Monday, November 23, 2009

Gillen family, 1911 Census

This is the 1911 Irish Census return of the Gillen family in Tawnykinaffe, Pontoon, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The head of household is Martin Gillen, 83 (b. c. 1828) and his wife, Honor Gillen, 75 (b. c. 1836). I think that Honor Gillen is Mary Nora Grimes, but no evidence on that one, yet. I'll have to look into whether Honor and Nora were related names, but it seems highly likely, don't you think? Both were born in Co. Mayo, and both are bilingual, speaking Irish and English. Martin is a retired farmer. Honor has given birth to 9 children, all still living. They've been married 54 years, meaning they were married around 1857.

Also on the returns are their son, Michael Gillen, 41, a farmer - he's probably tending the family farm from which Martin had retired; his wife, Elisa., 40, who's given birth to 8 children, all still living. They've been married 16 years. They were born, then, in 1870 and 1871, respectively, and were married around 1895. (Elisa is listed as Martin Gillen's granddaughter, but she's almost certainly actually his daughter-in-law.)

Listed as Martin's grandchildren, and so probably Michael and Elisa's children, are Mary Anne, 13 (b. 1898); Martin, 12 (b. 1899); Celia, 9 (b. 1902); Mark, 8 (b. 1903); Honor, 7 (b. 1904); Bridget, 6 (b. 1905); Ellen, 3 (b. 1908); Michael, 1 (b. 1910). Everyone from Honor up to Mary Anne are "scholars," while Bridget, Ellen, and Michael are too young to be at school.

The Mary Anne, Celia, Bridget, and Honor are certainly the Gillen girls - Mary, Celia, Bridgie, and Nora - who were being discussed on the Gillen family message board thread I've mentioned, some of whom lived with the Quinns in 1920, and Michael and Bridgie are among the "chief mourners" from Martin Gillen's death notice. That Ellen has never come up as being listed among the sisters of Mary, Celia, Bridgie, and Nora leads me to suspect she may not have lived to adulthood.

At least, that was my original reading of the return. After typing of this post, though, I looked once more at the image, and saw something I hadn't seen before. Take a close look at Line 10, Bridget's line. Is it me, or does her last name, difficult to read though it may be, seem to resemble "Grimes" more closely than "Gillen"? Grimes would have been her grandmother's maiden name, and I'm hard-pressed to figure out how it could also be her last name, if I'm reading the word correctly. Take a look and tell me what you think!


Mary Gillan O'Malley said...

Honor and Nora are the same name.

Mary Gillan O'Malley said...

Ellen Gillan (my aunt) did live to adulthood.She emigrated to England during the 1920's as Irish were not allowed into the U.S. during the Depression. Sadly Ellen disappeared and has never been heard of since. Mary

Anonymous said...

Yes,it does look like Bridget's last name is Grimes!She was my aunt and she was not Grimes. She was Bridgie Gillan.

TimothyChambers said...

We're related somehow. In researching Michael Chambers, (c 1841 (my great-grandfather), from the same area of Tawneykinaffe and Crimlin, I found that he had sisters: Maggie, Honor, Ann, and Nora plus a brother: William. Honor and Nora married Gillens.
The Gillen children and grandchildren have a lot of matches to the census but, then again, every family seemed to use the same first names.

TimothyChambers said...

We must be related somehow. Researching my great grandfather, Michael Chambers (c.1841) from the Tawneykinaffe, Crimlin area I see that he had a brother, Matthew, and four sisters: Honor, Ann, Maggie and Nora. Honor and Nora married Gillens. The names of the children and grandchildren have some matches with the census but the names are common for the time and place.

Katie O. said...

Timothy - send me an e-mail at kathleen.scarlett.ohara AT gmail DOT com. I'd love to compare notes and see if and how we connect!