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  • Obtaining Dual U.S.-Irish Citizenship

    by Suzanne M. Stewart 

    NEHGS Research Services — staffed by Director Suzanne M. Stewart, a research services assistant, five full-time researchers, and two part-time researchers — is ready, willing, and more than able to help you with your research. The team can begin research, organize data for lineage society applications, find necessary proofs, and break through brick walls. Each issue of American Ancestors will now feature a Research Services case study. For more information about Research Services, visit our Research Services page.

    Douglas Schumann wrote to Research Services asking for help in obtaining dual citizenship in the U.S. and Ireland. Although Douglas was born in the United States, as was his mother, he was eligible for dual citizenship because his grandmother had been born in Ireland before December 31, 2004. His grandmother was born Teresa Agnes Judge about 1886, and he needed us to locate her birth record.

    Douglas knew that Teresa had immigrated to the United States in 1901, married William E. Dunlop in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1909, and died in 1916, three months after the birth of Douglas’s mother. Douglas provided us with a copy of Teresa’s marriage certificate, which gave her age as twenty-three (placing her birth at about 1886), listed her birthplace as Ireland, and provided the names of her parents, Michael and Mary (Leach) Judge. Unfortunately, Teresa’s Connecticut death record did not list her place of birth in Ireland and gave her father’s name as Patrick Judge and her mother’s name as unknown. Douglas also provided us with a year of birth (1877) and a birthplace in either County Leitrim or County Roscommon for Teresa’s brother, Patrick, and noted County Leitrim as a possible place of birth for Teresa’s sister, Ellen. Finally, Douglas supplied a death record for Teresa’s mother, Mary Ann (Leech) Judge, who died in Meriden on 2 July 1903; her birthplace was Ireland. Teresa’s father likely did not immigrate.

    We started our search with the Leitrim Genealogy Centre, which holds civil registration records from 1864 to 1920.[1] We looked for Teresa Agnes Judge, born circa 1880 to 1890, but could not find a civil birth record for her. We also tried to locate a marriage record for her father, Michael Judge, but were unsuccessful.

    We then searched Judge birth records from 1870 to 1890, looking for Teresa’s siblings, and located the following:[2]

    • Margaret Judge, daughter of Michael Judge, farmer, and Maryann Leeche, born 4 May 1873 at Dergraw (County Roscommon), recorded at Leitrim Civil Registration District, County Leitrim; informant was Bridget Leeche.
    • Patrick Judge, son of Michael Judge and Mary Anne Leeche, born at Dergraw, 1 March 1877, registered at Leitrim Civil Registration District; informant was Michael Judge.
    • Ellen Judge, daughter of Michael Judge and M. A. Leeche, baptized 4 June 1880 at Kiltoghert Roman Catholic Church, County Leitrim.


    Next, we searched the website of the Roscommon Genealogy Centre, which includes digitized and transcribed versions of all of the indexes of civil registration records in County Roscommon from 1864 to 1900, and transcriptions of numerous Roman Catholic parishes.

    We located the birth or baptismal records of four children born to fathers named Michael Judge, but not to mothers with a variation of the name Mary Leach, and none of the following four children match the known siblings of Teresa Judge: Frances Judge, child of Michael, baptized 1871; Patrick Henry Judge, son of Michael, born and baptized 1873; Julia Judge, daughter of Michael, baptized 1881; and Mary Agnes Judge, daughter of Michael, born and baptized 1883.

    Both the Leitrim Genealogy Centre and Roscommon Genealogy Centre are hosted by the site RootsIreland.[3] Through that site, searches can be performed on all digitized and transcribed civil registration and church records held by individual county genealogy centers. We next looked for civil birth or baptism records for any child with the surname Judge born to a father named Michael and a mother with the surname Leach/Leech/Leeche/ Leache — but could not locate any additional matches.

    Ellen Judge, Teresa’s sister, was baptized 4 June 1880 at Kiltoghert Roman Catholic Church, County Leitrim. Roscommon Genealogy Centre has transcribed the Kiltoghert Roman Catholic Church records from microfilms of the originals, but we could not locate other entries for this family.

    Michael and Mary Ann (Leach) Judge lived on the border of the counties of Roscommon and Leitrim — and on the boundaries of Roman Catholic dioceses. The Kiltoghert Church and other Roman Catholic churches in County Leitrim are part of the diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise.[4] The parish of Kiltoghert borders the diocese of Elphin, which includes parishes in County Roscommon. The National Library of Ireland maintains a list of all Roman Catholic parish registers on microfilm, arranged by diocese.[5] Since only one child of Michael Judge was baptized at Kiltoghert, we theorized that, based upon the family’s location, Michael Judge baptized his children in multiple churches, and possibly in different dioceses. Both the Leitrim and Roscommon Genealogy Centres have transcribed baptism records from these dioceses, but we could not find a baptismal record for Teresa Judge or other children born to Michael and Mary Ann (Leach) Judge.

    Next, we ordered the civil birth records of Patrick Judge and Teresa Judge from the Ireland Civil Registration Office. The office supplied the official long-form birth certificate for Patrick Judge, [6] but did not have a circa 1886 birth record for Teresa Judge or a female Judge born to Michael/John/James Judge and Mary Ann Leech.

    Since the informant on Mary Ann (Leach) Judge’s death certificate was John Leech of Meriden, Connecticut, we checked local city directories and established that only one John Leach/Leech resided in Meriden at the time of her death. On, we located two baptism records which proved John was the brother of Mary Ann (Leach) Judge, and confirmed that the siblings were both children of James Leach and Bridget McGuire of County Roscommon.

