The Search for John Cotter, 1873

As with most Churches and Parishes in Ireland , there are constant requests for Baptismal, Marriage and other Certificates for a variety of reasons and these are provided as part of the day-to-day activities of Parish Sacristans and Secretaries.

And what may seem to be a rather mundane duty becomes a delight when there is a request for a search with regard to a person from the distant past.

St. Patrick's Church on the Lower Glanmire Road, Cork, gets it's fair share of requests and tries to help those who require this information, particularly members of the Irish diaspora who cannot visit to view the Records directly. In most cases, when the information is reasonably accurate, certificates can be provided. If the information contains an address, and it is found that an old ‘homestead' still exists, a photograph will be taken and forwarded to the person who seeks the information, thus giving this person a greater connection with the past.

An interesting case arose recently which gave us, at St. Patrick's, an opportunity to demonstrate our determination to please, and is as follows;

Sheila, from a large North American city, had been for years, trying to find details of her paternal Grandfather through the usual ‘Roots' type websites, before hopping on to and in an email dated 5th. May 2012 wrote: 

Dear Sir/Madam: I am trying to find records of my grandfather, John Cotter, who arrived in the US with his parents and siblings in June 1892. So, the records would be before that date. I believe that his address was 45 Ballyhooly Road . His parents were John and Catherine (nee Harrington) Cotter. His siblings were Philip, Catherine, Joseph, Ellen, William, and James (these are the ones I can remember, there may be more).Are you able to verify that they were members of your Congregation? How can I receive copies of the verifying documents? Is there a fee for this? Thank you for your help. Sheila

While awaiting the results of the Record Search, No. 45, Ballyhooly Road was found, photographed, and sent on to Sheila.

45, Ballyhooley Road , (Blue Façade) where John Cotter Snr. and his wife Catherine lived, and where it is assumed where John Jnr. was born in 1873, this was ultimately found to be incorrect.

In response, having checked our Records, Aonghus O'Broin, Parish Secretary replied;

Hi Sheila,
You have found a mother lode of records.

We have a wedding of John Cotter with Catherine Harrington on 29-8-1868 . The priest was Rev W O'Sullivan The witnesses were Dan Harrington and then something indistinct that looks like Thomas Pyne and A Harris.
The bride's address is given as Grattan Hill. - That is all we have, our records were brief at that time.

Grattan Hill , where Sheila's Great Grandmother had lived at the time of her marriage

However !

We have lots of baptisms as follows:

Mary born 27-7-1869 , address given Barrackstream, Godparents Thomas Pyne and Abina Harrington, the priest was W O'Sullivan

Michael born 16-9-1874, address given Harrington Place, Godparents John
Cotter and Helena Harrington, the priest was William J Lane

William born 16-9-1876, address given 1 Harrington Place, Godparents John Barry and Julia Anne Murphy, the priest was Rev Buckley

Thomas born 31-7-1878, address given 1 Harrington Place, Godparents Dan
Harrington and Susan Barry, the priest was William J Lane

Joseph born 16-10-1880, address given 1 Harrington Place, Godparents Patrick Barry and ?? Harrington, the priest was William J Lane

James born 14-10-1882, address given 1 Harrington Place, Godparents Philip Harrington and Ellen Dooly, the priest was Joseph O'Keeffe

Ellen born 4-11-1884, address given 1 Harrington Place, Godparents Richard Kirwan and Ellen McSweeney, the priest was J Cassidy

Philip born 8-11-1886, address given 1 Harrington Place, Godparents John Lehan and Anne Murphy, the priest was J Cassidy

I notice that you have a response from St. Joseph 's parish identifying
Daniel 8-1-1891 and Catherine 20-3-1889 .

The information above is all we have on record. We can provide certificates if that is your wish. We charge a fee of €10 per certificate and it may not be worth your while having them when all you will get is the above information. We have a Paypal facility on our website that we have successfully used to facilitate payments of this nature. If you don't require certs then a €20 donation would cover the search costs.

Please let us know what you want us to do.


Aonghus O'Broin,
Parish Secretary,
St. Patrick's Parish,

Barrackstream (house unknown), where Mary was born in 1869

No. 1 Harrington Place (grey corner house), where most of the Cotter children were born between 1874 and 1889.

Following the above information, Sheila wrote (9th. May);

‘ This is fantastic! I cannot thank you enough. I don't know who Hannah is, but I am going to try to find out.'

Map of St. Patrick's Parish (part) and adjoining Parish, SS Mary & Anne Shandon (part).

A Patrick Street , Cork City centre

B Rowland Lane, Anne Moore home

C North Cathedra, where John Cotter was baptisedl

D 100, Shandon St. where John Cotter was born

E St. Patrick's Church, Lower Glanmire Road .

F St. Patrick's School

G Grattan Hill, Catherine Harrington's pre marriage home

H Windsor Tce.

L No. 45, Ballyhooley Road

K Kateville, Ballyhooley Rd.

