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I am interested in finding any living member of the Forde family or other families that are related to the Robbins families of Hollyhill/Brooklawn (Townland of Gortdrishagh). 

I am researching all of the Robbins families of County Galway in an attempt to connect my family with them. Two Robbins families were living in the townland of Gortdrishagh in the 1850’s: Nicholas Robbins and Margaret Robbins. I do not know much about Margaret or her family, but I have been able to find quite a bit of information about Nicholas and his family. Nicholas Robbins married Mary McDonough of Tynagh in 1827, and they raised a large family in Gortdrishagh. The majority of their children emigrated to England or the United States in the 1860s, but at least two stayed in Ireland. The first was Anne Robbins who married John Forde in 1867 in the chapel at Mullagh. Anne and John moved to Clonrush where four children were born: William Forde (b. 1867, d. 1872), John Forde (b. 1869), Patrick Forde (b. 1871), and Bridget Forde (b. 1873). Anne was widowed, and the family returned to Gortdrishagh by 1882 when she married John Murphy. They had at least one daughter together, Annie Murphy (b.1883, d. 1909). Anne Robbins Forde Murphy died before the 1911 Census, and at which time her son, John Forde, had married Bridget Costelloe and was the head of the household. Patrick Robbins, an uncle, was living with them, and a nephew, Patrick Connaughton, the likely son of Bridget Forde, was also in the home. Together John Forde and Bridget Costelloe had at least three children: Mary Anne (b. 1911), Bridget Forde (b. 1913), and John Stephen Forde (b. 1915).

I am interested in getting in contact with any descendants of this family. I have been in contact with other descendants of this family and they have completed DNA testing. We are interested to find other Robbins descendants from this area to test to confirm our findings and find new directions for research.

Looking forward to any responses.

Brady Robbins

Children of Nicholas Robbins and Mary McDonagh/McDonough:

-Martin Robbins, b. Abt. 1834, emigrated to Derbyshire, England about 1860, married Anne Lomas in 1861 in Yorkshire, England, d. 1915 

-Bridget Robbins, b. Abt. 1835, emigrated to Yorkshire, England about 1860, married Edward P. McLoughlin in 1863 in York, emigrated to Jersey City, New Jersey, USA in 1870, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, USA about 1874, d. 1889

-Patrick Robbins, b. Abt. 1835, servant in home of John Smyth of Cooleeny, Kilmeen in 1901, living with nephew John Forde in Gortdrishagh in 1911.

-Mary Robbins, b. Abt 1842, emigrated to Derbyshire, England about 1860, married Patrick Dooley of County Galway in 1863 in York, England, died 1909 in Wheldrake, Yorkshire, England.

-Anne Robbins, b. Abt 1843, married John Forde of Gortdrishagh in 1867, family lived in Dromaane, Clonrush, Galway until about 1882, family returned to Gortdrishagh and Anne Married John Murphy of Gortdrishagh, she died before 1911.

-Nicholas Robbins, b. Abt 1844, emigrated to Manhattan, New York, USA abt. 1868, married Winnifred McDonough of Galway in 1869, moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, USA abt. 1869, married Catherine Laura Lawless in 1872, d. 1919 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA.

-Catherine Robbins, possible daughter. Registered the death of Nicholas Robbins, Sr. in 1868. Appears as baptismal sponsor for John Forde, son of Anne Robbins, in 1869 in Clonrush, Galway. Appears as baptismal sponsor for Patrick J. Robbins, son of Nicholas Robbins Jr., in 1873 in Jersey City, New Jersey.


Sunday 29th April 2018, 10:56AM

Message Board Replies

  • Hi Brady

    I live in Mullagh Parish so I will talk to local people and try and find information about your ancestors for you. I am from Yorkshire, England but my husband is a local man.

    Nice to hear from you, Sue Coen 




    Sue, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Tuesday 8th May 2018, 10:28PM
  • Hi Brady,

    I checked the"Griffiths Valuation " records for the area you refer to,which I am very familiar with.There are still 2 Forde families in the same place. One family occupies land that was occupied by Nicholas Robinson in the 1840's.The land which Margaret Robinson occupied in the 1840's was until very recently occupied by a John(Jack) Forde recently deceased.It appears that the surname Robinson must have gotten"lost in Translation" to Robbins somewhere along the line,a not uncommon occurence.I have asked an elderly Robinson lady if she had ever heard of a Robinson/Forde connection but she could not confirm this.She did say however that there were 3 separate Robinson families in the locality in prevoius times.

