Martin Furlong family Tullamore Offaly (Kings Co)

I’ve recently obtained the death certificates for my Offaly ancestors: Martin Furlong and Margaret Furlong nee Stanton or possibly Staunton. Although like British certificates they are frustratingly sparse in their details in comparison with Australian records, there was enough to effectivey confirm that these were the parents of Bridget Furlong.

Margaret Furlong was 73 when she died on 1 November 1874 in Shragh, Tullamore. She was a farmer’s wife and her husband, Martin, was present at the death and made his mark as informant. Her husband Martin was 92 when he died on 15 February 1894 at Ballydrohid townland, Tullamore. By that time his occupation is stated as “labourer” which to me is  a tragedy that a man of that age was still working at hard physical labour. Martin’s son, also Martin, signe with his mark as informant.

The details link the family to the Griffith Valuation when Martin Furlong was a tenant in the Ballydrohid townland. The online maps mentioned in an earlier post show that the townlands of Shragh and Ballydrohid are adjacent so possibly the area was known by both names as there’s an ancient building in Shragh. The land occupied by Martin Furlong and family is situated in a triangle between the Grand Canal and the railway line.

Martin and Margaret’s daughter, Bridget Furlong, married James Sherry in Tullamore and their son James Sherry was born at Shragh on 29 May 1865. The official records show that the Bridget and James Sherry normally resided at Arklow, Wicklow, where James senior was a ganger with the railway. The informant to the birth was Margaret Furlong who was present at the birth. So the place of birth for grandson James Sherry confirms the link to Margaret Furlong who died at Shragh and then to Martin Furlong.

Martin and Margaret Furlong were not married in Tullamore according to the parish records. It is not clear where the family originated though Furlong is a common name in County Wexford where the Sherry family later ended up. The Furlong family had three children baptised in the Tullamore Catholic parish. They were Mary Furlong baptised 30 July 1836; John Furlong baptised 16 October 1838 and Bridget Furlong (who married James Sherry) was baptised on 29 December 1840. The surname Conry or Conroy appears among the witnesses fairly regularly so it’s possible they were relatives though they were also neighbours. There is no trace of their son, Martin Furlong, who witnesses his father’s death certificate so he may have been born and baptised in another place.

It seems unlikely that it is this younger Martin Furlong, son of Martin and Margaret, who married Mary Connor in Tullamore on 6 February 1875. They had children Margaret (bapt 17 Nov 1875); Catherine (27 Jan 1877);  Mary (18 Aug 1878); Martin Laurence (14 Nov 1880); and John (12 Jan 1887). This family is still living at Ballydrohid at the time of the 1901 census though there are gaps in the ages. This Martin was 48 at the time of the 1901 census and was a railway servant who could read and write, which meant that his estimated year of birth 1853, too late to be the son of Martin & Margaret. 

By the time of the 1911 census only Thomas and his sister Catherine (Katie) Furlong were living at Ballydrohid and Thomas was a milesman which I assume was the Irish equivalent of Australian railway’s lenghtsman.

Many stories refer to the Martin Furlong from Offaly who was a Gaelic football superstar and who ultimately emigrated to the USA. It seems likely that he was also descended from this family given the naming tradition and the rarity of the name in Offaly.