Nolan Family Stories

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1500s : Murrough O’Nolan : Barony of Forth, Co. Carlow

[358] Murrough O’Nolan (???? – ????) – from Barony of Forth, Co. Carlow
[359] Unknown (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: Edmund and Donough

According to the Fitzgerald rent book of the early 16th century, Murrough ‘ne dowre’ O’Nolan was “captain of his nation” in 1518, in other words Chief of the O’Nolans, more popularly referred to as “The O’Nolan” or simply “O’Nolan”.

Based upon the information found in the Nolan book published in 2000, it would further appear that Murrough ‘ne dowre’ had two sons, Edmund and Donough, who were alive in the early to mid 1500s.

Edmund, presumed to have succeeded his father as “The O’Nolan”, had three sons:

  • Cahir of Ballykealey who had 10 sons all born during or before the mid 1500s: Gerald, Brian, Teig, Donough, Edmund, Muiris, James, Phelim, Shane Duff and Owen
  • William of Kilbride who had 7 sons: Fiach, Cahir, Lesagh, Maurice ne Dower, Thady, Murrough ne Dower and Dermot.
  • Rosse of Kilknock who had one son: William

Donough had at least one son Donal, who in turn appears to have had 2 sons:

  • Morgan of Rosslee from whom are descended
    the Nolans of Ballaghmore, Cappawater and Rosslee
  • Hugh of Shangarry from whom are descended the Nolans of Shangarry, Knockendrane, Ballinrush and Tinnaclash; he had four sons: Cahir, Donell, William and Hugh.

1793 : James Nowland : Ballon area, Co. Carlow

[5] James Nowland (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[6] Mary Clowry (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Peter (1796), Edward (1798)

In September 1793, in the Ballon Village church, James married Mary Clowry, a widow, née Shortall, who had previously been married to a James Clowry in 1784, She may have had children from this first marriage. It is not known if James had previously been married.

From records in Canada, it is known that James Nowlan(d) and Mary Shortall had at least two sons, Peter, born circa 1796, and Edward, born circa 1798. It is also known that he died before his son Peter married in 1828 in New Brunswick.

1815 : Edmund Nolan: Ballinrush, Co. Carlow

[185] Edmund Nolan (???? – ????) – from Co. Carlow, IE
[186] Elizabeth Doyle (???? – ????) – from Co. Wexford, IE
Children: Johanna, possibly others


  • Johanna married Charles BYRNE around 1815 and had 4 children: Honoria, Elizabeth, Mary and Thomas. Johanna died in 1822 and Charles remarried and had at least one more child. Thomas emigrated to the United States in 1848.

1815 : Nicholas Nolan : Co. Wexford

[337] Nicholas Nolan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[338] Bridget O’Neill (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: Michael (c1815), James, …

In 1853, a Michael Nolan, born sometime between 1815 and 1819, emigrated to the US entering the country via the port of New York. His brother James is believed to have emigrated to the US at about the same time. According to family tradition, their parents were Nicholas Nolan and Bridget O’Neill of Co. Wexford and they had a large family. By 1870, Michael and James had found their way to Grant county, Wisconsin, where they were farming. They were still there in 1880 but, by 1898, James had moved on to California, possibly by way of Montana. In any case, he married in 1898 and in 1900, he and wife were living in Los Angeles, CA.

1821 : John Nowlan: Ballon, Co. Carlow

[391] John Nowlan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[392] Elizabeth Blanch (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Ally (1821), Anne (1822), Bridget (1823), Judith (1827) and Peter (1827)

In the early 1820s, John Nowlan married Elizabeth Blanch and they lived in the Ballon area of Co. Carlow. Their known children (Ally, Anne, Bridget, Judith and Peter) were all baptized in the local Ballon church.

1822 : John Nolan: Co. Carlow

[417] John Nolan (1822 – ????) – from Ireland
[418] Mary Connor (???? – 1867) – from Ireland
Children: Mary (1845), Julia, John(1858), James(1860), William(1863) and Michael(1865); possibly others born between 1845 and 1858

John was born in Co. Carlow in August 1822. He is believed to have married Mary Connor in Co. Carlow sometime before 1845. According to family tradition Mary died relatively young possibly in 1867.

After Mary’s death, the family seems to have fallen upon hard times and, eventually, John and most if not all of his children immigrated to the US.