    • Mary Ann Leach, baptized at Ardcarne Parish, Cootehall District, County Roscommon, 10 June 1845, daughter of James and Bridget Leech [Roman Catholic][7]
    • John Leech, baptized at Ardcarne Parish, Cootehall District, County Roscommon, 1 October 1854, son of James Leech and Brigid McGuire [Roman Catholic][8]


    Since John Leech listed the parents of his sister Mary Ann (Leach) Judge as James Leech and Bridget McGuire, and we know that Michael and Mary Ann (Leach) Judge had children born at County Roscommon, the Mary Ann Leach baptized on 10 June 1845 is almost certainly the mother of Teresa Agnes Judge. A search of the indexed church records at the County Roscommon Genealogy Centre website revealed that James Leach married, at probably County Roscommon, before 1845, Bridget McGuire,[9] and that the couple had nine children, of whom Mary Ann was the oldest, all baptized at Ardcarne Parish in County Roscommon.[10]

    While searching County Roscommon records for the Leach family, we established that Mary Ann Leach was the only recorded girl with that name in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s. We then searched for her marriage record prior to 1873 — since Margaret, the oldest child we had found for Michael and Mary Ann (Leech) Judge, was born at Dergraw, County Roscommon, 4 May 1873. Only one indexed Mary Ann Leach married in County Roscommon prior to 1873, but her spouse’s surname was not Judge. We nevertheless ordered this abstract, which proved very significant:

    Mary Anne Leech of Daragra (Dergraw), daughter of James Leech, married Michael Breheny, age 28, farmer, of Daragra (Dergraw), son of Michael Breheny, at Cootehall Roman Catholic Church, Boyle Civil Parish, County Roscommon, 13 February 1871, witnesses Patrick Horan and Anne Murry.[11]

    According to More Irish Families, an Irish surname study, the Gaelic surname Breheny could be alternated with its English translation, Judge: “Many examples occur in the birth registrations for Co. Sligo and north Roscommon of a family using Judge and Breheny indifferently.”[12]

    Michael Breheny was likely the son of Michael Brehany and Winifred Kenny, baptized at Athleague, County Roscommon, 9 September 1844, the only County Roscommon Michael Breheny born to a father of the same name about 1843 to 1845.[13]

    Discovering the use of the Gaelic version of the surname proved to be a major breakthrough in this case. The children of Michael and Mary Ann (Leach) Judge who had seemingly been missing in the Roscommon and Leitrim records were found under the surname Brehany/Breheny/Brehenny/etc.: Mary Breheny (13 April 1872), Margaret Brehenny (5 May 1873), Elizabeth Breheny (4 April 1875), and Patrick Breheny (24 February 1877) were baptized at Cootehall Roman Catholic Church, Ardcarne Parish, County Roscommon. [14] Bridget [Delia] Breheny was born at Leitrim, County Leitrim, 3 February 1884. [15]

    And most significantly, we located both the indexed civil birth and baptism records for “Teresa Breheny.” The baptismal record shows that Teresa Brehany was baptized at Kiltoghert Roman Catholic Church, County Leitrim, 6 September 1886, daughter of Michael Brehany and Mary Anne Leech of Leitrim.[16] The civil registration, from the Ireland Civil Registration Office, states Teresa Breheny was born 12 September 1886 [sic][17] at Leitrim, County Leitrim, daughter of Michael Breheny, a farmer of Leitrim, and his wife Mary Anne Breheny.[18]

    With the Irish birth and baptism records of Teresa Breheny, a.k.a. Judge, in hand, Douglas Schumann applied for dual Irish citizenship, which he received on July 19, 2012.



    2 Indexed civil birth record,




    6 Patrick Judge civil birth certificate (1877), long-form certified civil birth record, registration no. 8777231, Office of the Registrar General, Roscommon.

    7 Mary Ann Leech abstracted baptism record (1845), Ardcarne Parish, Cootehall District, County Roscommon, County Roscommon Genealogy Centre,

    8 John Leech abstracted baptism record (1854), Ardcarne Parish, Cootehall District, County Roscommon, County Roscommon Genealogy Centre,

    9 Based upon baptism of daughter Mary Ann on 10 June 1845.

    10 Abstracted baptism records, Ardcarne Parish, Cootehall District, County Roscommon, County Roscommon Genealogy Centre,

    11 Michael Breheny and Mary Anne Leech, abstracted civil marriage record (1871), County Roscommon Genealogy Centre,

    12 Edward MacLysaght, More Irish Families, A New Revised and Enlarged Edition of More Irish Families, Incorporating Supplement to Irish Families (Portland, Ore.: Irish Academic Press, 1996), 40.

    13 Michael Breheny, abstracted church baptism record (1844), County Roscommon Genealogy Centre, http://roscommon.

    14 Abstracted church baptism records, County Roscommon Genealogy Centre,

    15 Bridget Breheny, indexed civil birth record (1884), County Leitrim Genealogy Centre,

    16 Teresa Brehany, indexed church baptism record (1886), County Leitrim Genealogy Centre,

    17 Eileen M. O’ Duill and Steven C. ffeary-Smyrl, Irish Civil Registration — Where Do I Start? (Dublin: Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations, 2000), 24, 34. By 1880, Irish parents were fined if they did not report a child’s birth within three months. If parents failed to report the birth in time and could not afford the fine, they would often register a later birth date. Given the discrepancy between her birth and baptism, Teresa’s parents did not report her birth on time. Babies were typically baptized one to two days after birth, but by the late 1880s mortality rates were falling and her parents might have delayed the baptism by a few weeks. Teresa’s actual birth date was probably two to twenty-eight days prior to her baptism.

    18 Teresa Breheny civil birth certificate (1886), long-form certified civil birth record, registration no. 11135210, Office of the Registrar General, Roscommon.


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