Nolan Family Stories

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1847 : Ellen Nolan : Birkenhead

[189] Ellen Nolan (c1811 – ????) – from Co. Carlow, IE
[190] Patrick Murphy (c1806 – ????) – from Co. Carlow, IE
Children: Margaret (1842)and Ann (1844) born at Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow; two other daughters born 1847 and 1849 at Birkenhead, England

1850 – Michael Nolan: Croydon, Surrey

Michael Nolan (c1831-1885) – b. Co. Laois; d. Croydon, England
Elizabeth (c1830 – 1897)

From available census information (1851-1891) it seems that Michael (possibly Michael James) was born circa 1831 in Co. Laois, Ireland, most likely in an area bordering Co. Carlow, next to Carlow town. His marriage certificate also lists Michael’s father as a James Nolan, farmer.

As a young man, during or after the Great Famine, Michael emigrated to Surrey, England. In 1850, he married someone named Elizabeth, about 1 year his senior, and, by 1851, they were renting from an Edward Kendling at “62 Norwood”.

By 1854 or so, when their first child, Elizabeth, was born, they had moved on to the “Croydon” part of Surrey but seem to have fallen on hard times as we find them, in 1861, living in a “Mission room” with their 3 young children, Elizabeth (c1854), Mary Ann (c1857) and Alice (c1860).

Their difficulties seem to have continued on into the 1860s as, by 1871, two of their first three children, Mary Ann (c1857) and Alice (c1860), seem to have died and three more children had been added to the family, Sarah (c1862), Michael (c1865) and Charles (c1867). By 1865, however, the family’s fortunes seem to have improved as “Michael Nowland” had by then established himself as a fish dealer and the family had moved to “10 King St., Croydon”.

During the 1870s the family’s living conditions continued to improve. One other child, Bridget, was added to the family, in 1872 and sometime between 1876 and 1881 the family moved to “9 Union St., Croydon”.

In 1881, Michael was still working as a fish dealer but Elizabeth now supplemented the family’s income, working as a charwoman. Only the boys, Charles and Michael Jr., a “[printing] compositor”, and the youngest girl, Bridget, aged 9, remained at home, the older girls, Elizabeth (c1854) and Sarah (c1862) having moved on.

The next decade, 1881-1891, brought major changes to the family, Michael senior dying in 1885. In 1891, we find Elizabeth, now widowed, living at “113 Old Town, Croydon” with her two sons, Michael, by then a “printer’s machine minder”, and Charles, a “milkman”, her youngest daughter, Bridget, and her second oldest daughter, Sarah, “a laundress”, who seems to have returned to the household bringing with her, her two young children, Elizabeth, aged 9, and Edith, aged 2.


  • Elizabeth (c1854)
  • Mary Ann (c1857)
  • Alice (c1860)
  • Sarah (c1862)
  • Michael Jr.(c1865), a “Printer’s machine minder”
    m. Emily Roberts (1863) on September 28, 1891, the daughter of
    Richard John Roberts & Mary Jordan of Kingston-upon-Thames,
    Surrey; they lived at Godalming, Surrey, and had 2 children:
    • Harry James(1893 – 1961)
      m. Violet Emma Rhodes (1898 – 1933); they had 3 children:
      ▪ Kathleen (1919) died of a brain haemorrhage at age 43
      ▪ Charles (1920) married and lived to his 80s; he had a son
      named Gregory (1945)
      ▪ Harry (1923) also married and had a daughter named Angela
    • Charles D. (c1896)
  • Charles (c1867)
  • Bridget (c1872)

1860s : Francis Nolan : Parr, St Helens, Lancashire

[461] Francis Nolan (1804 – 1874) – from Ireland
[462] Mary Kenney (1822 – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Mary (1855), John (1858), Francis (1862) and Michael (1866)

Francis was a chemical labourer in St Helens, Lancashire, England. The family lived in Parr, Lancashire, from approximately the early 1850’s through to 1874 when Francis (Frank?) died. They lived on Barber Street, Davies Street, and possibly on Graham Street. All close to each other and obviously multi-occupancy (more than one family living, at best, in two rooms).

At 13 years of age, Francis’ son Michael (born 1866)was effectively given to a Bleaching Mill owner, Frederick Whowell, who owned Two Brooks Mill in Hawkshaw, Lancashire. Michael eventually became Mill Manager, dying in 1930. A meteoric rise in society then!

NOTE: Currently there is no knowledge of what happened to Michael’s brothers (John and Francis) and sister (Mary) or the family’s place of origin in Ireland. If you have any further information about this family, please contact David Nolan using the Email link given below.

1871 : Michael Nolan : Chester, Cheshire

[457] Michael Nolan (1838-1880) – from Ireland
[458] Ellen Fitzgerald (???? – ????) – from Cork, IE
Children: William Francis (1870), Margaret (1873), Mary Ellen (1878), Francis (1886) & Joseph (1889)

Michael and Ellen migrated from Ireland sometime around 1871 and settled in Chester, England. They had altogether five children, four of whom survived. Three of these are known to have been William (1870), Mary Ellen (1878) and Francis (1886).

William Nolan had three children:

  • Tony
  • Nora
  • Eileen

Mary Ellen (nee Nolan) SIMMONS had four children:

  • Beatrice (nee Simmons) O’BRIEN who had one child:
    *Ernie who had four children: Elizabeth, Francesca, ???? & ????.
  • William Simmons who had one child: Anthony
  • Molly (nee Simmons) WALSH who had one child: Ernie.
  • Ellen (nee Simmons) HANDCOCK who had two children:
    1. Sidney Handcock who had three children: Janet, Karen & Peter;
      (Janet married a LAYLAND and had 3 children: James, Hannah & Adam);
    2. Ellen Handcock of whom nothing else is known.

Francis Nolan had two children:

  • Patrick Nolan who had three children:
    1. Kay (nee Nolan) SUTTON who had 2 children: Anthony &: Sean;
    2. Joy (nee Nolan) LUXFORD who had 2 children: Adam & Lewis;
    3. Scott Nolan who had two children: Laura & Suzi.
  • Moira

1876 : John Nolan : Hanley, Staffordshire

[222] John Nolan (c1851- ????) – from Ireland
[223] Elizabeth Hulmes (c1851 – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Thomas H. (c1876), William (c1877), John (c1880)

Sometime before 1876, John and Eliza came to England from Ireland. It is not known if they married in Ireland or England. In 1876, their first child was born in Hanley, Staffordshire. By 1881 when a census was taken they were listed as living at 4 Broadfield, Wolstanton – Oldcott, Stafford, England. At the time, John was listed as a coal miner and Eliza was at home with three young children.

NOTE: Further information on John and Eliza’s Irish roots are being sought.

1881 : Robert Knowland : Stapleton, Gloucester

[209] Robert Knowland (c1839 – ????) – from Co. Carlow, IE
[210] Ann (c1839 – ????) – from Co. Carlow, IE
Children: Mary Ann (c1867), Thomas (c1869) and William (c1875)

In 1881, when a census was taken, Robert, a “shoemaker”, and Ann, a “boot machinist”, were “residents” of a workhouse in Bristol city. Their children, Mary Ann, Thomas and William, were listed as “scholars”.

1881 : James Nolan : Barton on Irwell, Lancashire

[325] James Nolan (1840 – ????) – from Ireland
[326] Mary Kate Downes (???? – ????) – from Winton, Lancashire
Children: Kate (1868), John (1869), Bedelia Ann (1870), Julia (1876), Mary (1878) and James (1881)

James seems to have emigrated to England and married Mary Kate, a native of Winton (Witton?), Lancashire, sometime before 1868 when his eldest child, Kate, was born.

By 1881, James and Mary Kate were living at 12 Leathers Fold, Barton-Upon-Irwell, Lancashire, England. James worked as an “Iron Moulders Labourer” and Mary Kate’s brother, “James Downs”, who also lived with the family, worked as a collier. James and Mary kate’s eldest daughter, Kate, worked as a “Cotton Gaiter” and eledest son, John, worked as a “Cotton Doffer”.

After the census was taken in 1881, on August 17, James and Mary Kate had another child named James.

According to family tradition, there was some sort of family connection back to Co. Tipperary.

1890 : John Nolan : Wheelton, Lancashire

[138] John Nolan (1832-1900) – from Bohermore Townland, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow,
[139] Catherine Nolan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Patrick, James (1864-1952), Ellen and Elizabeth

John Nolan, a resident of Bohermore, Co. Carlow, married a girl from the neighbouring townland of Ballymoon, also in Co. Carlow. She was named Catherine and, as it happens, also a Nolan. During their early years together the couple lived in Bohermore where their 4 children were born. However, to supplement the family’s income, John, from time to time, found temporary work in England in the area of Wheelton, near Chorley, in Lancashire. There he worked for a local landowner named Sir John Jackson and, eventually, did find permanent employment at which time the rest of the family joined him.

John’s parents and siblings remained in the Bohermore area and modern-day descendants still live nearby, in Bagenalstown itself. Other descendants are found in West Bromwich, England. Most of John and Catherine’s children remained in the Wheelton area and worked in the local textile mills. Another branch of John’s family is known to have lived in the area of Ballywilliamroe, another townland near Bagenalstown, in Co. Carlow.

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