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One of the most well known and tragic attacks during World War I was the sinking of the Lusitana in 1915. Torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Cork, it sank quickly and claimed over one thousand lives with about seven hundred people surviving. One of those survivors, Michael G. Byrne, gave many details about the sinking in a letter to his wife. Extracts from the letter were published in the New York Times on 25 May 1915. The article outlines that after Mr. Byrne was rescued he eventually made his way to Paulstown, where he stayed with relatives.[1]

Michael Byrne was born in the late 1860s in Ireland. He came to New York around 1887 and married a German woman named Herminie in the 1890s.[2] The newspaper article notes that he was living at 444 West 50th St in Manhattan and it is at this address that the 1910 and 1920 US censuses show him living with his wife. [3] By 1920 they had been married 26 years and did not have any children.[4]

Section of 1920 US Federal Census population schedule


[1] Author Unknown, Submarine man observed wreck New York man writes. New York Times, 25 May 1915, p.4

[2] 1910 US Census, New York County, New York, population schedule, part of 22nd Ward, p.13b (stamped); dwelling 444, family 287, Michael G. Byrne; digital image, Ancesty.com, http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 December 2010; NARA microfilm T624 roll 1027

[3] Ibid.

[4] 1920 US Census, New York County, New York, population schedule 5th Ward, p.12b (stamped); dwelling 444, family 334, Michael G. Byrne; digital image, Ancesty.com, http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 December 2010; NARA microfilm T624 roll 1047

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I have created a listing of all the surnames/second names that I found in different genealogical resources that cover Paulstown. The geographical focus is the townlands of Paulstown, Kellymount, Shankill and Jordanstown, as these are the townlands I fell are closest to the village. The resources used are 1911 Census of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, Bassett’s Kilkenny City and County Guide and Directory, Griffith’s Valuation and The Tithe Applotment Books.

In total there are 224 surname spelling variations. I have taken the spelling of the name as is from the source which leads to different spellings of the same name in different time periods, for example, Walsh/Walshe, Coady/Cody, Oneill/O Neill/O’Neill etc.. Be sure to check for all possible variations of the name you are looking for.

If you find that a name you have is not listed that does not mean your ancestors were not from Paulstown. This listing is only for the four townlands which I feel are closest to the village. People would have put Paulstown as their home town/village on various documents even if they lived a few miles from the actual village. Also, as with all the large listings I compile, mistakes are probably  inevitable.

Click the link to open the pdf file.

Surnames of Paulstown I

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I have compiled a listing of all those who gave their ‘origin location’ (home) as Paulstown in the Assisted Immigrant Passenger List to New South Wales Australia 1828-1896[1] . Assisted immigrants were those who had their passage partly or wholly paid by another person or by an agency. Those who mention Paulstown show up between the years 1849-1867. This, of course, covers the year of The Famine and would be one of the main reasons why people emigrated.

In all, 44 people are listed. Compared with passenger lists to America of the same time period, the genealogical information they provide is excellent. The immigrant had to provide their name, age, parents names, occupation and if they had any relations in Australia. Unfortunately, not all of these lists were legible. Where this is the case the unknown word is signified by _____ . A question mark after a word indicates I am pretty sure that is it. Some people have two dates listed. The first date refers to the “List of Immigrants Per Ship’ and is the day the ship arrived. The second date refers to the “List of Immigrants Per Ship as Inspected by the Immigration Board”. Some people did not have the second document available for examination.

This list shows how many of the young people of the Paulstown area left for Australia, most likely never to return. In a good few cases siblings travel together or in chain migration, following each other after a couple of years. No doubt, many more people from the Paulstown area emigrated to Australia in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hopefully I will be able to document these people as time progresses. If anyone has information on an ancestor from Paulstown who emigrated to Australia, and they are not listed here, then I would be very grateful if you could add their information in  a comment under this blog entry.

The first entry, for Catherine Balkin, has a piece of information which is fantastic find for a genealogist, and any of her descendants.

The file is in PDF format and can be opened and downloaded.

