Sunday, 7 December 2008

William Condron of HMS Strafford

The oldest CONDR*N document of which I have a copy is the will of William Condron, dated 1744:

I William Condron Mariner now belonging to his Majesty's Ship Strafford being of sound and disposing Mind and Memory, do hereby make this my last Will and Testament. ...[A]s for such worldly Estate and Effects which I shall be possessed of or intitled unto at the Time of my Decease, I give and bequeath the same as followeth that is to say unto my loving Friend Ann Grafton of Portsmouth in the county of Hants. All such Wages Sum and Sums of Money Goods Chattles Estate Rights and Credits whatsoever that I shall be possessor of at the time of my Decease I give and bequeath to the said Ann Grafton her Heirs Executors Administrators and Assigns. And I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint the said Ann Grafton sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament. ... In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twentieth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred and forty four and in the eighteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second ... .

Does anyone have any older CONDR*N documents?

The oldest CONDR*N events in my database are a marriage and christening in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, in 1578: Ann, daughter of John CONDRON, christened on 24 August; and John CONDRON marrying Katheren HEWETT on 16 November of the same year. Both of these are from the International Genealogical Index (IGI).

The next oldest events, over 100 years later in Dublin and also from the IGI, are at St Michan's, Dublin: the marriage of Robert CONDRAN and Mary CARLETON on 31 July 1695, and the christening of their son Richard on 31 August 1697.

Does anyone know of any older CONDR*N events?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

CONDRANs of Nova Scotia

I'm grateful to Darrell Condran of Nova Scotia, Canada, administrator of the Condran Clan group on Facebook, for permission to share this picture of Condran's Grocery in Woodside, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. John Condran, who was Darrell's ggg-grandfather, was one of the original settlers of Woodside, Dartmouth, in the mid-nineteenth century. There have been CONDRANs in Nova Scotia ever since. The store in Woodside was founded by Darrell's g-grandfather. Darrell took the picture about 30 years ago, since which the store has been demolished.

The Condran Clan group connects Condrans from across the world, including Australia, Canada and the USA. If you are a Condran I encourage you to go and find the group on Facebook!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

John CONDRON strikes it rich

This item from The Evening Post (Wellington, New Zealand), Monday December 31, 1906

Striking It Rich
The Poseidon Rush

Outlying the main Poseidon rush, and almost on the eastern outskirts of the pegged-in ground is situated the claim in which the 960oz nugget was recently unearthed within 2ft of the surface. The story of the acquirement of the lease by the four partners is one of romance (writes a special representative of the Argus). Scarcely five weeks ago two Newbridge miners, John Condron and Samuel Woodall, walked to Poseidon. They pegged out adjacent claims on the easterly limits of the rush, and then decided to amalgamate their interests. George Brooks, who had previously worked as a mate with Condron, joined the party, but still no success was met with. About three weeks ago Robert Woods, a Woodstock resident, who follows mining at Bendigo, purchased a one-sixth share in the claim from Condron and Brooks for £5, but after three days' work he said he would rather go back to a regular job, and he sold his share to a new-comer, Frederick Eva, for £2 10s. That share is now worth £500. Condron and party continued work, and they sent about 17 loads to the puddling machine, for the return of 28dwt of gold. Then the lucky day arrived. At half-past 3 on Tuesday afternoon, when all attention was centred in the discovery of a 373oz nugget by Williamson and Stevenson, in an adjoining claim, Woodall started to pick from the surface. At a depth of 15in his pick struck a hard substance, and he beckoned to Condron. "There's something here, Jack," he exclaimed. "Stand behind me." Condron did so, and when Woodall placed the point of his pick underneath the surface the nugget rolled out on to the bottom at their feet. Condron, as he lifted the gold, exclaimed, "Oh, here's a beauty!" but Woodall simply stared at the treasure speechless. Then the crowd gathered. The nugget was embedded in dark dry clay, and as it fell from its bed it weighed 97lb avirdupois. It measured 15in in length, about 7in across, and had a thickness of from 4in to 5in. According to its size, it should have weighed more than it did, and it was evident that it contained a fair proportion of quartz.

The Poseidon gold rush took place in central Victoria, Australia, between 1906 and about 1912. The above article was found on the New Zealand website, PapersPast ( I have no knowledge at present of what happened to John Condron and his new-found wealth: if you do, please let me know!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

CONDRON ancestor pictures?

Does anyone have pictures of their CONDR*N ancestors from the 19th or early 20th century? If so, I would be delighted to feature them in this blog with some biographical detail of the ancestor. Please email me at and share with the rest of us the pictures of your CONDR*N ancestors.

