Share This:

Dia duit! My g-g-grandmother Maria Dillon, 16, and her sister Ellen, 15, left Galway in October 1861 en route for Otago, New Zealand. Later three more of the sisters' siblings joined them in their new country, Bridget, John and Andrew. I think one other son remained. Their parents were Andrew Dillon and Anne Halloran. I'd love to learn more about those parents, ideally more about their own ancestry, and as well learn if any family remain in the vicinity.

Our family records indicate that Maria and Ellen came from "the parish of Aughrim & Kilconnell" in Galway. Is that information correct and were those parishes united at some point? Then at the time it was very uncommon for those migrating from Galway to come to NZ, but all five did well in their new lives.

I have a Substack series called New Zealand Colonial History in which I'm telling their stories, along with those of my Scottish ancestors who arrived at a similar time. Those interested to learn more are welcome to visit the site - Here's a link to the sixth post in the series:

By all means forward to anyone interested. I've attached a photo of Maria and her husband Patrick Ford (also from Galway) at their 50th wedding anniversary in Oamaru, NZ, in May 1912, along with their great-grandson and my uncle Leo McCormack. Sláinte chugat! Frank Sligo

Frank Sligo

Tuesday 7th Nov 2023, 11:13PM

Message Board Replies

  • Frank,

    Attached record for Ellen Dilleen 1841.

    There is a Mary Dillon 1847.

    Credit: Subscriptions Sites - and

    I will search for their addresses.

    There is a Patrick Dilleen baptised in Cappatagle on June 1st 1851 - Parents: Andrew Dilleen and Anne Halloran. Address: Balvabella.



    Wednesday 8th Nov 2023, 06:40PM
  • Frank:

    The subscription site Roots Ireland has baptismal records for Ellen 1841 Mary 1844 Bridget 1847 Catherine 1849 Patrick 1851 Anne 1856 Elizabeth 1859 Andrew 1862. The surname was transcribed as Dilleen on some of the records.

    I did not find a marriage record. Aughrim and Kilconnell do not have marriage records after 1838 which may explain not finding a record.

    Aughrim/Kilconnell records start in 1828 so we won't find a baptismal record for Andrew or Anne.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 8th Nov 2023, 06:41PM
  • Frank,

    Correction - Mary was baptised June 5th 1844. Sponsor: Pat Carthy.

    I have not found an address with the name "Balvabella".

    Roots has a record of a marriage of an Andrew Dillon to Catherine Browne in 1818. Children recorded Mary Ann 1828 and Andrew George in 1830.

    Address: Aughrim. Andrew Dillon is recorded as "Captain".



    Wednesday 8th Nov 2023, 07:23PM
  • Frank,

     Please see transcription of the property of Andrew Dillon in the townland of Ballymabilla in 1853. Griffith's Valuations.

    There is no land shown with the house.

    Detail of townland attached.



    Wednesday 8th Nov 2023, 08:02PM
  • Further information on Dillon - Ballymabilla -Civil parishof Killallaghtan:

    Land - No record found for a land holding by Andrew Dillon in Ballymabilla. There is a Thomas Dillon in the townland - printed 1856 - with a House, Offices and a small piece of land. His house No. is 33.

    The 1911 Irish census has a a Thomas Dillon in the townland who is recorded as being 84 years of age, with his son Harry and family.

    I have not found the census record for 1901.



    Thursday 9th Nov 2023, 10:58AM
  • This looks to be the Dillon family in Ballymabilla in the 1901 census:…

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 9th Nov 2023, 11:23AM
  • Many thanks to the three of you who have provided such good insights. What you've revealed connects well with what I've found, except for one anomaly (I guess there's always an anomaly) where according to our records Ellen/ Helen/ Ellenor is born in 1845 not 1841 (e.g., in the NZ BDM 1874/12892 she is said to be aged 29, Ellen Dillon Black). I suppose in theory there could have been an older sister Ellen born in 1841, but who died young, and a sister (the second Ellen) named after her, which seems to have happened sometimes. Anyway, a mystery for the time being. Many thanks again!

    Frank Sligo

    Friday 10th Nov 2023, 02:47AM
  • Attached Files
    Age doc_1.jpg (345.1 KB)


    In general, people in Ireland in the 1800s didn’t celebrate birthdays, didn’t have birth certificates or passports (though they might sometimes have had a baptismal cert) and often had little accurate idea of their ages. Most ages on official documents were just a guess.

    Alexander Irvine was born in 1863 in Antrim town and became a Minister living in the US. This extract from his book “The Chimney Corner revisited” perhaps explains why people often had to guess their ages:

    “My mother kept a mental record of the twelve births. None of us ever knew, or cared to know, when we were born. When I heard of anybody in the more fortunate class celebrating a birthday I considered it a foolish imitation of the Queen’s birthday, which rankled in our little minds with 25th December or 12th July. In manhood there were times when I had to prove I was born somewhere, somewhen, and then it was that I discovered that I also had a birthday. The clerk of the parish informed me.”

    I have attached a letter which I found in parish records in PRONI (the public record office) in Belfast from someone in Pettigoe, Co. Donegal in 1908 writing to his Minister, asking for proof of age (ie a baptismal certificate). All he knew was that he was between “70 and 78 years of age.” He clearly had only the vaguest idea and couldn’t narrow it down to within 9 years. (The likely reason for the letter was that the old age pension was being introduced in 1909 for people aged 70 and over. Documentary proof of age was required. Thus, probably for the first time in his life, establishing his age accurately became relevant to him).


    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 10th Nov 2023, 04:02PM
  • That's helpful information thanks Elwyn. Cheers, Frank

    Frank Sligo

    Sunday 12th Nov 2023, 01:26AM
  • Are your Dillon's & Halloran's connected to a 'FOX' line?  Two of the FOX family imigratted to Oamaru, New Zealand


    Wednesday 29th Nov 2023, 03:29AM
  • Hi - I haven't seen a connection to the Fox family, but if they were Irish Catholics migrating to Oamaru (possibly in the Vogel immigration years of the 1870s?), then it was a pretty small community. My Maria Dillon married Patrick Ford so that would have been the family name. Cheers.

    Frank Sligo

    Wednesday 29th Nov 2023, 08:50PM

Post Reply