M Harrington Square

O Barrackstream

P St. Joseph's Church

Q 224, Old Youghal Road

R 215/216, Old Youghal Road

From the City Library; a photocopy of the ‘ Cork Examiner' dated Monday 30 th . May 1892 advertising the various Shipping Companies operating sailings from Ireland (Queenstown) to ports in the United States

As a matter of interest, it was pointed out to Sheila that the ISMAY mentioned at the bottom of this advertisement was ‘Bruce Ismay', the co-owner of the ‘White Star Line' and the person named in the story on the ill- fated SS Titanic which was lost after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic in 1912 . Bruce Ismay survived this tragedy, he retired to live in Connemara , Co. Galway between 1920 to 1936, and on ill-health, he returned to England and died in 1937.

The vessel ‘Teutonic' on which the Cotter family sailed to the United States ( New York ) on 23rd. June 1892, arriving at Ellis Island on Wednesday 29th. June 1892. This was 180 days following the arrival of the first person to be registered at Ellis Island, a young Cork girl named Anne Moore , baptised at St. Patrick's Church on 25th. May 1874. A brass plaque to this effect is located adjacent to the Baptismal Font where many of Sheila's ancestors were also baptised.

Extract from Ellis Island Records of Immigrant Arrivals

Name of Passenger



Age on Arrival


Daniel Cotter





Ellen Cotter





Hanna Cotter





James Cotter





Jno. Cotter





John Cotter





Joseph Cotter





Kate Cotter





Kate Cotter





Michl. Cotter





Phillip Cotter





Thos: Cotter





Wm. Cotter





Wm. Cotter




Sheila , in one of her many emails recalled being told that her Great Grandmother,

Catherine Cotter (nee Harrington), had been ‘disowned‘ by her father on Catherine's marriage to John Cotter. This is despite Catherine (Kate) being a favourite of her father and to the extent that her father, who had owned property in the general area, had named some of this property as ‘Kateville'.

In the surrounds of Ballyhooly Road , there are places, even to this day, named Harrington Place, Harrington Square and Harrington Row.

A physical search of the area failed to establish the whereabouts of ‘Kateville', however, after a further visit to the City Library, ‘Kateville' was identified from Ordinance Survey maps pre the 1900's.

Note the name ‘Kate' (Snr.) recorded in the Ellis Island immigrant records.

'Kateville', the O.S. map indicated only two houses, now numbers 108 and 109 Ballyhooly Road, with a vacant plot adjacent. An extension to No. 109 was built on this plot, now 109a, (grey façade with two dormer windows).

Sheila , on receipt of the list of Baptisms was understandably upset that her Grandfather was not on the list, and so a further search was undertaken by Aonghus but to no avail.

A question was posed to Canon Dan PP on the lines that ‘ if a child on birth was found to be ‘poorly' and a priest called, the child Baptised in the house, could it be that such a Baptism might go unregistered in the Church Records through oversight'. Canon Dan thought that this could have been possible at that time, 140 years ago. Today, it would be normal that a request for a Baptism is made through the Church Sacristan who would prepare the required pre-baptism details and would ensure that there would be a proper entry in the Baptismal Records.

This observation was passed on to Sheila .

Sheila replied;

Your email today reminded me of what my aunt told me about my grandfather, 'he was so small at birth that he could fit in a shoebox' .........just as you suggested. I am going to try the websites you recommended. But even if I don't find anything else, I have St. Patrick's records and the memories of John Cotter, a gentle man who loved me unconditionally and spoiled me rotten.

In a subsequent email Sheila having seen our article on the Home Page of our website outlining Megan Smolenyak 's search for the true ‘ Anne Moore ' and she being the first person passing through Ellis Island and being of a similar age as her Grandfather, was it possible that her Grandfather might have known Anne Moore .

Reference to the Map above, Rowlands Lane where Anne Moore lived, is reasonably close to the Ballyhooly Road /St. Luke's Cross area. Rowlands Lane would have been in the adjoining Parish of SS Mary and Anne Shandon

In our article dealing with the Educational developments of St. Patrick's district, the following is an extract from that article;

St. Patrick's School opened to pupils for the first time on 13th September 1841 . It's location at St. Luke's Cross was described by it's first manager, Rev. Patrick William Coffey, as 'the most central of St. Patrick's district and approachable by six roads which meet at this point.' Fr. Coffey, in his letter of 20th. September 1841, applying for aid towards the payment of teachers' salaries and supply of books, informed the Commissioners of National Education that 'the educational wants of the poor in the district of St. Patrick's and in the parishes of S.S. Mary and Anne Shandon in the eastern suburbs of the city of Cork induced the clergy and laity of the parishes to confer on this important subject two years back.'

It could be reasonably assumed that the Cotter siblings attended this school, it being ‘just down the road' from No. 1 Harrington Place . It is also most possible that Anne Moore and her brothers also attended this school, it being the principle educational facility in the general area.

But did John Cotter know Anne Moore ?……….who can tell

In a further attempt to trace John Cotter the very helpful City Library officials suggested that two websites should be accessed;

The website of ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints', who specialises in records of births worldwide.

This website contains two John Cotters born in Cork in 1873 records but contains no further information such as birthdates, addresses, or parental details.

The second website is that of the ‘General Registration Office of Ireland , The Library officials advised that the tracing of births would best be undertaken by a physical visit and search. In the case of a search with just a name and a birth year to be undertaken by Registry Office officials by a ‘distant request' could be time consuming and expensive.

Finally, all that we could do in St. Patrick's was to send a photograph of the Marriage entry of Sheila's Grandparents, unfortunately 144 year old ink tends to fade.

