Alfred O’Hea, born Clonakilty . File National Archives.

This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 1 month ago by BernieC1.

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    I obtained a file from the National Archives where I discovered that my great grand father Alfred O’Hea, born Clonakilty  in 1847 was under surveillance by a PC White. In his report  written in 1872 PC White observes that Alfred lived in France and Italy for 15 years and was a soldier in the 2nd battle of Orleans in the Franco Prussian war 1870 and returned to Pau, France  on 20 July 1872.(there is a family connection to Pau. His mother Honoria O’Hea (nee Deasy died there in 1859). PC White not only mentions that Alfred was a medical doctor but also states in his description of Alfred  that he had “weak eyesight, wears glasses” .

    Given that Alfred was a doctor and had weak eyesight, he may have been part of a medical corps rather than a serving soldier. Any information on where I could find information on  either the Irish who fought in the Franco Prussian war or those Irish who may have worked as medics during this period was be greatly appreciated.



     Bob Frewen

    Hi Bernie,
    I had a relative under police observation in the same era but in Co. Tipp. – he was described in a later report as a ‘well known Fenian’!

    France generally has very good records, the main issue is where to look.. Napoleon divided the country into administrative regions, called Departements (similar to Ireland’s ‘counties’). The difference between Ireland and France is that there is no ‘GRO’ in France and each Departement holds its own records, at the Departemental HQ. known as the Prefecture. The Departements are numbered in alphabetic order, so e.g. 01 is Ain, 02 is Aisne, 06 is Alpes-Maretimes etc., and Pau is in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques which is 64. A great source is the ‘Livret de Famille’ which is somewhat like a ‘family passport’ in which all family BMD records are entered – it exists to this day.

    Most of the Departements have put/are putting all their records online. There also are collections of scanned military records and as your Mr. O’Hea was in the army for years he would have had a service record and military pension, so there would be records of that. I’d suggest you have a look at this site (there is a translation button on it). I found it a very useful portal in the past. Come back if you are unsuccessful – I have links (on a back-up HD) for military records/pensions that I used for researching a Napoleonic army soldier for an IGRS talk (father-in-law of JFFuller).


    Hi Bob,

    Many thanks for the website links, very informative for anyone who may be trying to trace ancestors in France

    I’m not sure if Alfred joined  up in Ireland or Paris. However, I’m inclined to think he joined in Paris. In a letter published in the Irishman on 8th Oct 1870 and dated 21st September, the writer, an Irishman serving in the “Foreign Legion” mentions that among them was an Alfred O’Hea of Paris. Indeed, Alfred, in a letter published in the Leinster Independent on 25 Jan 1872 mentions that he worked for eighteen months as assistant in the Hospital Cochin, in Paris, under the supervision of Dr. Chauffard, Professor of Pathology at the Faculty of Medicine. However, he does not give any dates.

    Kind regards






    Hi Bernie Do you know where Alfred got his medical training? If you can’t find him training in Ireland do also consider Scotland as pre 1850 Scotland claims to have trained more than 50% of medics throughout the Irish and British Isles. The Scottish main centres were Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews. I have found that many medical training establishments published regular details of their alumni and some of these go into quite a lot of detail as to their careers.


    Hi Jill, Thanks for info and apologies for not replying sooner. I searched for him in both Ireland and Scotland but unfortunately, he does not appear to have done his medical training in either country. He may have trained in Paris. I know from various newspaper articles & journals that he was in Paris in the late 1860’s He himself mentions in a letter published in the Leinister Independent in 1872 that he spent 18 months as assistant to of Dr. Chauffard, Professor of Pathology at Hospital Cochin, in Paris

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