Thursday, 24 May 2012

Rooting for Jedward!

I admit I'm not a a great fan of the Eurovision Song Contest.  But CONDR*Ns everywhere will have reason to cheer on the Irish entry in the contest this Saturday, 26 May. For the second year in a row, Ireland will be represented by the pop duo Jedward. And Jedward (pictured above) - real names John and Edward GRIMES - are CONDRONs through their mother's side.

I don't generally blog about living CONDRONs, but as all the information here has been obtained from the web, I can say that the twins were born in October 1991 to parents John GRIMES and Susanna CONDRON. Their grandparents were Kevin and Susan CONDRON, of Lucan, and their mother Susanna is one of three sisters. Here's a picture of their granddad Kevin (front row, far right) and great-uncle Francie (front row, far left) as boys in Lucan in 1936 on making their first Holy Communion, according to the Lucan Newsletter.

If any family member, or anyone else, can tell me more about Jedward's CONDRON ancestry, I'd be interested to know.  There have been CONDRONs in Lucan - which is located west of Dublin, near the border between Co. Kildare and Co. Dublin - for more than two hundred years. According to the Lucan Newsletter, the CONDRON family came to Lucan as lock keepers of the 12th Lock on the Grand Canal in the 1750s, and generations of CONDRONs have been lock keepers there since: I plan to post a blog about this CONDRON line some time in the future. But whether the Jedward CONDRONs are related to the lock keepers I have yet to establish. Any further information on the Lucan CONDRONs would be gratefully received.

Good luck, Jedward!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

One hundred and eleven descendants of the Widnes CONDRONs

One of the largest CONDRON family trees that I have reconstructed in the UK contains many CONDRONs in Widnes and the northwest of England who are descendants of Patrick CONDRON (born about 1840 in County Wicklow, Ireland). Patrick and his wife, Bridget HAYES, have at least 111 descendants who bear the CONDRON name by birth (rather than by marriage), including their six children, 23 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, 30 great-great-grandchildren and 28 3xgreat-grandchildren (that I know of).

John Hutchinson founded an alkali factory in Widnes in 1847
Patrick and Bridget probably got married in Ireland, since their first daughter Mary Ann was born in Dublin, but I have not yet located their marriage (can you help me?). In the 1871 census the family is living in Windle, near St Helens in the historic county of Lancashire. By the time of the 1881 census, the family had moved some ten miles south to Widnes. Patrick and at least four of his five sons worked as alkali factory (or chemical factory) workers in Widnes. They may well have worked at the alkali factory founded by John Hutchinson (pictured) which was situated near where the Sankey canal joins the River Mersey in Widnes. The alkali factory is likely to have produced caustic soda and caustic potash, used in many commercial applications including soap-making.

 Patrick and Bridget's children were Mary Ann (born about 1863, who married Thomas WELSH in 1884), Richard (1867), John (1870), Thomas (1873), Patrick (1875) and James (1879).

Richard (1867) married Jane SLATER in 1900. Jane died in 1906 and he then married Ellen SLATER - Jane's sister, perhaps? - in 1915. Richard had children Mary Ann (1900), Ellen, Jane, Alice, Thomas, John, Anthony and Philip.

John (1870) married Mary O'CONNOR in 1896. They had children Michael (1897), Sarah (1899), John (1900), Mary (1903) and Frances (1905).

Patrick (1875) married Margaret GLEAVE in 1898. They had children Thomas (1899), Margaret (1902), Martha (1904), Eileen (1906), James (1910), Sarah (1912), Lilian, Alan, Francis and Cyril. Patrick and Margaret gave rise to quite a number of Widnes CONDRONs today, in particular through their son Thomas (1899) who married Jessie GLOVER.

I have omitted birth dates which occurred less than 100 years ago. I can though share further details with any descendants of Patrick and Bridget who contact me.  As usual, I’d be grateful for any further information or corrections. Email condran[AT]  .

Most dates above should be read as “about …”: they could be off by a year – for example, if a birth was registered in the first quarter of 1897, it could have occurred in late 1896 or early 1897.

I’m grateful to Gemma Condron for sharing Patrick (1875)’s birth certificate via this is the source for Bridget’s surname as HAYES.

Friday, 11 May 2012

What's in a Place Name?

The places in Ireland some of our CONDR*N ancestors came from have such evocative names.  Many times, the place name is an anglicized version of the Gaelic, which is descriptive of the place's physical geography, topography or history.

For example, Tullamore in County Offaly (King's County) comes from the Gaelic Tulach Mhór, meaning Big hill.  Tulach means hill, and Mhór or Mór means big.

Dublin is an anglicized version of Dubh Linn, meaning Black pool.  Dubh means black and Linn means pool.  In this case, as can be seen from the road signs pictured above, the modern Gaelic name is different: the modern Gaelic name for Dublin is Baile Átha Cliath (or just Áth Cliath), meaning Town of the hurdled ford.