Paulstown People Emigrating to Australia 1849-1867


[1] Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data:

  • New South Wales Government. “Returns of convicts applications for wives and families to be brought to New South Wales at Government expense.” Series 1190, Reel 699. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales.
  • New South Wales Government. “Persons on bounty ships (Agent’s Immigrant Lists).” Series 5316, Reels 2134-2143. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales.
  • New South Wales Government. “Persons on early migrant ships (Fair Copy).” Series 5310, Reel 1286. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales.
  • New South Wales Government. “Wage agreements and entitlement certificates of persons on bounty ships (Agent’s Immigrant Lists).” Series 5315, Reels 2449-2456. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales.
  • New South Wales Government. “Persons on bounty ships to Sydney, Newcastle, and Moreton Bay (Board’s Immigrant Lists).” Series 5317, Reels 2458-2498. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales.
  • New South Wales Government. “Persons on bounty ships arriving at Port Phillip (Agent’s Immigrant Lists).” Series 5318, Reels 2143A-2145. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales.
  • New South Wales Government. “Passengers arriving at Sydney 1846 (Agent’s Immigrant Lists).” Series 5326, Reel 2457. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales.
  • New South Wales Government. “Germans on bounty ships.” Series 5320, Reel 851. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales.

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One of the most valuable genealogical record sets about the famine and post-famine Irish in New York are those of the Emigrant Savings Bank. Established in 1850 by the Irish Emigrant Society, it was the bank of choice for many thousands of Irish people who lived in New York. What makes the records such a valuable resource is that the answers that people submitted for security questions were often the names of relatives, the year they came to the US, the ship they came on and the Irish county they were born in.

In all, over 1,400 individuals list Kilkenny as their place of birth, but only a minority give further details within county Kilkenny. Of those, one person, a Johanna Whelan lists her place of birth as Paulstown.[1] No surrounding townlands or civil parishes are listed in the records. All the information she gave is provided below. It gives a good example of the kind of information that is available if you find an ancestor in these records.

Test Book: Entry 453

Date: 22 May 1862

Name: Johanna Whelan (could not write)

Address:  40 W 23rd St

Occupation: Domestic

Born: 1828

Where Born: Paulstown, Kilkenny, Ireland

Came to US: 1857 on the Thornton

Other info: Is a widow of Michael Moloney, no children, also a brother in New York – John


[1] Ancestry.com. New York Emigrant Savings Bank, 1850-1883 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Emigrant Savings Bank. Emigrant Savings Bank Records. Call number *R-USLHG *ZI-815. Rolls 1-20. New York Public Library, New York, New York.

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One of the most confusing things about Irish genealogy is the proliferation of different administrative divisions of land and the type of records associated with them. Some areas can be very confusing with the same name used for a townland, civil parish and Roman Catholic parish, with each of them covering a different area of land that overlaps into other administrative divisions.

So, to help with genealogical research,  I have a created a GoogleMap that shows all the different administrative divisions in the Paulstown area. When using this map it is best to ignore the place name labels provided by Google. I have used four main sources to create this map: the Kilkenny County Council online planning maps, the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) online maps for Ireland, the OSI 6 inch maps from 1837-1842 and the OSI 25 inch maps from 1888-1913.

These boundaries provide some interesting observations and anomalies. The townland of Jordanstown is divided in two by the civil parish boundary between Shankill and Kilmacahill. The townland boundaries along the N10 road, as it passes through the village, show the outline of the road before it was modernised. Part of the civil parish of Kilure (which is in county Carlow and is the neighbouring civil parish to Shankill) is completely surrounded by Kilmacahill civil parish, in county Kilkenny. Just one of the countless anomolies in Ireland.

To get the best accuracy the map below is best viewed using the ‘Satellite’ tab. This will give a view down to the level of boundaries between fields and along roads. I have not included the townlands south of Kilmacahill and Paulstown townlands, in the Kilmacahill civil parish.

The colour codes for the boundaries are:

Blue- Boundary of Townlands

Red- Boundary of Civil Parishes

White- Boundary of County, Barony and Roman Catholic Parish

I have limited the map area to land covered to natural and artificial boundaries formed by:

Areas where satellite pictures have not been taken by Google (north and west)

The River Barrow (east)

Click here to view the map.

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This land survey is a record of all landowners who had at least one acre at the time.[1] It was commissioned by the Lord Lieutenant in 1872.[2] The survey was conducted before the wholesale transfer of land to the majority Catholic renters which was brought on by Land League agitation and various Land Acts.

