial Exhibit.

I do check records from time to time and this weekend Irish Origins had a free look at Irish directories. I figured I would take a look – again. You never know if something new has been added.

As usual, I put in the family names, Ahern, Colbert, Keating, Whelan. Luckily the site checks for variations of the name. This is what I saw for Whelan – could one of these be a relative?

Search results for James Whelan in Irish Origins

Search results for James Whelan in Irish Origins. Click to see larger view.

I checked the first one and had success.

James Whelan, grocer, Bansha

James Whalan, Bansha    The * means that he was a grocer, not a spirit dealer.

My grandfather’s father was James Whelan and he had a shop in the village of Bansha in County Tipperary. The family lived in an apartment above the store. I don’t know exactly what he sold, whether he had a general grocery store or if he just sold one type of food product, but now I know that he did not sell spirits.

The funny thing is that my grandfather told his children that the store  had a sign over it that said “Whelan”, but his brother Tom Phelan said the sign was “Phelan”. Phelan and Whelan were interchangeable in Ireland and my family used both names. When they came to the U. S. most of them chose Phelan, my grandfather was the only one who used Whelan. As my mother would say, it was pronounced “Wheeeeeelan”.

James Whelan died on January 31, 1881, so it’s just luck that he is in this directory. The information for the directory was probably collected before 1881.

As it turns out, these directories are also on FindmyPast.com. I have a subscription to that. I find the results easier to read, but I found it easier to search on Irish Origins. One more reason to check multiple sites, but not a good enough reason to sign up for yet anther genealogy subscription.

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