Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Cat that Got Away (a Gleeson-Corcoran Story)

A GLEESON – CORCORAN  STORY ~ Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
by Liz Nash Wallace ~ Bozeman, Montana, USA ~ 14 February 2016

Unfortunately the following tale about Mike Gleeson and Sarah Corcoran is the only story involving a GLEESON that my father related to me late in his long life. But I feel privileged to be able to share it here, and have it recorded for our future descendants. This is our only picture of Mike Gleeson [1852-1906], with family at the wedding of my Dad’s Uncle Willie Nash and Aunt Josie Corcoran in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada in 1902.

Uncle Willie had been the first to venture to Montana in search of rich farmland in the 1887, and his younger brother Pete, my grandfather, soon joined him here to claim separate homesteads near the Gallatin River at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Plentiful irrigation water flowed from these mountain slopes and the young men proved up on their 160-acre farms after five years. The homesteaders’ entire family of William Nash III & Bridget O’Sullivan and nine children had immigrated to Bozeman, Montana from Ontario and became US citizens here by 1900. Pete & Will eventually settled closer to the mountains, south of Bozeman. Pete was renowned for his successful farm and ranching.

It seems that young women were in short supply in the Montana territory, so Uncle Willie found his partner back in Canada in Miss Joanna Corcoran, the oldest daughter of John Corcoran and Emma “Ellen” Gleeson. In 1904, Pete Nash was married to Joanna’s younger sister Sarah Corcoran in Bozeman, Montana. Uncle Willie and Aunt Josie had no children, but Pete & Sarah had 6 sons before Sarah died in 1920 of pneumonia, relating the story of Mike Gleeson to my young father, Jack Nash, who was born in 1909 and lived until 2001 within ½ mile of his birth on the Nash Home Place.

The four Corcoran daughters (pictured in the first picture above) were seamstresses in Canada: Joanna, Sarah, Annie, and Nellie. They seemed to have wonderful clothes and hats for the time! Sarah had made suits for all of her sons before dying in 1920. Mary was the fifth Corcoran daughter, married to John Joseph Kennedy in 1898, and there were no sons. I do not know the relationship of Peter McCaffery, but Mike Gleeson was said to be a cousin. Morty Gleeson was Mike’s father, and the baptismal sponsor for Sarah Corcoran in 1870. Others pictured were Chris Manley who was married to Nellie in 1904, and Tom Tunney who was married to Annie Corcoran by 1901. Joe Nash and Bessie were siblings of Uncle Willie.

Finally, the oral “story” I heard was that young Sarah, the grandmother that I never knew, was involved in house cleaning for Morty Gleeson and his wife, Anna Ryan near Markham, York County, Ontario. When Sarah was dusting the mantle on the fireplace, a valuable vase flew off and was shattered. When his parents arrived home shortly, Mike blurted out: “Look what that darned cat did!” I think it was left at that, and probably no harm was done by this tale. Mike was a single cousin, somewhat older than the Corcoran girls, and was admired by them. I believe that he had no offspring, but it is nice to have this story of comradery to share about our Gleeson heritage.

Liz Nash Wallace
April 2016

The Genealogy Event (2-3 Sep 2016, Adare, Co. Limerick)

If you are going to be around for the Gleeson Clan Gathering (19-24th August), you might like to consider also going to The Genealogy Event. This is the third year of this popular event and it runs from September 2nd to 3rd in the wonderful FitzGerald's Woodlands Hotel on the outskirts of Adare, one of the most picturesque villages in Limerick.

The event is sponsored by

There will be a variety of different presentations, spread over the two days, with each talk running for 30-40 minutes. These will cover a range of topics pertaining to Irish genealogy & DNA testing. The programme includes the following topics: 
  • Valuation Records, Census Records
  • Records in the National Folklore Collection
  • Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum
  • Deciphering Nineteenth Century Handwriting
  • DNA testing for genealogy (both Y-DNA and autosomal DNA)
  • ... and much more (see CONFERENCE SCHEDULE here)

Here is some info from the website (
Limerick Genealogy, in tandem with several other genealogy centres will offer once again the popular and complimentary 20MIN consultations to ticketed attendees. This is an excellent opportunity to direct queries against your specific research interests and gain some useful tips and recommendations. Sign ups for these appointmentes will occur both in advance of the event and on-site and are on a first come first serve basis.
Notifications will occur via email and to the email address used to purchase tickets.

The special events offer the opportunity to engage with others amid local and special interest destinations. In past years special events have included welcome BBQ receptions, a morning excursion to the 200 year old Milk Market, a night out at the races, a Georgian style party, Desmond Castle tour & dinner in an 1820s thatched roof cottage, 1826 in Adare Village, a garden tour and evening dinner at an Irish country house, Mustard Seed and tour of Adare Manor and lunch.
This year, there will be a welcome reception on the Thursday, a dinner and house history at Longueville House plus a whiskey history, tasting and Nenagh town and castle tour. Please see ticket options for additional info.

