Category Archives: Family Stories – Challenges

Galway, St Francis Abbey – John Nolan (c1733-1793) – of Loughboy??

Recently James F. Nolan of Wisconsin and his wife (see earlier Post) found in the courtyard of St. Francis abbey, Galway city,  an old Nolan tombstone dating back to the 1700s reading as follows: “Lord have mercy on the soul of  John Nolan who died August 26, 1793 aged sixty years.”

Based upon the writings of James Hardiman in the early 1800s (History of Galway),  we also know that an older Nolan memorial is known to have existed on the grounds of St. Francis abbey, having been refurbished sometime before that by a Michael O’Nolan of Loughboy.  To my knowledge, for reasons unknown, no recent visitor to the abbey has been able to locate this memorial which presumably existed in the early 1800s when Hardiman wrote about it.  Could the tombstone inscription for  John Nolan (c1733-1793) have been etched unto the older existing Nolan memorial?  Based upon my experience this would certainly be a possibility, perhaps using another side of the stone.  I would therefore suggest that the headstone found by Jim (James F. Nolan of Wisconsin) be more closely inspected to see if traces of earlier inscriptions can be found.

Putting this possibility aside and reflecting upon who the John Nolan who died in 1793 might have been,  a promising lead is found at the website documenting Galway’s Landed Estates.  From the information found at the website it is evident that  a John Nolan of Loughboy existed in the 1700s but one generation earlier than the “John Nolan” buried in the abbey courtyard.  Could the John Nolan (1774-1820) of Loughboy documented on  a webpage at the Galway Landed Estates website have been the son of the John Nolan buried in the St. Francis abbey courtyard?

Circumstancial evidence pointing in this direction certainly exists! Recall that it was a “Michael O’Nolan of Loughboy” who erected the older, now lost (?), memorial to the Nolans of Loughboy.  That the John Nolan buried on the grounds of the St Francis abbey be of the Loughboy Nolan family would be consistent with the fact that Nolans of Loughboy had already been buried there in earlier times.

A review of the sources cited at the Galway Landed Estates webpage (see link above)  may help to confirm or refute this conjecture.  Following is the relevant excerpt from ta page found at the Galway Landed Estates website:

BEGINNING of EXCERPT

Nolan/ Ferrall (Lugboy) Estate

  • Reference #3380: Deeds re. estate of
    John Nolan of Loughboy, Co Mayo, 1774-1820.
    D. 16,536-16,538
    (RN:  available at the National Library of Ireland )
  • Reference #5110: Agreement between
    John Nolan of Cloonaville, county Sligo & John Nolan of Logboy, county Mayo re repayment of loan, 1810.
    D. 16,537   
    (RN:  available at the National Library of Ireland )
  • Reference #12375: Westport Estate Papers, Collection List 78. Details of Lord Oranmore and Browne’s lands sold in the Encumbered Estates’ Court, including  8 lots purchased
    by John Nolan Ferrall, May 1855.
    MS 40,966/34
    (RN:  available at the National Library of Ireland )

END of EXCERPT

For anyone interested in the Nolans of Loughboy, Lugboy or Lugboy (current spelling) , Co. Mayo, an article entitled “The Nolan Chantry” and relating to a descendant of the Nolan-Ferrall family,  a Monsignor Edmond Nolan, son of John Nolan of Logboy,  was published in the March 2015 edition of the Nolan Clan Newsletter.
From this article and other sources it would appear that this line of Nolans was of the Roman Catholic persuasion as would have been the John Nolan buried on the grounds of the St. Francis abbey.

At this point I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Jim Nolan of Wisconsin and his wife for bringing to our attention the old Nolan tombstone in the courtyard of St. Francis abbey in Galway city.

With best regards,
Roger Nowlan,  webmaster and Nolan Clan Newsletter editor.

Nowlan of Brooklyn

In 2012, as part of a project entitled Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn’s 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation, the Brooklyn Historical Society indexed close to a linear foot of material (papers, postcards, photographs and slides) which had been collected by a local resident named Donald L. Nowlan. Here is a link to the online index for the Donald L. Nowlan archived material.

As part of its effort to document the Nolan diaspora spread around the world the Nolan Clan family organization would be interested in contacting this family.

Quoting from the Brooklyn Historical Society’s website content created circa 2012, “Donald L. Nowlan (b. circa 1921) is a Brooklyn resident who attended Brooklyn schools from elementary school through university. Nowlan went to Saint Saviour Elementary School located in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. He graduated high school in 1939 from Manual Training High School (now the Secondary School for Law, Journalism and Research) also in Park Slope. Following his high school graduation, Nowlan served in the 12th Armored Division, 56th Armored Infantry Battalion, Company HQ during World War II. Known as the Hellcats, the 12th Armored Division helped to liberate 10 satellite camps of the Dachau concentration camp that was located in Germany. Following his military service, Nowlan attended Brooklyn College, located in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. He graduated in 1948 with a BA in Romance Languages. Nowlan grew up in Park Slope and lived at 470 3rd Street.”

If you do have further information on this family you are invited to contact the Nolan Clan family organization.

In particular, you may contact Chris Nolan, a clan member who lives in the New York/Brooklyn area.

Connaught – O’Nolan Origins

Attached are a few references which, in my opinion, are relevant to our discussion on the “early origins of the O’Nolans of Connaught”.

