About PetersPioneersBiggins/Beggan Irish Roots

By Peter Biggins

Mary Cooney Alexander, Al Beagan (1941-2010), Lucille Beagan, Michael Beaghen, Adrian Beggan, Gerard Beggan, Brian Biggins, Cathi Biggins, Charles Biggins, David Biggins, John Biggins, John Biggins, John S. Biggins, Kathleen Biggins, Mary Hughes Biggins, Michael Biggins, Patrick Biggins, Sean Biggins, Thomas Biggins, Mark Bigham, Martha Bowes, Deirdre Biggins Cameron, Patrick Hogan, John Little, Lori Kaltenbronn, Ann Mahon, Clare McConville, Brid O'Malley, Leo Petrini, Ron Scherer, Monsignor Thomas Shannon (1932-2008), and Ellen Biggins Sullivan contributed to this study.

About PetersPioneers      DNA of the Three Collas      Biggins/Beggan Map      A Trip to Ballinrobe      Contacts      Home Page

Biggins DNA Project

Wanted: Male Biggins with County Mayo, Scottish, or English roots to join the Biggins DNA Project and have his Y-chromosome DNA tested at Family Tree DNA. Cost: $239 for 67 markers (recommended). Contact Peter Biggins with any questions.

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About Biggins/Beggan Irish Roots

The objective of Biggins/Beggan Irish Roots is to connect Biggins/Beggan descendants in America, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia with their ancestors and cousins. PetersPioneers is a Web site devoted to the ancestors of Peter and Marilyn Carroll Biggins, including Patrick and Bridget Biggins, who immigrated in the 1830s to Will County, Illinois, by way of Ontario, Canada, from counties Mayo, Monaghan, or Cavan in Ireland.

This material tends to be oriented to the name Biggins because it is the writer's name, but variations of the name are meant to be included.

As children growing up with Irish Catholics in the Chicago area in the 1950s, we were never quite sure we were one of them. My Dad said we were Irish, but the name Biggins just did not sound Irish compared with Murphy, Kelly, O'Connor, Maguire, etc. When you told people your name, they would ask how to spell it, or say it sounded English. Through my whole life, I only met one Biggins who wasn't a relative: John Biggins, an executive with the Elgin Watch Company, whom I caddied for around 1953 when he was a guest at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka.

In 2002, I retired and got hooked on genealogy. The first eye-opener was my great great grandfather's first name in the family Bible--Patrick. That sounded real Irish. I found books in the library by MacLysaght and Woulfe that not only listed the name Biggins but said it came from the Irish word beag which, ironically, means small. The U.S. censuse of 1850 said Patrick's wife was Bridget and the two of them were from Ireland. I found two other Biggins families living across the road from Patrick and Bridget. An 1890 biography for one of them said they were from County Monaghan but did not mention Patrick. One of their descendants, Cathi Biggins, said the name was not Biggins originally. My cousin Dan Biggins said we came from County Mayo.

In 2006, I started this Web page on Biggins/Beggan Irish Roots and made my first trip to Ireland. I decided to stay in Ballinrobe, County Mayo, because there was a Biggins Bar. I did research there every night. For the first time in my life, everybody knew my name. The Mayo County chairman for the Irish Farmers' Association was Michael Biggins, and he gave me a 2004 book celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Glencorrib National Schools: the name Biggins was practically on every other page.

While this page focuses on Biggins families of Irish descent, the name Biggins also is found among families of English descent. There also are descendants of African-American slaves with the name Biggins. In the 1870 United States census, there were 111 households with the surname Biggins. Of these, 44% were Irish, 36% English, and 20% African-American.

