Tuesday, February 5, 2013



        While my Great Grandma Bridget Chambers’ birth certificate shows that she was born in Islandeady, County Mayo, Ireland, she probably actually resided in the townland of Letter or Leiter.  According to the Griffiths Valuation of Ireland, Letter is the townland that is mentioned as to where her father Thomas Chambers was renting land. 

          So my quest is now to find out more about this little town known as Letter.  Answers just beget more questions in genealogy!  On the wonderful website AskaboutIreland.ie, there is a link to the Griffiths Valuation of Ireland.  Instead of only seeing the usual pages I typically find for Griffiths, this site also shows maps and all the great information about each place found in the back of the Griffiths Valuation book. 

          According to page 258 of Griffiths, Leitir means spewy hillside.   The town has aliases of Lettermore and Letterbeg.  I didn’t know that towns had aliases!  It is bordered on the north by Derrintloura and Cartoonduff, on the east by Derrycruv, on the south by Derrycooraun and Derrygowla and on the west by Kilmaclasser.   Now according to my map reading skills, it is about 3 ½ kilometers (as the crow flies) northwest of where I stood at the Islandeady cemetery.

          The townland of Letter includes about 230 acres of arable or land suitable for agriculture.  There is also Letter Station (not sure exactly what this is) that is located in the center of Letter 389 feet above low water (does this mean sea level?)  See what I mean, the more you learn, the more questions you have!

          My cousin Betsy was blessed to have actually stepped onto my 2nd great grandparents’ land in the town of Letter.  I am very fortunate that she has shared her photos of this area with me. 

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