My Genealogy Research

My research, genealogy tips and anecdotes

My Genealogy Research

Update to Descendants of James Bannon

Edward Stanford and Ellen "Nellie" Bannon

I recently had an unpleasant exchange with another “New Haven Bannon” researcher. This person was told growing up that the family was from Westmeath. This was based on the fact that their grandfather supposedly made toasts to Westmeath.

Photo Left: My Great Grandparents Edward and Ellen “Nellie Bannon Stanford

I had told this person, that while I didn’t originally know where our Bannons were from in Ireland, I had recently found quite a few records that verified what my Great Aunt Lillian had told me, that the family was from Fermanagh. This other researcher refuses to look at my work and refuses to believe that the family isn’t from Westmeath. I personally believe that they are confused with where the paternal line in their family is from, as they descend from a female Bannon back a few generations.

I want to make it clear that I never “just assume” anything when doing genealogy research. If I don’t find proof of something, I may note that “family lore says..” or I will leave the information out of my report. This person went on to accuse me of stealing a tin type photo (from a house I’ve never visited!!) and told me that I was flat out wrong about my connection to this family. I was insulted by these accusations as I have been doing extensive genealogy research for over 35 years. I pride myself of double checking records and always proving connections based on “family stories”. I’ve found more than one instance of incorrect information passed down from relatives.

Because of this recent interaction, I have updated my Bannon page with the following information. It is the introduction to my recently finished book about the Bannon family history. It includes maps, records, stories etc as well as the genealogy information. It has a lot of info on the area in Fermanagh that our family was from.

Here is the introduction to the book, explaining about some of the new information that I found in both New Haven and Irish records.

Please also note that the genealogy information listed on my Bannon page is NOT up to date. Click here to visit my Bannon page:The Descendants of James Bannon
If you think you may be related, contact me at mpitkin (at) and I will be happy to share my most uptodate info.
It’s just too difficult to update the site continuously.


This (book) is a history of our Bannon family from Ireland whom settled in New Haven, CT in the mid-1800s. When I first started researching this family, I was not sure where in Ireland they were from. I was given a family tree that was handwritten by my father’s aunt, Lillian Stanford Touchstone Bessell. She had written that James Bannon was born in “Fermana, Antrim”. That was confusing, since Fermanagh and Antrim are two separate counties in Northern Ireland. I think that Aunt Lillian was using “Antrim” as a synonym for “Northern Ireland”. With that information, I began to look for Bannons in Fermanagh and found quite a few in the Cavancurragh section of Derryvullan near Enniskillen. While I did find names that matched our family in the tithe Applotments, I didn’t find any matching names in church records. I gave up on being able to prove that the family was from that area of Fermanagh and worked on the New Haven records.

As the years went by, more records became available and I had made connections with more individuals in New
Haven that were related to our Bannons. One of those families was the Prestons. I found a record for Margaret
Bannon marrying Thomas Preston in New Haven. They lived with our Bannons in what I have come to call the “Bannon Compound” on Governeur’s Lane (aka Madison St). The family owned at least a couple of houses on that street and through the years almost all members of the family lived in one of the homes at one time or another. So, with this new info I began researching the Preston family and eventually found Margaret and Thomas’ headstone which lists the birthplace for both of them as County Fermanagh!

Another new piece of information that I had learned was the maiden name for Mrs. Bridget Bannon, who was widow of Michael and lived on Governeur’s Lane with the Bannons. Her maiden name was Cox. I went back to the Fermanagh church records and found the marriage for Michael Bannon and Bridget Cox as well as baptisms for their children, two of whom also had immigrated to New Haven. The marriage and baptisms took place at a parish in Enniskillen! This was the proof I needed that our Bannons were in fact from the Enniskillen. I pieced together all of the records that I had for that area and it seems that our Bannons were from Cavancurragh in Derryvullen, Enniskillen, Fermanagh.

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