Sunday, 30 September 2012

Thanks to my mom Joan for sending me some photos taken at her cousin Alan Whelan's ordination as a priest in June 1981. Here's a lovely one for starters showing our lovely Nanny Lawlor with two of her Whelan brothers.

The birth of the Irish Republic - scenes of horror and destruction inside the General Post Office on Sackville Street as the Irish rebels come under fire from the British army during the 1916 Easter Uprising
In the aftermath of the 1916 Uprising, British soldiers searched streets, buildings and even rivers in Dublin in search of rebel weapons. During this time our great grandparents the Whelans of Bolton Street had their house searched and an old rusty gun was discovered in the cellar. My great grandfather John Whelan was told to stand against the wall whilst the soldiers decided what to do, but fortunately they agreed the weapon was too ancient and decrepit to have been recently used during the uprising.


The grave of Andrew and Bridget Dwyer in Wexford

The Dwyer family originated in County Wexford at the turn of the 20th century and lived in and around the town of Gorey on the south east coast of Ireland (halfway between Wicklow and Wexford ).

Edward's father was Andrew Dwyer , a farmer , and his mother was Bridget Mellon . They lived at Ballyoughna, Wexford . Andrew and Bridget married on 21st August 1911 at the Roman Catholic Chapel of Ballygarrett in the district of Killevagh Wella in Gorey , Wexford. At the time of their marriage Andrew Dwyer was 34 years old and Bridget Mellon was 27 , both were single and Andrew was a farmer. Andrew's residence was given as Ballyoughna and his father is also recorded as an Andrew Dwyer , farmer. Bridget's residence is given as Glascarrig and her father was George Mellon , also a farmer .
Andrew and Bridget Dwyer are buried in a tiny cemetery close to the sea near Cahore Point . In this very old cemetery are the ruins of a small chapel which was reputedly built by St Patrick on his arrival in Ireland many centuries ago .

Andrew Dwyer died on 21st February 1951 whilst Bridget died a couple of years earlier on 19th July 1948 . Sharing the couple's grave is their youngest son Matthew ( Matt ) who died on 21st August 1982 aged 59 .

When his brothers and sisters came to bury Matt in their parents' grave in 1982 , to their shock some of them noticed that there was a well preserved corpse visible in the grave as Matt was being lowered in on top of it . The family guessed that this must be their father's body which was still in a remarkable condition following some thirty years in the grave . On further investigation the cemetary administrators explained that this was actually the body of an unknown sailor who had been washed up on the beach many months earlier. Believing that no further bodies were to be buried in the grave of Andrew and Bridget Dwyer , their grave had been opened up and the corpse of the unfortunate sailor had been lowered in.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Wexford to Texas

A photo I took some years ago in a church cemetary at Ballygarrett in Wexford, Ireland shows this wonderful monument to the people of this small rural parish who left in their hundreds to settle in Texas.

The monument reads:

"From this parish of Ballygarrett in 1833 hundreds of people left to settle in Texas. They were led by a native son James Power. An empressario of the Mexican Goverment which gave Power and his colleaugue James Hewetson of County Kilkenny authority to colonise Refugio, Texas.

Among the emigrants were families with the names of Anderson, Bennett, Browne, Burke, Carroll, Crane, Davis, Fitzsimons, Hall, Holden, Keating, Kehoe, Lambert, Lawler, Malone, McGill, Morris, Murphy, O'Brien, O'Connor, O'Reilly, Power, Quinn, Quirke, Redmond, Reynolds, Roche, Ryan, Scott, Ainnott, Smith, Summers, Tobi and Toole.

They endured long sea voyagesm epidemics, hostile attacks and was to establish new homes in Refugio of the State of Texas.

May their memory be forever green.  

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

G-G-Grandmother Alice Millington in the 1911 Census

A record from the 1911 Census showing my g-g-grandmother, Alice Millington, nee. O'Hagan living with the family of her daughter Alice Harris in Sheepcote Street, Ladywood, Birmingham.

Name:Alice Millington
Age in 1911:66
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1845
Relation to Head:Head
Birth Place:Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England
Civil parish:Birmingham
Street Address:4 Bk 34 Sheepcote Street Bham
Marital Status:Widowed
Registration district:Birmingham
Registration District Number:384
Sub-registration district:Ladywood
ED, institution, or vessel:3

Alice is listed as head of the household, which suggests it was her home. The full record also includes:

Henry James Harris, son-in-law aged 39, married for 12 years (therefore 1899). Born in Pontepool, South Wales. Occupation Smith Arikn (?) There is a company name but can not make it out.

Alice Harris, daughter, aged 32, married 12 years, has had 5 children and 5 survived.Born in Birmingham.

George, grandson aged 7. All three children born in Birmingham.

William Joseph, grandson aged 4.

Annie, grand-daughter aged 2.

I can't remember if I've ever noted this fact before that Henry James Harris was from South Wales. This information makes sense of a memory my father has that someone close to the Millingtons of Ladywood was Welsh. I have sometimes speculated whether it was Alice Millington's sister Mary for whom there is some evidence she may have worked as a servant in Wales and then, purely a guess, could have developed a Welsh accent.

However, it seems much more plausible that the Welsh connection was with Henry James Harris who might have been in his 60s or 70s when my father was a child.

Thomson's Directory of Ireland 1904

I have found two records of interest in Thomson's Trade Directory of Ireland 1904 appertaining firstly to my g-g-grandfather John McDonnell's North City Basket Factory at 78 Chancery Street, Dublin and also a record for his friend, neighbour and possibly his tenant, Nicholas McCluskey running a hair dressing business at 48 Bolton Street.


Saturday, 22 September 2012

More photos from the Whelan family album

I wish to thank once again some of my mother's cousins in Dublin, Ireland for letting me have copies of many more wonderful photographs featuring members of the Whelan family, especially ones featuring my grea grandparents, Anne and John Whelan, and their children and partners - the generation of my grand mother Elizabeth Lawlor nee. Whelan.
Bearing in mind that I have being doing family history research since the mid-1990s, up until about two years ago I had only a handful of photos featuring the Whelans which were passed into my keeping by my mother Joan. Since making contact with some of my mom's cousins, firstly Gaye Mulholland who came across this website through a Google search, then another cousin Sean Whelan, followed by Colette Gallagher (the daughter of my mom's cousin Mary Morrisey) I have been able to build up an extensive album of photos and documents never before seen on the English side of the Irish sea.
I should also thank Phylis Devlin in particular here who has shared many photos via Gaye and more recently Susan Dunne who sent me even more fantastic old photos earlier this week. The photos below are a mixture of pictures from Phylis and Susan. Again thank you so much to the Whelan family for your generosity and your warm welcome when I met family members this August at the Hilton Hotel in Dublin.      
Dick, Margaret & Dennis

Margaret and Mary (nan's sisters)

 From left - Pat Whelan, Eileen (Jimmy's wife), Granny Whelan & Bridie Donnelly who was blind and lived in 48 Bolton Street (Susan writes - I brought her dinner to her each Sunday - she was lovely)

To which my mother Joan added: "Bridie Donnelly! I remember her well, she was the first person I met who was blind, she used to put her hand over the flame on her stove to see if it was alight. Yes! she was lovely. What a lovely photo

 Susan Dunne wrote to me "Pete too many in this photo to mention but probably from others you will
get most but will just point out Collette's mum Maire Morrissey is 5th from right).

Susan (Dunne) is the tallest girl, her caption reads "mothering this gang every Sunday in
Bolton Street); Gaye & Helen & boys from left my brothers Frank, Robert, Richard and Philip"

More photos from the Whelan family album

Susan Dunne's caption "Back row from left excluding 1st lady not sure who she is Pat -
Eileen - Jimmy - Dick (my dad) and in front of him Kitty & Margaret, Granny and Granddad in middle

Cara (Gaye's sister) From left - Margaret, Cara, Dennis, Marj
(Gaye's eldest sister RIP) and Molly (Sean's mum)

 Susan Dunne's caption: My lovely mum Emily (left - image of my
sister don't you think) with her sister Sadie

Back from left - Margaret - Granny- Emily
In front - Lally and Granddad Whelan

Photos from the Whelan family album

John and Jimmy Whelan

 two sets of twins got married to each other. My nan's brother Dick Whelan married
Emily Young and his twin sister Margaret Whelan married
Emily's twin brother Dennis Young.

Margaret Whelan (nan's sister), Molly (her brother John's wife)
and Eileen (her brother Jimmy's wife)

 Another interesting photo from the Dublin Whelans . I only recognise John and
Anne Whelan at the moment but am certain some of nan's brothers
and sister could be in here. The hotel has a potentially interesting name too.
Is it a coincidence that this looks like its called Hotel Mac Donnel?

Saturday, 15 September 2012

A new contact on the Whelan branch

Whelan ladies - Mollie (John's wife), Florie (Pat Whelan's wife),
Olive (Basil Whelan's wife - Jimmy's son), Eileen (Jimmy's wife) & Emily (Dick's wife)

I was delighted to receive a reply this week to a slightly speculative email I sent to Father Alan Whelan who is a cousin of my mother Joan whom we knew to be a priest based for many years at Princethorpe College in Rugby, Warwickshire.

Alan and his brother Patrick (Pat) Whelan are the sons of Patrick Whelan (my grandmother's brother) and Florance (Florie) Whelan, nee. Melody.

Alan's brother Pat responded "Dear Pete, my name is Patrick ( Pat ) Whelan, my brother Fr. Alan Whelan forwarded your interesting E-mail to myself, I found it a most rewarding read and answered many questions I had harboured for many years now."
Pat went on to update our knowledge of his own parents. His father, Patrick Whelan, died on 14th March 1979, he had worked with the ESB from 1949 to till his death. His mother's name was 'Florance (Florie) Whelan'' nee. Melody, she died on 7th February 2005.

Pat's brother, Alan Whelan, is head principle of Princethorpe College.
Alan recalled "your Grandmother and what I can now only assume your Mother, visted my parents house in Beaumont, Dublin on two occasions, I distinctly remember one of the occasions, my father having aquired a new car that day, offered to returm them back to Walsh Road where I met your relations."

He concluded, "I note that you visit Dublin occasionaly, I would take great delight if you were to contact myself upon such a visit. Both Alan and myself have little or no contact with my Fathers extended family members, we met some of the Youngs at my Mothers funeral, but none since then, I note you are in frequent contact with others and if you wish please relay my heartest hello. Your research and work is much to be admired, Kindest regards, Pat Whelan."


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Stone family Mass cards and other miscellany

Whilst staying at Tubber, Moate at the home of my mother-in-law, Kitty Dwyer nee. Stone, this summer I made the following notes from misc. Mass cards appertaining to relations going back to deaths in the 1920s.

In date order:

Mass card
Edward Flanagan
Rehan, Moate
Died 12th December 1921
Aged 39
(Kitty's uncle?)

Mass card
Anne Flanagan
Died 14th September 1923
Aged 70
(Kitty's maternal grandmother?)

Mass card
Mary Casey
Ballinamudda, Moate
Died 1st November 1937
Aged 61

Mass card
Patrick Flanagan
Saw Mills, Mullingar
Died 29th June 1944
Aged 67

Mass card
Mary Stone
Lurgan, Moate
Died 12th November 1947
Aged 19
(Kitty's sister)

Mass card
Edward Stone
Rodstown, Balrath, Kells, Co Meath
Died 22nd November 1952
Mass card

Margaret Flaherty
35 Mangerton Road
Died 4th May 1958
Aged 14

Mass card
Mary Nelis
Quay Road, Westport
Died November 19th 1958

Mass card
Catherine Horan
Lurgan, Moate
Died 26th January 1959
Aged 89

Mass card
Very Reverend Lawrence D Flanagan
Born 19th June 1882
Professed October 17th 1901
Ordained 17th March 1907
Died 3rd April 1966

Mass card
Helen O'Reilly
Ballycumber Road, Moate
Died 11th January 1967
Aged 64

Mass card
David Daly
Faheran, Moate
Died 22nd March 1970
Aged 74

Mass card
Michael Conway
Tubber Road, Moate
Died 31st August 1970
Aged 79

Mass card
Anthony Moran
14 Landsdowne, Walkinstown
Died 30th November 1974
Aged 74

Mass card
William Duffy
Low Street, Ballymore, Mullingar
Died 1st February 1975
Aged 63

Dan's purchase of his cottage on Clara Rad, Moate?
J.E.Griffn & Co.
18th April 1978
Dear Mr D Stones, Lurgan
Pleased to state your Registration has now been completed in the Land Registry and you are the registered owner of the property in Folio 3672 County Westmeath.

Mass card
William Kelly
Newtown, Tubber
Died 15th September 1981
Aged 80

Mass card
Catherine Stone
New Bristy, Moyvore, Mullingar, Co.Westmeath
Died 26th September 1981
Aged 88
(Kitty's mother who lived with Aunt Lize towards the end of her life)

Mass card
Daniel J Stone
Died March 20, 1983

Katherine Casey
Ballinamudda, Moate
Died 30th April 1983
Aged 72

Mass card
James Casey
Ballinamuddagh, Moate
Died 26th February 1991
Aged 88

Edward Coady
Baltrasna, Moate
Died 29th November 2000
Aged 84

Stone family updates

Here are some interesting pieces of information about the Stone family of Lurgan, county Westmeath, Ireland which were given to me by my wife's mother Kitty Dwyer on our recent visit to Ireland this summer.