CONDRON brush-makers of North London

Today I feature a CONDRON family in 19th century North London. These CONDRONs were brush-makers for at least two generations. One of them (probably Richard CONDRON, see below) was interviewed on 12 September 1893 about conditions in the brush-making trade: the interview (of which I have a copy) can be found in the collection of social reformer Charles Booth (pictured left) in the library of the London School of Economics. The patriarch of this family was Thomas CONDRON, brush-maker, who was born in Blackfriars, Surrey (UK) in c.1809 and died in the St Pancras district of North London in 1858. He married Charlotte BARRETT and they had three children of whom I am aware: Thomas William (b. c.1834), Richard (b. c.1835) and Charlotte (b. 1843). Charlotte married a Charles DUTTON in Islington in 1861. The brothers were both brush-makers. Thomas married Mary Ann BRAY in Islington in 1861, and died in Islington in 1908: the family are to be found in Wedmore Street in the 1891 census and not far away in Hargrave Park ten years later. Richard and his wife Sarah are found in Offord Road in 1891 and in Thornhill Crescent in the 1901 census. Both are close to the Caledonian Road in North London, which is apparently where the Mr Condron interviewed by Charles Booth had his premises. Mr Condron made "fancy work": hair brushes, clothes brushes and hat brushes. It is evident that by the 1890s times were not so easy for the English brush-making trade: the good times were the 1870s in the aftermath of the Franco-German war when those two nations were struggling to recover from the dislocation of their trade.
I have more extensive information about this family into the twentieth century if any members of the family wish to contact me off-line.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

End of summer

This blog has been inactive over the summer, but I have been adding sporadically to my database of CONDR*N records and had a very enjoyable trip to Ireland a two weeks ago, visiting Co. Offaly for a couple of days and doing some extraction of CONDR*N records in the National Library of Ireland and General Register Office in Dublin for a couple of days prior to that. In Tullamore, Co. Offaly, I was even able to pop in to the Condron Concrete Works!

I was asked recently whether I am also interested in the name CONDERN. This is a new one to me, but the answer is yes! At present I am capturing all records of surnames COND*R*N (where * is a wildcard representing 0 or more characters), since I believe these names were probably used and recorded somewhat interchangeably. I realise that our CONDR*N forbears may also have dropped the "D" so in the future intend to collect CON(D)*R*N (so including CONRAN and CONRON) though this is on the back-burner for now.

Similar names that I am NOT studying include CONDON, CONDROY, CONDROW, CONDRY, CORCORAN as I don't believe them to be connected (though occasionally they may arise through transcription errors).

The Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF) has continued to add to its online indices of records (see my blog of 5 April 2008) which is great. Various counties now have indices to extant census records as well as to parish records. The records from Irish Midlands Ancestry for Cos Offaly and Leix (King's and Queen's Counties) are not yet online, but I had a very encouraging conversation with someone in the centre at Tullamore when I popped in while I was in Co. Offaly. He said that the parish records have all now been prepared for uploading and could appear in "as little as a few weeks" or longer: it now depends only on the paperwork being sorted out with the IFHF. This is good news and I hope that the IFHF and Irish Midlands Ancestry will now get the records online very soon.

Monday, 5 May 2008

CONDR*Ns in the Proceedings of the Old Bailey

The historical records of proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, which have recently gone on-line at, reveal a few CONDRENs and CONDRONs who paid dearly for breaking the law.

1726 December 7 James COWDON alias CONDRON Theft - grand larceny
James Cowdon, alias Condron , was indicted for stealing a Fustian Frock, Value 10 Shillings, a Wig 7 Shillings, a pair of Shoes 3 Shillings, a Leather Apron and 2 Linnen Handkerchiefs , Oct. 29 .
John Baxter depos'd. That he found the Goods upon the Prisoner in Clement's Lane in Clare-Market, the Sunday was Sev'night after.
The Prisoner said he was sorry for it, and intended to bring the Goods again. The Jury found him guilty to the Value of 10d.
Punishment: Transported.

1748 July 6 Thomas CONDRON Theft - receiving
Catharine Bourne was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Simpson , about the hour of two in the night, and stealing two silver spoons, a ham of bacon, a table-cloth, two pewter dishes, and one hundred and eight glass bottles, the property of William Simpson , in his dwelling-house. Thomas Condron was indicted for receiving a ham of bacon, and two pewter plates, part of the said goods, knowing them to be stolen , June 12 .
Punishment: Thomas CONDRON was sentenced to be transported for 14 years.