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Irish Surname Sources

Beggan in Fermanagh
From Chapter 31, "Fermanagh Families," page 421, in The Fermanagh Story by Rev. Peadar Livingstone, Cumann Seanchais Chlochair, 1969.
Beggan in Monaghan
From page 580 of The Monaghan Story by Rev. Peadar Livingstone, Clogher Historical Society, 1979. Note that Beggan is translated as "a descendant of the diminutive person." In Chapter 5, pages 72-73, Livingstone cites families other than McMahon "who figured in Monaghan in the Middles Ages." He lists those that migrated from Fermanagh to Monaghan in the later Middles Ages: Beggan, McCaffrey, MacManus, Maguire, and Monaghan. The Hearth Money Rolls relate to the years 1663 and 1665. N, W, and C refer to areas of Monaghan: north, west, and central.
Biggins in MacLysaght
From The Surnames of Ireland by Edward MacLysaght (1887-1986), Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1969.
Biggins in Woulfe
From Irish Names and Surnames by Rev. Patrick Woulfe, Dublin,1923. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co. in 1967, 1969, 1993.
Biggins in Woulfe
From Irish Names and Surnames by Rev. Patrick Woulfe, Dublin,1923. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co. in 1967, 1969, 1993.
Biggins in Woulfe
From Irish Names and Surnames by Rev. Patrick Woulfe, Dublin, 1923. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co. in 1967, 1969, 1993.
Biggins in Woulfe
From Irish Names and Surnames by Rev. Patrick Woulfe, Dublin,1923. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co. in 1967, 1969, 1993.
Maguire in Woulfe
From Irish Names and Surnames by Rev. Patrick Woulfe, Dublin,1923. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co. in 1967, 1969, 1993.

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Al Beagan's "Genealogy Notes" of Ireland

Al BeaganAl Beagan (1941-2010). Allen Temple Beagan of Sandwich died July 23, 2010, after a courageous battle with colon cancer at the age of 69. He was the husband of Lucille (Laurie) Beagan for 43 years. Besides his family, Allen's passions were genealogy, softball and gardening. He was a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston and a member of the Genealogical Society of Ireland in Dublin. He created his "Genealogy Notes" of Ireland and spent many hours and years researching his family's history from Ireland to Prince Edward Island, Canada, to Massachusetts. He was a proud member of the Old Timers Softball League out of Harwich and the Sandwich Softball League.
It did not take me long to find the
"Genealogy Notes" of Ireland of Al Beagan (1941-2010), a history of the Biggins/Beggan/Beagan name, There I found the baptism of Patrick Beggan near the Monaghan border in Drumgill, County Cavan, in 1807, the same year that my Patrick Biggins was born. I also found on Al's site the name of a person in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Gerard Beggan, who was interested in Biggins/Beggan genealogy. On my second trip to Ireland in 2007, I met with a Gerard Beggan in Carrickmacross, and he told me he had a professor in college, Peadar Livingstone, who said that Beggans were descendants of Maguires. I met with him again on my third trip.

After our son's wedding in Orleans on Caped Cod, Massachusetts, my wife Marilyn and I stopped by unannounced at Al's house in Sandwich on the way home. We were surprised and saddened to learn from his wife Lucille that he had died two months earlier. The gracious Lucille invited us in nevertheless and told us about Al's life and his intense interest in researching his family history and the origin of his Beagan name.

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Biggins/Beggan DNA

In 2008, Daniela Moneta started a Biggins DNA project. Daniela is a professional genealogist and started the Biggins DNA project as part of her efforts to learn more about her ancestor Eleanor Biggins who was born in 1798 in Middlesex, England, married Joseph Hewitt in London in 1821, and died in 1859 in Surrey, England.

Daniela found this page on the Internet and asked me to have my DNA tested. I was skeptical because of the cost and doubtful that I would learn anything, but my wife Marilyn encouraged me to do it. Now, I really feel Irish--I match up closely with people named Beaghen, Beggan, and Little (John Little's father was nicknamed "Jimmy Beggins"). And, I match up with Sean Biggins, a descendant of James Biggins who lived across the road from my great great grandfather Patrick Biggins.

Moreover, Biggins/Beggan DNA matches up with Maguire DNA, confirming what Peadar Livingstone had said to Gerard Beggan of Carrickmacross that Beggans are descended from Maguires. Then I learned that ancient histories claim that Maguires are descended from the Three Collas who established the ancient kingdom of Oriel in Northern Ireland. The Maguire and Biggins/Beggan DNA matches fairly closely with other families said to be descended from Clan Colla: McMahon, Carroll, McKenna, McDonald. See DNA of the Three Collas.