Clearly Sheila knew her Grandfather and all she wanted was a copy of his Baptismal Record. And this simple everyday request with which St. Patrick's was unable to comply, resulted in the above research, and may be of some consolation to Sheila.

Should anyone have any further information in relation to our ‘search' for John Cotter, we are sure that this would be appreciated by Sheila .

Contact can be made at

JK June 2012



Since going on line with the above, Sheila has advised that Catherine Cotter had one more child, Martin, who was born in Chicago .

Sheila was also curious: ‘was £8 .00 or £9.00 a lot of money back then (1892) ? Did they have to pay for all of the children ?

We replied ;

‘Nine Pounds Sterling (£9.00) in 1892 equates to $415.36 US in 2012

Today, a one way trip on the Queen Mary 2 (taking six days) costs about $1500 while Freighter Passenger (taking 10 days) is about $135 per day. In both cases, the passenger would have a private cabin and the price also includes three full meals per day.

In your grandparents time, accommodation and meals at this Passenger Class was Second Class, not as good as Solo/Stateroom class but certainly much better than ‘Steerage' which was most likely ‘communal', (and very rough, especially in bad weather).

I doubt if there were any reduced costs for children as each would have been allocated a bunk in perhaps a number of cabins. Reference photo of the ‘Teutonic', these cabins would have been at lower mid-ship (the dark line of portholes).

Sheila also asked ‘how did the adults survive 6 days on a boat with all these children'.

We replied;

‘Given that it was mid summer, the crossing was most likely calm. It was a great adventure and I would think that they were all very excited with the prospects of a new begining in the‘ New World '.'

Furthermore, we have found a descendent on the Harrington side of the family living in Cork and who is now in contact with Sheila .

Hopefully, we will be able to add more to the ‘The Search for John Cotter' in due course.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo .

We have since received further information that ....  .... John Cotter was in fact baptised in the North Cathedral.

Wedding Day of John Cotter and Ada Mischer (German)

John & Ada Cotter, (pictures received September 2014)

Picture of Shandon Church (it is assumed) painted by Sheila's Grandfather over 100 years ago. For larger image CLICK

John Cotter

Birth record [General Records Office Ireland]

February 26 th 1873, at 100 Shandon St, Cork: birth of John Cotter, son of John Cotter, Shandon Street, black smith, and Kate Cotter, formerly Harrington; informant Ellen Leonard, Shandon St (present at birth); birth registered March 4 th 1873

Certificates available online from:

Baptismal record [Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne (also known as the ‘North Cathedral' or informally as the ‘North Chapel')]

February 26 th 1873 - baptism of John Cotter, Shandon St, son of John Cotter and Catherine Harrington, volume 11, page 190, entry 28, ID 476883

Cathedral website: See also:

Diocesan website:

YouTube channel:

Another surprising Birth Record was found through the GRO, the first Daniel Cotter:

Birth record [General Records Office Ireland]

Daniel Cotter, birth: 26th. August 1871, Cork, Ireland

father: John Cotter

mother: Kate Harrington

Reference ID v15p116

reply from GRO 100114:

26/08/1871, at Barrack Stream, Daniel, son of John Cotter, Barrackstream, black smith, and Kate Cotter, formally Harrington, informant Kate Cotter, mother, Barrack Stream; registeration 05/09/1871.

School record [St Patrick's Male National School, St. Luke's, Cork] John Cotter's entry in St. Patrick's School register March 29 th , 1881: John was one of 35 boys who transferred from the Infants to the Boys school on that date (further details on pages 2 and 3).

Description: P1010804.JPG

Description: P1010806.JPG

The Cotter boys in St. Patrick's National School 1881-1892

[in all six cases the father's occupation is listed as ‘smith']

John Cotter Enrolled St Patrick's Boys NS: Mar 29th 1881

Age last birthday: 8

Address: Barrackstream

Father's occupation: Smith

Previous school/class: St. Patrick's Infants/2nd

Last record: Aug 27th 1881

Thomas Cotter of St. Luke's, aged 7, enrolled Apr 14th 1887, from St Patrick's Infants/1 st ; last record: Jun 19th 1892

William Cotter of Barrackstream, aged 9, enrolled Jan 17th 1888, ‘never at National School'; last record: Jan 30th 1891

Michael Cotter of Barrackstream, aged 13, enrolled Oct 30th 1888, from South Monastery/5th ; last record: Feb 2nd 1889

Joseph Cotter of Ballyhooly Road, aged 8, enrolled Apr 29th 1889, from St Patrick's Infants/3rd , last record: Jun 19th 1892

James Cotter of Barrackstream, aged 9, enrolled Dec 1st , 1891, from St Patrick's Infants/3rd; last record: Jun 19th 1892


Four of the six Cotters who attended St. Patrick's had their home address recorded as Barrackstream with Joseph listed as being from Ballyhooly Road and Thomas from St. Luke's. The home addresses in the school records at that time were very general: names such as St. Luke's (=‘near St. Luke's Cross') , Lower Road (=‘Lower Glanmire Road area') and Barrackton (=‘opposite/near the Barracks') might each refer to boys from ten or more streets or terraces.