1831 October 21 John CONDREN Theft - stealing from master.
JOHN CONDREN was indicted for stealing, on the 29th of September , two 100l. Bank notes, and an order for payment of 30l. , the property of John Phillips Beavan , his master.
MR. JOHN PHILLIPS BEAVAN . I am a solicitor , and live in Sackville-street - the prisoner was in my service as porter for about eight months. On Thursday, the 29th of September, I gave him two 100l. Bank notes and a cheque for 30l.; I desired him to leave the two 100l. notes at my bankers, Sir C. Scott and Co., and to bring me the money for the cheque - he did not return; I found him in custody at Liverpool on the following Monday; when I went into the room I said."I am sorry to see you in this situation: you are the last man in the world I should suppose would be guilty of such conduct" - he said he was very sorry for it, that it was the first time he had ever committed a wrong act, and he said a 100l. note which was found on him was mine also one hundred and three sovereigns, which he said he got in exchange for the other 100l. note and the cheque- I have recovered 203l.
Cross-examined by MR. PHILLIPS. Q. You believe it is his first offence? A. Yes - he bore an excellent character from several masters with whom he lived many years- he could have robbed me of 700l. the day before.
JOHN McCOMB . I am an officer of Liverpool. I apprehended the prisoner - Mr. Beavan's evidence is correct.
GUILTY . Aged 27.
Strongly recommended to Mercy by the Prosecutor and Jury.
Punishment: Transported for 7 years.

1887 April 25 George Stratford CONDREN Theft - mail theft
GEORGE STRATFORD CONDREN (22) PLEADED GUILTY to three indictments for stealing while employed in the Post-office three letters containing orders for the payment of money, the property of Her Majesty's Postmaster-General, also to four indictments for forging and uttering receipts to the said orders.
Punishment: 5 years' penal servitude.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

A big welcome to the IFHF on-line genealogy databases

I am delighted that the Irish Family History Foundation has made a major step towards making searchable parish records for the whole of Ireland available through the Irish Genealogical Online Record Search System. This will surely revolutionise genealogical research for Ireland.

So far, records are online ( for 19 of the counties of Ireland: Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Cork (north), Down, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Roscommon, Tipperary, Tyrone and Westmeath. Those for Donegal, Sligo and Wicklow are "coming soon", whilst for 10 counties plus Cork (south) and Dublin City there are no indications of when yet they will become available online: Carlow, Clare, Derry, Kerry, Laoise, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Waterford and Wexford.

This development by the IFHF is a far-sighted one. I am sure that by making it much easier and more efficient for individuals to search their indexes online for free and then obtain selected full records also online for a reasonable fee, they will greatly promote Irish genealogical research and increase the income of the member organisations of the IFHF.

For the most part the records cover the nineteenth century. In the county records so far available I have found 673 CONDR*N baptisms and 278 marriages, plus a few dozens of births, deaths and burials records. Of these, the counties with the most occurences of these names are Dublin, Kildare and Westmeath.

As the CONDR*Ns originate in the heartlands of Offaly (King's County) and Laoise (Queen's County), it is a slight regret that these two counties are not amonst those already online. It is very much to be hoped that Irish Midlands Ancestry, who hold the records for Offaly and Laoise, will engage with this initiative and put their records online in the near future.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Surname challenge

I have today added a downloadable list of all CONDRANs, CONDRENs and CONDRONs from Griffiths Valualtion of Ireland to the Condran One-Name Study website. Griffiths Valuation was the outcome of a survey by Sir Richard Griffiths, Ireland's Commissioner of Valuation. The survey was used to determine the amount of tax each person should pay. This involved determining the value of all privately held lands and buildings in rural as well as urban areas to figure the rate at which each unit of property could be rented year after year. The resulting survey was arranged by barony and civil parish with an index to the townlands appearing in each volume. Griffith's Valuation can be used as an excellent census substitute for the years after the Great Famine as censuses prior to 1901 were destroyed. These data from the index to Griffiths Valuation were extracted using the excellent site Unfortunately this site does not give all information that is available in Griffiths Valuation (in particular "description of tenement"). If anyone can tell me where on the web I can find these additional details, or if anyone can send those to me for the CONDR*Ns listed in Griffiths Valuation, I would be most grateful.

I had an email recently from Bill Conran of Reno, Nevada. Among several interesting pieces of information Bill shared with me was that a Philip CONRAN was mayor of Dublin in 1593. Bill asks whether my line been traced to a Conerain or O'Conerain founding father, and whether I have Church of Ireland or Quaker ancestors or were they Catholic? On the latter point, I don't know for my own ancestors but it is noteworthy that in the 1911 census of Dublin where religion is recorded all the CONDR*Ns are Roman Catholic. Of course, non-Catholics may have emigrated. It would be interesting to hear what religious faiths other people's CONDR*N ancestors were.

