View Thread

 Print Thread
Morgan Sweeny, Coastguard
Im searching for Morgan Sweeny who was born around 1800 probably in Dungloe Donegal and worked for the coastguard. I have a reference for him in 1828 on ADM175/99 and Page 107/8 of 140, where he is listed as residing in Dungloe aged 26, single. (There is another Morgan Sweeny aged 27 in 1821 on p104)
A Morgan Sweeny was moved from Dungloe Donegal to Killkerin, Clifden area in 1838 he was a boatman.
His wife was Margaret Burke probably from Galway. ( maybe Clifden) They had a daughter, Margaret Mary around 1840, birthplace unknown (could be Clifden or Strangford, Down.) There are also records for sons Daniel born 1853 and John, born 1855 to parents with the same names in Parish/district of Saul and Ballee Lecale, Down. I dont know if these are all related. According to Griffiths Valuations Morgan resided at Balleyedock, Down around 1870, Can anyone help with any more information about Morgan, Details of marriage, death or pensions would be appreciated, thanks kdxxx
Welcome to the Forum.

Starting with the older Morgan Sweeny, the index indicates he was already married when he joined the CG Service, and when I checked the CG Station he was nominated to in 1822 this shows he came from Pullaheney, but absconded in Feb 1824.

Turning to the later Morgan, although ADM 175/99 pdf 108 indicates a first posting to Malin Beg he was in fact posted to Mynish (175/18 - 228). On the 15 Feb 1838 he was transferred to Kilkeran, then on 1 July 1839 to Fleet CGS England, where on 10 January 1842 he was promoted to Commissioned Boatman, remaining at the same station.

Knowing he was in England in 1841 I checked the Census, and although I did not find him, at Wyke Regis, Dorset, were the following family:

Margaret Sweney 30
James Sweney 10
Bernard Sweney 8
Morgan Sweney 5
Margaret Sweney 3
Hannah Sweney 2

All but Hannah were born in Ireland. My guess is that this is your family.

On 3 August 1850 Morgan was transferred back to Ireland with a posting to Strangford CGS (175/7 - 384) where he was subsequently appointed Carpenter. (175/19 - 414).

I then tried to follow his movements in the Ships Books for Kingstown District, but I believe that the clerk has made an error and now shows him as a Daniel Sweeny. I say this because Morgan was entered onto the Civilian List, meaning he was no longer fit to serve at sea, on Ajax at Strangford, but in the next book (Royal George) the only civilian at Strangford is a Daniel Sweeny, with no sign of Morgan.

If I'm correct Morgan/Daniel was superanuated in March 1868.

Wow, Martin that is so much new information to take in!! Margaret Junior is my ancestor too, and she married in Australia in 1869 aged 29 so that fits with dates. She stated her birthplace as West of ireland at her marriage and on the birth of her first child she stated her birthplace as County Galway. She named her home in Australia, Strangford (County Down)and had sons Bernard and Morgan! brothers Daniel and James born in County Down could still be siblings. What happened to them all? Margaret came to Australia. I dont know details of her arrival.
On Census night in 1841 Morgan may well have been at sea or at the CG station, that would account for him not being included.
I now need to check for births of Margaret's siblings in Mynish. In what county is Mynish?
Thanks so much for your information.
I'll be visiting Ireland in two weeks time from Australia so hope to visit all these places. kdxxx
Mynish is in County Mayo.

I did check the BDM index, and available online bap. records for Dorset to see if Hannah's birth was recorded, just to confirm that this was the right family, but without any luck.

Thanks Martin, As Morgan moved around a lot it is difficult to know where to search for the births of Margaret and her siblings (in Mayo or Galway or ? )Are you able to do a search for them? thanks again, kdxxx
Sorry, but Irish family records are outside my area of knowledge/expertise.

Thats OK thanks so much for your valuable information, kdxxx

Merged on 11/09/2013 23:28:31:
Martin, I have tried to find Margaret Sweeny and family at Wyke Regis, Dorset, on the 1841 census, but cant find them using, can you help me with a reference or link? thanks kdxxx
Edited by kdxxx on 11/09/2013 13:28
The Census Ref is: HO 107/286/19

And a link to the Ancestry page (I'm not sure if this will work)

Thank you it worked!

Merged on 13/09/2013 10:34:20:
As Im visiting Ireland very soon Id like to know if the coast guard stations where Morgan Sweeny was appointed are still in existence and where they are located. Im looking for Dunglow, Donegal, Mynish, Mayo (I can only find a Mweenish Island in Galway is that it?) Kilkerrin(Clifden) Galway and Strangford Down (which one?)
Any help would be most appreciated.
Are Ajax at Strangford and Royal George, ships or CG stations? thanks kdxxx
Edited by kdxxx on 13/09/2013 00:34
Tony is the one to advise you about the Coastguard Stations, since he has visited most! However, HMS Ajax and Royal George are ships, but were used as HQ vessels for administrative and training purposes, the majority of CG men still worked at landbased coastguard stations. These vessels tended to be those at the end of their useful life and were changed quite frequently, so for example a man could be working at Strangford and be on the Books of Ajax, then two years later be shown on Royal George, but still be at Strangford.

These ships were based at Kingstown, Dublin, although the men still able to serve at sea were required to do a two week summer training cruise. In the event of a national crisis the CG men would be expected to have manned the ships, which together with other CG Ships from other Districts, would have formed an Inshore Squadron to protect the Country.