For the history of the ancient kingdom of Oriel, see the excellent Web site of Jim McMahon.

Biggins/Beggan surname variants are found in several DNA projects at Family Tree DNA, which has the largest DNA database in the field.

Following are the participants in the Biggins DNA project and the Bingham DNA project who have tested 67 markers. All have the L21 SNP, which is considered a Celtic SNP. There are three groups. The first two are descended from Clan Colla and have the DF21 SNP. The third is descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages and has the M222 SNP. The group also is known as Northwest Irish. A SNP is a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, a mutation in the DNA that happens when a single nucleotide (A, T, G, or C) in the genome sequence is altered. A person has many SNPs that together create a unique DNA pattern for that individual.

Biggins/Beggan DNA Results, 67 Markers
NameFTDNA #Test ResultsOldest Ancestor, Birth Year, Birth PlaceComments
L21, DF21, Clan Colla, marker 413b=24, marker 570=18-20
Adrian James Beggan190653Biggins DNA projectJohn Beggan, County FermanaghRemained in Ireland. Grew up in Meath. Now lives in Dublin. Father from Clones, County Monaghan
Peter Biggins127469Biggins DNA projectPatrick Biggins, 1807, County Monaghan or CavanEmigrated 1835-1838 to Ontario, Canada, and then to Will County, Illinois
Keith J. Bigham91030Biggins DNA projectEmigrated to Fairfield, Pennsylvania, before the Revolutionary War. The Griffiths Survey of 1848-64 shows 99 of 120 Bighams in County Down, Ireland
Mark Wayne BighamN86785Biggins DNA projectHugh Bigham, 1750, IrelandEmigrated to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, before the Revolutionary War. The Griffiths Survey of 1848-64 shows 99 0f 120 Bighams in County Down, Ireland
Sean Biggins146867Biggins DNA projectJames Biggins, 1822, County MonaghanEmigrated in 1840 to Will County, Illinois
Michael BeaghenN34030Biggins DNA projectFrancis Beaghen, 1850, IrelandEmigrated in 1860 to Brooklyn, New York
Gerard Beggan166169Biggins DNA projectBeggan, Clones, IrelandRemained in Ireland. Originally from Clones near the Fermanagh/Monaghan border
John Patrick Little69648Biggins DNA projectPatrick Beggan, 1779, County CavanJohn's great grandfather changed his name from Beggan to Little. John's father James Little was born in 1898 and nicknamed "Jimmy Beggins" as a child. He emigrated to Ayrshire, Scotland. John himself was born and raised in Ayrshire, emigrated to Canada for fourteen years, and then to Perth, Australia
Gerard Beggan166169Biggins DNA projectBeggan, Clones, IrelandRemained in Ireland. Originally from Clones near the Fermanagh/Monaghan border
L21, DF21, Clan Colla, marker 413b=23, marker 570=15-16
Frederick Anton LittleN50180Biggins DNA projectHugh Little, 1819, New YorkOriginally from Ireland or Scotland
L21, M222, Niall of the Nine Hostages (Northwest Irish)
Charles James Biggins III256505Biggins DNA projectPatrick Biggins, 1807, Cloondaver, Robeen Parish, County MayoChuck's great great grandfather, James Biggins, emigrated in 1851 to Livingston County, New York, then in 1854 to McKean County, Pennsylvania. Before Cloondaver, the family lived in Roundfort, which is east of Ballinrobe and south of Hollymount. Before that, the family was from around Glencorrib in far south County Mayo.
David Biggins125892Biggins DNA projectHenry Biggins, 1859, Yorkshire, EnglandDavid's ancestor was from Yorkshire, England, but possibly may have immigrated from Ireland.

There is one marker that so far is the same for all Bigginses in the first group. It is not found in any other Clan Colla descendants. That marker is 413b. The value for all Biggins testers is 24. No other Colla descendants have a value of 24. Instead they have a value of 23, except for a few who have 22.

The table on the right shows the genetic distances, in 67-marker DNA, among the testers in the three Biggins groups.

