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Who is the Mother of Thomas Palmer?

by Patricia A. (McGuinness) DuLong and John P. DuLong

Original Draft: 20 April 2001

This paper was originally writen to be turned over to a professional genealogist. It summarizes all the we knew about Thomas Palmer and who his mother could be. As you will see, we know clearly who his father was, but his mother remains a mystery. We gave this report to Eileen O'Byrne, an accomplished Irish genealogist, and asked her if she could help solve the problem. Although Mrs. O'Byrne found some valuable information for us, which we will eventually add to this web page in orange text, she was unable to resolve the mystery of who mothered Thomas Palmer. Research from Robert O'Hara is also marked in orange text. We have done enough research on the ancestry of the two named candidate mothers to know that they come from prestigieous Anglo-Irish families, hence our reason for trying so hard to answer the question of who is the mother of Thomas Palmer?

What is our goal?

The goal of this research project is to identify the mother of the Anglo-Irish immigrant Thomas William Palmer (ca. 1821-1865). We would like you to apply your research expertise to answering the question at the head of this report.

What do we want?

Specifically, we would like your assistance to find the following documents:

  1. The Church of Ireland or other Protestant baptismal record of Thomas William Palmer, the son of James Palmer, Sr. He was born between 1821 and 1824, but most likely between 13 June and 1 October 1821, probably in the Cork or Dublin areas of Ireland. (Note: We will use Sr. and Jr. to differentiate James Palmer the father from James Palmer the son though out this report, but neither man used these terms during their lives.) No record of the birth or baptism of Thomas Palmer was found in the surviving Dublin and Cork Church of Ireland parish registers, including for the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, which begins too late in 1826 (O'Byrne 2001).

  2. The Church of Ireland or other Protestant marriage record of James Palmer, Sr., and Ellen de Renzi, the widow of Captain Moore, probably around 1800 or 1801, Diocese of Dublin. James Palmer and Ellen Moore were married at St. Thomas's Church, Dublin on 19 July 1800. The Registry of Deeds indicates that she had been previously married to Pierce Moore of Queens County, (O'Byrne 2001, see Registry of Deeds, Memorial 1801-535-259-35054).

  3. The will or probate papers of Ellen (de Renzi) Palmer. She died on 11 May 1827, Tallaght, County Dublin. The parish registers for Tallaght and nearby Rathfarnham parish were destroyed in the 1922 Four Courts fire that harmed much of the Public Records Office. Furthermore, there are no recorded tombstones for Ellen in Tallaght or Rathfarnham (see Irish Genealogist, 1968, 1986, and 1987), nor in the union of Tallaght, Whitechurch, and Cruagh (see Journals of the Memorials to the Dead of Ireland) (O'Byrne 2001).

  4. The Church of Ireland or other Protestant marriage record of James Palmer, Sr., and Eliza Nash. They were married on 17 November 1827, St. Peter’s church, Cork, Rev. W. Nash officiating. Unfortunately, the parish register for St. Peter's was destroyed in the 1922 fire of the Public Records Office (O'Byrne 2001).

  5. The records for any other marriages of James Palmer, Sr. No other marriage record for James Palmer, Sr., were found (O'Byrne 2001).

  6. The will and probate papers for James Palmer, Sr. He died 1 May 1850 while visiting relatives in London. If the will was destroyed in the 1922 Four Courts fire in Dublin, then is it still possible that some probate papers exist in England because of his death in London? Was his will abstracted before 1922? His will was proved in Dublin by Andrew P. Nash according to the Index of Irish Will Registers at the National Archives of Ireland. This will was destroyed in 1922. Apparently, no abstract of his will was made according to the Testamentary Index, Thrift, Crossle, and Jennings (O'Byrne 2001).

  7. The will and probate papers for Eliza (Nash) Palmer. She died on 27 February 1852 in Dublin. No will or grant of administration appears for Eliza. She died at the "residence of her daughter in Hardwicke St., Dublin." Hardwicke St. falls within the parish of St. George (O'Byrne 2001).

  8. The Church of Ireland or other Protestant marriage record of James Palmer, Jr., and Marie Wilkins, 19 November 1818, Whitehall near Baltinglass, County Wicklow, by Rev. Grogan. The Church of Ireland registers for Baltinglass were destroyed in the 1922 fire. Whitehall House in in the townland of Lathaleere in Baltinglass parish. The 1853 Primary Valuation shows that a house on 86 acres occupied by Mary Allen, but this is Allandale House, a large farmhouse. Whitehall, according to the genealogist Paul Gorry of Baltinglass, was almost in ruins in 1852 and was occupied by Daniel Doran, a caretaker, and had a rated value of only £2 pounds per year on the property. The De Renzy family owned Parkmore House which adjoined Lathaleere. Whitehall House disappears completely by 1901 (O'Byrne 2001).

  9. The death record of James Palmer, Jr. He died after 17 February 1868, probably in the Dublin area. His will was probated on 13 September 1879. He died on 21 May 1879. He had been living at Torquay, County Devon, England. His will was proved at the Principal Registry by Ellen Hanrahan of 50 Richmond Place, Dublin, Widow, the sole-executrix. The effects were valued at under £300 (O'Byrne 2001).