Edited by crimea1854 on 13/09/2013 07:27
THanks Martin, will Tony check out my thread or should I contact him some other way? thanks kdxxx
Two items on Daniel Sweeny for you to look at :-

( from our correspondent)
It is with much regret I have to announce a most deplorable cathastrophe which took place on Monday night in Dundalk Bay. Five fine fellows, all married, and some having six children each, left their station at Dunany with a load of firearms for Soldier's Point on Monday. They arrived safely about mid-day, and in a few hours after, about five p.m., they left Soldier's Point for their station at Dunany. There was some wind, but no danger was apprehended, and especially as it was blowing off the shore. In a conversation with the coastguardsmen at Soldier's Point, they praised the sailing powers of their boat, which was her first voyage, having been only a few days at the station, and was a new cutter. They left in the prime of life and strength, little thinking it was their last voyage in this world. The crew consisted of Henry Granton, chief officer; Daniel Sweeny, and James Clancy, commissioned boatmen; James M'Cracken, and Richard Frazer. Not having reached their destination on Monday evening or night the greatest alarm was felt along the coast and at Dunany, and early on Tuesday morning the coast was searched for the missing boat and her unfortunate crew. The revenue cruiser, the ‘Fanny’, had a sharp look out, and fell in with the boat outside Dunany, and drifting towards Clogher Head. Her sails were set, and under water, and it was with great difficulty she was towed into the small harbour at Dunany.. The fearful scene of grief of frantic widows and orphans cannot be described, and there is no hope that any of the brave men have been saved - all have perished in a watery grave. The chief boatman at Soldier's Point, a person of great experience, Mr.Thomas Jones, informs me that he feels quite sure that the boat was upset in a squall, and that as the accident happened late in the evening, and probably a good distance from the shore, that all have been drowned. The wind is blowing from the land, and in all probability the bodies will be carried out to sea, and it will be some time before they are recovered.
About three years ago a somewhat similar calamity occurred, when three pilots were drowned on the Cooley coast. On that occasion it was supposed they were under the
influence of drink, having got a bottle of rum from a foreign ship in the bay; but it is satisfactory to know that the five fellows drowned on the present occasion were all perfectly sober when they sailed from Soldier's Point on what proved to be their last sad voyage of life. Up to the time of sending off this dispatch, seven p.m. none of the bodies have been found, and there is a cry of grief and sorrow at Dunany that words cannot describe.
Reference; "Freemans Journal" 30th. April 1868.

Dunany Point is on the East coast of Ireland near Dundalk, Co.Louth.


Daniel Sweeney. 30 Coastgurd Ireland. 1851 Census. Crossroads. Devon.


Although there were 220 Coastguard stations in Ireland I only located about 170. Many had been burnt out after the Rebellion in 1916.In later years many were demolished and the stone walls used for roadmaking. Some were located in remote areas and hard to find. Also there were detatchments of Coastguards living in places near the stations for a limited time and not recorded. As the stations could be sited in remote areas naming the sites was difficult.
I was unable to locate the station at Strangford,Co.Down, and I do not know if it still exists.
Clifden is in Omey Parish. Kilkerrin Parish is too far inland.
Ajax and Poyal George were ships supplying districts with transports for supplies to stations on a monthly bases and transferriing men from station to station. Due to the high cost of travel overland and lack of roads in these remote areas the Navy took over these duties.
Some of our readers may be able, with local knowledge, to help you with other stations you mention.

Tony Daly
Thanks Tony for the information about the Coastguard Stations and ships.
RE the article about the drownings of the five coastguards, is there any way I can find out more information about that Daniel Sweeny? Martin thinks that my Morgan Sweeny might be incorrectly referred to as Daniel Sweeny about that time. In any case Daniel might be related to me. Are there details of his widow or children anywhere?

Also are you able to send me the link to the Census at Crossroads Devon in 1851?
thanks kdxxx

Merged on 20/11/2013 18:49:26:
Hello Tony and Martin,
I have recently returned from Ireland where I tried to visit many of the places mentioned in the above threads.
Unfortunately I couldnt find Dunany Point, Dundalk, or Soldiers Point or any memorials to the shipwreck of Daniel Sweeny. Can you give me any more information about this Coast guard mishap. are the names of the widows and children recorded anywhere?
We visited Strangford and saw some recently renovated coast guard houses, I would like to add a photo is this possible?
We were told that the location of theboriginal coastguard station was at the edge of the carpark behind the Cuan Hotel.
we visited Dungloe, Donegal which is very windswept and full of flat sea and fairly flat rocky outcrops, desolate and windblown, no sign of a coast guard station.
We drove to the Glenties, Donegal but it was inland we couldnt work out how there could have been a coastguard station here.
We travelled via Killary Harbour, to Clifden. There is a renovated Coastguard building that operated from around 1870. No Coast guard buildings at Killkerin Harbour, Kilkieran or Mweenish Island. Mweenish Island is very barren and rocky. There doesnt seem to be any evidence of a harbour or port and doesnt appear to have access to the open sea.
Has the coast changed since the 1850s because all these places seem to far from open water?

Merged on 05/12/2014 16:13:45:
Hello Tony and Martin, its been a year since Ive posted a thread and now im trying to write up my family history so Im revisiting everything.
Ive checked Wyke Regis Dorset on a map and its such a long way from Ireland! Would you know any reason why MorganSweeny's family could have been there? Could he have had a posting there so far away? Also could you tell me where/how I could find out if he was given a pension or if his wife Margaret received one, probably in Strangford? Thanks so much kdxxx
Edited by kdxxx on 05/12/2014 06:13
Jump to Forum: