end of June 1815, Wellington and Blucher's victory at the battle of Waterloo brought an end to the Napoleonic
Wars which had consumed Europe for the best part of two decades. Edward Brogan, my earliest known Brogan ancestor would have
been a young lad. As I have no evidence to prove otherwise, I have presumed he was living in Ireland, possibly in County Mayo
as I have documentary evidence to suggest that he married and lived for a time in that County.
Edward Brogan and Mary
(Mair) Meers were married on the 13th, February, 1831 in the Parish of Backs (which is now known as Knockmore), the
witnesses were Patt Murphy and Eliza Galbraith. There appears to be an interesting relationship between the Brogan and
Murphy families which lasted for at least four generation, that is to say, a Murphy would be a witness to Edward's marriage, his
son Michaels wedding, his grandson John's marriage and his great granddaughter Helen's marriage to William Burnside
almost a century later in Fife, Scotland.
and Mary had five children in Ireland and they and their family lived in the Townland of Slievebrack
(this townland ceased to exist on any of the land registers prior to 1850). I am led to believe that Slievebrack was situated
near the Townland of Friarstown near Lough Conn in County Mayo. It would be reasonable to assume that the family were resident
in County Mayo during the Great Irish Famine of 1845 to 1850. As yet I have found no record of Edward after 1850,
I can only presume that he did not survive the Great Famine but that is not a known fact. The children born in Ireland include:-
- Nelly/Ellen Brogan, babtised on the 25th.
March 1832. Sponsors were Patt Murphy and Caty Gallagher.
Brogan, babtised on the 7th. September 1834. Sponsors were Anthony Meers and MaryGaughan.
- John Brogan, babtised on the 7th. May 1837. Sponsors were John Meers and Bridget Clarke.
- Mary Brogan, babtised on 19th. December 1841. Sponsors were John and Bridget Clarke.
- Ann Brogan, babtised on the 8th. April 1845. Sponsors were Pat Brogan and Anne Moran.
The great Irish Famine endured
by the Irish population between the years of 1845 to 1849 needs no explanation from myself as most people are aware of
the enormous loss of life, estimated to be close to a million and almost two million forced to leave their native
land by the lose of the potatoe crop on four consecutive years.
suspect the Brogan family's experiences were no different to the vast majority during that tragic period. The
majority of Ireland's working population during the 1840's and 50's were agricultural labourers or subsistence
farmers who owned or rented small tracks of land and would buy or borrow seed potatoes which they would plant in
what the English would call lazy beds (the turf would be turned over on top of the seed potatoes and
left unattended until the end of the growing season). This insured minimum effort, the farmer or labour, along with
their entire family in tow would seek seasonal farm work in all parts of the United Kingdom. When the farming season finished,
the Irish workers would return home to their Townlands harvest their crop of potatoes from the lazy beds. The meagre harvest
of potatoes would normally be sufficient to feed the people until the start of the following growing season. The diet of potatoes
mixed with buttermilk and seasonal vegetables proved to be reasonably healthy during the good years as statistics of that
period would indicate that the average height of the Irish labourer was at least two inches above the average European.
The next record of Edward Brogan's Family was the marriage of his son Michael
(my maternal great grandfather), who married Margaret Coleman on the 13th. November 1860 at
St. David's Roman Catholic Church in Dalkieth. The witness to their wedding was Michael Murphy (I believe
he was the son of Patt Murphy who witnessed Michael's father's wedding) and Mary Nanuho. The marriage certificate indicated that Edward Brogan, Michael's father was dead and as I have found
no record of his death in the Scotland, I would presume that his death occurred in Ireland before the family relocated to
Scotland. Similarly, the certificate indicated that Margaret Coleman's father had died in Ireland before the family moved
Michel and Margaret's family lived in the Bonnyrigg/ Lasswade area until the end of the 1800's.