  10. Any and all newspaper announcements about the above events.

These items are ranked according to the priority in which we would like you to search for them. We would also welcome any suggestions from you about other documents that should be searched that might help solve this problem.

What we do not want?

We do not need help in tracing the Palmers and related families back further. We have already satisfactorily established the ancestry of the Palmers, Nashes, and de Renzis back several generations from what is discussed here. We need focused help on identifying the mother of Thomas Palmer.

What do we know?

Here are the facts of the case that we have established to date:

  1. Thomas William Palmer, nicknamed "Tomy," was born between 1822 and 1824, probably in Ireland, according to his father. James Palmer, Sr., says Thomas was 19 in a letter dated 9 April 1841 and 23 in a letter dated 7 May 1847 (Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

  2. We can be more specific about Thomas’s age from the data he supplied to the American federal censuses. He identified his age as 28 on 1 October 1850 making his birth year 1822 (United States 1850) and 39 on 13 June 1860 making his birth year 1821 (United States 1860). Therefore, he was probably born between 13 June and 1 October 1821. For this report we will assume that he was born in 1821.

  3. His father was Major James Palmer, Inspector General of Prisons and Lunatic Asylums (Palmer Letters 1841-1883). For details about his military and prison administration careers visit

  4. We know that James, Sr., was born around 1780-1781 because he states his age as 65 in a letter dated 14 August 1845 and 66 in a letter dated 7 May 1847 (Palmer Letters 1841-1883). He was most likely born between 7 May and 14 August 1780. For this report we will assume that he was born in 1780. His parents were the Ven. Henry Palmer, Archdeacon of Ossory, and Elinor "Ellen" Smyth (Leslie 1933, 108, 164, 314, 317; Wilkinson 1908).

  5. We know that James, Sr., lived, worked, or visited at the following places in Ireland and England as an adult:

    • Whitehall, County Wicklow, 18 April 1814 (Hoskyns and McCracken 1814). This is probably Whitehall, near Baltinglass, in County Wicklow, the seat of the de Renzi family.

    • No. 1, Dame St., Dublin, 25 July 1816 (Palmer Letters 1816-1817, Add. 40257, f. 34).

    • Cove [Cobh], County Cork, 5 August 1816 (Palmer Letters 1816-1817, Add. 40257, f. 176).

    • No. 1, Dame St., Dublin, 21 August 1817 (Palmer Letters 1816-1817, Add. 40269, f. 243).

    • Tallaght House, Tallaght, County Dublin, 1822-1830s (Handcock 1899, 27; Weston 1920).

    • Milltown, County Dublin, ca. 1837 (Lewis [1837] 1984, 1:liii).

    • Dublin Castle, 8-9 April 1841 (Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

    • 8 Upper Mount St., Dublin, fragment of a letter signed Major Palmer, no date, probably around 1841.

    • 89 Lower Bagot St., Dublin, 11 September 1841 and 4 April 1842 (Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

    • 92 Bagot St., Dublin, 14 August 1845 (Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

    • Liverpool, England, 7 May 1847 (Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

    • Douglas, Isle of Man, 26 February 1848 (Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

    • Southwicke St., Hyde Park, London, late of Baggot [sic] St., Dublin, 1850, at the home of his nephew, therefore, he was visiting (Deputy Keeper 1899, 833; Ryall 2001b). We also know from the Palmer Letters (1841-1883) that he died in debt.

    • Eliza Nash, the widow of James, Sr., died on Hardwick St., Dublin in 1852 (Turner ca. 1895, 6).

    • Keep in mind that James, Sr., was an Inspector General of Prisons and traveled all over Ireland. However, his family was probably left at a central location, like Tallaght or Dublin. Also, prison chaplains were known for performing clandestine marriages, this may or may not be an important point in researching his marriages (FitzHugh 1985, 72). One wonders if prison chaplains also baptized children of doubtful legitimacy without asking too many questions.

  6. The Major was married at least twice: (1) Elinor "Ellen" de Renzi; and (2) Elizabeth "Eliza" Nash.

  7. There is a marriage license for a James Palmer and Ellen Moore in 1800, Diocese of Dublin (Deputy Keeper 1899, 833). James, Sr., would be 20 in 1800. His wife, Ellen de Renzi, was the daughter of Annesley Howes Derenzy of Whitehall, County Wicklow, and Sarah King of Waterford (Ryall 2001a). She was born around 1765 and was previously married to Captain Moore in October 1789, York St. Dublin[?] (Anonymous 2000; Farrar 1897, 2: 313; Ryall 2001a, 2001b; Vesey Genealogy Late Eighteenth Century). Captain Moore was of Cremorgan, Queen’s County, and was probably the brother of Judge Arthur Moore and son of Louis (or Lewis) Moore (Ball 1926, 2: 339-340). Ryall (2001a) claims that Captain Moore died in 1801, but this conflicts with the marriage license date of 1800. According to the diary of Ellen (Thompson) Turner (ca. 1895, 1): "Died on Friday the 11th May 1827 about half past ten in the morning at Tallaght House, Tallaght, my excellent and Amiable Aunt and Godmother Ellen M. Palmer." If her birth year of 1765 were correct, then she would have been in her fifties when Thomas was born. Therefore, it would be unlikely that she was the mother. Her age has yet to be verified.