  • The distances among the eight Biggins testers in the first group range from 2 to 7, and the average is 5, which indicates that they are related but not closely related. The distances from the Clan Colla modal range from 4 to 7, with an average of 5. The distance from the modal for all Clan Colla descendants ranges from 1 to 11, and the average is 6.
  • The genetic distances of the one Biggins in the second group relative to the first group range from 9 to 14, indicating that there are many more generations between the two groups. The distance from the Clan Colla modal is 8, somewhat higher than the first group, but well within the range for Clan Colla as a whole.
  • The distance between the two Biggins in the third group is 11, which indicates that they are not closely related. The distances of the two Biggins in the third group relative to the first two groups range from 21 to 26, indicating a large number of generations between the third and the first two groups. This distance is relective of the difference between the Colla/DF21 SNP and the Niall/M222 SNP
. The distances from the Niall/M222 modal are 4 and 10.

Genetic distance occurs because of mutations from one generation to another. If two people are identical in all markers except they are off in one marker by 1 point, the genetic distance would be 1. If they were off at 2 different markers by 1 point in each marker, then the genetic distance of those two samples would be 2. If they are off by 2 points at one marker and 1 point in a second marker, then the genetic distance would be 3. Based on FTDNA practice, as modified in 2011, the genetic difference for some markers is limited to 1. This method of computing genetic distance is called the hybrid mutation model.

By testing the Y-DNA, males can determine the origin of their paternal line. Note that the Y-DNA strictly checks the paternal line, with no influence of any females along that line. Females do not receive the Y-chromosome, and therefore females cannot be tested for the paternal line. If you are a female and would like to know about your paternal line, you would need to have a brother or a male relative from that line to be tested. By testing the mtDNA, males and females can determine the origin of their maternal line. Note that the mtDNA strictly checks the maternal line, with no influence of any males along that line. Both males and females receive the mtDNA from the mother.

I decided to participate in July 2008. I paid $271 for 67 markers. They sent me three scrapers that I used to swab the inside of my cheeks in four-hour intervals. I got final results in September. (The price is now down to $239.)

If you are a male with the name Biggins, Beggan, or another variant, you may benefit from particpating in the Biggins DNA project. Here are some of the questions you may be able to answer with your Y-DNA:

  • Are you related to other people with the same name? I was able to learn that there is a close relationship between Patrick Biggins, my great great grandfather, and James Biggins who lived across the road from Patrick in Will County, Illinois. The DNA of Sean Biggins, a descendant of James Biggins who lived across the road, confirms that there is a relationship. An 1890 biography of James Biggins says he came from County Monaghan. Now I have reason to believe that my Patrick came from Monaghan.
  • Are you related to people with the same name in other parts of the world, such as County Mayo, Scotland, and England? For example, if you are a Biggins from County Mayo, are you related to people with the same or similar name in County Fermanagh? We have oneparticipant from County Mayo, none from Scotland. We have a particpant from England. Are people with English roots named Biggins related to people with Irish roots named Biggins? The one person named Biggins with English roots has a genetic distance of 11 from the one from County Mayo. Their Y-DNA matches the DNA of Niall of the Nine Hostages.
  • Are people with variants of Biggins/Beggan related? Michael Beaghen, whose ancestors came from County Monaghan, is closely related to us. We have two Bighams who are closely related. The Griffiths Valuation shows a number of people named Bigham from County Down.
  • Are people named Little related to people named Biggins/Beggan? John Little whose family name was Beggins matches closely with my DNA. The Irish beag means small. John lives in Perth, Western Australia, but was born and raised in Ayrshire, Scotland, and previously lived in Canada fourteen years. His father was James Little, known as a child as Jimmy Beggins. He was born in 1898 in the townland of Drumlane in the Parish of Laragh, County Cavan. His grandfather was James Little, born in 1860, and his great grandfather was Bernard Little born circa 1813, who acquired the farm in Drumlane through marriage.
  • Are you descended from Clan Colla? There is a theory that people named Beggan were a branch of the Maguire clan that were small in stature. See "Peadar Livingstone's Theory" below. I found that there are people named Maguire, McMahon, Carroll, McKenna, McDonald, and McDaniel who match fairly closely with my yDNA. People with these names are said to be descended from the Three Collas, who established the ancient kingdoms of Oriel and Uí Maine in Ireland. Jim McMahon has an excellent Web site on the Three Collas.

