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The History of the Giles Family

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The Donovan Family

The surname Donovan means 'descendant of Dark Brown' in Irish Gaelic. There is so far only one member of the family identified in Calum's and Jamie's ancestry:

Patrick Donovan (18?? - bef 1868) md Honoria (Unknown)
Joanna Donovan (1838 approx - 25/5/1925)  md Henry Fenlon or Giles


NB: Family history charts can be accessed at

Patrick Donovan
b: 18?? - bef. 1870
Patrick was the father of Johanna Donovan, as evident from her wedding certificate, and was a boatman by trade.
A Patrick Donovan was recorded in 1851 within Griffith's Valuation of Tipperary as residing on Ballyrichard Road, Carrick-on-Suir, the only person of the name recorded in Carrick. His landlord was Henry Briscoe Esq., and Patrick had a house, yard and garden, with an annual rateable value of 4s 7d. It s not known if this is our Patrick, but his daughter's future husband Henry Giles was also from Ballyrichard Road, so it is a possibility. The house next to Patrick's was vacant, but the next property along belonged to a John Donovan, a possible relative.
It is believed that Patrick may have been married to a woman by the name of Honoria, as an Honoria Donovan was the informant for the birth of Henry Giles in 1870, believed to be the first (and illegitimate) son of Patrick's daughter Johanna. It is almost certain that this is the 65 year old Honoria Donovan, a widow, who died at the workhouse in Carrick-on-Suir on January 5th 1877, the cause being paralysis. The informant was Thomas Dunne, at the workhouse (Source: Bru Boru website).
Honoria was also recorded in the pawn shop ledgers for Carrick-on-Suir, now held at the town's heritage centre, as examined in August 2012. The ledgers cover 1864-1868, although those for July 1864-Oct 1865 and 1868 have so far only been checked. In this, as Mrs Donovan, she was listed as pawning a vest for 2s 7d on Tuesday March 14th 1865. The record noted that she was from Ballyrichard. She again pawned a pair of shoes for 3s 1d on Tuesday July 18th 1865. It would seem that she moved to New Street in Carrick shortly after, as she listed this address when pawning a gray frock coat for 3s 7d on Monday October 2nd 1865, the same day that her daughter, residing at Oven Lane, pawned a pair of boots for 4s 7d. Oven Lane is then given as Honoria's address on Monday October 23rd 1865, when she pawned a grey coat and vest for 3s 7d.
Patrick was dead before April 1870, as noted on Johanna's wedding entry.
Child of Patrick DONOVAN and Honoria (UNKNOWN):
Johanna Donovan
b: 1848  d: 14/4/1920

Johanna Donovan
abt 1848 - 25/5/1925

Johanna was Calum's and Jamie's great great grandmother.

Johanna was born in Carrick-on-Suir,  Co.Tipperary, in about 1848, and initially grew up to be a factory worker in the town, residing from 1865 at least at Oven Lane.
Johanna was noted in the pawn shop ledgers for Carrick-on-Suir, now held at the town's heritage centre (as examined in August 2012). The ledgers cover 1864-1868, although those for July 1864-Oct 1865 and 1868 have so far only been checked. As Miss Donovan, she is recorded as having pawned a pair of boots on Monday October 2nd 1865, for 4s 7d. Her address was noted as Oven Lane.
Johanna married Henry Giles in Carrick-on-Suir on July 24th 1870. At the time of the marriage, Henry was also a factory worker, and a resident of Ballyrichard Road. Henry was however mysteriously listed as Henry Fenlon, and his father as Patrick Fenlon, a clerk. The witnesses to the marriage were William Dalton and Margaret Power.
For the next 19 years Johanna and the couple's seven surviving children went by the surname of Fenlon, but following Henry's death they changed their names to Giles. It is believed that Henry Fenlon was in fact originally called Henry Giles - just two weeks prior to his wedding to Johanna, a child called Henry Giles died at Oven Lane, aged 6 days. Oven Lane is where Johanna lived, and was a small street of only 16 households (with none by the name of Donovan by the time of the 1901 census). It is believed that the informant, Honoria Donovan, was Johanna's mother, who died in 1877 - the parents of the young Henry were not listed, but as an illegitimate child, it seems likely that Honoria named him as Henry Giles in order to embarrass Henry senior, who just two weeks later married Johanna. Why the name was changed from Giles to Fenlon has as yet to be established, but he most definitely was one and the saem person, as in the marriage entries for all of the couple's childen, they name their father as Henry Giles or Gyles.
From the two available censuses for Carrick-on-Suir, we learn the following. By 1901, Johanna had been widowed, and was living at 3 Chapel Lane, in Carrick, along with her five children, three of whom were working at the local creamery in Carrick-on-Suir. She was Roman Catholic, and listed as being able to read, and aged 58.
By 1911, Johanna had either moved house on the lane, or her house number had been redesignated on Chapel Lane as number 47 (which did happen several times on Carrick's streets in the late 19th Century). The head of the household was now listed as Pierce Nolan, a local plasterer who had married Johanna's daughter Mary at some stage between 1901 and 1908. Johanna lived here with the Nolans, which included her two grandsons Patrick Nolan and Henry Nolan, and her own son, Martin Giles, a labourer. She was again listed as a Roman Catholic, a widow, able to read and write, and was aged 73.
Johanna died on May 25th 1925, aged 81, at her home in New Street, Carrick-on-Suir, the cause of death being senility 5 months. The informant to the registrar on the same day was her daughter Mary Nolan, of Town Wall, Carrick on Suir (GRO Ireland, 1925, D, Group Reg ID 2357464, Carrick-on-Suir).

(1) Henry Giles
b: 4/7/1870  d: 10/7/1870
(2) Aloisia Fenlon or Giles 
b: 22/7/1871  d: ????
(3) Patrick Fennlon Giles
b: 25/2/1873  d: 1937 
Calum's and Jamie's great grandfather - see Giles page.


(4) John Fenlon or Giles 
b: 9/6/1874 


(5) Martin Fenlon or Giles 
b: 10/11/1876  d: 9/5/1912


(6) Mary (Minnie) Fenlon or Giles
b: abt 1880  d: 1965


(7) Mark Fenlon or Giles
b: 7/7/1882  d: 19??
(8) Honoria 'Nora' Fenlon or Giles
b: 23/4/1886  d: 28/9/1904

Connecting to Calum and Jamie

Joanna Donovan married Francis Giles prior to 1901

Son, John Patrick Giles, married Anne Colleton before 1926

Son, Patrick Joseph Giles, married Mary Pauline Prendergast on 16/8/1960

Daughter, Claire Patricia Giles, married Christopher Mark Paton on 24/6/2000

Sons, Calum Graham Paton and Jamie Christopher Paton


Is your family history as bare as you think?