The WALSH Name
The name Walsh is one of the most common throughout Ireland. It is derived for the word foreigner or Welshman.
With so many Walshes in Ireland over such a long time, the precise ancestry is automatically in question. The most likely origin of our Walsh line is the Walsh family of Ballynacooly in Kilkenny.
Walshes in France
Our Walshes who because of their Jacobite loyalties were dispossessed of their land and fled to France where they established themselves in St. Malo, Brittany. There they became ship builders, privateers in the service of the French king and slave traders.
Anthony (Antoine) Vincent Walsh was named as Earl Walsh by the titular King James III in 1745 for his part in escorting the Prince of Wales to Scotland. James should be correctly known as the 'Pretendant' meaning 'claimant', "rather than the false epithet [Pretender] that is [was] obnoxious to every Jacobite"
The Walsh family members held the title as follows:
* Anthony Vincent WALSH, 1st Earl Walsh (1703-1763)
* Anthony John Baptist WALSH, 2nd Earl Walsh (1765-1798)
* Theopold Anthony Oliver WALSH, 3rd Earl Walsh (1768-1792)
* Edward WALSH, 4th Earl Walsh (1806-1884)
* After 1884 all titles became extinct.
In the above genealogical table, Thomas WALSH, otherwise Francis Thomas Joseph David WALSH, is shown as having died sine prole meaning without issue. We now know that is not correct because he fathered an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth Thomasina WALSH, while serving with British Army in Jamaica.
Other French Walsh Nobility
Another of Phillip Walsh's sons, Francis Joseph Walsh, also made a fortune as a ship-builder in Nantes and in 1749 he purchased the Château de Serrant.
Through his service to the Crown he was created Comte Count de Serrant by Louis XV in 1755. This grant was registered first at Angers on 9th July and ratified at the Parliament of Paris 16th July.
* Francis Joseph WALSH, 1st Count de Serrant (1704-1782)
* Antoine Joseph Phillippe WALSH, 2nd Count de Serrant (1744-1817)
The title continued and the descendants of James Francis (François-jacques) the "Comte de Serrant" lineage extended into the twentieth century.
The Château de Serrant is a Renaissance château situated at Saint-Georges-sur-Loire, 15 kilometres to the west of Angers. It passed to the Trémoïlle family in 1830 and remains their private residence and family home but is also open to visitors.
The Walsh Family and the Slave Trade
Although during this era, slave trading was seen as a legitimate business, it remains a rotten branch on our family tree.
Emigre Irishmen in France where among the most succesful slave traders in France servicing the Caribbean colonies. Several generations of the Walsh family were engaged in the slave trade and at one time were the largest traders of slaves in France.
There was some redemption in the family line through Thomas Walsh whose short life was full of merit.