Some time ago, I found Mark Gillen, brother of my great-great-grandmother Mary Gillen Quinn, in the naturalization indexes online at Ancestry.com. I pondered whether I would learn anything new by trying to get my hands on the record, and decided on inaction for the time being. Sometimes, good things come to those who wait. Mark Gillen's naturalization record came to me!
It was sent to me by someone who came across my blog and thinks we may be related through the Gillen line. I'm almost certain he's correct, but we have yet to figure out exactly how our lines are connected. My line is the descendants of Martin Gillen; his line is the descendants of Patrick Gillen. They came from neighboring towns (Tawnykinaffe and Crimlin) in Co. Mayo. The aforementioned Mark Gillen was Martin's son, who lived in Brooklyn from the 1890s on. A Martin Gillon witnessed the wedding of one of Patrick's daughters in Brooklyn in 1899. One of Patrick's grandsons married one of Martin's granddaughters in Brooklyn in the 1930s. Some of the most damning (read: tantalizing) evidence, though, are these naturalization records. The above record, of Mark Gillen, is the naturalization record of Martin Gillen's son Mark, who lived with his sister, Mary Gillen Quinn, my great-great-grandmother. I know this because Mark and his witness Hugh Quinn were kind enough to write their addresses under their signatures, and both lived at 332 Bergen St. This is where Hugh and Mary Quinn were living in 1900 with their 3 daughters and Mary's brother Mark Gillen. Mark Gillen was naturalized in 1894.
Two years earlier, a Patrick Gillen had also been naturalized in the King County Court. His naturalization, too, had been witnessed by a Hugh Quinn. They were not then kind enough to their descendants to record their addresses, so I don't know whether this was the same Hugh Quinn who would marry Mary Gillen about a year later, around 1893.
We're still working on figuring out the connection between the two Gillen families. I've got a couple lines of questioning to follow up with some relatives, and I've ordered the marriage certificate between the two Gillen grandchildren, Agnes Quinn and Bill Maines. I don't know whether that will shed any light. What undoubtedly would, if it existed, would be any dispensation Agnes and Bill might have needed to be married in the Catholic Church if they were related, but according to the Diocese of Brooklyn's website, only dispensation records from before 1890 are open for research. I'm trying to gather as much information as possible on the families at this point, and hoping something will clear things up. Any research avenues you can suggest?