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Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:20 am
by pwaldron
An unusual example from Mayo, where the granddaughters are described as "Niece" but their brother as "Grand Son": ... y/1600904/

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 4:31 pm
by pwaldron
Here's another example from County Mayo:

Anne McCann was described as a niece in her grandmother's household in 1901: ... h/1601152/

Only her uncle is left in the household in 1911: ... gh/742752/

Anne is missing from her parents' household in 1901: ... n/1601020/

One is left wondering whether Anne's mother misinterpreted the question about children still living in the 1911 census where she reported that only the five children still at home (not including Anne) were still living: ... an/742665/

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:51 pm
by pwaldron
Another example:

John Clancy was described as his maternal grandmother Bridget Cunningham's nephew in 1911 at ... rd/365208/

They were in separate households in the same townland in 1901:

John: ... d/1080139/

Bridget: ... d/1080146/

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:05 pm
by pwaldron
Another example from Galway: ... t/1382466/

Dan Reilly, a male school boy, was described by his grandparents as their "niece".

In 1911, the form was clearly poorly edited before it was collected, so that the 48-year-old head of household appears to have a 78-year-old son, and it is not clear whether Dan's sister Cissey was intended to be described as her uncle's niece or as her grandmother's niece: ... st/460560/

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:27 pm
by pwaldron
A Sligo/Mayo example:

Mary Ellen O'Donnell was born on the Mayo side of the county boundary on 8 May 1898. Her mother died and her father remarried on 9 Feb 1900. Mary Ellen went to live with her maternal grandparents on the Sligo side of the county boundary after her mother's death, while her brother John remained with his father and stepmother in Mayo. In census returns, her grandfather Charles Reilly described Mary Ellen as his "niece": ... l/1686414/ ... il/771282/

Mary Ellen's father, stepmother, brother and half-siblings are at: ... h/1599554/
and ... gh/741244/

[I am interested in learning what subsequently became of both John O'Donnell and Mary Ellen O'Donnell and would welcome any information about them.]

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:55 pm
by pwaldron
Another Sligo/Mayo example ...

Bridget Kelleher was baptised in KILSHALVEY KILTURRA (Bunninadden) parish in County Sligo.

In 1901, she was a Sligo-born niece of Luke and Mary Walsh: ... h/1685990/

In 1911, she was a Mayo-born granddaughter of Luke and Mary Walsh: ... th/770923/

In 1911, she was double counted with her parents in Doocastle on the Mayo side of the county boundary: ... le/740265/

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:42 am
by pwaldron
In 1901, only the two oldest of James Kelly's five children are living with their father and stepmother in Finnor Beg: ... g/1078092/

His youngest daughter Louisa is with her maternal grandmother in Doonmore: ... e/1080102/

She is described as "Niece" and her surname is even given as O'Donnell (her mother's maiden surname) rather than Kelly.

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:14 pm
by pwaldron
Here's an unusual mixture from Kerry: ... er/277401/
The household of Timothy and Deborah Griffin includes their "Grand Daughter" Mary Egan (whose parents are in the household) and their two "Nieces" (also granddaughters) Mary Collins and Catherine Collins (whose parents are living in an adjoining townland). The Collins parents are at ... en/277409/

Is this a one-off, or was the term "niece" more likely to be used for a girl visiting her grandparents, with grandchild used for a girl residing permanently with her grandparents?

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:38 am
by pwaldron
The Careys described as nephew and niece in Bridget Purtill's household at ... h/1081779/
were her grandchildren.

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:50 am
by pwaldron
Maggie Jane Lynch was double counted in 1911, with her parents in Moveen West and as a "niece" with her maternal grandmother in Furroor Upper.

See ... st/362983/
and ... er/363073/

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:42 am


Irish kinship is a system of kinship terminology (descended from the original Celtic practices) which shows a bifurcate collateral pattern. This system is used by a minority of people living in the Gaeltacht regions of Ireland. Irish kinship terminology varies from English kinship as it focuses on gender and generation, with less emphasis on differentiating lineal vs. collateral

A majority of the terms used in the kinship system are similar to the English kinship system, but the terms for aunty, uncle, nephew, niece and cousin have a far vaguer and different use. These terms, however varying in degree of use as this system is confined to the Gaeltacht regions, and hence are not widely used among other members of Irish society.

Col Gaolta is a word for cousin; in the Irish kinship system, this word is used for all relatives in one's generation or those near your age (Exc, brother and sister). The word actually means related by blood.



Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:45 am
by pwaldron
Thanks for that Bob.

I have now realised that the use of niece or nephew to describe a grandchild in 1901 and 1911 was so widespread that it is not worth trying to document every occurence on this thread.

However, I have just come across a literal translation of sean-athair and sean-mháthair that is new to me - old father and old mother, at ... ha/359582/

Are there any other examples of this?

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:38 am
by pwaldron
The use of niece/nephew in place of granddaughter/grandson is so common in the census returns that I have long since given up recording new examples.

However, I have now found it for the first time on a death certificate: ... 355036.pdf

Bridget Moloney, "niece", was just 13 when she registered the death of her grandmother (Entry no. 406).

Bridget Griffin had registered the birth of her granddaughter Bridget Moloney 13 years earlier: ... 588925.pdf

The Registrar John M. Studdert had been appointed in 1876 and retired the following year, 1928, so I am surprised that I have not found other examples in the countless events that he registered over his 52-year career.

"First Cousin" = grandchild ?

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:11 am
by pwaldron
This is the first time I have come across "First Cousin" on a census return apparently meaning "grandchild":

Mary E Casey and Katie Casey were enumerated in 1901 in their grandfather's household in Lack East.

They were also apparently double counted in their parents' household in Glenconaun More.

Their mother's work as a teacher had taken her away from Lack East before her marriage, but the registrar conveniently recorded her home parish by giving her father's "Rank or Profession" as "Kilmihill" on her marriage certificate. He gave her residence at the time of marriage as "Gurtglass", which is often used in place of the names of the townlands surrounding Gurtglass Lake, which include Glenconaun More, home to the Casey family.

While many of the nephews or nieces in the examples above have an uncle or aunt in the same household (albeit not the head of household), these children have no first cousins enumerated in the same household.

Re: niece/nephew = grandchild ?

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:18 am
by pwaldron
Another interesting example, where the child's "RELATION to Head of Family" is given as "Grand Daughter", while her "RANK, PROFESSION OR OCCUPATION" is given as "Neice"! ... ig/362895/