  8. James, Sr., married for a second time to Eliza Nash, daughter of Llewellyn Nash and Priscilla Deane Spread of County Cork (J. G. White [1905-1918] 1969, 3:105-112). Under the surname Palmer there is a record of "Jas. & Eliz. Nash 1827" abstracted from "Marriages, Diocese of Cork & Ross, 1716-1844, Public Records Office, Dublin" (Casey et al. 1952-1971, 4: 256 [and 253 under Nash]). Recently, we discovered the following notice in The Constitution, a Cork Newspapers: "Tu[esday] Nov 1827 on Saturday last at St Peter’s church by the Rev. W. R. Nash, Major James Palmer, Inspector General of the Prisons throughout Ireland to Elizabeth eldest dau of the late Llewellyn Nash Esq of Convamore in this co" (Ffolliot n. d., 3:1142 ,1243). Ellen (Nash) Palmer died on 27 February 1852, Hardwick St., Dublin (Tuner ca. 1895, 6; Ryall 2001b).

  9. According to the diary of Ellen (Thompson) Turner (ca. 1895, 1): "In the latter end of this year [1827] my dear Uncle Palmer Married Eliza Nash a beautiful and Amiable young woman by whom she has three children, two boys and one girl. Tommy or William[,] Henry and Priscilla." Turner was a contemporary of this family and was related to Ellen de Renzi. It is interesting to note that she clearly assign Eliza Nash to be the mother of Thomas.

  10. We know that the Nashes had interests at Farrihy, County Cork, and that Llewellyn Nash was a freeman of Cork on 18 June 1784. He died 4 May 1805. His will was dated 2 February 1805 and was proved 20 November 1805, South Liberties of Cork. The will mentions lands in Ballygerane, Mallow, Convamore, and Gortroche (White [1905-1918] 1969, 3:107-108; Casey et al. 1952-1971, 6: 300). The Nashes seem to have favored St. Peter’s church in Cork (Ffolliott n. d., 3:1140-1145. However, the records for this church were destroyed in 1922. Where they ever abstracted?

  11. James, Sr., was raised in the Church of Ireland, as his father was an Archdeacon in the Church. However, later in life, at least by 1847, we know that he had joined Dr. Thomas Kelly’s dissenter congregation in Dublin (Smyrl 2000). We also know from a letter dated 7 May 1847 that Thomas joined Dr. Kelly’s congregation as well during a visit back to Ireland. However, it is unclear what denomination he was associated with in the United States. His brother, Henry Wellington, would be accused later in life of being a Glassite (Wood 1906, 1:295-296).

  12. According to the Palmer Letters (1841-1883), Thomas was the "eldest son" of the Major. However, we know that Thomas had an older brother named James.

  13. Specifically, we know that Thomas had the following siblings:

    • Lieutenant Colonel James Palmer, Jr., born at sea on 5 November 1797. See for his military career. Married on 19 November 1818, Whitehall, Baltinglass, County Wicklow, to Marie Wilkins by Rev. Grogan. James, Jr., would have probably died in Ireland after 17 February 1868, the last date we have on a letter from him (Statement of the Services of James Palmer, n. d.; Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

    • Major General Henry Wellington Palmer, nicknamed "Hal," born 18 June 1828 Tallaght House, County Dublin. See for his military career. Married 24 January 1885, Dublin, to Margaret Dartnell Tuthill, daughter of John Tuthill and Margaret Lloyd. Died 14 January 1891, Ailesbury Road, Dublin. Buried 17 January 1891, Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin area (Howard and Crisp 1897, 1:37; Statement of the Services of Henry Wellington Palmer, n. d.).

    • Priscilla Palmer, nicknamed "Prissy," birth year unknown, but she was probably the youngest child. Married 1851, probably in the Dublin area, to Robert Taaffe. Died 30 January 1857, Dublin (Deputy Keeper 1899, 834; Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

    • We have not found any other children.

  14. James, Sr., wrote in a letter of introduction to his friend James Buchanon, Esq., British Consul in New York, dated 9 April 1841, Dublin Castle (Palmer Letters 1841-1883), that "He [Thomas] first went to sea in an Indiaman, was at Australia, Calcutta, China, & had returned Disliking the Sea. … He was much regarded by His Captain at Sea…." Thomas had probably been an employee on an Honorable East India Company’s merchant ship before 1841.

  15. Thomas immigrated to Dexter, Washtenaw County, Michigan in 1841. He was in Liverpool on 14 April 1841 waiting for a ship to Quebec. By 11 September 1841 he was living in Michigan. We know from the Palmer Letters (1841-1883) that he moved there to be close to Edwin Bennet Hoskyns. The Palmers and the Hoskyns were related through the de Renzi family and were friends back in Dublin. Edwin’s father was Dr. John Hoskyns of Dublin. The doctor was married to Caroline Ellen Ribton, whose mother was Hanna de Renzi, wife of Allan Ribton, and sister of Ellen de Renzi (Ryall 2001a).

