petty sessions

Years ago, I took an introductory course in tracing family history that was offered by the Toronto branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. The instructor advised that we should be prepared for the black sheep that would be unearthed during the researching of our family tree. It took some time, but I did eventually find a rather naughty relative in my family tree.

One of my great-great-granduncles was a man named George Howes. He was born about 1816 in West Winch, Norfolk, England. According to the 1841 and 1851 census enumerations, he was an agricultural labourer. Other than that, I knew nothing about George.

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Irish Petty Sessions Records

That at Ballinlassa in Co Mayo on 31st Oct 1890 you did wilfully and maliciously throw stones and turnips at the door of complainant’s house at the same time you did throw stones down his chimney.1

Interesting use for turnips, but that’s the charge that was levelled at John and Michael Surdival of Ballinlassa by farmer Michael Molloy at the petty sessions of 28 November 1890 for County Mayo in Ireland. My great-grandfather Patrick Surdival (aka Patrick Sullivan) had younger brothers named John and Michael living at Ballinlassa, so perhaps it was his siblings who had peppered farmer Molloy’s door with turnips.

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