When I started researching my husband’s family tree, I was told about William Young, his Great, Great, Grandfather, who was a colporter with the Methodist Church in West Cork. I discovered that a colporter was someone who distributed books and religious tracts. William was a member of the Methodist Church who had a deep and sincere Christian faith. While he was distributing Bibles and tracts to the people of West Cork he also took the opportunity to share his faith on a one to one level as well as to preach the Christian Message.
Apparently the Young family came from somewhere near Aughadown (pronounced Affadown) between Ballydehob and Skibbereen in County Cork.
The 1901 census showed William, aged 59, living with his wife Hester and 6 children in Templemartin near Bandon. He was a Methodist and was born in County Cork. This led me to his marriage in Bantry Methodist Church to Hester Vickery of Bantry in 1873. His marriage certificate showed his residence at the time as Letterscanlan (a small townland in Aughadown) and stated that his father James Young was a farmer.
As it appeared that William was born around 1842, there was no point looking for a Civil Birth Record as the state didn’t start to record births until 1864. Likewise, the records I found in the Methodist and Church of Ireland records didn’t go back far enough. Having run out of birth, marriage and death records I checked the land records in Griffiths Valuation which showed that in 1853 a James Young was renting just over 36 acres in Letterscanlan from Henry Becher, the local landlord.
Going back a step further I checked the Tithe Applotment Books (TAB) which showed both a William Young (76 acres) and a Richard Young (17 acres) listed in Aughadown in 1829. Unfortunatley the information in the TAB was gathered for the purpose of taxing land rather than recording family history so there’s no indication how William and Richard Young may have been related to each other.
At this point I thought I had hit a brick wall with my Young family as I was now in a pre Church and Civil records era. Then I discovered the 1841 Census records. Most of the records for County Cork from the 1841 census were destroyed in the fire in the Public Records Office in Dublin in 1922. A quick search showed records for just 97 people in County Cork in the 1841 census. Not expecting to find any relevant information I scanned through the names and couldn’t believe my eyes when I found 2 Young’s from Letterscanlan. Bingo. I clicked on the link to bring up the Young’s page and this is what appeared…
… the charred remains of a census record. Not even one straight edge of a page remained. But I wasn’t looking for straight edges – I wanted information and this charred,fire damaged remnant provided it. The head of the family in 1841 was James Young a farmer.
The next section is not so easy to read as the fire destroyed a some vital information, leaving us with just a few tantalising clues. The section listing those present on the night of the census is missing. It appears that no one was absent from the house on census night. The last section was a “Return of Members of this Family, Servants or Visitors, who have died while residing with this Family since the 6th June 1831”.
The information that I can make out from this section is that James Young’s mother, ..ne Young, died aged 65 in 1832 (?). His father, …liam Young, died aged 80 in 1840. His uncle, whom I cannot make out his name, died of pleurisy (?) aged 67 in 183?.
So thanks to this remarkable piece of paper that was filled out in a small farmstead in West Cork in 1841, stored in the Public Records Office in Dublin and just about survived the 1922 fire in the Four Courts I have been able to trace our Young family of Aughadown, Co. Cork back to a William Young who was born c.1760.
The Young line which married into our Jeffers family in 1904 is as follows:
William Young 1760-1840
James Young c.1799 – ?
William Young 1841-1911 married Hester Vickery 1846-1936
Frances (Fanny) Young 1876-1952
married Jasper Travers Jeffers 1878-1950. These are my Great, Grandparents-in-law.