  16. James, Sr., took special care to write letters of recommendation for his son and to get his friends to do so. He also gave Thomas money to help establish himself in Canada or America. He took a great interest in where Thomas settled and what land he was to own (Palmer Letters 1841-1883).

  17. We also know that Thomas made at least two trips back to Ireland to visit his parents in 1844 and around 1846.

  18. Thomas married around 1848 in Dexter, Washtenaw County, Michigan, to Margaret O’Toole, widow of Edwin Bennet Hoskyns. She was the daughter of Lawrence O’Toole and Margaret O’Laughlin of County Wicklow. The O’Tooles were Catholics. We have been unable to find a marriage record for them in Michigan. Civil registration of marriages did not start in Michigan until 1867. There is no marriage record at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dexter. We have yet to try the Protestant churches in Washtenaw County.

  19. Thomas’s marriage to the Catholic Margaret O’Toole must have been a disappointment to his father, who was definitely a Protestant. Several of Thomas and Margaret’s children were baptized in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dexter.

  20. Edwin Hoskyns and Margaret O’Toole had the following children: Caroline born 1836, John born June 1838, Chandos born 4 April 1838, Lucy born 21 October 1841, and Edwin Bennett born 1847 (St. Joseph 1856-1862; United States 1850, 1860). After Thomas married Margaret he raised the Hoskyns children as his own. Thomas and Margaret would have the following children: Priscilla born 1849, Thomas William born 3 January 1853, Emma born 16 January 1854, Matilda Eleanor "Nellie" born 10 April 1856 and Mary "Mollie" born October 1859 (St. Joseph 1856-1862; United States 1850, 1860).

  21. Thomas was a Justice of the Peace in 1859 (Ellis 1808, 274) and was living in Putman Township, Livingston County, Michigan.

  22. Thomas eventually owned hundreds of acres in Washtenaw and Livingston counties (we are still analyzing the data from the land records of these county courthouses). We know from the Palmer Letters (1841-1883) that his father was willing to extend him at least £500 in 1841 to help him become established in North America. In perspective, his father would have had to spend at least £450 to purchase an ensign’s commission for Henry Wellington in 1846 (Farwell 1981, 58). Undoubtedly, he also helped Henry Wellington purchase uniforms, supplies, and equipment. James, Sr., was apparently equally generous to both of his "legitimate" sons. But note that he did not purchase a commission for James, Jr.

  23. Thomas died on 25 August 1865 at Pinckney, Livingston County, Michigan. There is no death certificate for him. Civil registration of deaths did not start in Michigan until 1867. The probate of his estate makes no mention of relatives back in Ireland (Livingston County 1867). His estate was worth $2,109 and consisted mostly of farmland in Livingston County. We have not found a newspaper obituary for him.

  24. According to family tradition, his daughter, Emma Palmer, use to walk into town to fetch the newspaper for her father. Thomas was ailing and Emma would read him the news selectively so as not to disturb him too much. Apparently, Thomas was a great supporter of Mr. Lincoln. When Emma read in the newspaper that the President had been assassinated on 14 April 1865, she hid this news from her father. This family story, unlike many others, at least fits in the with chronology of Thomas’s death on 25 August 1865. However, one suspects that over the five months he must have heard the news of such an important event before his death unless his final illness was particularly long and difficult.

What do we think?

  1. We know that Thomas was the son of James, Sr., from the Palmer Letters (1841-1883). Furthermore, we know that he was considered the eldest legitimate son. It is strange because Ellen de Renzi was probably too old to give birth to him and Eliza Nash did not marry James, Sr., until 1827. We therefore suspect Thomas was born out of wedlock in 1821. This whole situation is also odd because of the existence of James, Jr.

  2. We suspect James, Jr., might be illegitimate since he was born in 1797 and James, Sr., would only have been 17 years old and a Captain in the 14th Bedfordshire Regiment of Foot, stationed in the West Indies. It seems unlikely that James, Sr., would have been married at this age and at his rank 1797. In addition, we have noted some social distance between James, Jr., and his siblings in the Palmer Letters (1841-1883), see the Appendix. Thomas, Henry Wellington, and Priscilla are referred to with nicknames in the letters, but James, Sr., only refers to James, Jr., once and that as Captain P. Moreover, the best his father could do for him was to arrange a commission in the 1st West India Regiment, one of the least prestigious units in the British army. It appears that this commission was not purchased. Lastly, in a letter probably written after 1858, Henry Wellington mentions to Thomas that James, Jr., "… is a queer fellow, very odd, but very like our poor Father in appearance…." Why would he find it necessary to remark on how much James, Jr., resembles their father? The fact that Thomas had a brother of questionable legitimacy might play an important role in this research project. Was Thomas also a bastard? If so, then why did his father treat him so well compared to James, Jr.?

  3. Until we recently discovered the death date of Ellen de Renzi and the marriage of James, Sr., to Eliza Nash, both in 1827, we had assumed that Eliza Nash was the mother of Thomas. Now we are no longer sure. We are left with three possibilities, each with its own positive and negative points:

Ellen de Renzi (1765-1827) is the mother:

  • Positive Point: The chronology fits, she was married to James, Sr., in 1821 when Thomas was born.
  • Positive Point: It is very unlikely that Thomas would have been born after 1827.
  • Negative Point: If she was indeed born in 1765, then she would have been in 56 in 1821 and well beyond her childbearing years.
  • Negative Point: No known children are recorded for her (Ryall 2001a, 2001b; Turner ca. 1895). If the Ellen de Renzi was indeed married in 1800 and Thomas was not born until 1821, then this seems like a long period of infertility (or at least of unrecorded fertility and mortality of infants).