To sign up for the Biggins DNA Project, go to this Web page: Biggins DNA project. I strongly recommend the 67-marker test because it will show whether you descend from Clan Colla.

Following is a table of the current participants in the Biggins DNA project.

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Irish Origin of Name

The Irish word for little or small is beag. According to exerpts from the works of Edward MacLysaght and Rev. Patrick Woulfe, this is the origin of the name Biggins.

In 1834, John O'Donovan (1806 to 1861) traveled throughout Ireland gathering information for the Ordinance Survey of Ireland about antiquities and notable families and places. He gathered his comments in a series of letters. In one of these letters, O'Donovan lists 26 "aboriginal families of Clones and its vicinity" according to "Con O'Neill, who is intimately connected with the country." The 16th family is "O'Becan, now translated Little." In his 1993 book containing O'Donovan's letters from Fermanagh, John Cunningham comments that "Beggan or Little is a common name in the Clones, Rosslea, Donagh area. It is a British name as well as being the anglicized version of an Irish name." See: John O'Donovan's Letters from County Fermanagh (1834), by John O'Donovan, edited by John B. Cunningham, 1993: letter from Enniskillen, November 24, 1834, pages 74-81.

Variations of Biggins in the Griffith's Valuation property survey of 1848-64 were: Beaghan, Beagin, Beegan, Began, Beggan, Beggans, Beggin, Beggins, Biggin, Biggins, Biggane, Bigham, and Little. In general, the name had evolved somewhat differently in different areas. The most prevalent variations were:

  • Little, Beggin, and Beggan in Co. Fermanagh
  • Beggan, Began, and Litttle in Co. Monaghan and Co. Cavan
  • Bigham in Co. Down
  • Biggins, Biggin, and Beggins in Co. Mayo
  • Biggane in Co. Limerick and Co. Cork
  • Beegan in Co. Galway

Biggins is a relatively rare name. As far as we know, there never really was a Biggins clan, chieftan, or coat of arms.

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Peadar Livingstone's Theory

In his 1969 book, The Fermanagh Story, Rev. Peadar Livingstone includes a list of the prominent families of Gaelic origin. One of these is Beggan. In 2007 and again in 2009, I met with Gerard Beggan in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. Gerard's Beggan ancestors came from the Clones-Roslea area. As a young man, Gerard was working in hotel in Clones in 1969, the year that The Fermanagh Story was published, There he met Father Livingstone, who told him that the Beggan family was originally a branch of the Maguire family. Maguire is the most common name in Fermanagh. The Biggins/Maguire Genetic Distance Matrix shows the genetic distance among the Bigginses and Maguires who have tested 67 markers and between each of them and a modal for Clan Colla descendants. There is one Maguire who is particularly close to the Bigginses: Emerson McGuire, kit No. 44801.

Fermanagh Map
1969 map of surnames in County Fermanagh from Chapter 31, "Fermanagh Families," in The Fermanagh Story by Rev. Peadar Livingstone, Cumann Seanchais Chlochair, 1969. Note the name Beggan on the border in the lower right quadrant of the map, which is the Clones area.
Monaghan Map
1979 map of surnames in County Monaghan from page 51 of The Monaghan Story by Rev. Peadar Livingstone, Clogher Historical Society, 1979. Note the name Beggan in the upper left quadrant of the map, which is the Clones area.