Barrackstream was a common address before 1905: it did not refer to a single street but to an area near Dillon's Cross where nowadays the houses would be listed as Old Youghal Road or Ballyhooly Road or by the names of adjoining terraces and rows. Hence Joseph's ‘Ballyhooly Road' address does not necessarily indicate a change of house from Michael's ‘Barrackstream'. The information was most likely gathered by asking the boys themselves and it is not unusual in the school register to find different addresses for members of the same family, probably depending on how each child described the location of their home.

In the St. Patrick's Boys school registers, Harrington's Row, Harrington's Place or Harrington's Avenue do not appear before 1894: it is quite likely that pupils from this part of Ballyhooly Road were recorded under the ‘Barrackstream' label. [Unlike St. Patrick's Church records, street names with house numbers did not begin to appear in the school register until c. 1917.]

School Attendance

Education in Ireland in the 1800s was controlled from London and in the 1870s each primary school level had a certain ‘book' of required knowledge in English language and math that had to be mastered and which was the subject of tests by Board of Education inspectors: it would have been common for a pupil to say that they were ‘on the 4th book' where today they might say ‘4th class' or ‘4th grade'. St. Patrick's pupils generally left the Infant school and transferred to the Boys' when they were on the 1 st or 2 nd book and about 8 years old. [Actual dates of birth only began to be recorded around 1910] It is noteworthy that the Cotter boys did not join the school in order of their ages: William and Michael in particular appear to be out of sequence.

William apparently went to school for the first time at 9. It was common at the time for children to start school at 6 years and stay until joining the workforce at 13 or 14 but many children did not begin school until much later and many also had intermittent attendance. School attendance for children of 6-14 years did not become compulsory until 1892: even then the requirement only applied to children in urban areas and an attendance of about 70% satisfied the law. Around that time, St. Patrick's would register about 10 boys every year who had never been to school and who might be any age up to 14 years.

After (presumably) two years in the Infant School, John Cotter's career in St. Patrick's Boys appears to only have lasted from late March to the Summer vacation of 1881 by which time he was still only 8. A possible explanation is suggested by looking at Michael's record. Michael transferred to St. Patrick's at age 13 from the South Monastery (a Presentation Brothers school near the Presentation Convent in Douglas Street about 1.5 miles from Dillon's Cross) when he was on the 5th book. Perhaps John also attended that school and finished his schooling there?

St. Patrick's Boys School

St. Patrick's Boys' and Girls' National schools were established near St. Luke's Cross in Cork in 1841; later a separate infant school was opened on the same site. The schools were built between Ballyhooly Road and Alexandra Road (see map). Alexandra Road is some 30 feet higher than Ballyhooly Road at this point and this led to a rather unusual design. The boys and girls were housed in the same 2-storey building with the girls occupying the upper floor and the boys the lower. The girls' entrance opened onto Alexandra Road and their recreation yard was adjoining it; the boys entered from Ballyhooly Road and their yard was in front of the building on the lower level. The infant school on the same site was later separated from the seniors by a wall.

The school was on the edge of the city at that time: an 1870 map above shows a terrace of cottagesimmediately north of the school but only three other houses between that terrace and the houses at the Barracks Cross (now Dillon's Cross).

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Description: IMG_0119.JPG

The boys continued to occupy the school until a new school was built in 1937 about quarter of a mileto the north. The girls and infants continued on the St. Luke's site until the late 1950s when a new building was erected for them in the next field to the boys school. The photo above right which appears on Diarmuid O'Donovan's site ( ) was taken in 1937 and gives a glimpse of the boys' yard with the infant school in the background .

The old school buildings were levelled in the late 1960s and in the early 1990s a private house [red-brick, ‘Russet House' on maps] was built in the site. [The girls' entrance was through the stone wall high above the house on the left. The terrace to the right of the school site is ‘Hill View Cottages' as shown on the map at top left.] On aerial photo sites such as or Bing or Google maps, the girls' yard, now overgrown, can be seen on the Alexandra Road (upper) side.

Description: P1010797.JPG

Description: P1010798.JPG


It was not very difficult to find where John Cotter was born some 140 years ago. It is still the original three storey building with a delightful florist shop on the ground floor but perhaps it was not so on the 26th. February 1873.

Most likely it was multi-family dwelling on this busy artery leading out of Cork City with various traders, horse and trap traffic and passing ladies dressed with black shawls and known as 'Shawlies'. The North Cathedral, which registered John's baptism is within 100 yards of his birth place, and ironically perhaps only about 200 yards. from the home of Anne Moore .

The records above indicates that John was baptised on the same date as his birth and possibly due to a health condition as described by Sheila 'he was so small at birth that he could fit in a shoebox'

But in life, he was large enough to leave a lasting impression on his granddaughter, who has strived so hard to trace his 'roots' and has led Sheila to this point in time.

This delightful building is now occupied by Stacy O'Neill , and would seem to be a fitting end to Sheila' s adventure on 'The Search for John Cotter'


But, was that the end, it was pointed out to us that the large Crucifix on the right-hand Nave of St. Patrick's Church was donated in memory of a Daniel Harrington & Family, perhaps over 100 years ago.

The Daniel and Ellen Harrington referred were in fact Sheila's Greatgrand Parents.

