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I am tracing the origins of my GGF John Nolan, DOB abt. 1820. Emigrated to US in late 1840's, Bought a farm in Rock County WI in 1850. Married Annie Reilly from County Mayo and raised 6 children.

Their oldest child was his son, John Edward, my GF. My working hunch is that he may have come from Ahapouleen/Ballynacourty. This is based entirely on the Griffith's data showing both a John AND an Edward Nolan residing in close proximity in Ahapouleen during the Griffith's Valuation. My working assumption is that John and Edward were related - brothers perhaps.

I also have a John Nolan sailing from the Port of Galway on the Sarah Milledge and arriving in New York May 13, 1848. I have yet to confirm that John was mine.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.




Monday 22nd Feb 2016, 03:34PM

Message Board Replies

  • noleoni:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    Do you have any other information which points to Ballynacourty parish? The Griffiths was taken around 1855/1856 in Galway and the father of the John who emigrated to Wisconsin may have been deceased by then and also his first name may not have been John or Edward.

    Do you have the death record for the 1820 John and does it show parents names?

    Have you considered autosomal DNA testing? Possibly you would match someone who has more info on your Nolan line.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 22nd Feb 2016, 04:17PM
  • Roger - Thanks for your prompt reply. My interest in Ballynacorty was due to the fact that there was an Edward along with a John. That was the only townland/parish, based on the Griffith valuation, where that was the case. Perhaps I am basing  too much on Irish naming patterns, but the fact that his first born son carried both his first name and a middle name of Edward was of some significance. Middle names were just becoming more common about that time.

    His DOD was 08/09/1879. I have yet to find any record of his death either in administrative records of news paper obit's. I don't even know his place of burial. His wife Annie is buried alone in the Catholic cemetery in the city where she lived after she sold the farm. My thinking is that when John died, he may have been buried on the farm.

    I will at some point do the DNA testing. One other thought - Are there any "Emmigration Records" that may exist for those who left from the Port of Galway in the mid 1800's?

    Again, my sincere thanks for your response and interest in this search.


    Jim Nolan



    Monday 22nd Feb 2016, 06:06PM
  • Jim:

    I'm not aware of emigration records from Galway city.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Tuesday 23rd Feb 2016, 05:20PM
  • Hi Jim,

    My name is Joe Nolan I have been doing research on my ancestors and I stumbled across your post.

    Where in the world are you? I'm still in Galway minutes away from Ahapouleen my Grandmother recently passed away, she was the last of the Berminghams (she married Martin Nolan) she was also still living in the cottage in Ahapouleen that the original Nolans came from.

    I wanted to find out the age of the cottage and then started digging further into the lives of the Original Nolans I'm 7th generation from them and my sons are 8th.

    Joseph Nolan

    Wednesday 13th Apr 2022, 06:48PM
  • Hey Joe Nolan – Thanks for reaching out! To answer your first question, I am in Hartland Wisconsin, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. Since my last post on this board, I have discovered a family tree on my Aunt’s that suggests GGF my John Nolan was from County Meath. Until then I was operating on the oral evidence he was from County Galway. So lets just say, since then I have been operating in a suspended state of confusion!


    As I recall from the Griffith’s data from the mid 1800’s, John and Edward were farming in the approximate area of Ahapouleen. Given their ages I just assumed they were brothers. Also, given the fact that my GGF’s first born son was named “John Edward,” I took this a find that needed to be pursued. I would also be interested to know if any of these lines emigrated to the US in the mid-1800’s.


    I am sorry for the loss of your GM. Hopefully you were able to tap into her knowledge of family history before she passed. Do you know if you descended from either the John or Edward lines? Have you done any DNA testing? I have done the Y-111 test and is posted on the Nolan group site at the Family Tree DNA site.


    On a personal note, my wife and I spent two fabulous weeks in Ireland in 2015 – three nights in the Galway area. The entire trip was beyond words, but our Galway experience was at the top! We have been hoping to get back, but this whole COVID deal has made planning tough.


    I am on Facebook and a member of the Galway West group, as well as County Galway and Meath groups. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of any help. I have been at this genealogy game far too long. John Nolan has been the biggest wall I have hit. Good luck with your efforts.


    Thanks again Joe! (FYI – I have both an uncle and oldest brother Joe!)



    Friday 15th Apr 2022, 01:34PM
  • Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Fair play for doing all your research. This is the first time I've looked into our family history it's very interesting.

    I had 2 main questions the first 1 being is there any way to go back further than the 1855 Griffith's data? I mainly started this search to find out how old the cottage is in Ahapouleen I'm in a position to buy the cottage and live in it myself now which is very exciting.

    My other questions was about something you said about John Nolan leaving for America and having 6 kids but then you say "I am tracing the origins of my GGF John Nolan, DOB abt. 1820. Emigrated to US in late 1840's, Bought a farm in Rock County WI in 1850. Married Annie Reilly from County Mayo and raised 6 children.

    Their oldest child was his son, John Edward, my GF. My working hunch is that he may have come from Ahapouleen/Ballynacourty."

    Do you think their oldest son John and his brother moved back to Ahapouleen?

    I still haven't found out who was my GGGGF
    But I think it was Edward as there are 2 more Edwards along the line after that but no John's ( that's just a hunch based on naming kids after their grandparents)

    There is a portrait painting of Thomas hanging in the parlour of the cottage. He would have been John or Edwards's son it's a straight line from there to me.

    Have you any relation to the Galway Nolans or did you find they came from Meath after all?

    Joseph Nolan

    Tuesday 19th Apr 2022, 08:21AM
  • Hi Joe - So many questions, so few answers. Welcome to Irish Family research! Besides Griffith, there are the Catholic Qualification rolls.

    Right now, until I can find definitive evidence, I am researching both Counties Galway and Meath for my GGF John. My GF John Edward was the Oldest son, the second of six children. John Nolan never went back to Ireland.

    That is exciting news about you buying the cottage. I grew up in the old Nolan homestead that was built by my grandparents in 1895 in Janesville WI. My Dad grew up there and my parents bought it when my GM went into a nursing home. My father was the youngest of 8 children and I was the youngest of his 4 kids.

    FYI, The West Galway Facebook site is very active and the members are very helpful. Linda Keohane is the administrator and is a great resource.

    Good luck with the cottage. I would love to see a photo of the portrait of Thomas that hangs on the wall.

    Any Q's - let me know.


    Jim Nolan




    Monday 25th Apr 2022, 06:39PM
  • Hi Jim,

    Thanks for all your help I'm still doing a bit more research but I think I've gone back as far as I can.

    I took a picture of the portrait of Thomas but I don't see any place to add photos on this board if you want to give me your email I can send it to you that way?

    Kind regards,


    Joseph Nolan

    Wednesday 1st Jun 2022, 11:18AM
  • Hey Joe - Jim Nolan here.

    Sorry for the time lapse. I wanted to connect to see how your search was going? I would love to see a picture of Thomas, but a bit hesitant to post my email address on a public board. Wondering if you are on Facebook? If so I could send you a private message.  so let me know and we can connect.


    Thanks, Jim Nolan



    Wednesday 9th Nov 2022, 06:22PM
  • Hi Jim,


    Good to hear from you again

     This is my Facebook if you want to contact me feel free. I tried to add the picture but I'm not allowed.




    Friday 10th Feb 2023, 11:23PM
  • Hi Joe - Just sent you a Private Message on Facebook with my FB info andmy EMail address. Give them a try and see if they work.


    Saturday 11th Feb 2023, 04:53PM

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