Irish in Spain (I): Beyond the standard Military sources

While some record sets have been thoroughly mined for reference to Irish settlers in Spain, there are still many waiting to yield up their secrets.

The sacramental registers of certain Spanish military regiments such as the Regimiento Ultonia or Regimiento de Infanteria Hibernia will already be well known to researchers with an interest in Irish emigrés. Where they exist, however, it’s important to also search the records of the military chapels established in the cities in which these units are known to have been quartered, or cities generally known to have hosted significant Irish populations. No small task, to be sure! The results however can be well worthwhile.

A single example, pulled from the register covering marriages between 1762 and 1779 at the military parish (Parroquia Castrense) of San Fernando near the city of Cádiz, which register is today held at the Archivo Eclesiástico del Ejército de Tierra in Madrid: on 13th November 1768, Don Demetrio O’Sullivan (Diarmuid O’Sullivan, I suppose), Captain of the Regimiento de Infantería de Irlanda, native of Kerry, and a son of Don Tadeo O’Sullivan (Thaddeus O’Sullivan) and Leonora O’Connor, married Doña Margarita MacCarthy, native of Cork; daughter of Don Florencio MacCarthy and Doña María O’Leary. The record indicated that she was married from this parish because she was, it seems, the ward of one of its parishioners (‘subdita de esta jurisdicción, comensal de Capitán del Regimiento de Infantería de Ultonia’). The witnesses were named as Don Guillermo Teh Gibbon, Don Juan Goold and Don Gil O’Sullivan.

SOURCE – Archivo Eclesiástico del Ejército de Tierra, Register No. 1943, P. 46.