Looking For The Dillons

Francis Dillon and Mary CrillyOn April 27, 1893, a Francis Dillon was buried in a plot at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.  On  December 16, 1897, he was removed from that original plot and moved to the Beattie family plot. I was easily able to find the death certificate for  Francis Dillon, who died April 23, 1893 and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery. He was 43 years old.  That makes his year of birth around 1848.  It gives the cause of death as Pneumonia.  He was a single plumber who had been living in the United states for about the last 33 years.  According to the Death Certificate he was born in Scotland and is the son of Francis and Sarah Dillon.  It looks like he died at a tenement located at 88 New Chambers St.

When searching Census records for a Francis Dillon who was born circa 1848 in Scotland, I came across just one possible match and it was in the the 1861England Census.  In it, we find a family of Dillon’s living in Liverpool, England.

Francis Dillon 54 abt 1807 Ireland Head of Household, A Feather Dealer

Sarah Dillon 60 abt 1801 Ireland Wife

Ellen Dillon 19 abt 1842 Ireland Daughter

Frances Dillon 13 abt 1848 Scotland Son

This most certainly seems to be a match for the Francis Dillon buried with the Beattie’s at Holy Cross Cemetery. With further research, I found the same family 10 years earlier in the 1851 England Census.  In this Census, there is another daughter named Sarah with the family. But in this Census, it indicates that Francis was born in Ireland.  Inconstancies like this are not unusual in Census records, but it does make it difficult to confirm relationships.

Francis Dillon 38 abt 1813 Ireland Head of Household

Sarah Dillon 38 abt 1813 Ireland Wife

Sarah Dillon 15 abt 1836 Ireland Daughter

Ellen Dillon 9 abt 1842 Ireland Daughter

Francis Dillon 3 abt 1848 Ireland Son

By the time the 1861 Census was taken, the younger Sarah Dillon must have died, married or emigrated to America. In the 1871 English Census, the Dillon family seems to have disappeared from the Liverpool area.  No close matches could be found for any of the family members.  Does this mean they came to the US?

According to Lloyd Lewis’ notes, Francis Dillon “returned to Liverpool in 1880 and died about 1883”.  This seems to indicate that Francis Dillon Sr., was in America for at least a small period of time.  I did find him back in Liverpool in the 1881 Census.  The Census taker wrote his name as what looks like “Francis Delane”.  He was listed as a patient at the Catholic Institute at 70 Hope Street in Liverpool and is still listed as married.  His occupation was “Former Feather Merchant”.

Searching death registrations in the Liverpool area for the time period that Lloyd Lewis indicated he believed Francis Dillon died, I found a Francis Dillon who was 67 years old at death and was living at 70 Hope Street, the same address as above.  Taking 67 years away from 1883 gives us an approximate birth date of 1816.  This Francis Dillon’s death certificate also states that he was a feather dealer.  This information appears to confirm that the Francis Dillon in the Death Certificate is the same one in the 1851, 1861 and 1881 Census, leaving him missing from the 1871 English Census.

Hypothesis #1

So, the big question is…  Is there a Mary associated with the Dillon family of Liverpool that left before the 1851 England Census?  Both, the 1900 and 1910 US Census indicate that Mary Dillon arrived in the US in 1850 at the age of 16, one year before that 1851 England Census.  Her early arrival would explain why there is no Mary in the 1851 England Census of that Dillon family in Liverpool.  We also know what there is a Sarah McDermott buried with the Beattie’s who was born circa 1840 and lived to age 55..  Could Sarah Dillon have married a man named McDermott and / or had a daughter named Sarah?

Hypothesis #2

Or here is the other possibility… According to US Census records, Mary Dillon Beattie was born circa 1834. This is within 2 years of the Sarah Dillon in the 1851 English Census.  Sarah Dillon disappeared from the Liverpool Dillon family after the 1851 Census .  Could this mean that Sarah came to the US and decided to change her name or go by a middle name that could be Mary?


I tend to be leaning toward my first Hypothesis.  The  Dillons of Liverpool are somehow related, but I still lack the proof necessary to concretely make the call.  And if I am right, what happened to Mary Crilly Dillon, Mary Dillon Beattie’s mother? Was she  Mary Crilly Dillon or Sarah Crilly Dillon? Did she die in the United States?  Was it before or after Francis returned to Liverpool?  Did Francis return alone?  If so, why?  Was is because of a health issue?

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About the Author

Philip (Phil) Hayes is the CEO of Sirius Innovations, LLC. As CEO of Sirius Innovations, LLC, he served as a Technology Solutions Consultant and Web Applications Programmer for fortune 500 companies, large municipalities and hospitals. He is fluent in the SQL, ColdFusion, PHP and Javscript programming languages. He is also a power user of the WordPress Content Management System, commonly used for blogging. Phil's latest product development includes a service called 'Map The Past'. The advanced, yet easy to use functionality offered in this product will enable its members to "Walk in the Footsteps of Their Ancestors". Phil became a Genealogy addict when in 1998, his Uncle, Lloyd W Lewis, sat he and his wife down on the deck of his Uncle's Pennsylvania home and told them the story of his Great, Great Grandfather Henry W. Lewis, the Privateer. The story was so intriguing that Phil found himself yearning for more details. Hence…. Philip Hayes, the Genealogist was born. Leveraging his technology skills, Philip has grown and developed the family tree well beyond what his Uncle could have ever dreamed of. Combining the power of technology and the primary sources from historical documents, Philip developed his own family history web site, based on the Word Press Content Management System (https://www.hayesfamily.us). Upon publishing the site, it has inspired many people to develop interest in the family's history and has connected Philip to several undiscovered relatives and their family stories. Phil is a member of numerous historical and genealogy societies, including the Association of Professional Genealogists

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