The listing below is for those who gave their address in the Paulstown area. All, or some, of the land that they owned might not be in the immediate Paulstown area. The two biggest owners of land are James K. Alyward of Shankill Castle and William Flood of Paulstown Castle.

Two of the Flood family have an address given as ‘Viewmount, Gowran’, however some of Viewmount would be in the townland of Paulstown. Butler’s Grove, home of Pierse Healy is a neighbouring townland of Paulstown.


[1] Local Government Board. Return of Owners of Land of One Acre and Upwards, In the Several Counties, Counties of Cities and Counties of Towns in Ireland. 1876. Print.

[2] Ibid. p. iii

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If you are planning on taking a trip to the Paulstown area to see where you ancestors came from then I hope this listing of graveyards and churches will be of help to you. It consists of the local Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches, current and disused graveyards and where an ancient Church once stood.

1)      Church of the Assumption, Paulstown (Roman Catholic)

This is the local Catholic church for the area. It is the oldest church in the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. The church grounds also contain a graveyard. As far as I know burials are no longer carried out here.

2)      The New Cemetery

This is the current Catholic cemetery for the Paulstown area.  A partial listing of burials from the internment.net website can be found here.

3)      St. John’s Church (Church of Ireland)

This is the local Church of Ireland/Protestant church for the area. This church also has a graveyard on its lands.

4)      Disused Cemetery

This cemetery is no longer used and is located in the townland of Kilmacahill, on what is known as Church Road. Dunleavey outlines that there was once an old church here, which was replaced by a Protestant church, but neither remain.[1]

5)      Disused Church and Cemetery

This church and cemetery are located in the grounds of Shankill Castle. All that is left of this church is ruins. Members of different families who have owned Shankill Castle over the centuries are buried here.

6)      This is believed to be where the ancient Kilmocahill monastery is located. Today this site is actually in the townland of Kellymount. All that remains are the traces of the church and graveyard and rubble. St. Finbarr of Cork is believed to have studied here. I hope to have a blog entry about the association between St. Finbarr and Paulstown at a later date.

You can click on the image for a larger view.



[1] Dunleavy, John J. A Short History of Paulstown. John J. Dunleavy, 2007. Print. p.3.

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The entry below comes from Kilkenny City and County Guide and Directory. It was compiled by George Henry Bassett and was published in 1884 by Sealy, Bryers and Walker in Dublin. While primarily know as Paulstown for much of it’s existence, it’s name was change for a period to Whitehall during the 19th century. The entry below gives a brief description of the village before going on to list a number of inhabitants and their occupations. This is an excellent genealogical resource in light of the destruction of 19th century census returns for Ireland.


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Paulstown Genealogy Help

If you have found ancestors who came from the Paulstown area then you need to know a few of the relevant administrative areas that will help you with searching for particular records.

Administrative Areas

County: Kilkenny

Barony: Gowran

Poor Law Union: Kilkenny

Civil Parish: Kilmacahill

Neighbo(u)ring Civil Parishes: Shankill, Wells, Grangesilvia

Townlands: Paulstown, Kellymount, Shankill

Neighbo(u)ring Townlands: Jordanstown, Duninga, Ballytarsna, Kilmachaill

Roman Catholic Diocese: Kildare and Leighlin

Roman Catholic Parish: Paulstown (encompassing Paulstown and Goresbridge)

Roman Catholic Church: Church of the Assumption, Paulstown

Church of Ireland Diocese: Leighlin (which is a part of Cashel and Ossory)

Church of Ireland Church: St. John, Shankill

Roman Catholic records are available for the following years:

Paulstown and Goresbridge Baptisms:  9 July 1824 – 19 April 1846 / 3 June 1855 – 4 March 1860 / 2 January 1870 – 12 December 1880

Paulstown and Goresbridge Marriages: 21 January 1824 – 28 November 1840 / 21 January 1841 – 11 February 1861 / 28 February 1870 – 27 November 1880

Goresbridge Baptisms: 20 May 1852 – 30 May 1869

Paulstown Baptisms: 11 March 1860 – 1 May 1870

Paulstown Marriages Jan. 22, 1861 – Nov. 25, 1869

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