Around 1876, at age 18, John Jr., the eldest son, emigrated to New York state where he found farm work in Herkimer county. In 1879, he married one Anna Donahoe and, over time, saved enough money to send for his father and brothers. John Sr., his sons. John Jr. and James stayed in the area of Herkimer county where John Jr. eventually saved enough money to buy his own farm. James eventually married and also settled down in Herkimer county, NY. William moved to Brooklyn. Their brother Michael never married and spent a lot of time traveling – first to the Gold Rush in Alaska and then back and forth from NY to Seattle, WA.

NOTE: The presumed year of death of Mary Connor death is based upon a tombstone located in the old Ballon cemetery, Co. Carlow, and erected in memory of a Mary Nolan by a William Nolan, presumably her son William from Brooklyn, NY.

1823 : Mathew Nolan : Trooperstown, Co. Wicklow

[177] Mathew Nolan (???? – ????) – from Co. Carlow, IE
[178] Marcella Byrne (???? – ????) – from Co. Wicklow, IE
Children: Matthew (????), Owen (1826), Ellen (1831) and Simon (1834)

According to family legend, Mathew grew up in Co. Carlow and only moved to Co. Wicklow when he married.

Mathew is also believed to have been a strong supporter of the Irish cause, supposedly leading all of the Glendalough funerals while mounted on a white charger. According to family legend there is even a plaque in a pub somewhere attesting to this fact.

Marcella was the daughter of Owen “Kittagh” (i.e. left-handed) Byrne who fought at the battle of Arklow in 1798. Owen, one or more of his sons and a brother were all hanged for their involvment in the Rebellion of 1798. Indicative of Owen’s patriotic fervour was Owen’s last wish to be buried in a green suit – the colour of the rebels.

At the time of his arrest Owen gave his residence as Bonavalley but this may have been misinformation since, according to family tradition, Owen was a well-known character thoughout Co. Wicklow, having something to do with horses. Family legend pictures him as a giant of a man so much so that he could put out with his hand the lights on Dublin Bridge. It is also said that, because of his strength, he had to be chained up while in prison.

Matthew and Marcella married sometime around 1823 and they lived in Trooperstown, Co. Wicklow, where they raised their family.


  • Matthew (????)
  • Owen (1826) m. Ann Gosling in 1850;
    in 1853, they emigrated to Australia, leaving behind a young son;
    Anne died during the voyage and Owen, after remarrying, sometime around 1865,returned to Ireland to get his son and a young man named Andy Lyons.
  • Ellen (1831) m. Marcus William LYONS of Co. Wicklow in 1850 and they emigrated to Australia in 1853.
  • Simon (1834) married someone named Anne. As Roman Catholics, Simon and his wife ‘Pious Anne’ (who hailed from Ballinacor) had a large family, 3 sons, (Mathew, Simon and Denis) and 3 daughters (??? married to a Johnson, Mary and Marcella), all of whom could read and write. Some of the children stayed on the farm or in the local area, whilst others emmigrated to America and Australia. More about Simon and his wife Anne is given in the paragraphs immediately following.

Simon Nolan (1834-1912), also known as ‘Holy Simon’, loved striding the Wicklow Hills and never moved from Trooperstown. He was a horse dealer, plying his trade in both Wicklow and Leinster, and a landholder, who worked his own farm. The farm boasted nine out-offices and farm steadings, comprising of a stable, cow house, calf house, dairy, piggery, fowl house, barn, turf house and shed. The primary dwelling had three rooms, with walls of stone, brick or concrete and a roof of thatch, wood or another perishable material. In the 1901 census, on a scale of first class to fourth class, Simon’s house was rated “second class”.

Described as “a fine old type of Celtic manhood in both appearance and character”, Simon had an extremely drole sense of humour, with his witty remarks and repartee becoming the stuff of local legend. Simon was also a staunch supporter of the National Movement, and although arrested in connection to the 1867 Fenian Rebellion, he was later acquitted of any involvement in the troubles.

Simon’s health had been poorly prior to his death, when he “retired to bed in good spirits on Wednesday night, but passed away on Thursday morning after a few hours of agony”. His large funeral was held at Glendalough on a Saturday, where Simon was buried in the same cemetery that holds the memorial he had had erected in rememberance of his beloved parents, Matthew and Marcella, and deceased son, John.

1830 : William Nowlan : Co. Kilkenny

[278] William Nowlan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[279] unknown (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: Daniel, William, Martin, Catherine “Kate”, Bridget, and Bernice

On August 15, 1830, in Co. Kilkenny, a Daniel Nowlan was born. The name of the mother is still unknown but the father was a William Nowlan. Known siblings of Daniel were, William and Martin, who accompanied him to America, and three sisters, Catherine “Kate”, Bridget, and Bernice. It is believed that the family homestead in Ireland was in the area of Kilkenny straddling the Carlow border not far from Bagnalstown, for example around Paulstown or Goresbridge.

