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I'm heading to Ireland at the end of May and trying to find out more about the Quinlans and Connellys of County Cavan, some of whom came to the United States and settled in Illinois in the mid-1860s. The U.S. immigrants are descendants of Thomas Quinlan (b. 1793 in Cavan; died 21 Apr 1877, Killaliss, Cootehill, Cavan) and Ellen Connelly (1810-?? Cavan). It's been very hard to find any Quinlan ancestry in Cavan (at least online from the U.S.). I'm also looking for Grahams in County Monaghan, as they married Quinlans in the U.S. Thanks, MG




Saturday 21st April 2018, 01:30PM

Message Board Replies

  • Quinlan is not a common name in Co Cavan, and one possibility may be that they originated in another part of Ireland.  (In the 1901 census, there is only 1 Quinlan household in the county and the husband & wife in it were from Counties Kilkenny & Armagh, so not native to the county at all. They were Church of Ireland).

    Do you have any documents recording where Thomas & Ellen were born in Ireland?

    What denomination was your Quinlan family?

    What was Thomas’s occupation on his 1877 death certificate?

    Was Ellen still alive then? (He should be either a widower or a married man, and depending which, you can tell which side of 1877 Ellen died).

    If Church of Ireland and born in Knockbride, their records start in 1825. If Presbyterian, their records start in 1764. If RC, theirs start in 1835. 

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 21st April 2018, 02:28PM
  • Hi, thank you so much for taking the time to respond! The Quinlans were all Roman Catholic. Every piece of information that the family has simply says they were all born in County Cavan. We do have some Graham relatives who were born in Armagh and moved to Monaghan -- also all Catholic. Nobody in the family history (Quinlans and the people they married) has ever shown up as Protestant, and all were strict Irish Catholics. The family history basically starts with U.S. immigration, so that's why it's been so difficult to find Irish locations and cemeteries for Quinlans in particular. 

    I found a baptismal record for my great-grandfather Thomas Quinlin (who immigrated to the U.S.) on roots-ireland. Lists the date as 10 Oct. 1844, matching family records. Father: Thomas Quinlin, mother: Nelly Connelly. Address: Killiliss, parish Knockbride. Sponsors Nelly Carlin and Patt Cooney. And then there's an odd note: "see also THOMAS KINDLAN AND ELLEN CONLEY." So I'm also searching for Kindlans, though nobody in the family has ever noted that spelling. Quinlan itself has many spellings, which could be partly why I've reached a dead end. 

    The death record is 1877 for my 2nd-great grandfather Thomas Quinlan (did not immigrate to U.S.), has address Killiliss, Co. Cavan, parish Cootehill. Death age 84 corresponds to family history. Says he was a married farmer and lists Alice Quinlas as informant (daughter Alice again matches family history) and that he died of a heart ailment.

    So we know Thomas and Ellen lived in Cavan during their marriage and at their deaths, and their children were born there, most of them immigrating in the 1860s to the U.S. But I imagine you're right that they may not have been from Cavan originally, which of course will probably remain a mystery.

    I've found Graham relatives' gravesites in Monaghan and will visit there, but planned to head to Cavan, as well, hoping to find some Quinlan roots -- that is the family name that comes up most often in our extended family, which is very large now.





    Saturday 21st April 2018, 06:39PM
  • I had a look at Griffiths Valuation for Killaliss in 1857. There were about 12 farms in the townland then, but none had a Quinlan (or variant spelling) as head of household. So it appears that Thomas must have acquired the farm there after that.

    There are no Quinlan households anywhere in Co. Cavan in Griffiths. There were 2 in the county in the tithes in Ballintemple parish in 1828. Almost certainly farmers.

    Can’t see Ellen’s death post 1877. The Valuation Revision records in the Valuation office in Dublin may tell you what happened to Thomas’s farm after his death. In 1901 there were 7 houses in Killaliss but none were Quinlan (or variant spellings);

    The family are a bit of a mystery. Possibly local enquiries may help. Though most labourers couldn’t afford a gravestone, farmers often could. So you might possibly get information from that, if you can find one.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 21st April 2018, 11:36PM
  • Thank you so much, Elwyn. Very kind of you to take the time to respond in this way. It feels like the family lore that we came from Cavan has a bit of mystery to it. I may have better luck checking out the Dunn and Murphy sides of the family in Wexford (Murphy is such an unsual name, of course ;)



    Sunday 22nd April 2018, 12:08AM
  • Dear MG,  

    I hope I can help and thank you Elwyn.  I live not too far from Killaliss and you both are coming a cropper with this name as it is one of those difficult ones that is spelt in many different ways and also pronounced likewise.  Search for it under Kindelan and 11 come up in 1901 census, the closest to Killaliss is Owen in Knappagh aged 70.  Another variation is Cundelan (often pronounced Cungelon, the d is silent which is not too far off from sounding like Quinjalon) and there are 22 in 1901 census.  I followed your hint and looked at Thomas Kindelan and found this on Roots Ireland, I dont know if there is a connection.

    Thomas Kindelan Date of Baptism:30-Nov-1845 Address:Killilis Parish/District:KNOCKBRIDE Gender: Male County Co. Cavan
    Denomination:Roman Catholic
    Father:Peter Kindelan Mother:Mary McGorry Occupation:

    Sponsor 1 /
    Informant 1:Thomas Kindelan Sponsor 2 /
    Informant 2:Judy Kindelan  

    From 1835-1845 there are 26 baptisms for the name starting with a K.  

    The name also features strongly in the Carrickmacross area of Co. Monaghan on  

    I also looked at grave transcriptions for Knockbride East but did not find any that would suit, they may be buried in Drumgoon Old graveyard but many of the headstones in both places are badly weathered, unreadeable or even missing.

    I hope this has given you a renewed focus on Co. Cavan.  

    Regards Carmel







    Bailieborough Cavan

    Wednesday 9th May 2018, 11:12PM
  • Thank you, Carmel. So nice of you to help. I think the 1901 Census may be too late. My 2nd-great grandfather died in the 1870s, and his children all came to America in the mid-1800s. But I will take your advice and look in the Drumgoon Old graveyard when I get to Cavan in a week. In the U.S. it has been spelled Quinlan, so maybe the name got changed through immigration paperwork here. That happened with another great-grandfather of mine.


    Friday 11th May 2018, 03:36PM

    Dear MG,  

    Regarding Drumgoon Old Graveyard, I was able to look at its transcriptions on,  I checked Moybologue also unfortunately there were no suitable listings for your family.  Have a good journey.  Regards Carmel


    Bailieborough Cavan

    Saturday 12th May 2018, 10:14PM
  • Hi MG,

    Hope your trip to Ireland was wonderful. It looks like we may be researching the same family. My great great grandparents were Thomas and Ellen Connelly Quinlan  from Co. Cavan Ireland,  My father was William Thomas Quinlan 1911-2002, grandfather was Michael Patrick Quinlan 1884-1962 and great grandfather Thomas Quinlan 1844-1914, who came to US in 1869. One of our sons is going to Ireland in Sept. and would like to visit the area of Co. Cavan that the Quinlans were from. Can you help me with any information?


    Thursday 9th August 2018, 04:25AM