And some place names in English and Gaelic are straight translations of one another.  So in the picture above, the names Blackrock and Carraig Dhubh are literal translations of one another (Carraig = rock, and Dhubh or Dubh = black).

Some place names are even older, and derive from the Norse name.  For example, Arklow in County Wicklow comes from the Norse meaning Arnkell’s meadow.

Here are some places that CONDR*Ns come from, their Gaelic names, and their meaning.

  • Athlone (Westmeath), Átha Luain, Luan’s ford
  • Ballylynan (Queen’s Co.), Baile Uí Laigheanáin, O Laigheanan’s homestead
  • Clogh (Kilkenny), Cloch, Stone castle
  • Cloghan (King’s Co.), Clochán, Stony place
  • Clonmacnoise (King’s Co.), Cluain Mhic Nóis, Pasture of the descendants of Noas
  • Clonmore (Carlow), Cluain Mhór, Large pasture
  • Donaghmore (Wicklow), Domhnach Mór, Big church
  • Kilbeggan (Westmeath), Cill Bheagáin, Beagan’s church
  • Rahan (King’s Co.), Raithean, Ferny place
  • Rathdrum (Wicklow), Ráth Droma, Fort of the ridge
  • Screggan (King’s Co.), Screagán, Rough place
  • Shandrum (Cork), Seandroma, Old fort
  • Stradbally (Queen’s Co.), Sráidbhaile, Street-town
  • Tubber (King’s Co.), Tobar, Well
  • Tullamore (King’s Co.), Tulach Mhór, Big hill

My source for this information is the book, “Irish Place Names”, by Deirdre and Laurence Flanagan.  If there are any other Irish place names you’d like to know the meaning of, let me know – I’ll do my best!  Email condran[AT]

Friday, 4 May 2012

Michael CONDRAN of Ellalong, Wollombi

Panorama near Ellalong, NSW.  © Stuart Johnson
In my last blog post I said that newspapers are a great resource. Their announcements can provide extra detail and corroborative evidence of information from other sources.

Here then for those researching Michael CONDRAN of Ellalong, Wollombi (born about 1812, and patriarch of many present-day CONDRANs in New South Wales) and his descendants are some snippets from The Sydney Morning Herald (unless stated otherwise) between 1880 and 1910.

28 August 1880 - MARRIAGES, in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser
DOYLE-CONDRAN.-July 23, at St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney by the Rev. Father Ryan, Michael Doyle, of the Star Hotel, to Katie, fifth daughter of Michael Condran, Ellalong, Wollombi.

23 August 1884 - MARRIAGES
BARDSLEY--CONDRAN. -August 19, at St. Mary's Cathedral,   by the Rev. Dean Mahoney, Robert Bardsley, of Chapel-on-le-Frith, Derbyshire, England, to Mary Ann (Annie), second daughter of the late Michael Condran, Ellalong, Wollombi.

30 April 1887 - MARRIAGES (also in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser on 16 April)
FERGUSON-CONDRAN,-April 12th, at St, Michael's, by the Rev. Father Coue, John A. Ferguson, of Sydney, to Victoria Elizabeth, sixth daughter of the late M. C. Condran, of Wollombi.

4 May 1895 - DEATHS
CAZEAU.-March 16, at Sydney, late of Marrickville, after a long and painful illness, Frederic, dearly-beloved husband of Julia Alice Cazeau, and son-in-law of the late M. Condran, Ellalong, Wollombi, aged 43 years.  R.I.P.

6 May 1897 - MARRIAGES
JONES-CAZEAU.-April 28, at Sydney, by the Rev. W. Woolls-Rutledge, Charles Dury Jones, of Sydney, to Julia Alice, third daughter of the late M. Condran, Ellalong, Wollombi.

21 September 1906 - DEATHS
BARDSLEY.-September 20, Mary Anne, second eldest daughter of the late M. Condran, of Ellalong, N.S.W., aged 53 years.  R.I.P.

12 September 1908 - DEATHS
CONDRAN-September 10 at her residence 3 George-street North, Mary Condran, widow of the late Michael Condran, of Wollombi, in her 84th year. R.I.P.

This is all consistent with information I previously had from other sources, that Michael CONDRAN and Mary Ann CONDRON (nee HANLEY) had the following children, born between 1848 and 1867: Ellen, Maryanne, Julia, Bridget, Thomas Henry, Michael, John, Catherine (Kate), Joseph Andrew, Elizabeth and Agnes.

As always, I'd welcome corrections or further information about this family.

I am grateful to Tracy Rogers for drawing my attention to Trove, the wonderful online archive of Australian newspapers which is the source for the above information.

The panoramic photograph is copyright of Stuart Johnson, who has taken a number of striking photographs of the Australian natural environment. Higher resolution versions of the photograph may be obtained via Google Earth or from the photographer.