A biography of Peadar Livingstone says Father Livingstone was a renowned scholar in both the Irish language and local history. He wrote comprenensive histories of two counties in Ireland: The Fermanagh Story (1969) and The Monaghan Story (1979). He also wrote a regular column for the The Fermanagh Herald, a local newspaper, under the name "Ernesense." Peadar Livingstone was born in 1932 and lived in the town of Castleblayney in County Monaghan. His father was a jeweller. He entered St. Macartan's College in Monaghan in 1945. Following his secondary school education, he entered Maynooth College to study for the priesthood for the diocese. He studied Celtic languages--Irish and Welsh--and theology. He was ordained a priest in 1957. Father Livingstone entered University College Dublin to continue his studies in Irish; however, he was recalled to the diocese before he completed his studies. He was appointed to the teaching staff of St. Michael's College in Enniskillen, a diocesan seminary in Northern Ireland, where he served as President and taught Irish, history, and religion. He was appointed a curate to the parish of Donaghmoynero in 1977. In 1987 he was assigned to the parish of Clogher in County Tyrone where he died later that year at age 55.

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Beg, Son of Cuanach

John O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees, Fifth Edition, 1892, Volume I, page 453 gives the pedigree of Bec, son of Cuanach and King of Orgiall, from whom descended Cineal Beice.

  • Colla Uais
  • Fiachra Tort ("tort" or "toirt:" Irish, a cake, a little loaf, bulk): son of Colla Uais; a quo O'Tuirtre; and a quo the territory of Tuirtre, more lately known as Northern Clanaboy, now the baronies of "Toome" and "Antrim."
  • Eachin (meaning "a little horse"): his son; a quo O'Eakin and Eakins; had six brothers—1. Muireadach, 2. Cormac, 3. Main, 4. Laeghaire, 5. Aongus, 6. Nathi.
  • Fedhlim: son of Eachin; had five brothers.
  • Daire: his son.
  • Cuanach: his son; was King of Orgiall, as were also seven of his posterity.
  • Bec: his son; King of Orgiall; a quo Cineal Beice.

This pedigree also appears in The Laud Genealogies and Tribal Histories 610 (c.1000), Rawlinson B.502 (c.1120), Book of Ballymote (c.1400) and the Book of Lecan (c. 1400). See O'Morgan.

John O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees, page 819, says that among the territories possessed by Chiefs and Clans of Ulidia in the twelfth century, as collected from O'Dugan's Topography, are those of O'Flinn, and O'Domhnallain or O'Donnellan, chiefs of Hy-Tuirtre: a people seated on the east side of the river Bann and Lough Neagh in Antrim; and descended from Fiachra Tort, grandson of King Colla Uais. Hy-Tuirtre comprised the baronies of Toome and Antrim, and was afterwards known as northern Clanaboy.

The Annals of the Four Masters, written in Irish 1632-1636, translated into English 1848-1851 by John O'Donovan, has the following for the year 594 on pp. 220-221 of Volume I: "After Aedh, son of Ainmire, son of Sedna, had been twenty seven years in the sovereignty of Ireland, he was slain by Bran Dubh, son of Eochaidh, in the battle of Dun Bolg, in Leinster, after Aedh had gone to exact the Borumha, and to avenge his son Comusgach upon them. Some nobles fell in this battle of Bealach Duin Bolg, together with Beg, son of Cuanach, Lord of Oirghialla. Of the death of Aedh was said:

At Buac,
the wave buffets the brink,
News were heard, who, in weariness,
slew Aedh, son of Ainmire.

The wife of Aedhi cecinit:

Three sides were dear,
from which to change is affords no hope,
The side of Tailltin, the side of Teamhair,
and the side of Aedh, son of Ainmire."

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Prevalence of Households with the Name Biggins or a Variation Thereof, by County

The table below has been taken from the Griffith's Valuation property survey of 1848-64. Some people named Bigham and Little may be Anglo-Irish rather than Irish with an anglicized name.

CountyBeaghanBeagin Beegan BeganBegganBeggansBegginBegginsBigginBigginsBigganeBighamLittleTotal
Antrim 232530
Armagh 3163747
Belfast city 262533
Cavan 7113342
Derry42226
Donegal2525
Down 19995195
Dublin 21820
Dublin city 111719
Fermanagh 11341117163
Galway 831921
Limerick 14014
Longford 3912
Louth1616
Mayo 165111134
Meath 76619
Monaghan 41614111349
Sligo1717
Tyrone118118
Other515176281
Total10482349142661621120675981

Immigration to USA

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Irish Records

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English Records of Irish Born

Message Boards

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Other Sources

Saint Bécán of Kilbeggan

Saint Bécán, one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, founded a monastery in Kilbeggan in the 6th century, giving rise to the town's Irish name Cill Bheagáin, meaning "the church of St Bécán". Kilbeggan Parish is in the Diocese of Meath.

