Sunday, February 14, 2021

It's a Nice Day for an Irish Wedding

 This week's prompt for #52Ancestors is Valentine. One of the first things that comes to mind is my 3rd great grandparents, Francis Dougherty and Catherine Clerkin. They married on Valentine's Day in 1828 in the Tydavnet parish, County Monaghan, Ireland. It seems like a romantic day to get married. 

It is more likely a coincidence and that was the date available at their parish church when they married on a Thursday (Saturday and Sunday were not options). The couple was likely following the rules of Shrovetide, where Irish couples married between January 6th and Lent. It must have been a very cold wedding day. I'm fortunate to have found this record as many of my Irish ancestors' parish records were not recorded this early. 

The marriage entry of Francis Dougherty and Catherine Clerkin in the Tydavnet parish register

We don't know much about Catherine. We can estimate her birth around 1810 in County Monaghan. Several of her siblings, identified through DNA matches, were born between 1814 and 1825. They were baptized in the same parish Catherine later married in. Her suspected parents are Michael Clarkin and Ellen Connolly. More research needs to be completed to confirm. 

Francis and Catherine moved to Prince Edward Island (PEI) about 1839, before the Great Famine. They had ten children: 5 sons were born in Ireland and 5 daughters were born in PEI. By 1881 Canada Census, we know that Francis is a widower. He eventually moves to live near his son Peter in Dickinson County, Kansas. As far as we know, he never remarried. I'm hopeful that I will help locate the final resting place for Catherine, possibly near her siblings or parents' plot. 

Tonight I raise a glass of champagne to my 3rd great grandparents on their wedding day and wish them this Irish blessing:

"May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand."


  1. What a lovely story! I am researching my father's family in Galway, Tipperary, and Leitrim, and I'm inspired by your finds!

  2. Oh, I've never heard of Shrovetide. I'll have to look into that. Lovely story. Good luck on finding the burial plot.

  3. Sounds like a good reason to raise a glass of champagne.

  4. I'm particularly struck by the tradition of "salting" the unmarried to preserve them until the next year!

  5. I got Billy Idol in my head and I don't care. =) Nice blog, Melanie! Great story! Wedding stories are always fun!