Eliza Nash (after 1786-1852) is the mother:

  • Positive Point: She is probably the right age to have children in 1821. Eliza Nash had siblings married in 1813, 1819, 1825, and 1826 (Platt 1999-). Her siblings would have had children in the 1820s. As the eldest daughter in her family, having a child in 1821 would fit in the middle of this series. We know that her parents were married in 1786 (J. G. White [1905-1918] 1969, 3:105-112) and that she was still giving birth in 1828, therefore, she could have been a mother in 1821.
  • Positive Point: The Palmer Letters (1841-1883) give the impression she is the mother of Thomas (see the Appendix).
  • Positive Point: These same letters give the impression that Hal and Prissy are the siblings of Thomas and not his step-siblings (see the Appendix).
  • Positive Point: Ellen (Thompson) Turner (ca 1895, 1) clearly indicates that Ellen Nash is the mother Thomas. She was a contemporary of the family.
  • Negative Point: James, Sr., was married to Ellen de Renzi and not to Eliza Nash in 1821. We know that he married Eliza Nash on 17 November 1827. We also know that she gave birth to Henry Wellington on 18 June 1828. Therefore, she was probably pregnant with him by October or November 1827. This would seem a very short mourning period followed by a fast courtship. Unless James, Sr., already knew Eliza Nash.
  • Negative Point: Even though James, Sr., might have had illegitimate children, it would have been scandalous for him to marry the mother of one of his illegitimate children.

Madame X is the mother:

  • Positive Point: James, Sr., thanks his friend James Buchanon (in letters dated 9 April 1841 and 14 August 1845, Palmer Letters 1841-1883) for helping a mysterious lady before 1841 in New York. It is unclear who this is. Could it be the mother of Thomas? Could it be the mother of James, Jr.?
  • Positive Point: If James, Sr., did indeed sire an illegitimate child in 1797, then it is unlikely that the same woman was a mother to another child in 1821. However, if James, Sr., could have one child of questionable legitimacy, then he could have two, and not necessarily from the same mother.
  • Positive Point: An English cousin, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes Thomas is illegitimate because there is no record of him in his family papers and he did not inherit any of the family heirlooms. If he was the eldest legitimate son, then he should have inherited these items. (However, he had been given at least £500 pounds to set up in America, he was living far away, and his father died in debt.)
  • Positive Point: Neither Thomas nor his children are mentioned in the Palmer grant of Arms (Wilkinson 1908). (In this case, as with the heirlooms, it could simply be because he died young and left no male heirs.)
  • Positive Point: As Inspector General of Prisons, James, Sr., traveled frequently across Ireland and he could have had a mistress in another town. (This could also be a positive point for Ellen Nash; perhaps he knew her in Cork because of his travels.)
  • Negative Point: The Major calls Thomas his "eldest son", implying legitimacy.
  • Negative Point: There does not seem to be the social distance between Thomas and the rest of the family as there is with James, Jr.

I think from this report you can see our dilemma and why we seek the assistance of a professional genealogist in Ireland to help untangle this problem.

The anonymous English Palmer cousin we mention above was completely surprised when we identified Patricia’s relationship to him. He reports that there is absolutely no mention of an Uncle Thomas or Uncle James in the family papers of Henry Wellington Tuthill Palmer, the son of Henry Wellington. He strongly suspects that Thomas is a bastard because he did not inherit the family heirlooms.

We are also afraid that records were sanitized to cover up a scandal. For example, the birth of Henry Wellington was changed. He reports his birthday as 18 June1828 in his military record (Statement of the Services of Henry Wellington Palmer, n. d.). However, Howard’s Visitation (Howard and Crisp 1897, 1:37) reports the date as 18 June 1831. Was the date changed to cover up his father’s short mourning period or some other scandal? Was it just a mistake?

What research are we doing in the USA and in Ireland?

We are doing, or soon plan to do, the following:

  1. We are going to check Ffolliott’s (N. d.) index of Cork and Kerry newspapers, 1749-1827. So far we have only checked for the surnames Nash and Palmer, we still have to look for all the other surnames of relevance.

  2. We have also ordered through interlibrary loan from the Family History Library an index to the Church of Ireland diocesan marriage licenses for Cork and Ross (Ireland, Public Record Office, 1951).

  3. We will also be reviewing the microfilm of Betham’s Red Books (1949) for the Palmers.

  4. For the De Renzi family we are going to acquire photocopies of the pages related to them in the Burke’s (1843-1849) Landed Gentry.

  5. We have not done so, but we are prepared to order some of the Cork and Dublin city directories. However, this is a low priority.

  6. We will eventually check the Honorable East India Company records. Baptism certificates were collected for midshipmen, but they only ended in 1830 (British Library 2000). No other records seem applicable. This is low priority and unlikely to provide data to solve the problem at hand, but we eventually would like to learn more about Thomas’s career at sea. No record of Thomas Palmer found in maritime service records of the East India Company in England (O'Hara 2001).