A summary of the Lecture Schedule

I attended this event last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be speaking again this year and look forward to re-establishing old relationships.

See you in Adare!

Monday, 25 April 2016

My Gleeson Family Connection ... and an unusual name change

The following account from Chris Hughes highlights the difficulty tracing family back before 1800 in Ireland but it also demonstrates how the GLEESON surname evolved over time into CLAYSON. 

If you have a story about your Gleeson family, please send me an email about it and I will work it up into a blog post for this website. Thanks.
Maurice Gleeson
April 2016

My name is Chris Hughes, born in Manchester, England. I worked as a teacher, lecturer and inspector for 35 years. I retired to live in Portugal in 2006.

My connection to the Gleeson clan is through my paternal grandmother, Sarah Ann Clayson who was born in Manchester in 1879, the daughter of MATTHEW CLAYSON, my great-grandfather. He came to Manchester round about 1852 to work initially as a servant. The family story is that his accent was so difficult to understand that over time his surname went from GLEESON to CLEASON to CLAYSON. Each of those changes in surname can be tracked on the certificates of his two marriages.

Sarah Ann Clayson married Henry Hughes, one of whose children was Vincent Hughes, my father.

(click to enlarge)

Matthew was the first born of Thomas and Ellen Gleeson, my great-great grandparents. I have the most information about this branch of the family and it is set out below:


Thomas came from the Catholic parish of Boherlahan, townland Ballytarsna (Hackett).

Their children were:-
MATTHEW baptised 18-12-1835 died Manchester, England 31-1-1904
ELLEN baptised 21-2-1837 died Queensland, Aus. 18-5-1902
CATHERINE baptised 7-3-1839 died NK
BRIDGET baptised 26-9-1841 died Queensland, Aus. 23-7-1921
JAMES baptised 17-10-1844 died Queensland, Aus. 14-8-1884
MARY baptised 20-8-1847 died NK
MARY baptised 29-7-1849 died Queensland, Aus. 1865
THOMAS baptised 1-1-1853 died Queensland, Aus. 8-12-1920

Thomas and Ellen and their children with the exception of Matthew, my great-grandfather, emigrated from Liverpool on 31 May 1854 and landed at Moreton Bay, Queensland on 14 August 1854. Just prior to their emigration Thomas, Ellen and their family were living in the townland of Cooleagh in the civil parish of Graystown. Thomas died on 3 December 1858 at Cannings Down, Warwick, NSW from consumption. Ellen married again the following year but was deserted by her new husband the day after the ceremony. She died 24 December 1887.

I am fairly confident that my g.g.g. grandfather was Matthew Gleeson who came from the townland of Ballytarsna (Hackett) in the civil parish of Ballysheehan – he married a Ellen Heffernan – the two definite traces of him are a baptismal record for Thomas for 7 April 1810 in the parish of Boherlahan; sponsors Thomas Meagher and Margaret Farrell; the other trace again in the townland of Ballytarsna is for 1827 in the Tithe Applotment for Ballysheehan.

It is interesting to note that in the 1766 religious census for Ballysheehan there are three Gleesons living there – a John, Michael and James – perhaps related to Matthew? I cannot trace any record of the death of Matthew or any siblings of Thomas.

I am in touch with a cousin, third removed, in Australia whose great-grandfather was James Gleeson, the younger brother of Matthew Clayson, my great-grandfather.

I am also attaching a picture of my great- grandfather MATTHEW CLAYSON taken about the 1880s.

I hope the above is of interest and would be delighted if anyone could fill gaps about my g.g.g. grandfather, Matthew and possibly relatives in and around the Ballytarsna Hackett townland and the wider area.

Chris Hughes
April 2016

If anyone has any clues about this family, please contact Chris ( AT ... substitute the AT for an @).

Friday, 22 April 2016

Gleeson's in World War I & II

I recently attended Who Do You Think You Are - Live in Birmingham's NEC (National Exhibition Centre). There were a host of exhibitors there, many from Ireland, but one of the most eye-catching was the "booth" run by Forces War Records - they had a whole airplane on their stand!!

The Forces War Records stand

This was a very special attraction – a replica World War Two Spitfire, complete with its own ground crew and WW2 props. Forces War Records had joined the Lytham St Anne’s Spitfire Display Team to celebrate the show’s 10th Anniversary at the NEC in Birmingham. People were given the opportunity to climb aboard and have their photo taken inside the cockpit of the iconic aircraft, as well as a chance to chat to the Spitfire Crew, who were in costume and character throughout the three days.

