Spelling of names in Ireland in the 1800′s was unreliable and variations are often found and we have examples of Ford, Foard and Forde being used. Similarly we find Donlon, Donellan, Donnellan, etc. It seemed to depend on the person recording a birth or marriage. Many of the people in that era were not literate. Hence name and address spellings were often very varied.
It is thought the first Ford in the Ballynacurragh area was John Ford who came from Raheen, just West of Athenry, Co. Galway. He married A. Donnellan. They had 17 children and the eldest and youngest were Priests in Co. Galway.
These are the Donovan people listed in the townland of Reavouler, Drinagh, Co. Cork in Griffith’s Valuation. Their respective Plot References are shown in brackets and the first names are shown on the extract of the map herewith taken from Griffith’s Valuation.
If you are beginning a research project to trace your family history, then one of the initial requirements is to document the facts you have from a particular point or generation. Begin with what you know of your parents and their siblings. Have you dates / locations of birth or marriage details?
Talk to older relatives or indeed neighbours of any ancestors you know about. Talking to the elderly people can give a great insight into establishing a framework to build upon. Using this framework you can progress to add locations, facts and dates as they become available.
From birth details of your parents you stand a great chance of getting a background on their parents (your grandparents) and siblings.
A word of caution, do NOT simply insert names, dates etc if you are unsure, instead WAIT and keep checking and researching. You are not in some kind of race; do your thorough research and be sure of your facts. We have a huge number of examples in family trees where even the dates of birth of parents are after the birth of their children. Don’t rush and check the information. Remember this is part of your legacy to family members, even not yet born.
The State or Civil records in Ireland are available from 1964 to date. See http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Apply-for-Certificates.aspx
Roman Catholic Church records in some cases date back to the 1770′s or after while others like Kilmacabea Parish began in 1832. Indeed you will find too that several (maybe up to 10%) of births and marriages are not recorded. The Church of Ireland and Methodist Churches have records dating back a few hundred years. One problem in all Church records was the lack of information e.g. address, fathers name of bride or groom (great if we got a mothers name but that did not happen normally), age.
You may find it beneficial to visit some websites. Here are a few which are free and no login required to view data:-
www.familysearch.org which covers much of the world
www.irishgenealogy.ie and this covers part of Counties Cork, Kerry, Carlow and Dublin in Ireland
For the 32 Counties of Ireland there is the Census of 1901 and 1911 http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/