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Biggins Family from Cloondaver

On my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe, I visited Thomas J. Biggins and his wife Grace in Castlecarra, County Mayo, Ireland. Thomas' great great grandfather Patrick was from the townland of Cloondaver in Robeen parish. Before that the family lived in Roundfort, which is east of Ballinrobe and south of Hollymount. Before that, the family was from around Glencorrib in far south Co. Mayo.

I was the second Biggins from America to visit Thomas and Grace. The first was Brian Biggins of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, who visited them ten years earlier. In February 2010, Brian's cousin Leo Petrini provided additional information.

In October 2007, Mary Hughes Biggins, wife of Thomas Biggins' brother John, found this page while researching her husband's ancestry. In January 2009, she was able to make significant contributions to the tree below.

In August 2009, Charles James "Chuck" Biggins III found this page on the Internet and sent an email with updates. In September 2012, he joined the Biggins/Beggan DNA project. He was the first Biggins with Mayo roots to join the project. He has the DNA of Niall of the Nine Hostages, also called Northwest Irish.

Patrick Biggins 1807-1866 of Cloondaver, Robeen Parish; m. Mary Maloy; had four children: James, Edward, Bridget, and John
Bridget Biggins b. 1831; emigrated to Ceres Township, McKean County, Pennsylania, USA; m. Martin Welch b. 1830
James Biggins 1834-1916; emigrated 1851 to Livingston County, New York, USA, then in 1854 to Ceres Township, McKean County, Pennsylania; m. 1869 Ellen Welch 1844-1910; fought in Civil War 1864-1865)
John Biggins b. 1849 m. Catherine Golding b. 1856 (in 1901 census for Cloondaver)
Patrick Welch 1852-1880

James E. Welch b. 1855

John C. Welch 1857-1902 m. 1881 Clara M. Ball 1878-1963; John was a druggist
  • Louis J. Welch b. 1882 m. Margaret
    • John Welch b. 1909
  • Clarence B. Welch b. 1895
  • Geraldine Welch b. 1902
Mary A. Welch b. 1859 m. John Shea

Margaret E. Welch b. 1861

Martin Welch b. 1865

Thomas Welch 1870-1872

Alice Welch b. 1872

Thomas Welch b. 1875
Edward Biggins

Mary Anne Biggins 1872-1896

Ella Biggins 1874-1948 m. 1902 John J. Faragher b. 1873 in Ireland

  • Helen M. Faragher b. 1903
  • Kathryn B. Faragher b. 1905
John E. Biggins 1878-1925 m. Elizabeth J. McDonald 1878-1963
  • James Edward Biggins 1911-1965
  • John McD. Biggins b. 1914
  • Gerald F. Biggins 1917-1953
Patrick Edward Biggins, MD 1880-1950 m. 1908 Frances Campbell 1880-1949
  • James A. Biggins b. 1909
  • Patricia Agnes Biggins b. 1911 m. Victor Leo Petrini, parents of seven, including Leo Petrini
  • Elizabeth Biggins b. 1912
  • John Biggins b. 1915
  • Edward Biggins 1916-1942; KIA Oran, North Africa
  • Mary Eleanor Biggins 1918-1976
  • Francis L. Biggins 1921-2012 (father of Brian Biggins)
  • Joseph Biggins b. 1923
James John Biggins 1885-1969 m. 1906 Mabel Brown d. 1907; lived in Olean, New York, USA
  • Charles James Biggins 1907-1961 m. 1928 Mary Lyndall 1913-1998
    • Charles James Biggins 1931-2011 m. 1951 Betty Lou Canfield b. 1933 (parents of Charles James "Chuck" Biggins III)
    • James Biggins - died young from an accident
    • Thomas M. Biggins m. Claudette Welch
Bridget Biggins b. 1880

