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I have just heard of IrelandXO and think it might help me get through a 'brick wall'.
My Irish great grandparents were Andrew Fenlon (born c1845) and Hannah Breen (born c1859).
In the 1891 English Census they both declared they came from 'Ireland'.
In the 1901 English Census he declared he came from 'Kilkenny, Ireland' and she was from 'Ireland'.
In the 1911 English Census they both declared they came from 'Ireland, Carlow'.
I'm going with the last one.
I once asked my father, who despised his Irish ancestry, where our ancestors came from and he said 'Donegal', which isn't true per the Census forms, or the map saying where the Fenlons mostly live.
He appeared to remember someone saying that, and my guess is that it was a place of a similar name.  In County Carlow, the nearest to that is, I think, Clonegal.

The family story is that they met and married in England, but both came from the same village in Ireland.
I have no idea when they moved over but as she was 14 years younger it is unlikely that they moved at the same time, ie. together.
They married in the Holyrood Roman Catholic Church, Barnsley, Yorkshire as Andrew Finlin and Hannah Breen and I have a copy of the marriage certificate.  The date was 12 June 1887.
(As all non-Irish Fenlons know, no-one can remember the spellling of Fenlon for five seconds.  I collect 'versions' of my name as a hobby.  I acquired Finley just last Saturday, version number 77.)
He was a Coal Miner and his father was James Fenlon (deceased), Farmer.
She was a Domestic Servant, and her father was Patrick Breen (deceased), Corn Miller.
They were illiterate, and remained so.  The 1911 form was written in nice handwriting, the 'signature' not being a signature at all but just his name.
I have all the details of their children - 6 born between 1889 and 1898, plus those of the son who was my grandfather and his children if anyone needs that.
He and she died in 1925 and 1928, respectively.
I don't know where they came from, which is why I am writing this.  Do the details of their parents seem familiar to anyone?


Thursday 6th October 2016, 10:59PM

Message Board Replies

  • Bushwalker:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    I found an 1838 baptismal record in Co. Carlow for a Andrew Fenlon with father James. The townland was shown as Clomoney. There are three Clomoneys in Carlow and two of them are in the civil parishes of Lorum and Ballyellin and those parishes correspond to the RC parish of Bagenalstown. Both civil parishes are on the western side of Carlow which borders Co. Kilkenny.

    I could not find a Hannah Breen in Carlow with a father Patrick. Also checked Co. Kilkenny but did not find a record.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Roger McDonnell

    Name:Andrew FenlonDate of Birth:
    Date of Baptism:01-May-1838Address:ClomoneyParish/District:BAGENALSTOWNGender:
    CountyCo. Carlow
    Denomination:Roman Catholic
    Father:James FenlonMother:Anne DoyleOccupation:


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 7th October 2016, 04:17PM
  • Thank you for that, and for your welcome.

    The website claims members from Canada to Newcastle, Australia.  I'll point out to them that New Zealand is a lot further away than Australia, 2000 km further at the closest point.  It really is one of the ends of the earth.  Beyond here is only Antarctica.

    The Census returns give a derived date of birth of 1845.  His marriage certificate of 1887 says he was 40, which puts his DOB as 1847.  His death registration gives his age as 82, and a derived DOB of 1843.  1838 seems a bit early but I'll go with it.  I don't see anywhere else to go.  A pity there was no occupation of 'Farmer' registered.  Anne Doyle is another branch to add to the tree.  Don't have a Doyle.

    Oddly, my brother is called Andrew and our father was called James.  Dad had no idea that his grandfather was called Andrew until his elder sister Ellen told him.  She clearly did not approve of the man.  She came to see the new baby and her first words (according to Mum) were "Whatever have you called him after our grandfather for??!!"  He looked totally blank.

    Shame that Hannah Breen could not be found.  That brick wall remains.


    Saturday 8th October 2016, 04:31AM
  • I know that Andrew Fenlon's marriage certificate had his name mis-spelled as Finlin (the Irish accent no doubt).  I wonder if Hannah Breen's surname was also mis-spelled.  Perhaps it was Brehan and her accent was no understood.  As Barnsley had, and perhaps still has, the strongest Yorkshire dialect, they were almost speaking foreign languages.

    Could someone look for a Hannah with a father Patrick, Corn Miller, with a surname similar to Breen for me, please?  She clearly gave her origin as 'Ireland, Carlow' so not finding her there is odd.



    Monday 10th October 2016, 03:11AM
  • Bushwalker,

    I have just begun my search and I too have Breens in my Family.  2nd and 3rd great grandfathers. They were from CountyKildare, Town of Attaire.  Andrew Breen married Mary Ellen Coleman.  Their son was Philip Breen.  I'mm sorr I can't five you any more detailes on their dates of birth or marriages.  They were R Catholic.  I have their childrens names and following generation names but that is all I have.  

    I wish you success.  This is not an easy journey but maybe someday we will find we are related!

    Judi Gaudett-Tesla

    Judith Gaudett-Tesla

    Saturday 31st December 2016, 03:57AM