Your Prayers

Are earnestly requested

For the repose of the Soul of

The Donor

Daniel Harrington

Died December 11th 1891

Also for the repose of the Souls of

His wife Ellen

Died November 19th 1891


His Son Joseph

who was accidently drowned,

July 7th 1875

Sweet Jesus Mercy

The Cork Examiner, 7th. September 1878

(perhaps a bit of useless information at this stage)

T HE A CCIDENT ON THE M ACROOM R AILWAY .—Amongst the sufferers is Thomas Harrington, eldest son of Mr. Daniel Harrington, of Harrington Place, St. Luke's. He was in the carriage next the engine, and sustained severe injuries about the head. He is at home under the treatment of Dr. S. O'Sullivan.

Harrington family headstone at St. Joseph's Cemetery, Ballyphehane, Cork

Script is as follows:




in memory of their beloved son


Died July 9 th 1845

[line of small italic text]


DIED OCT 18, 1860

Aged 67 years

At the bottom of the stone, there are 3 or 4 further lines of small italic text that cannot be read but appear to be lower-case italics and do not appear to be the names of further deceased - might be a prayer or verse from scripture.

Drowning of Joseph Harrington

Cork Examiner, Friday 9th July 1875

The following is an extract from the Cork Examiner, giving a report on Joseph Harrington (who would have been an uncle of John Cotter), from the Coroner at the time.

Sad Case of Drowning: Mr. Coroner Jones held an inquest yesterday on the body of Joseph Harrington who was drowned in the pond near the Glen. Jeremiah Leahy said he was in the Glen at the time of the occurranence and saw the deceased going into the pond for a swim. He afterwards heard shouts and on returning to the spot he saw bubbles rising as if something had been thrown into the water. He was told that Harrington was just after sinking. He in the company with two other lads, ran to the house of the deceased and acquainted his relatives of the accident. A young lad named Bryan dived for the body but could not succeed in reaching it. There was six foot of water in the place where he was drowned. The two lads named Twomey and M. Ostrich stated that they saw the deceased go into the water and after he had swam some distance he suddenly went down. It appeared as if his legs had caught in the weeds and he was unable to extricate himself. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Sheila eventually got Cathedral records not just of her grandfather, but of three further generations of one branch of his mother's (Harrington) family with the earliest record dating back to 1789.

Her great-grandfather Daniel Harrington, who donated the Crucifix to St Patrick's, is buried with his parents in St Joseph's Cemetery in Ballyphehane.

And what about the Cotters - further research elicited the following:

Directory Records of Cotters, Harrington and others:






Guys 1844/45

John Cotter

Smith (blacksmith)

224, Old Youghal Rd.

This would have been (Sheila's) John Cotter's Grandfather


John Daly

Vitner (This is how Vintner is spelt)

100, Shandon St.

Place of John Cotter's birth

Henry & Coghlan's Cork Directory 1867

John Cotter


216, Old Youghal Rd.

John Cotter's Grandfather

Slattery's Cork Directory 1870

John Cotter


215, Old Youghal Rd.

John Cotter's Grandfather

Slattery's Cork Directory 1870

John Daly


100, Shandon St.

Place of John Cotter's birth

Slattery's Cork Directory 1870

Harrington & Co.


Ballyhooly Rd

John Cotter's in-laws

Guy's Cork Directory 1875/76 OCR

John Cotter


216, Old Youghal Rd.

John Cotter's Grandfather

Guy's Cork Directory 1875/76

Daniel Harrington


Windsor Tce

John Cotter's in-laws

Guy's Cork Directory 1875/76

Denis O'Mullane

Vitner (as above)

100, Shandon St.

Place of John Cotter's birth. A change of ownership since his birth in 1873

Slater's Cork Directory 1881

John Cotter

(Smith, from John Cotter's Baptismal Cert.)

Harrington Tce (0ther Baptismal records show this as Harrington Place)

John Cotter's father (b 1842)

Slater's Cork Directory 1881

John Cotter


Old Youghal Rd

John Cotter's Grandfather

Slater's Cork Directory 1881

Daniel Harrington


53a, Ballyhooly Rd,

John Cotter's in-laws


* The records show that John Cotter's father and grandfather were Blacksmiths.

* John Cotters in-laws were in the 'shopkeeping' business which later seemed to evolve into the property development business.

No. 224, Old Youghal Road with new roof, chimney and pebble-dash. John Cotter's Grandfather lived here during the 1840's

An empty corner where Nos. 215 and 216 Old Youghal Road once stood. John Cotter's Grandfather is recorded as living in these two houses at different times during the 1870's. No 224 above is 10/11 doors down the Old Youghal Road, right fork. Directly accross from this junction is the high walls of Collins Barracks (Victoria Barracks during the time of John Cotter's grandfather). Why or when these two houses were demolished needs further research.

jk 24/02/2014


Visit of the Cotter/Harrington 'Family' to St. Patrick's Church. Loaded 21st. September 2016

The 'Harringtons' review Harrington/Cotter records with David Dwyer, Sacristan on their visit to St. Patrick's Church on Wednesday 22nd. June 2016

Kay Macken is the daughter of John Thaddeus Harrington, Grand daughter of Philip Harrington and Great-Grand daughter of Daniel and Ellen Harrington

Paulette Peterson and Kay Macken (cousins) with the Crucifix erected in memory of the death of Daniel Harrington, 11th. December 1891

With their husbands, Norman Peterson and Aidan Macken

(Kay is the daughter of John Thadeus Harrington, grand-daughter of Philip Harrington and great-grand-daughter of Daniel &  Ellen)

Daniel and Ellen Harrington Memorial Plaque

Kay Macken (left) with her husband Aidan, children and grand children, placing the inscribed Brass Memorial Plaque on the 125th. anniversary of her great-grand father's death.

