Finding Dernalosset

It’s been a little over a year since Dad, Dan and I went to County Monaghan in search of Dernalosset. We didn’t know at the time that we were searching for Dernalosset, but we did know that we were going back in search of the roots of our McKenna and Duggan families.
We found that, and much more.
Paddy McQuaid, Ray Sr., Bried “Duggan” McKenna McQuaid, at Knockabubble, Emyvale.
If you go to North Monaghan in search of McKennas, you will find so many McKennas that your head will spin. It is said that half of the people of North Monaghan and the townlands just over the border in County Tyrone are either McKennas, or are married to McKennas.
The ancient Barony of the McKenna. Dernalosset is just south of Liskenna, the first fort of the McKenna chief.
An early map of Errigal Truagh that identifies the townland of Dernalosset.

But we went with the piece of information that could lead us to our family.

Those of you who read my blog know that Peter McKenna married Catherine Duggan in Providence in 1852, and that they were both natives of County Monaghan. James Duggan was Catherine’s father. Ellen McKenna Duggan was Catherine’s mother.

The Record of the marriage of Peter McKenna & Catherine Duggan at Sts. Peter & Paul’s Cathedral, Providence, R.I.

Duggan, while a common name in other parts of Ireland, was and is quite rare in Monaghan. There is one family with the name Duggan living in County Monaghan today. When I phoned the family prior to going to Ireland, the fellow on the other end of the line said, “yes, we are Duggans, but we moved here from Dublin.”

And there are few records from Ireland prior to church records starting in the 1830’s and census records starting in 1901. But, unlucky for our ancestors, and lucky for us, in the 1820’s, Catholic families were taxed to pay for the Church of Ireland (Anglican). The tax records, called the Tithe Applotment, exist for 1826 in Errigal Truagh, the northern parish of the ancient barony of Truagh, the historic Barony of the McKenna.
Tithe Applotment listing for Dernalosset, 1826.
And so, while there are a great many McKennas listed, there are only two James Duggans listed. One, in the townland of Cornure, was a member of the Church of Ireland. The other, in Dernalosset, was Catholic. We know that our Duggans were Catholics and that they resided in Errigal Truagh. This was established when Geraldine Treanor, from Father Nolan’s office in Errigal Truagh, sent me baptismal records of three of James and Ellen’s children.
Baptismal record for John Duggan, baptized May 31,1840, Errigal Truagh. Note all the McKennas listed.
And so, we came to Truagh in search of Dernalosset. No sooner did we get to our lodging at Castle Leslie in Glaslough than we met a fellow whose wife, Bried, while close in age to me, is most likely Dad’s fifth cousin. We had ordered bicycles for Dan and me. When the bicycles were delivered by Paddy McQuaid, the owner of the local bike shop, it was quickly determined that there was a connection. You see, Bried is a “Duggan” McKenna, who traces her family back to Dernalosset.
Paddy & Dad, at the Old Donagh Cemetery, final resting place of the last McKenna chief.
Our our second day in Monaghan found us having lunch with Grace Moloney of the Clogher Historical Society, and Willie “the Hill” McKenna and Bennie McKenna, officers with Clann McKenna. Finding that we were “Duggan” McKennas, Grace and Willie took us to meet Mick and Philomena “Duggan” McKenna.
Willie “the Hill” McKenna, Grace Moloney, Ray Sr., Bennie McKenna,  at Castle Leslie, Glaslough.
A few days later, we went to the ancestral Duggan farm in Dernalosset to meet Fancie “Duggan” McKenna. Francie, at age 89, was a contemporary of Dad’s, who was 88 at the time. We had a great time with Francie. Sadly, I heard just yesterday from Paddy McQuaid that Francie is no longer with us. His neighbors did say that he died doing what he loved, working on the farm.
Francie “Duggan” McKenna, Ray Sr., Dan McKenna, at the Duggan family farm.
“Francie was in his ninety first year and was out tending his outlying farm at Akinduff near Fort Singleton just a couple of miles away yesterday. Besides fixing a hedge on the farm he erected an electric fence. As yesterday was probably the first decent day of Summer we have had this year Francie made the most of it and returned home on his tractor just in time to put on the potatoes for dinner. …after he had finished his meal he sat down on the armchair to relax and fell asleep. Francie had passed on. What a nice way to go! One neighbour said of Francie that ‘he was always in good humour’.”
The “Duggan” McKennas have that nickname to identify their branch of the family from “the Hills,” the “Roes,” the “Boys,” and other branches of the McKenna clan. In the nineteenth century, the last Duggan, Francis, married a Catherine McKenna and moved in with her family. Prior to that time, the family was know as the “Hugh” McKennas. From that point on, the family were called the “Duggan” McKennas.
While our “Duggan” McKenna family predates this marriage, the fact that we have two generations of “Duggan” McKennas is a strong indication that we are looking at the same family.
Ann Duggan, sister of Catherine Duggan. Her death certificate identifies their mother, Ellen, as a McKenna.
And now, Paddy and Bried are coming to visit us here in Tolland, Connecticut, next month. They have a wedding in New York and then plan to spend a weekend with us here.
The “Duggan” McKenna farm in Dernalosset.
So, I guess we did find Dernalosset, after all.
August 12, 2012

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