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Tom Crean Was Born On This Day

At Gortacurraun, a townland close to Annascaul, Catherine Crean, nee Courtney, gave birth to a child on, or shortly before, 16th February 1877. Church records reveal that the priest, who will have written up numerous church entries at the end of each month, would enter the wrong Christian name for the child born this day. Recorded under the name, Joanna, this child, after accounting for all other possibilities, can be no other than Tom Crean.

For many years it was assumed that Crean’s birthdate was 20th July 1877 and this can be sourced to his Naval record. Similar birthdate errors are an anomaly that existed in a number of Naval records of the time yet no reason for the error can be identified.

In 2015, a Kerry genealogist discovered the birth certificate of Tom Crean within Irish Civil records and this documented 25th February 1877 as being the correct birthdate. However, as the more authentic source of the parish records reveal the baptism of a child nine days earlier to the same parents, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that this child was Tom Crean. Read more here

Tom Crean the seventh of eleven children born to Catherine and his father Patrick, was born at a time when opportunities were rare for those across an Ireland still suffering in the aftermath of the ‘Great Famine’ (An Gorta Mór), 1845-52. Within three years of Crean’s birth, the ‘Little Famine’ (An Gorta Beag) of 1879 had taken root across Ireland after successive disastrous harvests in the preceding years. By 1880, Irish emigration figures rose to more than double the previous year, as 100,000 people left their home shores in search of better fortune. 13 years later, when little had changed for the poor in Ireland, Tom Crean would join their numbers.

To read Tom Crean’s full story the book can be purchased at the following link.

Biography of Tom Crean – Crean – The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero

Tom Crean Was Born On This Day Tom Crean Book