Larger Image

With her family and Canon Dan (PP) at the base of the Crucifix erected in memory of her Great-Grand Parents

Larger Image

No body knows who or where the next piece of information comes from, however it is very nice and indeed gratifying when this information arrives. So, when this next piece came to us just before Christmas it was very pleasing, particularly in view of the association with St. Patrick's Church and Parish. (2nd. March 2020)

I am the great great grandaughter of Catherine Cotter, born in 1837 and baptized there, and the great great great granddaughter of John Cotter and Mary Mahoney. I am fascinated by the research that was done and I feel like I can confirm there was a brother named William. He is listed on the census with Catherine and two of her children in Kansas in 1880.
I believe Catherine and Mary came to New York together in the 1860's. Catherine married William Greaney in New York in 1869, and John Cotter and Mary Mahoney are listed as her parents. Mary married a man named Joseph Seaman Covert. Catherine and William made it to San Francisco by the late 1880's.

I am so excited to have found all this information and I hope we can share and explore even more! I had no idea there were other siblings besides Mary and William until I did the Ancestry DNA test. I have DNA matches there for descendants of John, Margaret and Mary. Now I really need to plan a trip to Ireland :)

Noreen Snyder '


The family of John Cotter & Mary Mahony of Old Youghal Road


St Patrick's Church website has several pages about the family of John Cotter (born 1841) who married Catherine Harrington and emigrated to Chicago in 1892. These paragraphs are a summary of other information that was found about his siblings and his parents - John Cotter (born about 1807) and Mary Mahony.


The marriage of John Cotter & Mary Mahony on 10 Apr 1833 is in the Cathedral parish registers.


John was a blacksmith and various trade directories in the period 1844-1875 show ‘John Cotter, blacksmith' at a number of locations on Old Youghal Road - including house-numbers 215, 216, 224 (all of which are near Collins Barracks) and 270 (which is near the Three Horseshoes pub.


Fulton's Directory of 1871 also has a ‘Thomas Cotter, blacksmith' at 221 Old Youghal Road but no other mention can be found of a Thomas: 221 OYR was the address at which John's daughter Margaret said she was born in 1844, it was also Anne Cotter's address on her marriage in 1873, and John Cotter himself died there in 1884.In any case, the Cotters appear to have livedon Old Youghal Road for at least 40 years.


John Cotter & Mary Mahony had six children (as far as we know at present):

Baptism Parish Address recorded Sponsors

William 26 Mar 1835 St. Mary's * none William Dundon/Mary Lee

Catherine 20 Jun 1837 St. Patrick's none Daniel Scully/Margaret Mahony

Mary 03 Aug 1839 St. Patrick's --cht Denis Lenihan/John Pyne/Mary Buckley

John 26 Dec 1841 St. Patrick's Gordon's Cross Richard Casey/Margaret Scully

Margaret 25 Feb 1844 St. Patrick's Gordon's Cross Denis Tuomy/Catherine Hickey [proxy Catherine Cotter]

Anne 08 Nov 1846 St. Patrick's none Robert Ormond/Mary Silke

* Until the opening of St Patrick's in 1836, the records for this area would have been in the St Mary's Cathedral registers.


The marriage and baptisms above were identified about five years ago, and at that time it was found that three of the family - William, John and Catherine - had emigrated to the US. Margaret married Thomas Penny and went to live in London and Anne married John Murphy and remained in Cork. The sixth, Mary, was not traced at that time, but in recent months a descendant of Catherine Cotter in the US has given information that Mary also emigrated.


William Cotter (1835)

The first information found in the search for William was actually his death details on FamilySearch which recorded that a William Cotter, blacksmith, a widower aged 72, died in Chicago in 1915: his parents were named as John Cotter and Mary Mahanly of Ireland. The mention of ‘blacksmith' and his parents' names attracted attention but at the time, his baptism record had not yet been found (because it was in a different parish and the register scans were not yet online) and the information was stored as just ‘interesting'. After William's baptism was identified, the usual sources were searched - BMD records, census returns, immigration lists and newspapers.


US Census recordsin 1900 and 1910 showedWilliam was married to Mary, who was born in Ireland, and he had a step-daughter Jennie Peasley - which showed it was his wife's second marriage


Illinois: Cook County Marriages (on FamilySearch)

William Cotter, aged 52, and Mary Peasley, aged 45, married in Cook County on 04 Apr 1891


Sheila, whose enquires started the ‘Search for John Cotter' always wondered why her great-grandparents and family chose to go to Chicago: this record showed that her great-grandfather John had already a brother settled there.


The US Census forms for 1900 and 1910 state that William Cotter immigrated 1870 or 1872 (the actual immigration record has not yet been located), so he was in the US for the 1880 Census at which time he was living in Kansas with his sister Catherine (see below for details). The forms for the 1890 Census were lost in a major fire, so we can't say where he lived at that time.


