O’Donovan Ancestry of West Cork Landlords Becher/Wrixons.

The RCB Library houses the Welply Genealogical Collection which if I aha it right is 40 boxes

Some Cork Wills (1528-1859), destroyed in 1922 copied by William Henry Welply of Balineen, West Cork.


With the bulk of Irish probate records lodged in the Public Record Office at the Four Courts in Dublin having been destroyed in 1922 any copies of abstracts created before that date are invaluable to genealogists. Noted Cork genealogist W H Welply was, along with other members of the Society of Genealogists like Captain G S Carey, the Rev. Wallace Clare and J R Hutchinson, part of that movement started in the 1930s and 40s to recreate and provide substitutes for Irish records destroyed in 1922. 

The abstracts of Irish wills and genealogical information from the Plea Rolls were presented to the Society’s document collection (then known as D.Ms) by William Henry Welply in 1921 and 1922. Subsequently these pencil notes were typed up for the Society by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, accessioned into the Society’s book collection and placed on the Irish shelves (IR/G 96-113 & 116-7) in 1933. While largely containing abstracts of wills from various testamentary Courts in Ireland and England, the abstracts to have references from court cases in the Chancery and other Equity Courts in both countries.

An index to these and other surrogate abstracts of Irish wills in the Genealogical Office was compiled and published in 1949 by Miss P Beryl Eustace in the journal Analecta Hibernica (including the reports of the Irish Manuscript Commission) vol. 17 p 147 and this work is frequently cited and reported on line.

Copies of Welply’s work can be found in various record offices including PRONI and his genealogical notes and papers were finally bequeathed to the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin after his death in 1960. The will abstracts from these papers are indexed in Volume 6 of the journal the Irish genealogist and abstracts of Irish Chancery Bills and other genealogical notes or “gleanings” at the RCBL are indexed in volume 7 of the Irish Genealogist. 

Welply’s abstracts stand with other similar collections at the Society notably Lorna Rossbottom’s Collection of 4000 abstracted Irish wills also digitised and made available for members on SoG Data Online 

Although of Dublin, Welply is known as a Cork genealogist. Many of his abstracts relate to the Province of Munster and by far the greater part are from Cork, however there are references to wills from most dioceses in Ireland and many for Dublin.

According to the FamilySeach wiki the abstracts from Welply’s collection relating only to families living in the Cork area were printed and published in the Albert E. Casey Collection (usually entitled “O’Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland”). Volume fourteen of this fifteen volume set contains the will abstracts for counties Cork and Kerry and covers the entire time period the Prerogative Court of Armagh was in existence (1536 -1857). The wills are indexed by every name mentioned in the abstract at the end of volume fourteen. However, the index is defective and some entries are missing. Casey’s collection was microfilmed by the Family History Library and volume 14 is on Family History Library microfilm 823809 item 2. Again, this material was printed only for the Cork area families, the remaining extracts were not published in this work. 

In Volume 19 held at the RCB Library is a small note book in handwriting. The Genealogy of the Beechers/Becher is recited. Also in great detail is the genealogy of John Philpot Curran:

] (https://www.libraryireland.com/biography/JohnPhilpotCurran.php)

Of interest

John Becher born 6th April 1700

He married 19th August 1737 Mary daughter of Rev. Philip Townsend (this family have Galwey ancestry, on marriage she appears in the Convert Rolls)

Their son John married Mary O’Donovan daughter of the Rev. Morgan O’Donovan.

Their daughter Mary married William Wrixon of Ballygiblin, Mallow he took on the Beecher name and inherited the West Cork Estates being made a Baronet 30th September 1819 he died 1819.

1819. At Bawnlahan, (Bán Leathan/Broad Lea), Skibbereen, West Cork, House of ‘The O’Donovan’, Lieutenant General Richard O’Donovan (1768-1829), Potatoes, Using Grufán 4th February, Planting Earlies ‘American’ 19th February, Main Crop after St. Patrick’s Day, Kidney Potatoes, Brown Fancy, Beldrums, White Eyed Potatoes, 1823′ Apple Potatoes’. Using Sea Sand as Fertilizer.


General O’Donovan’s mother was Jane Beecher only about 16 when she married widower The O’Donovan he well into his 60s

The Morgan O’Donovan branch on the death of General O’Donovan in 1829 without issue the title ‘The O’Donovan’ as Chieftains of the family passed to the Morgan O’Donovan ancestor of the present The O’Donovan.

In the papers of Dr. John O’Donovan the great scholar the legitimacy of this is questioned. The papers asr in the Graves Collection, Royal Irish Academy.