Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Searching for the family of great grandfather John Whelan ...or Phelan?

Map of Kilkenny showing the close proximity
of Fiddown to Piltown in the south west of the county

Thank you to my mom's cousin Gaye Mulholland for an interesting clue towards tracing the family of my great grandfather John Whelan who married Anne McDonnell in Dublin in 1903.

We have learnt that John came from Kilkenny - the family recall stories that he used to visit his ancestral farm in Piltown, which is in the south west corner of the county.

I have found a reference to a 28 year old John Whelan in the 1901 census, working as a grocery shop assistant in Chancery Street, just doors away from the woman he would marry two years later, Anne McDonnell. I am certain that this is the same John for whom we are searching.

However, if John had arrived in Dublin from Kilkenny around the turn of the century and retained close ties with with his family back home, one would expect to find evidence of them in the same 1901 census for Piltown. Unfortunately, a fairly extensive search of the census revealed no Whelans in Piltown and of the very few in adjacent areas none fitting the profile we might expect. Though I did spot one or two families named Phelan.

The fascinating news from Gaye is that John Whelan did, most probably change his name from Phelan to Whelan when he moved to Dublin, she wrote to me today:

"Try the surname Phelan instead of Whelan. Or maybe Feelan. I can remember hearing my mother say that the name changed when he came to Dublin".

I have therefore had another look at the Phelan families living in the area around Piltown in 1901 (there are no Feelans). A couple of additional pieces of information to aid the search are that firstly, according to John's marriage certificate his father's name was Richard and secondly, we know from a very old mass card that John had a deceased male relative of his own generation named Lawrence - not a common Christian name in Ireland.

Using these factors, the search has revealed an interesting family living at Fiddown, Kilkenny. Fiddown is very close to Piltown on the Kilkenny map. The household includes a father named Richard and a youngest son named Laurence. Unfortunately though, I do not think this is John's immediate family as  both the father Richard and the son Laurence are too young to be who we might like them to have been. The Lawrence on the mass card died in 1924 aged 50 (John himself would also have been aged around 50/51 in 1924) and the father Richard should have been a good decade older than this one at Fiddown.

However, the occurrence of the Christian name Laurence in a family named Phelan living so close to Piltown still raises the question as to whether this family is related on the basis of an unusual name like Laurence / Lawrence being repeated in a family, especially perhaps if it has been passed down through generations as is a common practise.

1901 Census
Residents of a house 14 in Fiddown (Fiddown, Kilkenny)

Phelan, Richard, 40, Male, Head of Family, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny, Farmer, can Read and write - Married -

Phelan, Ellen, 42, Female, Wife, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny - Read and write - Married -

Phelan, Mary, 19, Female, Daughter, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny - Read and write - Not Married -

Phelan, Alice, 17, Female, Daughter, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny - Read and write - Not Married -

Phelan, James, 12, Male, Son, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny, Scholar, Read and write - Not Married -

Phelan, Laurence, 10, Male, Son, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny, Scholar, Read and write - Not Married -

Phelan, Ellie, 5, Female, Daughter, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny, Scholar, Read only - Not Married -

Brennan, Mary, 45, Female - Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny - Read and write - Not Married -

Another Phelan household in 1901 census, this one actually in Piltown itself, is this one containing 50 year old Richard Phelan and his two sisters Elizabeth and Margaret. My main doubt about this one is that Richard states he is 'not married' as opposed to saying he is either married or widowered. The same family are to found 10 years later in the 1911 census and again Richard Phelan describes himself as 'single' as opposed to a widower and also states that he has no children. There are two nieces present in the household in 1911 but the evidence would still suggest that the 3 sibling adults are 2 spinsters and a bachelar:

1901 Census
Residents of a house 9 in Pilltown (Pilltown, Kilkenny)


Phelan, Richard, 50, Male, Head of Family, Roman Catholic, Co Kilkenny, Farmer, Read and write - Not Married -

Phelan, Elizabeth, 40, Female, Sister, Roman Catholic, Co Kilkenny, Farmer's Daughter, Read and write - Not Married -

Phelan, Margaret, 41, Female, Sister, Roman Catholic, Co Kilkenny, Retired Shop Keeper, Read and write - Not Married -

1911 census
Residents of a house 52 in Piltown Town (Piltown, Kilkenny)


Phelan, Richard, 65, Male, Head of Family, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny, Farmer, Read and write - Single - - - - no children

Phelan, Margaret, 52, Female, Sister, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny - Read and write - Single - - - - no children

Phelan, Elizabeth, 50, Female, Sister, Roman Catholic, born Co Kilkenny - Read and write - Single - - - - no children

Phelan, Johanna, 27, Female, Niece, Roman Catholic, Co Kilkenny, School Teacher, Read and write - Single - - - -

Phelan, Bridget, 11, Female, Niece, Roman Catholic, Co Kilkenny, Scholar, Read and write - Single


Another Phelan family to be found in Piltown in 1911 is this one:

1911 Census
Residents of a house 3 in Glenbower (Piltown, Kilkenny)


Phelan, Thomas, 80, Male, Head of Family, R Catholic, born Co Kilkenny, Farmer, Read and write both Irish and English, Married - - - -

Phelan, Bridget, 74, Female, Wife, R Catholic, Co Kilkenny - Read and write Irish and English, Married - married 57 years, 11 children, 7 surviving

Phelan, Richard, 46, Male, Son, R Catholic, Co Kilkenny, Farmer, Son, Cannot read - Single - - - -

Phelan, Patrick, 35, Male, Son, R Catholic, Co Kilkenny, Farmer, Son, Read and write - Single - - - -

Phelan, Mary, 33, Female, Daughter, R Catholic, Co Kilkenny - Read and write - Single - - - -

Phelan, Thomas James, 10, Male, Grand Son, R Catholic, born in Philadelphia, Scholar, Read and write - Single - - - -

Note the place of birth of the grand son - Philadelphia.

The same family can be traced back to the 1901 census, bearing in mind this couple had 11 children, 7 of whom survived beyond 1911 and only five shown on the census records, there is margin for John to have come from this family (and Lawrence for that matter), the father is a Thomas not a Richard although there is a Richard listed as an adult child of this couple.

Residents of a house 4 in Glenbower (Pilltown, Kilkenny)

Phelan Thomas 62 Male Head of Family Roman Catholic Co Kilkenny Farmer Read and write Irish and English Married -

Phelan Bridget 50 Female Wife Roman Catholic Co Kilkenny - Read and write Irish and English Married -

Phelan Richard 32 Male Son Roman Catholic Co Kilkenny Farmers Son Cannot read English only Not Married -

Phelan James 20 Male Son Roman Catholic Co Kilkenny Farmers Son Cannot read English only Not Married -

Phelan Mary 22 Female Daughter Roman Catholic Co Kilkenny Farmers Daughter Cannot read English only Not Married -

Phelan Lizzie 18 Female Daughter Roman Catholic Co Kilkenny Farmers Daughter Cannot read English only Not Married

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Glavin and Woodward families of Cork

Cork - early 1900s

I have previously posted quotes from Jim Byrne who lives in Cork and has contacted me a number of times during recent years with information about the Glavin family of Cork who were related to the Fennellys and Cushions of Portlaois (Catherine Cushion was my great grandmother who married Denis Lawlor also of Laois - formerly Queens County in the Irish Midlands). Here is some more information from Jim Byrne detailing some more of the family history of the Glavin family:

"John James Glavin was married to Mary Cushion (nee Finally who was a sister of Kate Cushion). John James and Mary Glavin were my grandparents, they had six sons and one daughter Elizabeth who was my mother. The eldest was Patrick, then Thomas, James, William, John and Maurice.

"It was James (Jimmy) who worked in Fords, Dagenham, in the Labour relations office, H R in today’s speak. He did indeed secure jobs for many of Corks unemployed, who when they came home for their summer holidays were known as "Dagenham Yanks" as they were flush with sterling.

"Jimmy Glavin died 15-04-67. It was said that Paddy died when on the "Run" during the Civil War. John died as a result of an injury sustained whilst playing a soccer match. Thomas (Tom) went to Boston and married an American girl, they had two daughters Betty and Patty, I have tried to contact these, no success so far. Maurice (Mossie) died in 1969, he had married but had no family. William died in 1970 aged seventy years. he never married. My mother died in 1953.

"Jimmy Glavin had three children, Winnie, Ber and James (Junior) passed away about 20 years ago"

Subsequent to this information from Jim Byrne, I have found the following records of the Glavin family living in Cork in the 1911 census and the Woodward family (Julia Woodward was the older sister of Catherine Lawlor and Mary Glavin) in the 1901 census:

1911 census

Residents of a house 302 in Knockrea (Blackrock, Cork)

Glavin, James, 44, Male, Head of Family, R Catholic, Co Cork, General Labourer, Read or write - Married - - - -

Glavin, Mary, 36, Female, Wife, R Catholic, born Queens County - Read or write - Married for 9 years, 5 children born, 5 children living

Glavin, Patrick, 9, Male, Son, R Catholic, Co Cork, Scholar, Read or write - Single

Glavin, Thomas, 7, Male, Son, R Catholic, Co Cork, Scholar - - Single - - -

Glavin, James, 6, Male, Son, R Catholic, born Cork City, Scholar, - Single - - - -

Glavin, William, 4, Male, Son, R Catholic, Co Cork, Scholar - - Single - - - -

Glavin, John, 2, Male, Son, R Catholic, Co Cork - - - Single - - - -

The Glavin family above are not recorded in the 1901 census as they did not marry until 1902.

1901 census


Residents of a house 10 in Mahon (Blackrock, Cork)

Woodward, Joseph, 34, Male, Head of Family, Roman Catholic, born Co Cork , Auctioneer, Read and write English, Married-

Woodward, Julia, 30, Female, Wife, R Catholic, born Queens County, Housekeeper, Read and write English, Married -

Woodward, Minnie, 12, Female, Daughter, R Catholic, Co Cork, Scholar, Read and write English Not Married -

Woodward, Julia, 10m, Female, Daughter, R Catholic, Co Cork, Scholars, Read and write English Not Married -

Woodward, Lalla, 8, Female, Daughter, R Catholic, Co Cork, Scholars, Read and write English, Not Married -

Woodward, Thomas, 6,Male, Son, R Catholic, Co Cork, Scholars, Read and write English Not Married -

Woodward, Joseph, 3, Male, Son, R Catholic, Co Cork , Underage, Cannot read English, Not Married -

Le Flupy, Frederick Wm, 27, Male, Boarder, Church of Ireland, Co Dublin, Cashier in Brewery, Read and write - not Married -

Dowling, John, 41, Male, Boarder, Catholic, Cork, Writer, Read and write - Not Married -

1911 census

Residents of a house 26 in Mahon (Blackrock, Cork)

Woodward, Joseph, 46, Male, Head of Family, Catholic, born Cork, occupation Surtionera, Can Read and write - Widower - married 24 years, 6 children, 5 living

Woodward, Mary, 23, Female, Daughter, Catholic, Cork - Can Read and write - Single - 23 -

Wodward, Julia, 22, Female, Daughter, Catholic, Cork - Can Read and write - Single - 22 - -

Wodward, Elizabeth, 19, Female, Daughter, Catholic, Cork - Can Read and write - Single - 19 - -

Woodward, Thomas, 17, Male, Son, Catholic, Cork, Clark and Coal Merchant, Can Read and write - Single - - - -

Woodward, Joseph, 13, Male, Son, Catholic, Cork, Scholar, Can Read and write - Single - - - -

Foley, John, 32, Male, Visitor, Catholic

Friday, 27 January 2012

John Whelan in the 1901 Census

A search for my great grandfather, John Whelan, in the 1901 Census of Dublin reveals an almost certain possibility living at 80.1 Chancery Street in the Inns Quay area of Dublin.

The address itself is a grocery shop just doors away from 78 Chancery Street, which was where the family of my great grandmother, Anne McDonnell resided in the same census of 1901. Anne's father John McDonnell was the blind entrepreneur who ran a basket making factory at 78 Chancery Street.

At 80.1 Chancery Street, John Whelan is listed as a 28 year old servant working for 56 year old spinster Jane Dramgoole. His trade is given as grocers shopman, alongside 24 year old James Gannon and other servants (see below for full entry).

John's place of birth is recorded as Kilkenny, which fits with family anecdote of him coming from a farming background in Piltown, Kilkenny. In the 1911 census, where John and Anne are recorded as a married couple with children at 49.3 Bolton Street, John again gives his place of birth as Kilkenny.

When John Whelan and Anne McDonnell married in Dublin in 1904, John stated his profession as a grocer and his address was Capel Street - which is literally around the corner to Chancery Street.      

Residents of a house 80.1 in Chancery Street (Inns Quay, Dublin)


Dramgoole, Jane, aged 56, Female Head of Family, Roman Catholic, born in Co Louth, a Family Grocer, can Read and write - Not Married -


Gannon James 24 Male Servant Roman Catholic Co Mayo Grocers Shopman Read and write Irish and English Not Married -


Whelan John 28 Male Servant Roman Catholic Co Kilkenny Grocers Shopman Read and write - Not Married -


Coady Kate 38 Female Servant Roman Catholic Co Galway General Servant Read and write Irish and English Married -


McHugh Margaret 53 Female Sister Roman Catholic Co Louth Housekeeper Read and write - Married -


Ambrose Eliza 22 Female Visitor Roman Catholic Co Limerick Bar Maid Read and write - Not Married -