As for Bill's first question, for my own family line the answer is not as yet. But it's a very good question, so here's the Surname Challenge: has anyone out there with CONDRAN/CONDRON or CONRAN/CONRON forebears traced their line to a CONERAIN or O'CONERAIN ?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Changes in surnames

Surnames can and do change over the generations, meaning that some lateral thinking may be required to succeed in tracing our ancesters to earlier generations. This is well illustrated by Karen Conderan's family. I am grateful to Karen for sharing the following information. Karen's great-great-grandfather was John CONRAN of County Carlow, Ireland. John CONRAN's son Patrick emigrated to Canada. There his name appears under a variety of spellings in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century directory listings. Finally it appears as CONDERAN which it has been consistently since. Having run into a brick wall tracing her family back before Patrick, Karen was fortunate to find baptismal records for Patrick CONDERAN and his brother James showing CONRAN as the original spelling of their surname. So as Karen says, we should really consider all the possible variations in spelling - an extra letter after the D, and especially dropping the letter D - if we run into a dead end. It worked for her!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Origins of the CONDR*N surname

I'm grateful to Robert CONDRON for the following information on the origins of the CONDRAN, CONDRON etc. surname (posted to the CONDRON Rootsweb mailing list 31 Jan 2008):

The Irish surname Condron is patronymic in origin, being one of those names derived from the first name of the father. Thus the name means "son of Condron". The name finds its roots in the Irish surname O Conarain, the prefix "O" denoting one who is the descendent of or the grandson of Conarain, the personal name of the original bearer. The Irish name was then anglicized as Conron or Condron, the "O" being dropped, probably as it was a reminder to the bearer that he was one of a conquered nation. Condron is a relatively modern variant, as all known references to the name before 1700 take the forms Coneran, o'Conran and O'Coneran.

Families bearing this name originated in County Offaly, where the name was common and it was also popular in the adjoining counties of Leix and Kildare, as can be seen in the Ormond Deeds, the Tudor Fiants and Petty's "census". In Munster the surname is recorded, in the form Coneran, in the survey of County Fermanagh, made in 1603. There people bearing this name are mentioned as coarbs, that is the abbot or "heir" of the saintly founder, of the "parish church of the Mill" in the barony of Tirkennedy. However the surname has not survived there, as is has in Lenister. The place name Ballyconran in County Wexford suggests that there were once influential families bearing this name living there also.


One of the pleasures of genealogy is that one occasionally makes contact with hitherto unknown relatives. Hence it was a great pleasure recently to be contacted by Nick CONDRAN. It turns out that Nick CONDRAN's great-grandfather Ernest CONDRAN (b. 1893, Nottingham) and my grandfather Frank CONDRAN (b. 1890, Nottingham) were brothers. Nick tells me that of the small number of CONDRANs in England and Wales in 2002, 13 are descendants of or related by marriage to descendants of Ernest CONDRAN.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

CONDRAN website goes live

The new site for CONDRAN One-Name Study information (including
of course CONDREN, CONDRIN, CONDRON) is now live at .
I hope to develop the pages to include links relevant to these names, downloadable material such as census listings and family histories, surname distribution maps, and other material on individuals and families with these names that people want to see or contribute.

Michael Thompson
condran[AT] (replace [AT] with @)

Saturday, 12 January 2008

CONDRAN profile page created at Guild of One-Name Studies

The Guild of One-Name Studies ( hosts pages profiling the names studied by members. I have just created a profile page for the CONDRAN One-Name Study: it is available at . This will be updated from time to time as the study progresses. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Rarity and possible geographical origins

The surnames CONDRAN/CONDREN/CONDRIN/CONDRON are uncommon. In the 1881 census of England and Wales there are 189 people in total with these names (CONDRAN:29, CONDREN:29, CONDRIN:2, CONDRON:129), with a further 33 in the 1881 census of Scotland (CONDRAN:3, CONDREN:3, CONDRIN:9, CONDRON:18). An extract of an Office of National Statistics database of surnames in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann in September 2002 ( indicates just over 1000 people with these names, as follows: CONDRAN:21, CONDREN:202, CONDRON:839. In 2002 this makes CONDRON the 7590th most common name in the UK, with CONDRAN and CONDREN being much rarer still (87652th and 21183th respectively).

It seems likely that most if not all lineages of people with these names link back originally to Ireland. Although not a definite indication of ultimate origins, the distribution of householders with the name CONDRON and variants in the Griffiths Valuation of Ireland 1848-1864 is suggestive. The names CONDRAN/CONDREN/CONDRIN/CONDRON are uncommon even in Ireland. In the Griffiths Valuation of Ireland index ( there are only 132 heads of household with these names. Of these, 33 are in County Laois (also known as Leix, formerly Queens County) and 25 in County Offaly (formerly Kings County), suggesting that the names perhaps originate in this central midlands area of Ireland. The next highest aggregations of people with these names are 22 in Dublin (County and City) and 18 in County Kildare. It would be natural for there to have been a migration from the provinces towards Dublin, and Kildare is situated directly between Dublin and the counties of Offaly and Laois.