William's wife, Mary Peasley

Even though William married in Chicago, his wife Mary Peasley was from Cork, and William Cotter was her second husband.


The Peasley familyoriginated in Scotland, but had lived in the upper harbour area of Cork since the early 1800s at least, with the oldest reference being a marriage record in Passage West/Monkstown parish of John Pasley * & Hannah Huntress who married on 20 Sep 1804.All of the adult male Peasleys for whom I found records are described as shipwrights or boatbuilders, and the areas where they lived all had shipbuilding or repair yards in the 1800s. [*In various records, the spellings is Peasley, Paisley, Paisly or Pasley.]


The majority of the Peasley church records are in Passage West/Monkstown parish, but it is the St Patrick's records which are the relevant ones for our search:


In 1842, Martin Mahony of Silversprings and Ellen Callaghan of Tivoli married in St Patrick's, and their daughter Mary Mahony was born the following year and baptised in St Patrick's.


In 1865, Mary Mahony, then living on Strand Road (now Lower Glanmire Road) married William Peasley. Their daughter Jane was born in April 1866. Just a yearlater William Peasley died aged only 30 - six weeks before the birth of his son William. At the time, the family were living at 106 Lower Glanmire Road.


Google Street View: 106 Lower Road (centre)


Mary, Jane and William Peasley emigrated to the US some years later- immigration records have not been found. Whether they travelled separately or together is not yet known. The various US Census returns state Jane immigrated 1880, 1884, 1886or 1889 , that William immigrated 1884 or 1885, and that Mary travelled 1876 or 1880.


Mary and Jane (or Jennie) settled in Chicago where Mary married William Cotter in 1891. It is quite possible that Mary and William knew each other in Cork before they emigrated: (this) Mary Mahony was from Lower Glanmire Road, and William Cotter was from Old Youghal Road less than a mile away - and both their families attended St Patrick's Church. [Also, a ‘John Cotter' was a sponsor at the baptism of Jane Peasley - it's possible this could have been John (1841) who emigrated with his family in 1892.]


William Peasley married Margaret Ryan in New York and settled in Rochester, New York.


Jane Peasley was living with William Cotter and her mother in 1900 and 1910. Mary Peasley Cotter (nee Mahony) died in 1912 and her husband William died in 1915 - Jane registered both deaths. Jane Peasley continued to live in Chicago: in 1930 she was in the household of Michael Cotter (one of the 1892 family); her location in 1940 has not been identified, but when she died in 1954 her death was reported by Daniel V Cotter, a son of Michael.


Catherine Cotter (1837)

As mentioned above, the eldest Cotter daughter Catherine was in Kansas in 1880 when the Census was taken:


United States Census, 1880: Shannon, Atchison, Kansas, US

Catherine Greeney Head F 37 Ireland married

Daniel G Greeney Son M 9 New York

Mary C Greeney Daughter F 4 New York

William Cotter Brother M 42 Ireland single blacksmith


Catherine is ‘married', not ‘widowed' but her husband seems to be away and thus is not named, but by tracing their son Daniel G in the New York City Births on FamilySearch, it was found that his father was William Greaney who married Catherine Cotter in Manhattan in 1869: the parents of both were listed, so it was possible to further trace the baptism of William Greaney in Boherbue parishon 29 Oct 1839 where his parents were Daniel Greaney & Cathleen Dineen.


Catherine Cotter was already in New York by 1869. US Census 1880 did not ask about immigration and the 1890 forms were burned, so moving on to 1900, we find:


US Census 1900: 2221 Polk St, San Francisco

William Grancy Head M 55 Ireland imm 1862

Katherine C Grancy Wife F 60 Ireland imm 1861

Daniel G Grancy Son M 28 New York

[The transcription says GRANCY but it looks like GRANEY on the image of the page.]


So we find the first of the Old Youghal Road Cotters - Catherine - was in New York as early as 1861, in Kansas in 1880 (also her brother William), and the California Great Registers 1866-1910 on FamilySearch show that her son Daniel G (and probably all his family) was in California by 1892.


California Great Registers 1866-1910

Daniel George Greaney, 815 Greenwich, San Francisco; aged 21, born NY; voter registration 1892

Daniel George Greaney, 1228 Union, San Francisco; aged 25, born NY; voter registration 27 Jul 1896


CatherineCotter Greaney died in San Francisco in 1909.


Mary Cotter (1837)

Tracing of Mary Cotter was not successful. At one time it was thought she married a local man in Cork, but subsequent checking showed it was likely to be a different Mary Cotter of Barrackstream. It has since been established that Mary (1837) also emigrated.


John Cotter (1841)

‘The Search for John Cotter' elsewhere on this website gives an account of John's marriage to Catherine Harrington and their emigration through Ellis Island in 1892.


Margaret Cotter (1844)

Margaret's story is told in the ‘Margaret Cotter Penny' section of this website.


Anne Cotter (1846)

Anne, the youngest of the Cotter siblings, married John Murphy in St Patrick's in 1873: 221 Gordon's Cross is recorded as the address for both. John is described as a carpenter, and his father as William Murphy as a publican.


