Island Lower and Upper

The 1901 census reveals that there are only 17 people carrying the Stanley name living in County Roscommon. The population at that time was 102,000, only 40% of what it had been prior to the Great Famine of the late 1840s. They group into just four families. (There is also a Governess, born in Cork, living in Boyle. She was Church of Ireland. I have discounted her from my search.)

In Island Lower, Dunamon, there are four members of the same family:

  1. Winnie Stanley, born 1841, head of the household
  2. Pat, born 1875
  3. Ellen, born 1878
  4. William, born 1881

Island Lower is immediately to the north of the railway line, about 8 miles west of Roscommon Town. On the other side of the railway is Island Upper, adjoining the River Suck. The river marks the border with County Galway. Together they are referred to as Islands. Island Lower is about three miles from Clooneenbaun.

Checking other records reveals more details. I believe this family to be that of John Stanley and Winifred Kenny. John was born 1835-1840. (I will refer to him as John S, b 1835) He died in Islands on 26th March 1900, with an age given as 65. The informant was his son William.

Their offspring (or at least the ones that I have found) are as follows:

  1. William (1), born April 1865, died 21st April 1868 in Island Lower
  2. Bridget, born 1866, died 16 September 1909
  3. Thomas, born August 1867
  4. Mary, born 1869, died 1900
  5. Patrick, born March 1872 in Cloverhill
  6. John Stanley, born June 1874
  7. Eleanor, born November 1876
  8. William (2), born May 1881

The ages for Patrick and Eleanor (Ellen) are slightly out, but well within the normal variations seen on census returns. Patrick is recorded as being born in Cloverhill. This places him in exactly the same place as my line.

Patrick (born 1872) married Eleanor Scanlon in 1905 in Islands. Their daughter Mary was born in 1907. In turn she married Matthew Corcoran in 1945. I met their son when I visited in 2014. Are we related? I cannot be sure. The immediate reaction was that it is unlikely purely because I am tall (6 foot 5 inches before I started shrinking) and he is relatively short. I reassured him that my grandfather was under 5 foot 6 inches. My height seems to come from my mother’s side.


Winnie died in Q2 1908. I have been unable to trace Ellen on the 1911 census. There is a William Stanley (single) of the right age living in Manchester in 1911.

Three children are on the census, and one died in infancy. What happened to the other four? American records provide the answer. This will be covered in a subsequent post.

There is another record that might be connected. On 13th February 1898, a man called John Stanley died of exposure to cold in the townland of Islands. He was a retired coachman and a widower. His age was given as 84 (born about 1814). He is of sufficient age to be the father of John S born 1835, and is in the right place.