  7. Merchant marine officer records should also be checked eventually. These records tend to be too late and are unlikely of offering data to solve this problem (Smith, Watts, and Watts 1998). Three Thomas Palmers of the approximately correct age are found in the Merchant Marine records at the Public Record Office in England, but one had a long career and could not be our Thomas. Furthermore, all of them were born in England (O'Hara 2001).

  8. We continue to search for the marriage record of Edwin Bennet Hoskyns and Margaret O’Toole. It is not at St. Joseph’s Catholic church in Dexter. Family Tree Maker disk no. 251 on Wisconsin and Michigan marriages indicates they were married in Washtenaw County, Michigan.

  9. Likewise, we continue to search for the marriage record of Thomas Palmer and Margaret O’Toole. It is not at St. Joseph’s in Dexter. We will be checking with the Diocese of Lansing to see if an itinerary Catholic priest married them. Likewise, we will check with the appropriate Episcopalian office and with other Protestant denominations in the area. We plan to make a detailed list of all other known churches or missionaries in the Dexter area in 1848 and try to locate their records.

  10. We will continue to search for the death record or obituary of Thomas Palmer. Nothing found so far has been found in the local courthouse or in local newspapers. We have to still search all the cemeteries near Pinckney and Dexter.

  11. We want to find the will of Edwin Bennet Hoskyns in Michigan.

  12. On our July 2001 visit to Ireland we will concentrate on James, Sr., and his career as a prison official when we visit the National Library of Ireland. We will really not have the time to do anything else. He was involved in a scandal relating to the convict transportation program and we want to gather the facts on this case. It is unlikely that this research will lead to any further genealogical information.

What have we already seen?

The References section lists the books we have consulted for this report. In addition, we have also used some materials published about the Nash family (Nash n. d.; Pabst 1963). We found nothing of interest or help on the de Renzi family in The Wexford Gentry (Kavanagh and Murphy 1994-1996). Lastly, we have checked several indexes of Irish wills (Clare 1930; Deputy Keeper 1895, 1899; Eustace 1954-1956; Index of Irish Wills 1999; and Vicars 1897).


Anonymous. 2000. Letters from an English cousin to Patricia A. (McGuinness) DuLong.

Ball, F. Elrington. 1926. The Judges in Ireland, 1221-1921. 2 vols. London: John Murray.

Betham, William. 1949. Betham Red Books: First and Second Series. Mss. in the Genealogical Office, Ireland. 16 vols. in the 1st series and 7 in the 2nd series. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Ordered Family History Library microfilm no. 100121, ms. nos. 274-276.

British Library. 2000. "India Office Records: Sources for Family History Research." Available at (28 July).

Burke, John, and John Bernard Burke. 1843-1849. A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, a Companion to the Baronetage and Knightage. Usually bound in 3 vols. London: Henry Colburn. Family History Library microfilm nos. 845053, items 1-2, and 845054, items 1-2.

Casey, Albert Eugene, Thomas Eugene P. Dowling, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince, and Ursula Dietrich. 1952-1971. O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland. 16 vols. Birmingham, AL: Knocknagree Historical Fund.

Clare, Wallace, ed. 1930. Irish Genealogical Guides: A Guide to Copies & Abstracts of Irish Wills (First Series). March[?]: Sharman & Co. [Title page indicates vol. 1, but only one at Allen County Public Library.]

Deputy Keeper of the Public Records. 1895. Appendix to the Twenty-Sixth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records and Keeper of the State Papers in Ireland: An Index to the Act or Grant Books and Original Wills of the Diocese of Dublin to the Year 1800. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., Ltd.

__________. 1899. Appendix to the Thirtieth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records and Keeper of the State Papers in Ireland: An Index to the Act or Grant Books and Original Wills of the Diocese of Dublin from 1800 to 1858. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., Ltd.

Ellis, Franklin. 1880. History of Livingston Co., Michigan, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia: Everts & Abbott.

Eustace, P. Beryl. 1954-1956. Registry of Deeds, Dublin, Abstract of Wills. 2 vols. (1708-1745 and 1746-1785). Dublin: Stationary Office.

Farrar, Henry. 1897. Irish Marriages: Being an Index to the Marriages in Walker’s Hibernian Magazine 1771 to 1812. 2 vols. London: Phillimore & Co.

Farwell, Byron. 1981. Mr. Kipling's Army: All the Queen's Men. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

Ffolliott, Rosemary, comp. N.d. Biographical Notices, Primarily Relating to Counties Cork and Kerry: Collected from Newspapers, 1756-1827 and a Few References, 1749-1755. 4 vols. N. p. Family History Microfilm nos. 537921, items 2-4, and 537922, item 1.

FitzHugh, Terrick V. H. 1985. The Dictionary of Genealogy. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble Books.

Handcock, William Domville. 1899. The History and Antiquities of Tallaght in the County of Dublin. 2nd ed. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co., Ltd.

