The John Quinlan and Margaret Diggin Family of South Bend, St Joseph County, Indiana: An Analysis of Their Migration From County Kerry, Ireland to Michigan and on to South Bend, Indiana

A Marriage record obtained by Johanna, a genealogist who is a descendent of this line, indicates that John Quinlan married Margaret Diggin in the Parish of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland on February 16, 1843. Ballinorig, the address given for both parties was a Townland in Ratass Parish, Tralee Poor Law Union (Ratass Civil Parish is also a Civil Parish that borders Tralee Civil Parish to the east). The Roman Catholic Parish of Tralee appears to cover both Ratass and Tralee Civil Parish so Tralee most likely refers to the Catholic Parish they were married in and their home in Ballinorig to the Townland in Ratass Civil Parish that is a part of Tralee Catholic Parish.

According to the 1860 South Bend, St Joseph County, Indiana Census, John and Margaret Quinlin had two daughters (Hannah, 14, Bridgett 12) who were born in Ireland. This would seem to indicate that they departed Ireland sometime after 1848 when Bridgett was born but before 1851 or 1852 when William (9 in the 1860 census, 18 in the 1870 Census) was born in Michigan. Johanna also has identified a daughter Joanna who was baptized on December 3, 1943 in Tralee, County Kerry Ireland. Of interest if the fact that the surname appears as Quinlan in their marriage record, but O'Quinlan in daughter Joanna's baptismal record.

Special kudos go to Johanna for her extensive research on this line and extreme generosity in sharing it with others! Lou Ann Harris, whose husband descends from John Quinlan and his second wife Malissa Holder, has shared a host of details on this family on her tree as well.

The objective of this compilation is to try to establish the earliest possible evidence of this family in the United States through all available resources.

This will most definitely be a work in progress and all findings I speculate on would have to be proven for accuracy with Ireland and U.S. marriage records, church baptismal records and death records among other genealogical resources. Please use this information with that caveat in mind so that nothing is assumed and no stones are left unturned to assure it's your family and the connection is accurate. Please contact me if you feel that you are descended from this South Bend Indiana Irish family so that we can share information, see if there were common migration trails followed and delve further back into their origins in Ireland!

The following is a brief summary of what I have discovered about John Quinlan and Margaret's time in South Bend as well as the paths their children followed:

  1. John Quinlan and Margaret Diggins. The earliest evidence I have of them in South Bend is the 1860 US Census for Portage Township in which John is a 40 yr old laborer, wife Margarett 40, Hannah 14, Bridgett 12 and Wm 9. The Sacred Heart Church, Notre Dame baptismal record for their daughter Margareta (born April 12, 1861 and baptized May 21, 1861) was the only record I was able to find of them in either the Sacred Heart or St Joseph Church records thus far. Based on their Sample Street address in 1880, I believe there is a strong chance this family may have attended St Patrick's Church (records I have yet to check). By January 13, 1870, John Quinlan (54 Night Watchman- Depot), wife Margaret 40, William 18, Maggie 8 as well as daughter Bridget Cummings (20) and son in law John Cummings (27, Carpenter) were living with them in South Bend, Ward 2 and 3 census. By June 10, 1880 they were living on Sample Street in District 163, South Bend and John (76) is a Flagman with the Railroad, wife Margaret (60) and Maggie (18, single) is the only child living with them. By the time the 1900 census was conducted on June 6, 1900, a widowed John Quinlan (88, born March 1812) was living with his daughter Bridget Cummings (widowed, 52, born December 1848), her children Morris, Anna L, John M and Rolland E as well as her brother L John Quilan (9). Wife Margaret appears to have died sometime after 1880 but before 1900. Lou Ann Harris, whose husband is a descendent of this line has a detailed tree on She has uncovered a marriage record for John's second marriage to Malissa Holder on June 20, 1887 in Cook County, Illinois. L. John that appears in the 1900 US Census with a 88 yr old widowed John Quinlan appears to be their son. John (Senior) appears to have died on February 28, 1902 in South Bend, Indiana per the Indiana Deaths 1882-1920 compilation. There are several records for a John Quinlan arriving in the Detroit, Michigan area in 1853 (which seems somewhat late) in a publication of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine as well as Naturalizations Declaration of Intent and Final Oaths Compilation that may be worth evaluating. Lou Ann Harris has posted an obituary for John Quinlan which indicates that he was employed by the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad and died in South Bend on February 28, 1902; his funeral was held at St Patrick's Church and he was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery.
  2. Hannah Quinlan married George F Foulks on January 10, 1866 in St Joseph County, Indiana. Johanna has obtained this record from St Patrick's Church in South Bend. George (Baggage Mailer) and Hannah appear with son John in the 1870 South Bend Census. George died in March of 1872 and Hannah remarried James Savage on February 25, 1878
  3. Thomas Quinlan. I found no evidence of this child in the usual resources, but Johanna found evidence of his death in a burial marker at Cedar Grove Cemetery (died May 2, 1850 at the age of 1).
  4. Mary Quinlan. I have not found this child's baptismal record from Sacred Heart Church in my microfilm research, but Johanna has evidence of this child being baptized there on June 26, 1854 and burial one year later in 1855.
  5. Bridget Quinlan and John M Cummings were married on January 13, 1870 by RR Cooney according to the compilation "Indiana Marriages 1811-1959." On June 13, 1870, they were living in South Bend, Wards 2-3 with John Cummings (27, Carpenter) and his wife Bridget (20) living with her parents John and Margaret Quinlan and her siblings William and Maggie. I have yet to find them in 1880, but husband John M appears to have died on January 24, 1898 in South Bend, Indiana at the age of 53. On June 6, 1900, a widowed Bridget A (51, born December 1848, 6 children, 5 living) is residing at 730 S Michigan in South Bend, District 130 with her children Morris (28, single born February 1872, Paper Hanger), Anna L (27, single born June 1878), John M (29, single born March 1890, Office Clerk), Rolland E (14, born December 1885), her brother L John Quinlan (9, born August 1890) and her father John Quinlan (88, born March 1812). In the 1902 South Bend City Directory, Mrs Bridget Cummings (widow of John) was a resident at 1730 S Michigan. According to the compilation Indiana Deaths 1882-1920, Bridget appears to die at the age of 53 on February 11, 1904 in South Bend, Indiana (she is buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery at Notre Dame). Their son, John Martin Cummings appears to have died August 26, 1931 in Benton Harbor, Berrien, Michigan at the age of 52 (he was single).
  6. William J Quinlan married Julia McCormick on July 13, 1876. Johanna has evidence that William died March 17, 1876 and was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery at Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
  7. Margaret (Maggie) Quinlan. Margaret was born April 21, 1861 in South Bend, Indiana and baptized May 27, 1861 in Sacred Heart Church. She appears with her parents in the 1870 South Bend, Ward 2/3 Census (Maggie, 8 born in Indiana), and in 1880 with them in South Bend, District 163 on Sample Street. (Maggie 18, born in Indiana). I have not found a marriage record for her. There is another Margaret Quinlin (daughter of James Quinlin and Margaret O'Keefe) who married John Keenan in St Joseph County in 1907. I see no links between the families at this point; she was a resident of Chicago, Illinois and he was born in St Louis Missouri. An online posting of an obit on the Harris/Quinlan Family Tree by Montlou1 of Bozeman, Montana suggests that Margaret died in South Bend, Indiana at St Joseph Hospital in June of 1937. Of interest are notations of brother LJ Quinlan in Whitefish, Montana, nephew Rolland Cummings in Los Angeles, California.
  8. Leonard John Quinlan (the son of John Quinlan and his second wife Mary Cummings) was born in South Bend, Indiana (abt 1891 according to the 1900 census and his 1915 Montana Marriage license if this is indeed him). He married Alma Nelson (born in Sweden) in Whitefish, Montana on July 21, 1915. He appears to have remained in White Fish, Montana through the 1930 Census.