When I went to Ireland last month, I was really excited to spend some time at the National Archives in Dublin. One of the things I wanted to do was find a certain Constable (who had married a great-great-aunt). I had read that one could find RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) records there, records that would tell where a constable was posted and when, their record of advancement, and when (and if) they were pensioned.
ROBERT HANLEY had married CATHERINE COLHOUN in Gortin, County Tyrone, 30 April 1867. He was listed as Constable on the marriage record…lucky for me because it gave me a place to look. I wanted to know how long Robert had lived in Gortin, how long he lived there after his marriage, where he might have moved, if he stayed with the RIC…all these things I hoped would help me to find out if they had children. These children might have had children and I was hoping there might actually be living descendants.
I did find Robert Hanley’s service records and there were some surprises. First off, Robert was a LOT older than Catherine. He was originally appointed to the Constabulary on 9 May 1848 when he was 23 years old. That means he was born in 1825 and was 42 at the time of his marriage. Catherine would have been 24 at the time of their marriage.
According to the record, Robert’s native county was Meath.
Robert’s first posting in 1848 was in County Clare. He was there until 20 Feb 1855, when he went into the Reserve Force. From what I understand, the Reserve Force was formed to help the Constabulary in any part of the country, fighting rebellion. That meant that Robert, as a young man, would have traveled a bit around Ireland…sounds like he had a pretty tough job. By 1 Aug 1857, Robert began doing Revenue Duty. He was made an A.C., Assistant Constable on 1 Aug 1859. He was moved to County Tyrone on 8 May 1856. He rose to the rank of Constable on 1 Sept 1860.
When Robert married Catherine, it provoked a relocation. The Irish Constabulary (which became the Royal Irish Constabulary in that same year, 1867, in recognition of its help in the suppression of the Fenian Rising in that year) had a rule that a man could not serve in his home county, that of his wife, or in any where he or his wife had relatives. So, on 1 Sept 1867, he was transferred to County Monaghan. He began receiving extra pay on 1 Oct 1871.
The record shows that after 31 years and 1 month, on 16 June 1879, Robert retired and started receiving his pension of 75 pounds.
That was a lot of information to find. I know a lot more than I did. I haven’t found any children for Robert and Catherine yet, but I will keep digging.