The search for my distant Crowe ancestors has been an interesting and at times exciting journey. I started with minimal knowledge. There was some oral history and unreliable published evidence that the family originated in County Clare, as well as a suggestion that my male Crowe ancestor who arrived in Australia in 1813 was Irish.
We did have a few clues to get us started. An entry in the Australian publication Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800 – 1900 stated that our ancestor William Crowe who arrived in New South Wales on the Earl Spencer in 1813 was born in Kilrush, County Clare. In the book Ripe for Harvest by family historian Angela Young, Captain John Crowe of Ennis, County Clare is said to have left a legacy in his will to James Crowe of Gobarralong, NSW – the progenitor of many Crowe descendants in Australia.
In a subsequent discussion with me, Angela mentioned other events — an incident of domestic violence, a financial scandal and the execution of a criminal associated with the Crowe family. All of these turned out to be useful clues, though not for our visit to Clare.
We searched baptism and marriage registers of St Senan’s Catholic Church in Kilrush but without success. For one thing the registers do not commence until 1827. We were fortunate to meet a number of Crowe families who live in and around the parish of Kilrush. They were most welcoming but had no knowledge of Crowe forebears emigrating to New South Wales. We visited the Local Studies section of the Clare County Library in Ennis and located in their files a handwritten family tree by the above-mentioned Angela Young and a few other items which also proved to be helpful. Finally, we spent an enjoyable few hours at Crotty’s Bar in Kilrush chatting with members of the newly-formed Kilrush and District Historical Society.
Since a lot is known, and has been published, about the history and genealogy of the extended Crowe family in Australia little of that is mentioned here. However, much of that genealogy is available on my open Ancestry tree named Crowe & Sullivan.
Updated March, 2020