The births of five children are found in the site:

1874 birth William Murphy, 221 Gordon's Cross; parents John Joseph Murphy (carpenter) & Anne Cotter

1876 birth John Murphy, 221 Old Youghal Road; parents John Murphy (carpenter) & Anne Cotter

1878 birth Michael Murphy, 215 Goldens Cross; parents John Murphy & Anne Cotter

1881 birth Mary Murphy, 215Gordons Cross; parents John Murphy & Anne Cotter

1889 birth Timothy James Murphy, 221 Old Youghal Road; parents John Murphy & Anne Cotter


Three of the boys appear in the registers of St Patrick's Boys School near St Luke's Cross:

enrolled name aged address father

09 Mar 1882 William Murphy 7 Golden Cross carpenter

02 Apr 1883 John Murphy 8 City View carpenter

16 Nov 1897 Timothy Murphy 8 Old Youghal Rd dead


If these are all of the correct family, it would appear that their father John Murphy died between 1888 and 1897; no death record has been found to date, but Anne is listed as a widow in the 1901 Census. -


Census 1901: house 289 in Old Youghal Road (North East Ward, Cork)

Murphy Anne 47 Female Head widow

Murphy William 26 Male Son blacksmith

Murphy John 24 Male Son general labourer

Murphy Mary 19 Female Daughter laundress

Murphy Timothy 12 Male Son scholar


Anne Cotter Murphy died at 289 Old Youghal Road on 04 Jun 1903, aged 47. The informant of her death was her son William who was a blacksmith.


The Eircode Finder site does not recognise the address 289 Old Youghal Road, but the Three Horseshoes pub is at #290. In the snip above from the 1900 Ordnance Survey map, the pub is marked with a red star. The house next-door (to the west) which presumably is #289 is tagged ‘Smy' indicating a smithy or forge.


In the extract below from the modern Eircode map, it can be seen that three houses now occupy the sites which were #288 and #289 in 1900: their addresses are Cahergal View, numbers 1, 2 and 3.




The deaths of John Cotter (1807-1884) and Mary Cotter (1801-1883)


Notice of the deaths of both John and Mary Cotter appeared in ‘The Cork Examiner', which was unusual at a time when very few death announcements were published.


Mary Cotter (nee Mahony) died 29 Jan 1883 ‘at her residence' at Gordon's Cross.

mary cotter funeral 1883.JPG


A year later John Cotter, blacksmith, died ‘at his residence' at 221 Old Youghal Road.

jcotter death 1884.JPG


In each case, the person registering the death was Anne Murphy (daughter) of the same address.


The surprising detail is that Mary Cotter's funeral was to Ballyluchra, whereas John was buried in Caherlag graveyard (which was then part of Glanmire parish).


The distance from where they lived near Dillon's Cross to either cemetery is 3 to 4 miles. Because they are not buried in any of the nearer cemeteries, it seems likely that their families originated in Glanmire or nearby parishes. Glanmire parish has since been divided into two separate parishes - Glanmire and Glounthaune.



Above: The north-east corner of Cork city is to the left: the orange star is Dillon's Cross.

Glanmire and Riverstown are slightly right of centre.

The red arrow shows Ballyluchra graveyard; the yellow arrow shows Caherlag.


Caherlag and Ballyluchra (also known as Brooklodge graveyard) are alike in that each is small and very old, but they are very different in other ways. Caherlag has received a lot of attention and is well-kept.


Caherlag is the final resting place of John Cotter (1807-1884)

caherlag from air.JPG


In Ballyluchrawhen first visited in 2015, some areas, especially where there weremore recent burials,were well-maintained, but other parts were overgrown with ivy, brambles and tree saplings: many gravestones were almost completely hidden, while others were covered in moss.


Mary Mahony Cotter (1801-1883) is buried in Ballyluchera




The headstones at Caherlag have been transcribed and can be examined on . There are five Cotter headstones, but no obvious link to the Old Youghal Road Cotters.


I am not aware of any listing of the older burials at Ballyluchra. There are 7 or 8 Cotter memorials, but again no obvious link. Also it is Mary Mahony Cotter that is buried here, so it's possible that she was buried in a Mahony grave (two Mahony headstones were found). At the time of my last visit, some clearing of the vegetation had been done which made it possible to read some extra inscriptions, including one extra Cotter headstone.


The inscriptions on the Cotter headstones in Caherlag and Ballyluchra show that Cotters who lived several miles away were being buried in both of these cemeteries. A brief search of old newspapers showed Cotter funerals to Ballyluchra from Ballinahina (7 miles away) and Carrignavar (8 miles) even though there are several nearer graveyards to each of these places. It seems likely that at least one earlier generation (and perhaps many) of the Cotters were buried in Caherlag, and probably likewise of the Mahonys in Ballyluchra.


It is also of interest that among the sponsors at the six Cotter baptisms, there is only one Mahony and one Cotter: this might be because the parents John and Mary had few siblings, or it might indicate that they were living at a distance from their home area - there could of course be other causes.

It is not possible to say when John Cotter and Mary Mahony left the Glanmire area, if that is where they came from, as few parishes in Cork have records before the 1820s, so it is unlikely that any of their ancestors can be traced. Glanmire has got baptism records from 1806, but no likely baptism for either John or Mary was found. The only indication of their birth dates we have is from their death records which suggest 1807 and 1801 respectively but there is no guarantee that these dates are accurate.