In essence, the attached references suggest that O’Nolans (O hUllachains) from counties Offaly or Limerick followed the Anglo-Normans into Connaught beginning in the early 1200s:

  • as part of Irish forces allied with the O’Briens of Thomond/Clare (who had intermarried with the de Burghs) when O’Flaherty’s castle was taken over in 1228 by Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster
  • as tenants to Anglo-Norman lords granted lands in Connaught by the de Burghs, starting in 1238, after their victory in 1237
  • as tradesmen/craftspeople supplying services to the Anglo-Normans of Connaught (e.g. carpenters, metalworkers, etc.).

This is a first post in a series of Posts solliciting feedback/comments
on how to best interpret the information contained in available sources:

Thank You,
Roger

Connaught – Michael O’Nolan of Loughboy

I have been researching my Nolan family ancestry for about fifteen years and have found a direct lineage back to Thomas Nolan C1560-1628 of Ballinrobe.

James Hardiman in his History of Galway refers to a Michael O’Nolan who rebuilt a family tomb of his Kilkenny ancestors in 1473. Todate I have found little other information about Michael O’Nolan and am wondering if other Clan members can assist me in my research, which is being done for an article in the Newsletter..

Thanks Wayne Nolan

Nolan Motto

The Nolan Motto  “Cor Unum Via Una”. was established in the late 1500’s or early 1600’s by Thomas Nolan of Ballinrobe.

The motto used by Thomas Nolan of Ballinrobe “Cor unum via una” is the Cecil motto.  It is probable that Thomas changed the given old O’Nolan motto “Semper Fidelis” given to them for their known fidelity to the Kings of Leicester for the Cecil motto. If Thomas was by any chance a Carlow Nolan the fact of his taking office with Elizabeth would make him anxious to forget his old connection for many reasons and to cement his friendship with his new allies.  Thomas Nolan  was in direct communication with the Cecils through Sir Richard Bingham and perhaps in more direct correspondence.   Sir Thomas Cecil (second Lord Burleigh) visited Connaught and was a great friend of the Bingham with whom Thomas Nolan was much allied.  A kinsman of Cecil, Barnaby Goore held an office in Connaught either with Thomas Nolan or only a few months before Thomas Nolan was appointed Clerk of the County of Mayo.

Has anyone ever heard of the motto Semper Fidelis” or can anyone supply a reference to this motto as we are researching for a newsletter article and would like some help.

Thanks Wayne Nolan

Nolan Family of Connaught

I am researching the Nolan Family from the Old Province of Connaught particularly those from Counties Galway and Mayo. This family established at least three descendant lines from Thomas Nolan C1560-1628 to the current day. These lines are the Ballybanagher line, the Ballinderry line and the Logboy line.

At this point it appears that I am the only known descendant who has taken the FTDNA Y-DNA tests under “The Nolan DNA Project”.

It would help our research if there are any Nolan male members who believe they are a descendant from either of the three lines from Thomas Nolan, could take a test, even a Y-37 at this stage would help clarify some of the research recently undertaken.

Thanks Wayne Nolan

1869 – Nurney Evictions (Patrick Nolan, …)

In August 1869, on the townland of Cloneen in Co. Carlow (near Nurney and adjacent to the Ballytarsna townland), “Two bailiffs, a sheriff, and eight police, armed with rifle, bayonet, and crowbar, made their appearance one morning about eleven a.m., tore off the roofs of the cabins, and forced out the unresisting and defenceless inhabitants, without giving them time or place to prepare or partake of dinner. Many poor Creatures were compelled to locate themselves in ditches, sheds, or under covered planks. Several families found refuge in an old cowshed on a neighbouring gentleman’s land, with a roof extemporised from the thatch, of the levelled cabins. In this hovel there harboured every night, for a considerable period, Patrick Nolan, with wife and six children, of both sexes; Ellen Kinsella and son, 21 years old ; Johanna Neale and daughter, 22 years old; Kate Tuite (born on the property), 55 years old, with two children, a boy and a girl, from 11 to 13 years old; and Kitty Byrne, a young woman of marriage able age.”

Following are the names of the families evicted from the townland of Cloneen in 1869 when the landowner, for reasons of his own, refused to renew the tenant leases and evicted all tenants:

  • Patrick Nolan, six in family
  • Kate Byrne, no children
  • Ellen Kinsella, one son
  • John Brien, four in family
  • Patrick Kinsella, two
  • John King, four
  • Daniel M’Lean, three
  • Patrick Murphy, five
  • T. Murphy, two
  • Kate Joyce, Anne Moor
  • M. Rogers, two;
  • Margaret Storey and son
  • John Tuite, wife, and daughter
  • Thomas Walshe, five
  • John Carey, wife, and two children
  • Anne Clarke, James Tuite, three
  • Gregory Byrne, two.

The above information was brought to my attention by someone named Anne  in Australia who, despite  not having any Nolan family connection, responded to the website’s appeal for information on early Nolan families.

You can read here the full Newspaper Accounts of the Nurney Evictions which appeared in “The Freeman’s Journal” on 28 August 1869 and on 23 October 1869.  These transcriptions were found online within the “Trove” database maintained by the National Library of Australia. Click here to view the Trove search results for “Nurney Evictions” .

With best regards,

Roger