Hoskyn Letters. 1832-1857. Letters between various members of the Hoskyns and Arkwright families of England, Ireland, and Canada. Originals in possession of Hungerford R. L. Hoskyns, Avon, England. Typescript copies in possession of Patricia Anne (McGuinness) DuLong.

Hoskyns and McCracken, 1814, Abstract of the Title of Temple Bar Premises, 18 April, Testamentary Documents in the Public Records Office Dublin, Doc. M3882, Family History Library microfilm no. 0592943.

Howard, Joseph Jackson, and Frederick Arthur Crisp, eds. 1897. Visitation of Ireland. 5 vols. in 1. London: Privately printed.

Index of Irish Wills, 1484-1858. 1999. Dublin: Eneclann Ltd.

Ireland, Public Record Office. 1951. Index to Church of Ireland Diocesan Marriage Licenses. Salt Lake City: Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Family History Library microfilm nos. 100865 and 100866 for Cork and Ross Diocese, 3 vols, 1751-1845.

Kavanagh, Art, and Rory Murphy. 1994-1996. The Wexford Gentry. Bunclody, County Wexford, Ireland: Irish Family Names.

Leslie, Rev. James B. 1933. Ossory Clergy and Parishes: Being an Account of the Clergy of the Church of Ireland in the Diocese of Ossory, from the Earliest Period, with Historical Notices of the Several Parishes, Churches, &c. Enniskillen, Ireland: Fermanagh Times Office.

Lewis, Samuel. [1837] 1984. A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. 2 vols. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.

Livingston County. 1867. Palmer Probate Records, file no. 714. Howell, Michigan.

Nash, Edward F. N. d. The Nash Family of Ireland, England, Canada, and the United States and 21 Allied Families. Typescript mss., at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN.

O'Byrne, Eileen. 2001. Letter and research report to Mr. and Mrs. John P. DuLong (13 October).

O'Hara, Robert. 2001. Email to John P. DuLong, searcher at (19 November).

Pabst, Anna Catherina Smith. 1963. Nashes of Ireland: Richard and Alexander Nash of Eastern Shore and Their Allied Families, 1200-1956. Delaware, OH: Privately printed.

Palmer Letters. 1816-1817. Letters from James Palmer to Sir R. Peel. British Library, Add. 40357, f. 34; Add. 40257, f. 176; Add. 40269, f. 243. Photocopies in possession of Patricia Anne (McGuinness) DuLong.

Palmer Letters. 1841-1883. Letters between various members of the Palmer, O'Toole, and Taaffe families of Ireland, India, and Michigan. Originals in the possession of Emma Jane (Conklin) Nelson, M.D., Troy, Michigan. Photocopies in the possession of Patricia Anne (McGuinness) DuLong.

Platt, Lyman. 1999-. Irish Records Extraction Database. Provo, UT: Database on-line at, 13 July 2000.

Ryall, Charles W. 2001a. "Descendants of Mathew de Renzi, of Cloghbamen." Available at (30 March).

_________. 2001b. "Re: Palmers, Hoskyns, and Smyths." Email, chasr at, to John P. DuLong, (1 April).

Smith, Kelvin, Christopher T. Watts, and Michael J. Watts. 1998. Records of Merchant Shipping and Seamen. Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England: PRO Publications, Public Record Office Readers’ Guide, no. 20.

Smyrl, Steven. 2000. "Re: Churches in Dublin?" Email to John P. DuLong, smyrl at (28 June).

"Statement of the Service of Brevet Major James Palmer 3d Garrison Battn. and Brigade Major North British Staff. Copper, Oct. 23d 1809" 1809. Public Record Office, War Office [W. O] 25/747, Regimental Description and Succession Books, p. 82. Photocopy attached to Bunt 1981 letter.

"Statement of the Services of Henry Wellington Palmer of the 74th Highlanders." N. d. Public Record Office, England, War Office [W.O.] 76, Record of Officers Services, 1770-1919. Family History microfilm reel 917269.

"Statement of the Services of James Palmer of the 3rd W. I. Regt. of Foot." N. d. Public Record Office, England, War Office [W. O.] 25, Regimental Description and Succession Books. Family History microfilm reel 859524, f. 45 stamped, 77 hand written.

St. Joseph. 1856-1862. Record of Baptisms and Marriages. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Dexter, Washtenaw County, Michigan. [Must double check this citation on the next visit to the rectory.]

__________. 1859-1899. Record of Burials. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Dexter, Washtenaw County, Michigan. [Must double check this citation on the next visit to the rectory.]

Turner, Ellen. Ca. 1895. "Diary of Ellen (Thompson) Turner." Mss. in possession of Charles W. Ryall, Australia. Transcript prepared by Charles W. Ryall. Adobe Acrobat file, received 9 April 2001, pagination based on printout.

United States. 1850. Federal Census, Michigan, Washtenaw County, Dexter, family no. 2 (1 October). Burton Historical Collection microfilm no. 364.

__________. 1860. Federal Census, Michigan, Livingston County, Putnam Township, p. 44, line 28, family no.321 (13 June). Burton Historical Collection microfilm no. 552.

Vicars, Arthur, ed. 1897. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810. Dublin: Edward Ponsonby.

