Allens In NJ USA

William John & Sarah ALLEN/NEW JERSEY, USA, emigrated from Ireland mid 1890’s

Brother of Eliza, Jane & Sarah, who emigrated to the Hockessin area in the early 1890’s


In the 1911 (April) Irish Census there were 16 names recorded as being in JOHN & ELIZA ALLEN’S home at Tintagh, Moneymore, Ireland.…/Lis…/Tintagh/614747/

In that gathering at the Allen household in Tintagh we read that three children Reda 8 (some confusion about her name spelling…in some documents it states Reba, which could be short for Rebecca?, Reta is another), William 6 and Florence 2. They were born in America. How could we find out the facts surrounding these “America” children?

The US Federal Census of 1920 we find the 3 children mentioned, Reta now 17, William James 14, Florence I 10 and another son Herbert John 21. It also confirmed that William John 45….giving him a birth year 1875!!? (although in the 1911 Irish Census he was stated as being 30, dob 1881!!?) and his wife Sarah 44, were the parents and that they owned their own home. It is questionable if these ancestors actually knew their birth dates! Immigration year for William J is given as 1897 and their residence was Elizabeth City Ward 12, Union , New Jersey. That census document also referred us to the New York State census of 1905 and the US Federal Census of 1940, where similar names are located.

Checking the NY State Census of 1905 we find that they resided in Greenburgh, Westchester, New York. The children, Reta was 2 and William J was 4 months.

Researching further we find that in the 1901 Irish Census, Sarah was married with one child, Herbert J, 2 years old, giving him a birth year of 1899. She and the child Herbert J were living with her father William Rice, widower, and her 2 sisters , Mary Anne and Isabella in Mabuoy, Moneymore, Ireland, a neighbouring townland.

Could Sarah and William have been married ca 1897, which is also given as immigration (1920 US Fed Census) year for William? He left for America leaving Sarah pregnant with Herbert? The implication is that William moved to America to prepare the way for his wife to come later. The Shipping Passenger list for the vessel SS Ethiopia, dep Londonderry 31 Oct 1897 arr New York ?? Nov 1897 states that he was going to Hockessin, Delaware and that he was a butcher by trade. We already know that his 3 sisters Eliza, Jane and Sarah had already moved to the Hockessin area in the 1880’s. Eliza married George Marshall in Ireland prior to their emigration.

This story has been researched and described in another document. I and my wife Elizabeth had the pleasure of visiting descendants of Eliza, Jane and Sarah in July 2013!

William's wife Sarah was in Ireland in 1901 (April) acc to the Irish census. According to the Passenger List belonging to the vessel Anchoria, Sarah travelled alone to New York, dep Londonderry 6 Sept 1901, to join her husband and children.

We read the family’s name on a Passenger List 1906, dep Londonderry 8 September on the vessel Caledonia arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 16 Sept. Herbert J was on this list but NOT on the 1905 NY State Census. Had they travelled back to Ireland…..dates of that journey not yet known…. to collect Herbert J, who had been staying with Sarah’s father William Rice?? (Had the father died? William Rice wasn’t named in the 1911 Irish Census). The children named on this Passenger list are Herbert 7, Robert 3 and William, a baby. They were returning to their home at Irvinton on the Hudson, New York. But where was Reba (Reta?) 3 years old?....staying with relatives? Where?... Hockessin?

In the 1920 US Federal Census a Robert J Allen is not recorded whereas Herbert John is, aged 21, Reba 17, William J 14 and Florence I (Isabella after the mother Sarah’s sister ??) 10. We guess that the recorder in the Irish 1911 census mistakenly wrote Robert instead of Herbert!

In the 1940 US Federal census William is noted as living in East Orange, New Jersey, with wife Sarah. He is now 66, renting their accommodation and working as a Doorman.

Members of the William J and Sarah family, ie Herbert John, Reta, William James will now be researched, trying to discover if we can trace any more “cousins” and hopefully living ones, in the state of New Jersey or elsewhere.

In the 1930 US Federal census we discover Herbert living in Cross Avenue, Union, NJ. Working as a machinist in a Printing Press. He had married Mary (father from NJ and mother Scottish). He was 21 and she 20 when they married. They had a daughter Mary E, 7 years old.

The 1940 census informs us that Herbert & Mary were living in 849 Pennington St, East Orange, NJ., the same town as his father William J! He was still a machinist in a Type Foundry (perhaps the same company as 10 years earlier?), earning 2080 Dollars. Mary was still at home and was now 17. Have tried to trace Mary E through marriage/death records but so far without success.

Samuel James Desmond Allen,

October 2015

National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911

National Archives


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