The Tinneny Family History Site

Biographies of Our Forefathers

Francis Joseph 'Frank' Tinneny

Francis J. Tinneny was the second child and first son of Francis Tinneny and Annie Dolan.  He was born on March 31, 1895 at the family home on Chapel Hill in Belturbet, County Cavan according to the original birth registry.  Frank was raised in Belturbet.  Margaret Tinneny Casey who was a midwife was present at his birth.  Frank attended the Convent School in Belturbet for his primary education.  As a young man he worked as a clerk for the postal service in the Belturbet Post Office.  He also worked with wood and made presses, tables, wardrobes and other pieces. 

When World War I broke out he enlisted in the Enniskillen Fusiliers of the British Army.  He was only 15 years old when he enlisted and had to lie about his age since the minimum age for enlistment was 16.  He served with the Royal Engineers from April 12,1915 through August 14, 1919.  He fought in the Battle of the Somme in France.  At one point while he was assigned in France during the war he and his unit mates were living in what Frank described as a haunted house.  He said that they were unable to sleep the entire time they were in that house.  His daughter Betty recalled in 2001 how throughout his life her father had nightmares about the war and would wake the family up at night while experiencing them.

Photo: Francis in Army Uniform WWI. Courtesy of Betty Tinneny

When he returned from France he was discharged.  He was hired by the Post Office and on January 6, 1922 assumed his position as a postman in the little town of Roslea in Northern Ireland.   

Frank married Margaret Coleman in Staghall Catholic Church in Belturbet on October 9, 1922.  Margaret, born August 10 1898, was from the townland of Kilconny in Belturbet.  Frank was a postman in Roslea when they married.  They had some difficulty finding a house to buy in Roslea because of the troubles.  Eventually they did find a house on Main Street in Roslea.  It was in that house that their seven children were born.  They were: James Francis, Richard Joseph, Thomas John, Elizabeth Ann, William, Margaret, and Mary Theresa. 

Frank and Margaret raised their children in Roslea where they attended Saint Tierney's Church.  Frank had a long and distinguished career delivering mail in Roslea for over 40 years.  He enjoyed fishing and swimming while Margaret enjoyed knitting.  His son Jim recalled what a great talent his dad had with wood.  He remembered seeing him making cabinets and other pieces of furniture and pressing decorative designs into the wood.  Jim said his Dad never used nails but dovetailed all of his work. When he was about 40 years old Frank had serious stomach problems, which resulted in the doctors removing about three-fourths of his stomach. 

On the occasion of his retirement Mr. H. T. W. Millar, Director of the Post Office in Northern Ireland presented Frank with the Imperial Service Medal.  It was presented to him after 44 years service as a postman for the village of Roslea.  The presentation took place at a function in the Manor House, Killadeas, at which over 180 guests attended.  An account of the event was published in the local newspaper on December 10, 1960 and reads as follows: 

Presentation to Fermanagh



"The postman stands for all that is liked in the Post Office - he is one of our best public relations officers,: said the director of the Post Office in the Six Counties, Mr. H. T. W. Miller, at the Post Office Sports and Social Club dinner and dance in the Maner House, Killiadeas, on Thursday night when he presented the Imperial Service Medal to Mr. F. J. Tinneny, Roslea - postman in the village for the past 44 years.

            A similar award to be presented to Mr. J. McCullion, Enniskillen, was not handed over, as Mr. McCullion was unable to attend owing to illness.  Over 180 guests attended the dinner, and as well as representatives from many parts of the Six Counties there were also Post Office employees present from Sligo and other parts of the Republic.


            Presiding at the dinner, Mr. W. McClelland, Head Postmaster in Enniskillen, said that they were very happy to see so many of their number present at this annual function.  He welcomed the representatives from the various offices in the country, and introduced Mr. Millar to make the presentation.


            Mr. Millar complimented the various Post Office teams on their efforts in the darts, table tennis competitions, etc., during the season, and said that it was in having a club that a spirit was built up which was beneficial to all.


            Continuing he said that he hoped the Social Club would enlarge its activities.  He suggested that the older employees should take up bowls or some games of this nature so that they also could participate".


            Describing the presentation of the Imperial Service as a "very pleasant duty" which he had to perform, Mr. Millar said that this award was only presented after a long and excellent term of service on the part of an employee.  Commenting on Mr. Tinneny's record, he said that he traveled 300,000 miles on bicycle and on foot during his 44 years in the position in Fermanagh.  Mr. Tinneny had joined the Post Office in Belturbet in 1908, he said, and spent some years in the Army during the Great War then came back to Belturbet, and sometime later took up the position in Roslea, which he had held for 44 years.


            Mr. Millar congratulated Mr. Tinneny and presented him with the award amidst loud applause.  He added that he regretted Mr. McCullion was not present to receive his award, and said that all present would unite with him in wishing both Mr. McCullion and Mr. Tinneny every happiness.


            Mr. Millar then presented the Post Office Darts Cup to Mr. C. Hassard, of the Engineering Department, and Mr. H. R. Tucker Engineer in Charge of the Engineering Department, presented Mr. Jack Day, mechanic in charge of the department for some years with an electric fire and a pair of slippers.  Mr. Day has been transferred, on promotion to Derry. 

At the time of his death Frank and Margaret lived at 2 St. Patrick's Park in Roslea, County Fermanagh.  About the first of November 1973 Frank had a stroke.  At first his arm and speech were effected.  Then on November 10th he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.  He was 78 years old. 

It was Frank's wish to be buried with his parents in the Tinneny family plot in the Cemetery of Drumalee Church in Belturbet.  When the family went to the priest at Drumalee to make the arrangements for his burial, to their dismay, they found that Frank's last wish couldn't be honored.  The priest told them that their had been no marker on the Tinneny plot and it hadn't been used in 50 years.  As a result the reaming space in it had been sold to another family years before.  Frank was buried in Saint Tierney's Cemetery in his adopted town of Roslea.  

In 1979 Margaret was to the hospital where she was being studied to confirm a diagnosis that she had diabetes.  While hospitalized she unexpectedly died in her sleep of hart failure on Frank's birthday, March 31, in 1979.  She was 81 years old..




Photo: Headstone on Frank and Margaretís grave, St. Tierney's Cemetery, Roslea. Buried with them is their son Francis.

Photo by R. J. Tinneny.



Note: Francis Tinnenys descendants include:  All the Tinnenys from Roslea and New Zealand which include McElroy, Darcy, Joyce, Curran, and Barton.


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Updated January 7, 2024
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