Edward Stone, who was Kitty's father, had a brother named Daniel. Daniel had three sons and one daughter. Daniel was married to a Mary Duffy who was the niece of Kitty's mother (Catherine Flanagan). The couple went to live in New York. A female relative, Sister Alice, was a nun in America. Their daughter married someone with a German surname.

A lady named Ann Stone, who was a nun in Birmingham UK, was Kitty's grandfather's sister (Daniel Stone). Kitty told me that a lady named Chrissie had this lady's photograph.

Kitty told me that her mother Kate Flanagan's mother was named Ann Conlon and she was from a place called Glassan in Westmeath.

A Conlon family at Glassan in the 1901 and 1911 Census:

1901 Census - residents of a house 7 in Glassan (Glassan, Westmeath)

William Conlon, 47 years old, male, Head of family, Roman Catholic, born Co Westmeath, Agricultural labourer, can read, married.

Margaret Conlon, 40 year old, female, wife, born in Co Westmeath, Housekeeper, Roman Catholic, can read and write, married.

Mathew Mulhall, 35 year old male, brother in law of head of family, Roman Catholic, born Co. Westmeath, agricultural labourer, can read and write, not married

The same couple are to be found 10 years later still living at Glassan, though this time without the bother-in-law, Mathew Mulhall:

1911 Census - Residents of a house 10 in Glasson Village (Glasson, Westmeath)

William Conlon, aged 60, head of family, Roman Catholic, born Co Westmeath, labourer, cannot read, married for 17 years.

Margaret Conlon, aged 55, wife, Roman Catholic, born Co. Westmeath, can read and write, married 17 years, no children born or living

How might this couple have been related to Kitty's mother and grandmother?

Kitty's mother, Catherine Flanagan was born in 1893. She was brought up at Raheen in Westmeath. Her parents were William Flanagan, born in 1851 and Anne Flanagan, born in 1853 (died 1923 aged 70). Their oldest daughter Mary Anne was born in 1877, so perhaps they might have married around 1876. They had 9 children altogether.   

If Anne Flanagan was related to the Conlon couple who lived at Glassan in the 1901 and 1911 Census, then it is most likely she was a sister to William Conlon - he was born around 1851-1854 (the 2 census records give him slightly different ages). This would be exactly the right sort of age for them to have been siblings.

The man described as an unmarried brother-in-law of the head of family at Glassan in the 1901 Census, Mathew Mulhall, would therefore most likely have been the brother of Margaret Conlon.

The marriage of Aunt Kitty and Uncle John
Kitty was the sister of Kitty's father Edward Stone
John (born 1898) was the brother of her mother Catherine Flanagan
Photo circa. 1920s

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Phelan family of Ashtown, Kilkenny

I wish to thank my mom's cousin Phylis Devlin (nee. Whelan) for giving me some printed copies of old family photos at my recent meeting with the Whelan clan in Dublin (August 2012).

Some of the photos that Phylis gave me I have previously posted onto this blog when Gaye Mulholland sent me scanned copies via email some months back. However there are one or two new ones which I haven't seen before and shall therefore post up.

This one above is very interesting indeed and would appear to have been taken on a visit of the Whelans from Dublin to the ancestral farm at Ashtown, Kilkenny. This photo seems to relate to others I have posted including one of family members sitting in a vintage motorcar outside of the farmhouse.

The farm at Ashtown was the ancestral home of my great grandfather John Whelan's family. According to old census records, the Whelan family of Kilkenny were named Phelan, it was common for Irish surnames to change through time, I don't know if it was a slight Anglicization of the name when John moved from the country to Dublin or whether it was just down to the foibles of common literacy in the early 20th century.

I am not entirely sure at the moment as to who everyone is in the photograph, though can say with certainty that there are three of the young sons of John and Anne Whelan standing on the right hand side. I am also pretty certain that my g-grandfather John Whelan is second from the left wearing a three piece suit and trilby hat.

I am not sure if one of the women in the photo is my g-grandmother Anne Whelan, I don't recognise any of them as being her, she may even be taking the picture. But I think it would be entirely reasonable to speculate that the old lady next to John Whelan is his mother, Catherine Hearne and could the tall man on her right, with the pocket watch chain be her husband Richard Phelan?

If this is the case then this photo is the only one I have ever seen containing direct ancestors at the generation of great great grandparents.

Given the age of the three boys, the photo would have been taken in the early 1910s. John  Whelan was born in 1865, so his parents must have been born in at least the 1840s or earlier. Can we guess that Catherine Phelan was in her 80s in this photo?