Weston, St. John Joyce. 1920. The Neighborhood of Dublin. 3rd ed. Chapter XIX, "Harold's Cross, Crumlin, the Green Hills, Tallaght and Oldbawn." Available at:, 29 March 2001.

White, James Grove. [1905-1918] 1969. Historical and Topographical Notes, Etc., on Buttevant, Castletownroche, Doneraile, Mallow, and Places in their Vicinity. 4 vols. Reprint. Birmingham, AL: Amite and Knocknagree Historical Fund.

Wilkinson, Nevile Rodwell, Ulster King of Arms and Principal Herald of All Ireland. 1908. "Confirmation of Palmer." In Ulster's Office: Grants and Confirmations, J, 111, 235-236. Genealogical Office [G. O.] Ms. 111 (4 December).

Wood, Sir Henry Evelyn. 1906. From Midshipman to Field Marshal. 2 vols. 3rd ed. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.

Appendix: Extracts from the Palmer Letters

The following extracts from the Palmer Letters (1841-1883) show that Thomas was definitely considered and acknowledge the son of James, Sr. Also, his mother is mentioned several times referring to Eliza Nash. Lastly, you will note that there is some social distance between Thomas, Henry Wellington, and Priscilla on one hand and James, Jr., on the other hand. Nevertheless, James, Jr., is clearly a brother, albeit a half-brother, to the other children of James, Sr.

James Palmer, Dublin Castle, to James Buchanon, British Consul, New York City, 9 April 1841, refers to Thomas Palmer as "… my eldest son…."

Anonymous [probably Hungerford Hoskyns], Liverpool, to Edwyn [Hoskyns], 14 April 1841, "Major Palmer’s son [Thomas], as I told you in my letter to you last autumn, is going to settle either in Canada, or your neighborhood a[s] we shall judge best. Major Palmer wished him to be near you if possible…."

William P. Mathews, Dublin Castle, to Colonel Martin, York Grand River, Niagara District, Upper Canada, 8 April 1841, "Allow me to introduce to your friendly notice the Son of an old and worthy friend of Mine, Major Palmer; who is one of our principal government Officers…."

James Palmer, 89 Lower Bagot St., Dublin, to Edwin Hoskyn, Dexter, Michigan, 11 September 1841, "I assure you it gave me great pleasure to think my Son Thomas was under your kind protection."

James Palmer, 89 Lower Bagot St., Dublin, to Thomas Palmer, 4 April 1842, "I know if your brother and sister were in distress you would help & divide with them to the last shilling, as they would with you I trust—at least such is my wish, & I have recommend[ed] it to you all[.]" Note that there is no mention of James, Jr. "Hal and Prisy are well, with an occasional Cold, & Mama is well, but lately had a bad attack of giddiness in her head & I had Crampton to see her…."

James Palmer, 92 Bagot St., Dublin, to James Buchanon, British Consul, New York City, 14 August 1845, again refers to "… my Eldest son Thomas Palmer…." Thomas had visited his parents in 1844.

James Palmer, Liverpool, to James Buchanon, British Consul, New York City, 7 May 1847, Thomas is identified as "… my dr [dear] son Thos. …" Furthermore, James, Sr., writes: "He [Thomas] has twice come home to see me & his dr [dear] Mother who was joined with us in Christian fellowship with Mr Kelly's congregation…."

James Palmer, Douglas, Isle of Man, to Thomas Palmer, 26 February 1848, "I may be allowed to think of my Children—for the rest of my life. 150£ a year will keep me & Mama well…." Again, in this letter he refers to Hal and Prissy, but when he mentions James, Jr., he calls him "Captain P." Also, he mentions "The Palmers, Wards, & Nashes as you left them & Marquesses." The Nashes and Marquesses are the in-laws of James, Sr. Domingos Egidio Marques married Priscilla Deane Nash in 1825, Diocese of Cork and Ross (Platt 1999-). The Wards have not yet been identified, but they are apparently not related to the de Renzis (Ryall 2001).

Henry Wellington Palmer, London, to Thomas Palmer, 14 May 1850, letter announcing death of James, Sr. Refers to "Mamma" as if she was the mother of both brothers No mention of James, Jr.

Henry Wellington Palmer to Thomas Palmer, fragment of an undated letter probably written after 1858 says: "I gave your letter to James.—He is a queer fellow, very odd, but very like our poor Father in appearance; I know not what has become of his children (he will not speak about them, & I fear they went to the bad) except Ellen, who is married to an officer in the Canadian Rifles, who was a sergeant in my Regiment, When I joined, a good sort of but a Roman Catholic, which of course James does not like."

James Palmer, Jr., Rathmines, 57 Belgrave Square, Dublin, to William O’Toole, Wicklow, 17 February 1868, "I am one of the brothers of poor Mr. Thomas Palmer—Mr. Taaffe handed to me your letter and I regretted much to hear of the death of my brother. The letter written by Mr. Palmer which you speak of was never received by any one here. I had a letter lately from my brother Major Palmer who is a Major of the 90th Regiment in the East Indies. He was well at that time. I send to you his address for Mrs. Palmer in America and I shall write to the Major by the next mail and tell him of his brother's death and if you will by return post let me know Mrs. Palmer's address in America I will write to her[.]"


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