Daniel emigrated to the US around 1850 and settled down with his wife Bridget McCarthy in the area of Panora, Iowa.

Most of Daniels’ siblings are believed to have also emigrated and Catherine and Bridget are known to have settled in the area of Columbus, Ohio, marrying brothers, Patrick and Martin Coady.

1831 : Mary Nowlan : Kilconnor, Co. Carlow

[175] Mary Nowlan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[176] Thomas Clear (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Johanna (c1831), possibly others


  • Johanna Clear (c1831) of Kilconnor m. John KELLY (c1831-1875) of Killane in St. Andrews RC Church, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, on July 01, 1858; they emigrated to Canada between 1869 and 1871 and settled in Farrelton, Quebec, located along the Gatineau river. This was at a time when the Gatineau river was used for logging emptying into the Ottawa river at Ottawa. Johanna died in East Templeton (now Gatineau, QC) located at the mouth of the Gatineau river.

1831 : James Nowlan : Freshford, Co. Kilkenny

[432] James Nowlan (c1790 – ????) – from Ireland
[433] Mary Brennan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Eleanor (1831), Biddy (1833), Catherine (1835), Mary (1836), Bridget (1838) and Nicholas (1841)
[434] Ellen Walsh (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: None
[435] Ellen Dowling (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: John, James Stephen (1851), Edward James (1852) and Stephen Patrick (1861)

James was born around 1790 and married 3 times. He first married a Mary Brennan around 1830, then an Ellen Walsh and finally an Ellen Dowling in 1847.

Sometimes around 1830, James Nowlan married Mary Brennan and they lived in Freshford, Co. Kilkenny. They had 5 daughters and a son:

  • Eleanor b. 03-Oct-1831
  • Bridget “Biddy” b. 02-Jan-1833

    (pressumed to have died young – no record found yet)

  • Catherine b. 21-May-1835

    (apparently went to America and lost touch with family)

  • Mary b. 24-Jul-1836;
    immigrated to Australia around 1856 and settled in the area of Robe, South Australia, marrying twice, first a Charles Frederick TANNER and then a James HUMPHREY. More information on her family and life in Australia is found on the family stories page for South Australia.
  • Bridget b. 03-Aug-1838;
    m. a Mr Shelley from Liverpool UK;
    they had two sons, Frank (d. 1942) and William
  • Nicholas b. 28-Mar-1841
    who seems to have died young as no further records were found; he was the first in the family to be given the family name “Nolan” at birth as was now becoming the custom for “Nowlans” in Ireland

After the death of Mary Brennan, James married Ellen Walsh from Lisdowney, Co. Kilkenny. She, however, died within 12 months of her marriage and does not seem to have had any children who survived.

James next married Ellen Dowling (alias Ellen Doolan) on 15 Feb 1847 in the Parish of Muckalee, Co. Kilkenny, and their children were all baptized with the family name “Nolan” as opposed to “Nowlan”, it now having become a common practice to do so. They had 4 children, the three youngest immigrating together to Australia on the ship “Gauntlet” which sailed from London on 18-Sep-1875 and around Jan/Feb 1876. arrived in Robe, South Australia, where a half-sister was already living.

John, James Stephen (1851), Edward James (1852) and Stephen Patrick (1861)

  • John NOLAN (????-1944?)
    m. Kate Nolan, no relation,
    and they had no children
  • James Stephen NOLAN b. Sep-1851
    m. Ellen “Nellie” Drewham/Drew at Williamstown, VIC
    d. 24-Oct-1925 and was buried at Cornelian Bay Cemetery in Hobart;
    James initially worked in the silver mines at Zeehan
    and then ultimately moved to 10 Tasma St North, Hobart, where he died.
  • Edward James NOLAN b. 1852 in Kilkenny,
    m. Annie Elizabeth Kelly (b. 18Dec 1856)
    on 01-Mar-1881 in Warwick, QLD
    d. 19-Oct-1918, Lower Freestone, QLD
  • Stephen Patrick NOLAN
    b. circa 1861, Ruthstown, Ballyfoyle, Co. Killkenny
    m. Anne Aloysica Topfer on 10-Apr-1899 at Warwick, QLD
    d. 7-Jan-1951 at Warwick aged 89 years.

1832 : Edmund Nolan : Corries Cross, Co. Carlow

[419] Edmund Nolan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[420] Ann Dorman (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Jeremiah (1832), Mary (1841), Bridget (1835), Edmund (1837), Patrick (c1840)

It is not known where Edmund was born but it is assumed to have been in the area of Corries Cross, Co. Carlow, or perhaps a bit further north as this is where a larger concentration of Nolans lived.

Edmund and Ann are presumed to have married sometime in the early 1830s somewhere in Co. Carlow.


  • Jeremiah (1832-1920) married Catherine Cloney.
  • Mary (1841 – 1923) never married
  • Bridget (1835-1920) married James Cloney of Coolnappogue.
  • Edmund (1837-?) emigrated to San Franciso, California, USA.
  • Patrick (1838/1842-1920) married Mary McAvoy;
    they lived on a farm near Corries Cross, Co. Carlow, and went to church in Ballinkillen. Known children are: Christopher (c1884), Edmond (c1890) and Jeremiah (1896).

Edmund and Ann’s youngest child, Jeremiah, immigrated to the US. Arriving in Boston in 1914, Jeremiah, aged 17 at the time, found work in the area and worked there for a while before moving on to New York city. There he joined the Army and served in a Military Police corp until 1919. After his discharge in 1919, Jeremiah returned to civilian life. This is when he met and married Ellen “Nelli” O’Sullivan, also an immigrant from Ireland, hailing from Waterville, Co. Kerry. In October 1921, Jeremiah and Nelli were wed in the Bronx and settled there, raising five children of their own and a nephew, orphaned while still an infant.

1835 : John Nolan : Co. Carlow

[179] John Nolan (???? – ????) – from Co. Carlow, IE
[180] Mary Byrne (???? – ????) – from Co. Carlow, IE
Children: Morris (1835), John M. (1838) and Denis (1841)

Children of JOHN NOLAN and MARY BYRNE:

  • Morris (1835)
  • John M. (1838)
  • Denis (1841)

1835 : Peter Nolan : Ballon, Co. Carlow

[393] Peter Nolan (c1802-1892) – from Ireland
[394] Monica Kavanagh (c1807-1885) – from Ireland
Children: Marian (1837-????), James (1840-1918), John (1843-1917), Alicia (1846-1916) and Julia (1854-1914)

Peter and Monica were married in the Ballon church in 1835 and continued to live in the area until their deaths, in 1898 and 1885 respectively.

A tombstone in the old Ballon cemetery behind the parish church marks their passing and that of 4 of their known 5 children. Marian, their oldest child, born in 1837, is likely buried elsewhere.

1845 : Michael Nolan : Co. Westmeath

[300] Michael Nolan (1822 – ????) – from Ireland
[301] Bridget (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: John

In 1845, a Michael Nolan, born in 1822 somewhere in Ireland, was living in Co. Westmeath, Ireland, and married to a Bridget Nolan when their son John Nolan was born. Common names found amongst descendants include: Thomas, Michael, Daniel, James, John, and Honoria.

1864 : John Nolan : Ballycallan, Co. Kilkenny

[415] John Nolan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[416] Bridget Burke (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Andrew (1866), Richard Joseph (1868), Michael (1870), Denis (1877) and Mary (1881); all born in Ballycallan, Co. Kilkenny

Nothing is known about John and Bridget prior to their marriage in 1864. A look-up for their marriage record in the Ballycallan area might reveal who John’s parents were.

John and Bridget were married in Co. Kilkenny in 1864 and they lived on the Ballycallan townland. In 1998, their former home was still standing.


  • Andrew Nolan immmigrated to the US around 1885
    and lived in the area of St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Richard Nolan immigrated to the US around 1885
    and married Delia A. Stanton, believed to have been from Co. Mayo,
    a daughter of Patrick Stanton and Bridget Burke;
    they lived in the area of Albany, NY.
  • Michael Nolan, like his older brothers, also immigrated to the US around the same time (1885) and married a Kilkenny girl named Catherine Knox, daughter of Martin Knox; they lived in the area of Albany, NY.
  • Mary Nolan m. Martin KNOX around 1889;
    they lived Clara Upper, Co. Kilkenny.
    Children: Nicholas, May, Birdie, Tom, Jack, Martin, Nellie, and Jim;
    in 1998, two of their children were still living.
  • Nicholas Nolan m. ????;

    Children: Joseph and Martin, twins, and Annie

  • Denis Nolan m. ????;they lived in Balleen? or Balleven? townland and had many children but were very poor; the oldest girl, named Bridget, although she called herself Mary, may have immigrated to the US around 1949.

1875 : Alicia Nolan : Graigue, Co. Carlow

[187] Alicia Nolan (???? – ????) – from Graigue, Co. Carlow, IE
[188] John Carey (c1855 – ????) – from Unknown
Children: at least one

On February 9, 1875, Anne Nolan married John CAREY in the Carlow Cathedral. Witnesses were Francis Donohue and Eliza Delaney. Their residence was given as Graigue.

NOTE: A descendant in Liverpool seeks John’s birthplace.

1875: Anne Nolan : Dublin, Co. Dublin

Anne Nolan was born around 1850 in Dublin and in 1875, her parents disapproving of her getting married to her suitor Thomas Stafford, she eloped with him to Stamullen, Co. Wexford, to get married.

After their marriage they lived at 3lr Grandcanal Street, Dublin, and had five children, Christina, Anne, Mary Eleanor, Christopher and Joseph ,all born in Dublin.

1880s : John Joseph Nolan : Graiguecullen, Co. Carlow

[428] John Joseph Nolan (1883 – 1966) – from Graiguecullen, Co. Carlow
[429] Mary Elizabeth Sheil (1878 – 1963) – from Co. Carlow
Children: Mary Agnes (1906), Kathleen (1908), Thomas James (1909), Julia, Margaret, and Brigid

John Joseph Nolan was also known as Shaun O’Farrell, the Irish Tenor. He toured Ireland, accompanied on the piano by his daughter Mary Agnes. Shaun’s father was Thomas James and his mother was Agnes King, and his grandfather was Michael Nolan and grandmother was Julia Hayes of Rathvilly, Co. Carlow.

If anyone has additional information on the early history of this family, please contact Maribeth Nolan (click on Email link below), a granddaughter of John J. Nolan.

1896 : Thomas Nolan : Dublin, Co. Dublin

[343] Thomas Nolan (1854 – ????) – from Dublin, IE
[344] Rosanne O’Reily (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: Kathleen (c1896), Annie

A Thomas Nolan was baptized in December 1854 in Dublin.

In the late 1800s, Thomas, by then a widower with 4 children of his own, was matched by the church to a Rosanne REILY/O’REILY, a widow also with 4 children of her own.

Together they had 2 other children, Kathleen and Annie born sometime around 1896.

1900s : Jeremiah Nolan : Rathdowney, Co. Kilkenny

[193] Jeremiah Nolan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[194] Margaret Howard (???? – ????) – from Ireland
Children: William J. (????) and others (14 or more)

NOTE: Descendant is looking for relatives in Ireland

1900s : Murth Nolan : Donard, Co. Wicklow

[468] Murth Nolan (????-1960) – from Donard, Co. Wicklow
[469] Bridget Nolan (????-1978) – from Donard, Co. Wicklow
Children: Patrick, Larry, Thomas, Murth & Mary

1912 : unknown Nolan : Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

[284] unknown Nolan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[285] Mary Jane (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: William (1912), Don, Andrew and Brenda

Around 1912, a William Nolan was born in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, the son of a Nolan male and a Mary Jane. When he was 9 years old, he moved with his parents to England. Known siblings were Don, Andrew and Brenda. Don is known to have either owned or worked on fishing boats in Balbriggan and had an Elvis tatto on his left shoulder.

1916 : John Nolan : Dublin, Co. Dublin

[134] John Nolan (???? – ????) – from Ireland
[135] unknown Comiskey? (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: Patrick, Christine

In the early 1900s, John married someone with possibly the last name Comiskey. John worked as a labourer in Dublin and he and his wife had two children, Patrick and Christine. However, around 1916, John and his wife disappeared and the children were taken into care.

Recent Nolan family history is known but nothing more is known about John and his wife.

A modern-day descendant would be “most grateful for any help that may be forthcoming”.

Children of JOHN NOLAN and UNKNOWN(?Comiskey):

  • Patrick who went to live with family in Belfast
    where he apprenticed at the Harland & Wolfe shipyard.
  • Christine who developed mental problems,
    seemingly as a result of the family turmoil

In the early 1900s, John married someone with possibly the last name Comiskey. John worked as a labourer in Dublin and he and his wife had two children, Patrick and Christine. However, around 1916, John and his wife disappeared and the children were taken into care.

Recent Nolan family history is known but nothing more is known about John and his wife.

The contact person listed below would be “most grateful for any help that may be forthcoming”.


  • Patrick who went to live with family in Belfast

    where he apprenticed at the Harland & Wolfe shipyard.

  • Christine who developed mental problems,
    seemingly as a result of the family turmoil

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