The Tinneny Family History Site


Biographies of Our Forefathers

Thomas "Tommy" Tinneny T12 

Thomas "Tommy" Tinneny was the second son of Francis Tinneny and Anne Elliot.  He was born at Belturbet, County Cavan on August 31, 1856.  He was a carpenter by trade.  He married Bridget Gilmartin of County Mayo who was a year his senior.  Tommy and Bridget met in Ballina.  Bridget had a sister who lived in America.   

Tommy and Bridget had five children.  They were Ann, Francis, James, Margaret and Elizabeth.  Church records relating to their children's baptisms indicate that they first lived at Barrack Hill and then at Holborn Hill in Belturbet. 

Tommy's granddaughter, Mary Tinneny O'Kane, remembered her grandfather Tommy well.  She described him as being "not tall, about 5ft. 9in., with blue eyes and a red beard."  He used to tell her that the red hair and carpentry skills, both of which were quite common in the family, were passed down from their boat building Viking ancestors.  She remembered him telling her that the family name was originally Tynnan or Tinen and that it was of Viking origin, possibly Danish.  She said that he smoked a pipe and had a cat and a dog named Teddy when she was a child.   

Tommy's son James used to say of him that "you couldn't catch him out in geometry,Ē in other words, you couldn't beat him when it came to doing geometry.  This skill was very helpful in his carpenter trade.  Tommy traveled throughout counties Kerry, Kildare, Carlow and Kilkenny doing fine carpentry work in churches.  He worked on the roof of the Catholic Cathedral at Ballina. 

He frequently brought wood from Belturbet to build churches in the south of Ireland.  His granddaughter Mary said that he always carved his initials in his work.  At times he would bring his sons James and Francis, who were also good carpenters, to work with him.  Tommy was also known for making fancy swagger sticks for the British officers stationed at the barracks in Belturbet.  He was paid one guinea for each of the sticks.

Mary described in great detail the inside and furnishings of her grandfather Tommyís home on Holburn Hill.  She said, you entered the house into a sitting room, which was furnished with a small round wooden table with carved feet that was made of pine.  Accompanying the table were wooden chairs.  There was a small fireplace in the room.  The walls were papered with Victorian style wallpaper and hung with family photographs.  Mary remembered a fine large print of good quality being on the wall.  It was artist Ben Nevisís, Highest Mountain in Scotland.  There were also pictures of the head of Christ and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  She said there was a sideboard in the corner of the room.  The windows had lace curtains and geraniums in planters on the outside. 

The home of Tommy and Bridget Tinneny on Holburn Hill, Belturbet. 

Next to the sitting room toward the rear of the house was the kitchen.  In that room was the fireplace with its hearth, two tables and a cabinet with dishes.  Meals were cooked at the fireplace with the pots placed on crooks.  Mary vividly recalled that although the pots were over the fire, turf was fired up on top of the lids of the pots as well in the cooking process. She said that when she was a child the house had no gas or running water. 

Upstairs there was a landing and two bedrooms.  The smaller of the two was painted pale green and had a brass bed with a pink quilt on it and there were small religious pictures on the walls. 

The other bedroom was that of her grandfather and grandmother.  In that room was a fireplace, bed, large pine chest and wardrobe with a fold down surface that could be used for an alter.  There was an old fashion wash stand with a mirror and jug on it.   Mary remembered that there was a small bed in the corner of the room that she slept on when she was there.   

Tommy was an ardent Sinn Feiner and a De Valeria man until he learned from the District Inspector that one of the men within the IRA had turned his nephew,  Mick Casey, the son of his sister Margaret, in to the government for his IRA activity.  Mick was arrested and sent to Belfast where he was confined on a British prison ship.

When Thomas grew older he lost his hearing.  Mary said he was cantankerous at times and this is said to have alienated him from at least one of his brothers and some of his nephews.   

Tommyís granddaughter Mary provided the following concerning the last days of her Tinneny grandparents.  She said that both Tommy and Bridget were bedridden near the end and unable to care for themselves.  Since there was no one in the area to care for them they were taken to the workhouse in Cavan Town.  They both died in Cavan Hospital. Bridget died shortly before Christmas 1938 and Tommy died within a month.  Mary said that her father, their son James, couldnít care for the couple because his wife had a heart condition and five children to care for herself.  They were buried in Belturbet. 

Mary said that when old Tommy died an insurance man came to her fatherís house and asked if they were Tinnanys, which tipped them off due to the pronunciation of the name that he did not know the family.  The insurance man asked for the address of her fatherís brother Frank.  James gave him his brotherís address in New York because that is where Maryís Uncle Frank lived.  The insurance man then said, no that is not the one. I need the address for the Frank Tinneny in Roslea for he had an insurance policy on your father. That Frank Tinneny was actually her fatherís first cousin Francis Tinneny the son of Tommy's brother Francis Tinneny, the postman in Roslea, County Fermanagh.

Thomas' descendants include Tierney, Davis, Pepper, Maloney, Norton, Sansobrino, Masterson, O'Kane, McArthur, Boyd, Barr, Thames, Dunniece, McNeice, Neison, Stolte.


Update January 17, 2021
Copyright  R. Tinneny,  All Rights Reserved, 2002-2021