This new publication, which is a study of Ballintubber families based on the 1911 census, has been two years in the making. A huge volume of research and ‘digging’ was involved. The committee started by interviewing six of the oldest members of the parish, who are specially acknowledged in the book in portrait form. From this starting point it was possible to piece families together from the publicly available records of births, deaths and marriages, and from the census of 1901 and 1911.
In order to put a structure on the whole project, the book is divided into townlands, and then further divided into the individual families that were in each townland on the night of April 2, 1911. Most of us have found our grandparents and parents in these records, and it is a special thrill viewing the actual form filled out on that night by your ancestors.
Unfortunately, the local rural pub and the tradition of visiting and storytelling is dying out in rural Ireland. These stories, poems and songs were the way the local history and folklore were passed from one generation to the next, and without our history, we are nothing. This publication is an effort to record the memories of the current generation, so that these don’t disappear also.
It is said that to be forgotten is to die twice, the committee who put this book together hope that this book will stand as a memorial to all that have gone before us, and who made us what we are. The idea of this book was conceived by Chris Barnicle, when the Over 55 Club in Ballintubber started to study computers. It was suggested that they could research the 1911 census, as they would be interested in viewing the families who were gone, and also those who remain.
Chris, in the company of Dora Murphy, went to the six major contributors, and from there formed the core of this book. There were three evenings and one full day in the Community Centre in Ballintubber where they invited the local community to come in and add to the information they had, or to correct any mistakes that were made. These evenings were a major success, and the information gathered at them was very useful.
Professional photographer, Alison Laredo and editor Margaret Geraghty, completed the committee, and work has continued over the last year on the research, documentation and compilation of this book, Ballintubber Families Down the Years.
The book will be launched on Saturday, July 23 in Corley's Abbey Lodge at 9pm by Minister of State, Michael Ring. There will be refreshments and a chance for folks to catch up, and of course to buy the book, which will be for sale at a special launch night price