Finding my Irish Grandfather’s birthplace

I start my #52ancestors with the first “across the pond” ancestor that I found – my grandfather William J. Smith. He was born November 3, 1871 in Baltrasna, County Meath, Ireland. His parents were Nicholas and Mary (Gillespie/Glasby) Smith. He was my father’s father.

I found him on various census, but the most important find was his marriage to Margaret Carolan. The marriage certificate had critical information: his parents’ names and his birth location. The birth location helpfully had the Irish county, Meath, in which he was born.

Searching Griffith’s valuation on AskAbooutIreland.com for Gillespie or Glasby in County Meath, only 7 records were found. Searching for the Smith surname, 1110 records were found. So, the Gillespie surname was rare. Whi

When I was doing this research, the Irish birth and baptismal records were not available online, but I had bought a CD set with the “British Isles” BMD data. Using both Nicolas’ and Mary’s names, I was able to locate the birth record for William. I was able to obtain an “original” copy, that is with the stamp. The birth was not registered until 26 April 1872.

In 2003 I was able to visit the Townland of Baltrasna. Using an ordnance survey map I had bought, There were not many buildings, even though the acreage is 270 acres and as we drove up the indicated lane, we met the current owner of Baltrasna and he said to go on up to the house, his wife was there. We did and she was very friendly, told us how the house had changed over the years.

We toured the small town of Moynalty and it was very an amazing feeling knowing that I was walking on the same grounds as my ancestors had trod.

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