New Answers to Old Questions on Bannon Family

There have been other times in my years of genealogy research when re-visiting the records for a family turn up something new that answers some long standing questions. This happened recently with my Bannon family from County Fermanagh, Ireland and New Haven, Connecticut.

The Bannon family emigrated to New Haven in the mid to late 1850s. They settled in a block of buildings on what was first called “Governeur’s Lane” and later renamed to “Madison Street”. I started calling the area the “Bannon Compound” as there were so many Bannons and relatives living in the houses over the years. My direct ancestor, James Bannon and his wife, Bridget McHugh, lived on Madison Street for the longest amount of time, into the  1880s.

Madison Street 1868

The star marks Madison Street, New Haven, CT in 1868.

In the 1860 census there was a Catherine Bannon living on Madison Street. I originally thought that she was the widow of a Bannon male, although I never found a husband for her. I eventually made the connection that the Joseph Bannon, who was living there and who had immigrated with James and Margaret Bannon earlier, was actually Catherine’s son.  At that time I still thought that Catherine was the sister in law of the younger James Bannon. My original report on the family lists her as such. I was aware that Joseph Bannon’s death record only lists his mother as Catherine Bannon, but figured that could just mean that the informant had no idea what his father’s name was.

Recently I was going over all of my Bannon records in an attempt to convert a lot of paper into digital files. While doing this, I had my tree open on Ancestry.  I was looking at Catherine’s profile and saw the “hint” notification and decided to see if there was anything interesting. I saw a probate record but was ready to “ignore” as I doubted it was for my Catherine Bannon. As I reviewed the document I quickly noticed that it mentions her house at “2 Madison Street”. That would be the reason she felt the need to have a will as she owned property!! 

Margaret Bannon name

The interesting information was in a portion of the will that mentions the continued support of her mother, Margaret Bannon.  (see image above) That alone wouldn’t prove anything other than that Catherine was indeed a Bannon, not an in law.  There were two sets of “James and Margaret Bannons” in the family. The eldest couple, born in the mid 1760s- 1770s, was my first guess for the parents of Catherine. This was when I thought that she may be a sister of my 3X Great Grandfather James Bannon III. However, in the will she specifically mentions, sadly with no names, her three brothers and three sisters.  (see image below) The younger James and Margaret Bannon had four daughters (including Catherine) and 3 sons. To solidify the connection, Catherine named what I now know to be her brothers in law, Cormick Shields and Thomas Preston, as executors of her will. The final bit of information that proves she was a daughter of the James Bannon Jr., was that she mentions a debt owed to her by Ann Smith and her husband James Smith. I knew that Ann Bannon, daughter of James and Margaret, had indeed married James Smith. While Catherine doesn’t mention the relationship, it does add to the clues garnered from the will.

Bannon siblings

This new found information doesn’t change very much in the long run as I already had Catherine and her son in my report.  The best lesson any genealogist can take from this is that it’s always a good idea to go back and re-visit information that you thought was finished. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by new findings too many times not realize that taking a fresh look is always a good idea.

I’ve updated my Bannon report to not only show Catherine’s new connection to the Bannons, but I’ve also cleaned up the report a bit to make it easier to read. I had to fudge the numbering a bit with Catherine, Joseph and Joseph’s family so that I wouldn’t need to start from scratch with the report. Basically they are all just shifted down a generation.

You can download the latest update of the Bannon genealogy here:The Bannon Family Genealogy PDF.

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