Every county had a Petty Sessions District – the closest ones to the Aherns were in Oldcastle, County Meath and Mount Nugent, County Cavan. Justices of the Peace heard the various complaints in these courtes which covered criminal charges as well as complaints between neighbors. The clerk recorded the information in books which have survived and make for very interesting reading.
Irish Petty Sessions
In Oldcastle court was held on Mondays and the Aherns were often there – they brought charges against their neighbors – for trespassing, allowing their animals to wander and destroy the Ahern crops, assault and the ever populer “abusive and threatening language”. Charges were also brought against them – for the same reasons. They evicted their tenants, tried to get apprentices to continue working and fought with one another. Great great Aunt Kitty seems to have had a thing about breaking windows and her husband, William Knight, did not get along with his mother in law – Bridget Gibbons Ahern. He “threatened to take her life” more than once, and in 1876 spent a few days in jail. He was sent to jail on the first of November for 20 days, but before he went got drunk in Oldcastle. After his release from prison he was fined for that offense.
Court in Mount Nugent was held on Thursdays and the Aherns were represented there too, although not as frequently as at Oldcastle.
– John and James Ahern, along with several other men from Ross were involved in a riot. – 1875 a
James Somerville accused John Ahern of threatening to run a turf slane through his body.
An example of a turf slane and a man using one to cut turf.
Map of Ross showing where James Somerville and John Ahern lived. The turberry was held in common by all the families in Ross.
John and his son, John got into a few disputes.
These records can be found on Find My Past wh.ich has many Irish records
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Posted in Ahern, Uncategorized, Whelan, tagged Ahern genealogy, Anne Whelan, Dog licenses; Oldcastle, John Ahern, Meath, Meath; Margaret Shanley, Patrick Whelan, Ross on February 18, 2014|
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George Ahern (on right) and one of his brothers with the family greyhound. Probably early 1900s
Dogs were popular in Ireland and they roamed free. Complaints about them were frequent – they attacked and even killed the livestock and people lived in fear of being bitten by a rabid dog. No one knew who the owners of the dogs were so, in 1865, Parliament passed a law requiring the Irish to register their dogs –
By March 31st of every year the owners had to go to the local petty sessions court to register their dogs. For the Aherns that would have been in Oldcastle. In 1866, the first year of the law, John Ahern went to Oldcastle in February to register his black mastiff. Within a few years, most people were waiting until March to register the dogs. The real rush came the last few days with several hundred people lining up to make the deadline.
In 1866, my great great grandfather, John Ahearn, was one of the first to register a dog, a black mastiff. In future years, most people waited until the end of March to register their dogs.
John Ahern registered a black mastiff.
My great grandmother, Margaret Shanley had a collie in 1912.
In this 1920s picture she’s holding a cat, but Margaret Shanley owned a collie for a few years.
Look closely and you’ll see the dog standing in front of the house (Quarry House in Ross)
Stamp that was affixed to the dog license. Different colors were used throughout the years.
This would have been given to the owner of the dog.
Patrick Whelan, who may have been my grandfather’s uncle, was fined because his dog was unlicensed. Note Anne Whelan who was fined for letting two asses run free. She may have been my great grandmother.
If you didn’t register the dog you were subject to fines.
The copy of the “Bill for regulating Keeping of Dogs and for Protection of Sheep and other Property from Dogs in Ireland” comes from http://eppi.dippam.ac.uk/documents/14740; Sessional Papers 569, Volume 1, Session 1865
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I got a request to put a family tree on the Aherns of Ross Facebook page. I couldn’t figure out how to do this, so I’ll try posting here and then linking this blog to Facebook.
This is still a work in progress, so the report and chart are a little rough. If you see a mistake or can provide additional information, let me know.
Here it is:
Descendants of Ahern Gibbons
Here’s a version in chart form.
Descendants of John Ahern and Bridget Gibbons
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