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Irish Emigration - Part II


People are frequently surprised to hear about Irish emigration to Argentina. As I've mentioned in the past, Moughty is a very unusual surname and I've found only one other family in the US and a handful still in Ireland. One of the largest clusters is in Argentina. How did I discover that? My daughter and I were looking at colleges in the Boston area and we stopped at Faneiul Hall. It is a food hall with lots of little shops and carts one of which was for a Family Surname and Coat of Arms...I'm sure you've seen them...your family name and crest, suitable for framing. I stopped to look through the large binder of surnames and my daughter made one of those faces and said, Mom, you know it's not going to be there. But there it was; Moughty was listed in the binder! I was very excited and although I knew, even as a baby genealogist that they were just for fun, I decided to purchase it. The salesperson pulled it up on his computer and said to me, "it's in Spanish." My reaction was no, it's an Irish name, but there it Spanish. Luckily my daughter having been in an Advanced Placement Spanish class was able to provide a rough translation.

It was a few years before I was able to figure out the connection. In the mid to late 19th century there was a substantial migration to Argentina from the midlands of Ireland, primarily Westmeath and Longford, as well as Cavan and surprise, Wexford. I stopped into the International Floor at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and found a book by Eduardo Coughlan titled Los Irlandeses En La Argentina. Coughlan had attempted to list all those of Irish descent who emigrated to Argentina and there were a number of Moughtys, including Michael on page 685.

By this time my daughter was in college and I sent her off an image to translate. I got a big kick out of seeing the Spanish naming tradition (with the mother's maiden) connecting two Irish names. Wouldn't it have been great if the Irish did that?😀 The gist of this was that Michael went to Argentina about 1902 to work with his uncle Thomas [Duggan] and he died there 24 October 1910. He married Ann Jacks, the daughter of Captain Philip Jacks and they had children, Maria and Santiago. Santiago married Mercedes Cueto Galino and had four children. Over the years I did a one name study of the Moughty family in Ireland and was able to put together the family relationships. Michael Moughty was the son of James Moughty (the brother of my husband's great grandfather) and Maria Duggan. Maria's brother Thomas Duggan was the uncle mentioned above. Michael also had a sister, Anne Josephine who married James (Santiago) Feeney in Dublin and emigrated to Argentina. Their youngest sister, Louisa Christina also emigrated and married in Buenos Aires, John Feeney (brother of James) also from County Longford. A note about looking for females...look for them under their maiden name as well. A daughter of Michael's great uncle, Ana Moughty had gone to Argentina a generation earlier, and appeared in the 1895 census under her maiden name with her husband (on the bottom of the previous page) and daughter both with the surname Carle. A descendant of this family contacted me through a mailing list and I was able to put together that part of the family. Also, if (like me) you don't read Spanish (or any other language of your ancestor), check the FamilySearch Wiki for their Word list to help translate records. In most cases there are only a limited number of words you need to know. Click here for the Spanish Word list.

1895 Census of Buenos Aires, Argentina from

South Africa

In the past I've know that one of my English lines went to South Africa and there was a rumor about someone in the Moag family also emigrating there. Recently FamilySearch has been digitizing records from South Africa, so on a chance, I typed in Moag just to see what would come up. There were a number of hits, and surprise, surprise...the names were William, James, Stuart/Stewart, Samuel and David the same names used over and over in this family. I figured they had to be related, but hadn't determined how. I started a folder for the Moags of South Africa and saved the records that I found, but couldn't connect them. The Moag family has an active Facebook family site which includes members from all over the world, and there was a post from a member in South Africa that didn't know how she was connected. Down another rabbit hole for me!

I spent the day, when I should have been writing a lecture, trying to figure it out. I have a pretty complete collection of all of the available records from Ireland of the Moag family. I just needed to determine who the emigrant was. I discovered the information in a death notice from South Africa in 1864.

William Moag was born in County Down, the son of John and Ann Moag. Based on his age at death, 58, he was born about 1806. He had five children, notice the difference in the ages, from two marriages ranging in age from 24 years to 4 months; and the document was signed by Margaret Maria Moag. Bingo! I have a baptism of an unnamed male child of John Moag of Ballymurphy on 28 September 1806. The mother of the child was not named (Presbyterians tended to forget the mother had anything to do with the birth of the child) but John of Ballymurphy at that time was married to Ann Fury. This would be a half relation to me, since I'm descended through John and his first wife, Mary Petticrew.

Two suggestions: if you are not checking FamilySearch you are missing out. It is a free site, and they add millions of records each week. Sometimes the records are indexed, sometimes they are browsable and sometimes there is an image you can access from home. Because of licensing agreements, sometimes the images can only be accessed from a Family History Center, and once COVID restrictions are lifted, you can check for a location near you. Don't forget to also check your local library as many public libraries are also Family History Centers. The week of April 27th FamilySearch added over 16,000 records for South Africa. (They currently have 25 databases listed.) You can sign up to receive weekly notifications of new databases, as well as free classes here.

Second, a reminder to check the FamilySearch Wiki. This site includes maps, links to resources outside of FamilySearch and even an Africaans Word List (and I have found some records for South Africa are not in English).

I hope you'll take this blog and last week's blog, and think about where else to look for your family. That could be another state, county or country. I was thrilled to see the comment posted on Facebook today by Ann...

Yes Ann, just about anyplace has better records than Ireland!😀 You never know where that elusive record might be so expand your search!

Happy Hunting and Stay Safe!

Lots of Mother's Day Offerings for DNA kits. Check out the Promotions Page.

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