Hugh William John (Matthew) Fanning 1906

Place of migration:
Migrated to/Born in UK

Catherine Fanning formerly Boyland died on the 9th July 1914 at a hospice, she was aged 32 years at the time of her death. She was Hugh's mother. Her place of residence was recorded as 14 Russell Street. The hospice is around 3 minutes walk from Fitzgibbon Street. It was the same hospice that Charles Fanning would die at in 1918. 

This had a drastic effect on the family and Mums father Hugh. At the time of Catherines death, the family were living in Richmond Terrace what happened between Catherine entering the Hospice and the family leaving that address is unknown. 

The children lost their mother to TB in June 1914 and 6 months later were charged (November 1914) with “Wandering with no visible means of subsistence”. The boys (Richard and William-Hugh Fanning) were admitted to Artane Industrial School in Dublin, on 14th November 1914. The three daughters Kathleen, Edith and Caroline were placed in Merrion School in Dublin. One of the daughters (Edith/Eide) was taken out of the school and lived with Matt Boyland and his wife. None of the children were taken out by the Fanning family. The youngest girl Caroline died after 1 year in Merrion. 

At the time the children entered these industrial schools (charges were from 1914-1921 or 7 years long) John Fanning was residing at Hardwick Street, again a few minutes walk from Fitzgibbon Street. He was in a lodging House (12 Hardwick St). The authorities knew his address as it is recorded on the Artane records. The view at the time was that the authorities were taking ‘ragged children’ away from broken homes and surroundings where a cycle of unwanted behaviour was likely. 

The trail for John Fanning (their father) goes cold at this point. Not for want of trying. He doesn’t appear in crime, hospital, military, taxation or other records again (yet). He is not in Wills and is not in obituaries, he is not mentioned in burial records at Glasnevin – even though non family members were buried in Fanning plots on occasion. It may be a misunderstanding of the data – but it looks very much like John Fanning was ‘outside’ the family at this point. Future research may change that view. 

The screen shot below for Richard is more informative (as he was older) It remarks his mother was dead, his fathers address and that he had sisters – gone to Merrion. These details helped identify the family (as no mention/memory of these events was passed on to me). Both boys were kept at Artane (infamous then and universally discredited and loathed now). The boys learnt trade/s and were then ‘apprenticed’ off to serve the remainder of their sentence. 

Additional Information
Date of Birth 26th Jul 1906  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) John Fanning  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Catherine Boyland  
Occupation Tailor at Quigleys in Banagher  
Place of Death Swindon, England  


  • My Great-Great-Grandfather was Lawrence Fanning born about 1827 Tipperary. Married Mary Stapleton born about 1832 Tipperary. They went to Guernsey where my Great-Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Fanning was born in 1855. The family migrated to Australia. Wonder if any connection. Marie Stewart

    Marie Terese

    Saturday 2nd May 2020, 06:40AM
  • Hi Marie

    I am not sure, though I do have a DNA match to some Fanning descendants in Queensland. I have not been able to trace a connection to Tipperary - my Fanning family were farming around Swords and Dunbrough House (now adjacent to Dublin Airport). However - I recommend you visit this link if you have not already, I think your family are discussed here:

    Joe Abrams

    Saturday 2nd May 2020, 10:05AM
  • Hi Joe,

    What a treasure trove of family history you have provided for me.  I can’t thank you enough  I have read through it just now but will take time & really go through it slowly as my family are clearly mentioned.  I will contact a lovely cousin who I connected with through our Ancestry DNA results a little while back  In fact the DNA results disclosed a number of cousins from the Fanning family who settled in Esk, Queensland.  Will get back to you when I have absorbed this amazing research.  Again thank you so much Joe & I must check through the Ancestry DNA results to see if you are listed as a possible cousin.  Kind regards Marie



    Marie Terese

    Saturday 2nd May 2020, 07:37PM
  • Hi Marie

    I am delighted that you are pleased. Its a great thing when you find something like that isnt it. 

    Here is my tree down to me on the Fanning side as far back as I can get it. As I say, The Fannings were farmers. They 'leased' land at Dunbrough House, north of Dublin and are associated with Swords and Dunbrough and Dublin.

    My grandad Hugh was orphaned and moved to England, my Mum was Fanning and so I an now Abrams after my Dad then. I have done a DNA test with Ancestry DNA. You may find a connection with me on there. 

    John Fanning 1831-1884
    2nd great-grandfather


    John Fanning 1864-1944
    Son of John Fanning


    Hugh William John (Matthew) Fanning 1906-1979
    Son of John Fanning


    Eileen Fanning 1931-present
    Daughter of Hugh William John (Matthew) Fanning


    Joseph Abrams 1973
    You are the son of Eileen Fanning

      Joe Abrams

      Saturday 2nd May 2020, 08:34PM
    • Hi Joe, I contacted my cousin re the data on Fanning history & I have since learned that the researcher for that vast amount of information was Kathleen Fanning. My cousin & Kathleen Fanning are well known to each other & both have been trying to find if there is any link to the two families.   Due to me reading the sad story of Hugh Fanning that you wrote they are now following more leads. I will let you know if anything new turns up. Regards Marie Stewart

      Marie Terese

      Tuesday 12th May 2020, 05:46AM
    • Hi Marie

      Lovely to hear from you. Your cousin is very welcome to look at the research I have on 'Abrams Walls Family Tree'. I have also written up what I have on my Grandfather and his siblings and parents. It is sad, lots of events and stories coming out of that period were. I have a DNA Link to a man in Australia who traces his family back to Swords, Dublin also. Thats a Fanning link. My closes DNA link is to a male whose grandfather was a foundling in New York at a hospital. He moved to Texas via an Orphan Train. 

      Such stories of poverty, orphans and travel to England, Australia and America are frequent I know. Still, the individual narratives, events and teh ripples down a couple of generations to now are very interesting. 

      I await any news with eagerness and would be happy to pass on teh documents and photos I have if they are useful. I have a sale document for the lease of Dunbrough House (1897) by CHarles Fanning (brother to my Gt Grandfather). The family moved to a relatively good house in North Dublin (the last residents, literally just before them were the family of James Joyce). Thats another story - but an excellent one and I made sure on the residency address and so on. I mention it, as its interesting, and because it makes the next part so amazing. My gt GRandfather John Fanning married Catherine Boyland and they lived not far from that address - but far enough to be in a slum dwelling which was declared unfit for human habitation on teh census. There was a lot of that at the time - but the death of Catherine from TB (typical of the slums) and dissapearance of John, their father, led directly to my grandad being orphaned and wandering. Its a huge turn of fortune in a 20 year period as it was 1914 when they went into Artane. 



      Joe Abrams

      Wednesday 13th May 2020, 08:35PM

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