    I will check further with the Fordes and let you know if anything more turns up.

                                                                                                                                         Liam Irwin. 


    Liam Irwin

    Friday 11th May 2018, 02:18PM
  • P.S-Further information to help you. East Galway Family History Society,Woodford,County Galway is a dedicated genealogical company.They have the most comprehensive family history database for the area.Phone No.-00-353-909-74309.        Liam irwin

    Liam Irwin

    Saturday 12th May 2018, 09:54AM

    Hello Liam and Sue,

    Thank you for your help and your responses. I was sad to hear of the passing of Jack Forde, I saw a photo of him on this site a few months ago and thought that he might somehow be connected to the Forde’s I’m looking for since the caption said that he was from Hollyhill. 

    I believe that the Robinson name in the Griffith’s survey was a mistake because Nicholas’ surname was recorded as “Robins” in the parish marriage records from Tynagh in 1827, and his name on his death registration in 1868 was recorded as “Nicholas Robbins.”

    My working hypothesis at the moment is that Nicholas is a possible brother/cousin to my 3rd great-grandfather, Patrick Robbins, who was born in Ballynakill, East Galway in about 1820. Nicholas’ was married in Tynagh and his wife, Mary McDonough is likely from the McDonough’s from the townlands of Knockauneevin and Ballywatten in Tynagh Parish, near Ballynakill Parish.

    Thank you for your help,



    Wednesday 6th June 2018, 03:32AM
  • Hello again,

    As an update to my previous post, I was able to discover more information about the identity of Margaret Robbins who was mentioned in the Griffith’s Valuation. She married Edmund Lyons in 1826 in the neighboring parish of Kilcooly. The fact that the Valuation used her maiden name instead of the name of her husband leads me to believe that she may have inherited the lease on the land following the death of her father, which may be substantiated by the fact that Nicholas Robbins, a likely brother, held the adjacent land. Margaret Robbins Lyons died  before 1880, and her daughter, Honorah Lyons Dwyer, and her family were living in the home in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses. Are there any Dwyer families living in the townland any longer?

    I am going to County Galway in May and I will be visiting the local area and if possible I would love to meet any of the Forde’s if possible, as well as visit any of the local cemeteries.

    Thank you once again for your help!


    Friday 8th March 2019, 03:16AM
  • Hi Brady

    My uncle was Jack Forde who sadly passed a few years ago, confirming Robbins is the correct spelling not Robinson, My great grandfather was John Forde and great grandmother Annie Robbins, John Forde and Bridget Costelloe were my grandparents, Mary Anne Forde my mother.  

    Brady it's been awhile since you made this postisng and with your trip back to Ireland I trust you found more information re. your relatives, hope to hear back from you ... I live in the US


    Sunday 8th December 2019, 04:51PM
  • Hello Carmella!

    I am very happy to hear from you, and I apologize for my delayed response.

    I enjoyed the few weeks I spent in Ireland this summer. I was able to confirm the townland In County Galway where my direct Robbins ancestors were living before the Famine, but was not able to extend my research directly back from there. I did not have much luck finding additional information for Robbins families in Galway, but I did visit your Uncle's grave in the Kilcooly Graveyard, and took several pictures of Forde headstones.


    I did have some success with my research further back on the Robbins side. I know from a DNA test that somehow my Robbins line connects with the many Robbins families in County Offaly, just 40 miles east of Brooklawn. Based on some of the information I've found in my research, I feel that your Robbins line also can likely trace its origins back to County Offaly. I spent a few days researching in Clara, County Offaly and visited several graveyards there to collect information that has helped clarify some information as well as develop several leads that I have been following up on since my visit.


    I have collected a significant amount of information about your family during my research, which I am very happy to share if you are interested. You can reach me directly at, and I would be more than happy to share what I have found. 

    I hope to hear from you soon,



    Friday 13th December 2019, 03:48AM