When Find My Past had a free Irish records weekend I decided to go on a fishing trip looking for my Cuddy and Corley relatives. I used a large net in my searches first using just the surnames because I knew that both names were fortunately rather uncommon. I then narrowed down the searches to the county of Mayo where both families came from, and by date, pre-1893, when I know that the Corleys had settled in Montreal. Along the way I was downloading like a maniac. I now have a fairly large corpus of material which will keep me busy for a long time.
Just from a cursory examination of the material has yielded a lot of details about my great-grandfather Timothy Corley. Timothy was born the 29th of October 1856 in Swinford, Ireland, the son of Patrick Corley and his wife Mary Groarke. He was one of 12 children (that I know of). Patrick Corley was the owner of the Corley Hotel, which sits smack-dab in the centre of the market town. I knew that Timothy Corley ran the hotel sometime after his father’s death in 1875, and sold it in 1892 and moved his young family to his wife’s hometown of Montreal, Quebec.
What I had was broad strokes of his life in Ireland. My research over the weekend has certainly filled in some of the spaces. I found the will for his father, who left his estate to his wife Mary “knowing as I do that she will ultimately make that disposal of it which is sure to be for the future welfare of my dearly beloved children.” [IRE-ORIGINALWILLREGISTERS-007604284-00167]. Patrick’s property was valued at £5000. I have since gone on the National Archives of Ireland website and found that Mary’s estate in 1879 when she died was valued at £10 000. Quite a value rise, which leads me to believe she had her own wealth (another avenue to investigate at another time). Timothy was her executor. It also is apparent that he was assisting his mother in the management of her estate/business before she died. Timothy was referred to as a grocer in most of the documents I gathered.
The most striking thing about the finds I made on Timothy Corley was the number of times he appeared in the Court of Petty Sessions over the 1880s. Pages and pages of entries. After examining a number of them they indicate that in most cases he was the plantiff. He brought a lot of people to court to settle debts, throw out tenants who didn’t pay rent, or to get damages for the trespass of cattle and sheep on his fields. He was litigious!
There are three instances that I noticed that he was the plaintiff. He was charged and convicted for letting his dog run free on the street, and for not paying the poor rate. In 1891 he was charged with assault of John Garaghan. Funnily enough two lines above Margaret Corley accused the same man of assaulting her, as did another man below her. For the two assaults Garaghan was convicted, while Timothy had the charges dismissed. I think he was defending his wife, Margaret.
While in the databases I also went through the newspapers and it was a mother lode of information. It appears that his family were not pleased at his management of his mother’s estate and took him to court. Patrick, his brother (through his bankruptcy agent) sued him alleging that he signed a note limiting his payout under duress. Timothy won that case –ish. There was no evidence that the note was signed under duress, but he hadn’t paid even the reduced amount, so he owed his brother several thousand pounds. Two of his sisters sued him for their part of the estate, to which he counter-claimed that they owed him, as he had housed, clothed and fed them for a long time since their mother died. He lost that case save for about £50 total. Awesome family relations!
Timothy Corley was bankrupt by 1889 and had to sell his goods from his business, which appear to be linens and clothing to a value of £900. From other research I did in Swinford, I know he sold the Corley Hotel in 1892 and moved to Canada. I also know he went bankrupt in Montreal in 1893. Business did not seem to be his forte.
Of course like all research there is still much to learn (and read – I downloaded a lot) and then there will be the questions that the research brings up. A promising renewal of interest into my Irish roots!