Common Irish Name - matching family stories with facts

+5 votes
I just returned from my first trip to Ireland and have fallen in love with researching my Irish roots. I have always been intrigued by my paternal grandfather's story about his paternal grand mother.

According to notes he hand wrote some time in the 1970s, his grandfather's mother was named Harriet Collins from Cork, Ireland. Her parents died in the Civil War bombing of Charleston, SC so she married Charles Herschenroder when she was 12 years old - and had his grandfather Julius Herschenroder when she was 15 years old!  

I found a Harriot Banks Collins on the 1850 census in Charleston, SC. She's listed as 10 years old with a birth place in New York. Her father James N. Collins lists his birthplace as Ireland. In the 1860 census, Harriet's mother and two of her sisters on living together. James, Harriet and another sister are missing and the mother lists her occupation as milliner. Where did Harriet and James go?

I can't find any marriage record for Harriet and Charles Herschenroder. No birth certificate for their son Julius. A James Collins is listed among the Confederate dead at a battle on James Island in Charleston in 1862 so theoretically that could be him and match up with the family story.

I would love to know more about James so that I can trace him back to his native village in Ireland - I see several possible matches age-wise on passenger lists but I have very little detail and his name is incredibly common.
in Genealogy Help by
edited by Ellen Smith
Hi, I see your not logged in; You must be entering from your phone. Have you check our sources at

Also we have a County Cork Project at

2 Answers

+2 votes
Hi,I started working on my Irish families story about 3 months ago.I had only been able to go back 2 generations.Now 3 months later & as of last night I am up to 6 generations.My grandmother fibbed on her birth year [ her obit says 1882 but her birth records say 1875 ] & changed her first name from Hannah to Anna.She had always said she was from Limerick junction but it was actually Milltown co. Tipperary.She went with the closest town people would have heard of.What I am trying to say is preconceived history passed down can be wrong or a bit off.Have an open mind.Also famlies tend to recycle the same first names alot.


There are alot of free Irish sites that will give you answers.I use a site that deals with County Tipperary.See if Cork has its own site.Good luck! It is a fascinating journey !
by Warren Renner G2G Crew (570 points)
This is great to hear and gives me hope for my own search! How in the world did you figure out how to find your grandmother despite the name change? Those are some impressive research skills.
+1 vote
Hi Gypson, I think this may be a mystery where DNA comes in handy.

You may find that you start to get matches from people with matching surnames and links to a specific part of Ireland.  This has happened to me - in some cases, I was lucky that I had a clue as to the town name, and a cluster of DNA matches in the same locality have supported this, even though no common ancestor has been found yet.

Have you tried newspaper searches and obituaries?
by Leigh Murrin G2G6 Mach 3 (32.0k points)

Related questions

+3 votes
0 answers
122 views asked Mar 14, 2018 in Genealogy Help by Christine Ryan G2G Rookie (220 points)
+3 votes
1 answer
50 views asked Feb 14, 2016 in Genealogy Help by anonymous
+1 vote
1 answer
+1 vote
2 answers
82 views asked May 15, 2017 in Genealogy Help by Ethan Collins G2G Rookie (160 points)
+5 votes
0 answers
210 views asked Jul 3, 2014 in Genealogy Help by Cynthia B G2G6 Pilot (128k points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright