Anyone who is trying to research their Irish heritage knows the challenges it brings. Census records are few and far between; destroyed by either war or by the Irish government themselves. Vital records documentation did not become mandatory in Ireland until 1864, so anything that happened before that time may or may not have been recorded in a manner that may or may not have been preserved.
I hope that anyone who has a connection to any of the information on this page--no matter how small!!--will please get in touch with me. We may be able to help each other!
I also have two sites that are worth looking into if you are doing Irish research. Both of them are free to use:
The Irish Genealogy Toolkit- The webmaster of this useful site has lots of tips, tricks and tools to help your Irish research along. The site is easy to navigate and understand. I think you'll find it very useful.
RootsChat- This is an interactive message board that is free to join. Once you've joined, you can post your genealogy question, brick wall, etc in a post that all the members can see and, hopefully, give you a hand with it. The members of this board are primarily in the UK, so they are an excellent resource. I, for example, thought the name of the place my Ryan clan came from was spelled Barse. A member of RootsChat pointed out that it was probably Barroe, and then sent me a link to a Griffith's Valuation for that place that had my ancestor's name in it. That was a huge help. You can have alerts sent to your e-mail so you know when someone has responded to your post. Private messaging is available in case you want to speak with a fellow researcher privately. There is also a live chat option. The folks there are friendly and quick to try and make a new member feel at home.
In his son William's marriage record, John is identified as Charles; but the same William's death record lists him as John. There are no census records for Charles Gibbons, but there are for John.1,3
According to census records, John and Mary were from Ireland; he born there about 1801 and she about 1815. John and Mary's time of arrival in Nova Scotia is unknown; it is also not known if they arrived together or met and married after arriving in the colony separately.1,2
In 1838, the couple lived in Halifax City. John was employed as a servant. He had 1 male under age 6, one male under age 14 and two females over age 14--for a total of 5 in his household.2
The 1851 Nova Scotia census shows John Gibbons living on Buckingham Street (which I believe no longer exists). He has 4 males under age 10, 1 male between age 10-20, 1 female between age 40-50, and one male over 50--for a total of 7 in his house. Two of those living in his house are married, and the family is Catholic.1
The 1861 census was pretty stark; they only wanted a count of males and females in the house. There were 6 males and 1 female in John Gibbons' household for a total of 7.1
In 1871, the census gave a bit more detail. We find the following:John Gibbons- 70 year old male born in Ireland. He is a married Catholic. It is assumed that he is retired due to his age and the fact that there is no occupation listed for him.I didn't expect to find much in the 1881 census with old John's age. But....
Mary Gibbons- 58 year old female born in Ireland. She is a married Catholic.
James Gibbons- 22 year old male born in Nova Scotia. He is a single Catholic with no occupation listed.2Assuming that all of the young folks listed in the households were actually their children, John and Mary had 1 daughter and 6 sons by my calculations. But numbers are not my forte, so I could be wrong here. I only have names for two of them:
John Gibbons- 80 year old male born in Ireland. He is a married Catholic. And he appears to be a milkman--although the occupation is hard to read.
Mary Gibbons- 66 year old female born in Ireland. She is a married Catholic.
James Gibbons- 38 year old male born in Nova Scotia. He is a single Catholic and employed as a painter.2James- I'm guessing he was born about 1843 in Nova Scotia. If he married, he did so after 1881. He was a painter.By 1891, John and Mary had disappeared from the census records, as had James.
William GIBBONS - Martha MAILMAN
William Gibbons was born about 1845 in Mill Village, Queens County, Nova Scotia, Canada. He was the son of John and Mary. William was a carriage maker by trade.3
On 30 June 1868, by license of the Church of England, William married Martha Mailman in Charleston, Queens County, Nova Scotia, Canada; a ceremony witnessed by Albert and Dorcas Godfrey.3
Martha was born in Charleston, Queens Co., Nova Scotia on 9 February 1850. Her baptism took place at Trinity Angelican Church in Liverpool, Queens Co., Nova Scotia on 29 September 1852. Her parents were William & Isabella MEHLMAN.4
William and Martha had the following known children:
Mary Isabelle- Born about March 1869 in Nova Scotia. Married salesman Robert W. Fay, son of Charles W. and Henrietta Weston on 23 November 1910 in Boston. By 1914, they were living in Winthrop, Mass. No death details are known.1,7,9
William- Born 31 March 1874 in Mill Village, Queens Co., Nova Scotia. He was not named at birth; his name was revealed in the 1881 census. William was a bookbinder by trade. On 13 October 1897, William became an American citizen. His death details are unknown.1,3,6,8
Gertrude Martha- Born Born June 24, 1875 in Mill Village; and died 18 December 1904 in Boston of pulmonary tuberculosis. Her funeral was held at 70 Trenton Street in Boston on 21 December. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, Massachusetts.3,7,9
Frank- Born January 1880 in Nova Scotia. He was employed as a clerk in 1903.1,6
Anna P.- Born about 1885 in Canada. In 1914, she was married to a man whose last name was Gallagher and was living in East Boston.1,7
At some point, William and Martha decided to move their family to Boston, Massachusetts. To accomplish this, William went to Boston alone in April 1892; presumably to secure employment and a place to live. There are two possible ships for our William to have sailed on:The ship "Boston", which left Nova Scotia on 21 April 1892, shows a William Gibbons on its passenger list. He travels alone. His original place of departure, however is England; not Nova Scotia. I have no evidence as of yet that our William traveled to England before landing in Boston.William apparently wasted no time in getting things in order once he arrived in Boston; for on 21 August, his wife and children Gertie, Frank, and Annie came sailing into Boston Harbor on board the schooner "Dexter". The notation on the passenger list brings a smile to ones face:
The ship "Yarmouth" sailed from Nova Scotia on 14 April 1892. On this vessel is a "W Gibbon" whose port of departure is Nova Scotia. I tend to believe that the latter record is our William. Either way, the time frame is the same--April 1892.
"Husband in East Boston paid their passage, was on the wharf to meet them."
If you are like me, you can envision William, anxiously waiting at the wharf; his heart leaping at the sight of the boat and a huge grin splitting what I imagine a wide Irish face when he catches sight of his family. The speed with which he secured employment as a wheelwright and earned the money for a place to live and the passages for his family to join him, coupled with his obvious delight at their arrival, tells me that William was a man who loved his family dearly.5,6
The children that arrived with Martha in August of 1892 were the couple's three youngest. What of their three oldest? Obviously, they also came to Boston; city directories and vital records bear this out. As of yet, however, they have not been located on passenger lists.
The domestic bliss of the Gibbons family would be relatively short-lived, however. William Gibbons contracted otitis; his death record also mentions Chronic Brain Disease secondary to abcess or tumor. It is not known how long he suffered with the condition before his death on 28 July 1896 at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. He was 51 years old. The death record did not yield his place of burial.9
Martha was left a widow with an unmarried adult daughter and two minor children to support. She moves from the residence on Princeton Street that the family was living in at the time of William's death and from that time on is listed in city directories at 70 Trenton Street, which was also the Trinity Home for the Aged, according to Martha's death record. In 1900, three of her children also boarded there--which would probably not be possible if Martha was a mere resident of the home. I believe that Martha, with the help of her daughters, ran the old age home for the seventeen years that she survived her husband. It could not have been an easy life.6,9
Martha Mailman died at the Trinity Home for the Aged on Trenton Street on 25 September 1913 in East Boston. The obituary stated that her funeral was held from her "home" at 135 Huntington Ave., which does not make sense, but there it is. Martha was buried in Everett, Massachusetts at Woodlawn Cemetery.9,10
Francis "John" GIBBONS - Ellen Veronica RYAN
On 5 November 1871, a child who would be recorded for posterity as Francis was born to William Gibbons & Martha Mailman in Mill Village, Queens Co., Nova Scotia. But forever after, that same child would be known throughout his life as "John".
That he would have the name John would make perfect sense, as it fits the Irish pattern of naming children; the first son is always named after the father's father. And the father's father's name was John. But why the "Francis"? It could have been a recording error. He could have been named after St. Francis of Assisi; William Gibbons was Catholic. The answer is not known; it only known that Francis he was and John he became--and will be called from here on out.3,9
According to the 1910 census, John came to the U.S. in 1890. Around 1902, he became employed by the Independent Die Co. as a die finisher.
John married Nellie Ryan on 24 January 1903 in Lynn, Essex Co., Mass.1,9
Nellie had been born in March 1875 in Boston. The clerk of vital records either neglected to record the day of Nellie's birth or was not provided with the date; this also occurred when her older sister was born. She was written in the birth registers as Nellie, although she would formally use the name Ellen. Along the way she added a V for Veronica as middle initial.1,9
John and Nellie had three daughters:
Gertrude- Born 28 October 1903 in Lynn, Mass. and died October 19, 1923, 9 days short of her 20th birthday. Cause of death was a "long illness" according to her obituary. She was buried in Calvary Cemetery.1,7,9,15
Marion-Born 23 July 1907 in Brockton and died 19 July 1910, also in Brockton, of encephalitis. She rests in Calvary Cemetery.1,9,15
John Gibbbons died April 11, 1914 at 42 yrs, 5 months and 7 days old of Pulmonary Tuberculosis Con: Heart Syncope, according to his death certificate. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery. His obituary listed only two siblings; his sisters Isabella and Anna.7,9,15
Nellie Ryan died in Brockton on December 22, 1950 of pulmonary edema and myocardial infarction, per her death certificate. Nellie was also laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery. Her life had not been a very happy one. She had been 5 years old when her mother died and 15 years old when she lost her father. She lost two of her brothers in 1902 and the remaining one four years later. She lost a daughter and her husband before her 40th birthday; and lost another daughter six years later.1,9,7,15
This family lived on North Montello Street in Brockton in 1910, and at #15 Johnsons Court in 1920, also in Brockton. Nellie's only living child's life seemed to be as filled with sadness as her mother's--by the time Isabelle was 11 years old, she had lost her father and both of her sisters. It is not much wonder that she developed a tough exterior and didn't seem comfortable showing a lot of affection to those close to her.
You may notice that there is no section for the HENRY family. This is because there is nothing known about them past Patrick Ryan's wife. As soon as some information is uncovered about them, they will have their own section.
Patrick RYAN - Mary HENRY
Patrick Ryan was born about 1835 in Ireland. His parents were Thomas Ryan and Ellen (maiden name unknown). Patrick survived the Irish Potato Famine. In some of the records of the birth of his children, Patrick is listed as Charles; it is unknown if this was an error or if Charles was part of his name.1,9
Mary Henry was born around 1840, also in Ireland; she also survived the Famine. Her parents were Patrick Henry and Bridget (last name not known).1,9
It is unknown when or where the couple married. They had the following children:
Patrick J.- Born 5 March 1870 in Barroe, Lowpark, County Mayo, Ireland. Patrick, a teamster, married Annie Driscoll 23 November 1891 in Boston. She was the daughter of Michael and Mary Burns Driscoll. They had 6 children; 4 survived to adulthood. The eldest, Patrick Henry (b. 10 Oct. 1892), died at 2 months of age from a congenital bowel malformation 29 Dec. 1892. Their 4th child, Annie (b.16 May 1899) died at age 2 of measles and diptheria on 10 Dec. 1901 in Boston. Patrick J. Ryan died 28 November 1906 at his home at 310 Dover Street in Boston from pneumonia (from ether & exposure) secondary to severe indigestion; his baby Emily was but 5 months old. His burial took place at Mt. Benedict Cemetery on 30 November. His widow supported her family as a seamstress and went on to marry Fred Thorne. Upon her death in 1921, Annie was buried with Patrick at Mt. Benedict.1,9,11,12,14
Bridget- Born March 1872 in Boston, Massachusetts. The clerk in the Boston record office was either not provided a day of birth or else failed to record it, as the day is left blank. Sadly, little Bridget contracted cholera infantum and died on 27 August 1872. She was buried sometime in September in Mt. Benedict cemetery; according to the cemetery's records, Patrick Sr. purchased the plot on 11 September 1872.9,12
Thomas F.- Born 10 May 1873 in Boston. He was a laborer by trade. Thomas died of heart disease at the young age of 29 on 14 October 1902 in Boston. His death record shows that he was buried in Mt. Benedict. Thomas does not appear to have married or had any children.1,9
John J.- Born 28 November 1877 in Boston. He earned his living as a roofer. In 1902, John was living with his brother Patrick and his family. On 26 August 1902, John either fell or jumped off of Dover Street Bridge into the Fort Point Channel and drowned. He was buried at Mt. Benedict the next day.1,9,12
The year of the family's immigration to America is uncertain. In 1870, the Boston City Directory shows a Patrick Ryan, laborer, boarding with the Sullivan family at 16 Rochester Street in South Boston. Is it our Patrick? It's a very good chance, but I'm not 100% sure; there were a lot of Patrick Ryan's in Boston.6
The 1872 Boston City Directory does not show a Patrick on Rochester Street; but vital records show the family at 21 Rochester Street in 1872. Various records show the family at that address from 1873-1883.1,6,9
Mary Henry Ryan died at 21 Rochester St. on 22 August 1880 of consumption (tuberculosis) and an enlarged heart. She was laid to rest on 1 September at Mt. Benedict Cemetery in Boston.9,12
Patrick Ryan was remarried (according to his death record) and living at 28 Genessee Street in Boston when he died of pneumonia on 30 April 1890, at Boston's City Hospital. He was buried on 4 May in Mt. Benedict. The name of his second wife is not known.9,12
Rochester and Genessee Streets--along with Albany, Seneca, Oneida, Oswego and Troy--were part of the "New York Streets" project. These streets were eliminated in 1952 to make room for the Boston Herald; the Mass Pike/I-90/I-93 interchange is also located here. The project was considered the first of Boston's urban renewal projects. With the swing of a wrecking ball, 15 acres of city streets that housed a vibrant multi-cultural community was destroyed. The New York Streets exist only on old Boston city maps and in the memories of those still alive who lived there.....and called it home.13
On Oct. 25, 2001, I received a lovely e-mail from a gentleman named Vin Hayes who remembered Isabelle, or Lizzie, Gibbons as a baby-sitter for he and his sister back in the 1920's. He said this page brought back some good memories for him. Thank you, Vin; your e-mail certainly made my day!
I have also been fortunate enough to hear from Larry Noonan, who knew my father and his family and was even nice enough to assist me in doing some research--which I appreciated very much. I also heard from my father's very close friend from "back in the day"--a man that everyone called Shep. They were fortunate enough to make contact one more time before Dad passed away.
Honoring our Ancestors
Here is where the name John seems to come from; as well as Thomas and Gertrude. And Mary Ellen seems to be a combination of Isabelle and Ellen's names.
1. Census Records at Ancestry.
2. Nova Scotia GenWeb Project
3. Nova Scotia Historical Records
4. Lunenberg & Queens County BMD's (Don Shankle Collection).
5. Boston Passenger & Crew Lists at Ancestry.
6. Boston, MA City Directories.
7. Obituaries from Brockton Enterprise-Thank You to Sara and to Dad's friend, Larry Noonan.
8. U.S. Naturalization Record Index at Ancestry.
9. Copies of vital records from New England Historic Genealogical Society
10. Obituary from Boston Globe
11. Ireland vital records from LDS microfilm
12. The Roman Catholic Cemetery Association- records from Mt. Benedict Cemetery.
13. "New York Streets 1964" by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
14. Draft Registration Cards at Ancestry
15. Calvary Cemetery, Brockton, MA-courtesy of Larry Noonan-thank you again!
This page was updated May 2012. .
Noel Family of Brockton, MA by Jolynn Noel Winland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License
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