The flight crew

Forces War Records’ team of military and genealogy specialists were kept very busy, both inside and outside the replica RAF hut, giving research advice on everything from the movements of POWs and the history of the RAF, to medal recognition and handwriting and document deciphering. They also ran demonstrations of their website’s features and carried out quick name searches for visitors, to see if we held records for their relatives on the database.

I did a search on their website and was surprised to turn up 35 entries for GLEASON and 729 for GLEESON. That's a lot of Gleeson's! And there were probably a lot more with alternative spelling variants like Glazen (spelt like how it is pronounced in some parts of Tipperary).

It is possible to filter these results out by specific time periods or wartime events and here is what I found:

Gleason's & Gleeson's in the Forces War Records database

The great thing is that a lot of these records are freely accessible so it is well worth your while checking them out to see if one of your Gleeson relatives appears here. A lot of the records do not have a huge amount of genealogical information other than the soldier's name & regiment, but there are useful historical notes on the regiments to which they belonged. 

The World War 1 records are particularly apt given that this year we commemorate the Battle of the Somme where over 1,000,000 men died, including 3500 Irish soldiers, many from the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division. Here for example is Thomas Gleeson of Nenagh, who died from his wounds on 17th Sep 1916.

One of the free records at FWR
(click to enlarge)

Another interesting find is that there are 16 records for Gallantry Awards bestowed on Gleeson's during WW1, including a John Francis Gleeson from Nenagh who served in the Royal Munster Fusiliers and rose to the rank of Captain. Here is an extract from Gazette Issue No. 29684:
For conspicuous gallantry when under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire. He left his trench to bring in a wounded man lying within 10 yards of the enemy entanglement.

Gallantry Awards for Gleeson's

If your Gleeson relative served in World War One, why not explore these records and write up an account of his time there. We would be very happy to post it on this blog in his memory.

Maurice Gleeson
April 2016

Thursday, 21 April 2016

DNA Sale starts today!

This just in from FamilyTreDNA - they are having a Sale from April 21 to 26, starting today at 5 PM Central (i.e. 11 PM GMT) and ending on Tuesday 26th April at 11:59 PM Central (i.e. 5:59 AM GMT on Wednesday 27th April).

Of particular interest to surname projects, the standard Y-DNA-37 test is only $129 (114 euro, £90) and the Big Y test is only $460 (406 euro, £320).

Also, the Family Finder test (autosomal DNA) is the cheapest I have ever seen it - $79 (70 euro, £55).

So now is the time to buy your DNA test!

Dear Group Administrators,
As you may know, National DNA Day is April 25th, and commemorates the day in 1953 when a paper detailing the structure of DNA was published in Nature magazine. It also recognizes the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003.  
At  Family Tree DNA, we celebrate those accomplishments by having a sale on DNA tests for genealogy! 
Later today, at some point before our offices close (that’s 5:00 pm Central, Thursday, April 21), we’re launching the much-anticipated DNA Day Sale. which will extend through Tuesday, April 26, 2016 (11:59 PM Central).
We’ll begin emailing the customer base later today, but we wanted you to know about it before we do.

The prices are below, and are valid on new tests and add-ons only. Discounts do not combine with existing group discounts. Upgrades will be discounted in June.

Retail Pricing
   Sale Price
Family Finder
mtFull Seq
SNP Packs
mtDNA plus
Not on Sale
As always, thank you for your hard work! We appreciate you.

The Family Tree DNA Team

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Places to go - Cloughjordan

If you are staying in Nenagh or the north Tipperary region, the small market town of Cloughjordan, just about a fifteen minute drive from Nenagh and is well worthy of a visit with lots to see and do.

Ireland's first eco village, located in Cloughjordan on a sixty seven acre site is well established in community living for the past fifteen years and they welcome visitors and organise guided tours on request.

(click to enlarge)

Cloughjordan House, a beautiful 400 year old historic house, home to the Baker family, is a welcoming and idyllic Guest House. It also houses The Coach House, a marvellous Cookery School, renowned for courses using the finest of locally produced ingredients. 

Cloughjordan is the birth place of Tomas Mc Donagh best known as one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising and signatory of Proclamation of the Provisional Government. The Thomas Mc Donagh Centre in Cloughjordan, officially opened in 2013, was once the Mc Donagh home where young Thomas, the poet and patriot, spent a happy childhood. Mc Donagh's two favourite places when he wanted to escape the world were Inís Meáin of the Aran Islands and Knocknacree Wood close to Cloughjordan of which he penned the lines....
'The great wood lies below me in the sun
Through all my days it has been still to me
As to the sailor lad the endless sea
Or as her cloister to the happy nun.

The Thomas McDonagh Centre in Cloughjordan
Betty Gleeson
April 2016