Sunday, 21 March 2010

John McDonnell - a basket making dynasty?

Having focussed the past few blog posts (below) around a branch of my dad's ancestors, the Finns who came to Birmingham from Galway in the 1850s/60s, I need to make a jump to my mother's side of the family tree to report on an interesting email received this weekend from a gentleman name John McDonnell, who lives in Dublin. Having found this website through an online search, John emailed me in connection to my g-g-grandfather, also named John McDonnell who was a blind entrepreneur in Victorian Dublin. His grandfather was named Thomas McDonnell and great grandfather was James McDonnell.

John emailed:

My name is John McDonnell, I have been researching my family history. I believe I may be connected to John McDonnell - "a remarkable man".

Members of my family were in the basket making trade in North Dublin. Yesterday while in the library going through old street directories, of East Arran Street and Pill Street. I found a reference to John McDonnell of the North City Basket Factory.

I came home and looked up James McDonnell basket maker Dublin. This is how I found your site. I wish to thank yourself and Sean Whelan for all the very interesting information. I wonder can either of you help me with my quest to find out more about my family.

I have attached all the information I have about that part of my family. I would dearly like to find out more.

Congratulations to you both, and thanks again. If either of you can advise me that would be a big help as I am at a stop.

Yours sincerely, in hope and anticipation,

John McDonnell.
Thomas McDonnell
From John McDonnell Dublin Mar. 2010-03-19

My Grandfather’s name was Thomas McDonnell. My family were connected to the Basketmaking Trade in Dublin City North.

I am most interested in tracing my family prior to 1903. I have a lot of information after this period and will share it with anyone interested. After 1903 Thomas remarried and had 3 children.

Thomas McDonnell’s father was James McDonnell of 15 East Arran Street a Basket Maker.

Of James’s family I only know the following,

He had son Thomas (above) a clerk and bookkeeper in Downes Bakery for 50 years until retirement.

Thomas had a daughter Mary born circa 1895 he also had a son who died young.
James also had a daughter Catherine or Kate. Catherine married a James Ormsby in 1886 and had no children.

James had a least one other daughter Bridget. Bridget was a basket maker and married Hugh Lockhart in 1885. Hugh of 15 East Arran Street was also a basket maker.

Bridget’s father James (above) was a basket maker as was Hugh’s father James. Both families lived at 15 East Arran Street.

Bridget had at least one daughter Eliza 7th. April 1899 at 23 Pill Lane.

In 1903 Thomas McDonnell married Bridget Mooney this was his second marriage, this was on Feb 22nd. 1903 his address was 103 Lower Grange Gorman his father James was deceased at that time.They had 3 children. My mother Annie was one.If you look at the Irish Census 1911 they lived at 8.4 Canal Bank Dolphins Barn Dublin:

Residents of house number 8.4 in Canal Bank (Usher's Quay, Dublin)

McDonnell Thomas 45 Male Head of Family Catholic Dublin Office Cleark Read and write - Married - 8 3 3

McDonnell Bridget 41 Female Wife Catholic Co Wicklow - Read and write - Married - 8 3 3

McDonnell Ellen 4 Female Daughter Catholic Dublin - - - Single - - - -

McDonnell Annie 3 Female Daughter Catholic Dublin - - - Single - - - -

McDonnell Margaret 2 Female Daughter Catholic Dublin - - - Single - - - -

I feel sure they are connected to John McDonnell of The North City Basket Factory.

I would greatly appreciate any help or advice in collecting any other information on my family.

Pete's commentary: Can anyone out there share any more light on this enquiry? Could James McDonnell have been a brother or cousin to my own John and if so, was basket making a family business?


  1. Hello there, Peter.
    This is my first visit and although I haven't had a chance to read through your posts yet I like the sound of your blog titles!
    If you would like a wider readership, you might want to consider joining Geneabloggers, which is an association of family history-local history-genealogy bloggers. If it interest you, then you can reach them by clicking on a logo in the right sidebar on my site (A Canadian Family).
    On another note, I noticed that your material is being reprinted on a site called EASY GENEALOGY, and I wasn't sure you were aware of that.
    Evelyn in Montreal

  2. Thanks Evelyn

    Welcome to my site. I will check these things out.