Richard Biggins b. 1882

Mary Biggins b. 1886; went to New York, USA, in 1905 and stayed with her sister Bridget "Delia" Biggins

James Biggins b. 1887

John Biggins b. 1888

Kate Biggins b. 1891

Joseph Biggins 1894-1939 m. Eleanor Jennings d. 1965
  • Patrick J. Biggins 1925-1974; m. Peggy Walsh; moved to Castlecarra; son Thomas and wife Grace were visited by Brian Biggins in 1996 and Peter Biggins in 2006; son John m. Mary Hughes, who supplied much of the information on this side of the tree
  • Thomas Biggins; went to the UK
  • Richard Biggins; went to the UK; d. 1987
  • Gerald Biggins 1950-1987; moved to Chicago, USA; has 5 children
  • John Biggins m. Bridget Duffy; d. 1987
  • Aidan Biggins; moved to Chicago, USA
  • Kathleen Biggins m. Jennings; d. 1950s
  • Rose Biggins m. Feeney; d. 1959

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Biggins Family from The Neale and Ballynalty

On my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe, I stayed at Riverside House, a very nice B&B on Cornmarket Street. It is run by Anne Mahon. Anne and her family had lived in Staten Island and New Jersey for a number of years before returning to Ballinrobe.

When I arrived at Riverside House, I told Anne that I was researching Biggins genealogy. To my surprise, she told me her aunt Katie Grimes married Thomas Biggins in Glencorrib. By the time I left, she was able to give me details of this Biggins family, which I posted on this Web site. It subsequently was seen by several relatives who were "Googling" their ancestors: Kathleen Biggins in The Bronx, New York, Helen Sullivan Peters and her mother Ellen Biggins Sullivan in Monroe, New York, Lorraine Biggins in Medford, Massachusetts, and Mary Cooney Alexander in Basildon, Essex, England. These four, especially Mary Alexander, added greatly to the family tree shown below.

Sister M. Amatus Biggins. One member of the Biggins family from The Neale and Ballynalty was Ellen Biggins (1903-1972). She emigrated with 7 other women in 1929 to Villa de Matel, Houston, Texas, to join the Sisters of Charity. She became Sister M. Amatus and served in hospitals and orphanages in California, Texas, and Louisiana. Her ancestors were from County Mayo, Ireland. She is the daughter of Thomas and Mary Biggins Biggins from Turloughmore, The Neale, then in Cushlough (Lough Mask road), Ballinrobe. Her parents were first cousins.

Sister M. Amatus
Sister M. Amatus (Ellen Biggins), circa 1929.
Kathleen Biggins
Kathleen Biggins, host of A Thousand Welcomes on WFUV FM Saturday mornings from Fordham University.

Biggins Music. Kathleen Biggins hosts A Thousand Welcomes, an Irish music program on Fordham University's FM station, WFUV. You can listen to it live on your computer from 9 am to noon on Saturdays, Eastern time. In an e-mail on September 20, 2005, Kathleen wrote:

My father's parents both came to the U.S. from Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo in the 1920s, so I'm second-generation American. There are no Biggins relatives of mine left there (there's another Biggins family in the town, but they're not related that we know of). My grandmother's relatives are still in the town, though. Most of the other Biggins relatives are in The Neale.

I don't know of any Biggins geneolgists in Ireland, so I can't really help you there. But Mayo is a good place to start. It's really the only place in Ireland where you'll find the name.

Good luck!

Supreme Court
Hazen Paper v. Biggins. In 1993, the Supreme Court of the United States reviewed an age discrimination case involving Walter F. Biggins (Hazen Paper v. Biggins, 507 U.S. 604). Justice Sandra Day O'Connor delivered the unanimous opinion of the Court. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy filed a concurring opinion, in which Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas joined. Other Justices were John Paul Stevens, Byron White, Antonin Scalia, Harry Blackmun, and David Souter.

Hazen Paper Company manufactures coated, laminated, and printed paper and paperboard in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Hazen hired Walter as their technical director in 1977. They fired him in 1986, when he was 62 years old, just before he would have vested under the Hazen pension plan.

Walter is the great grandson of Patrick and Honor Thornton Biggins from the Neale. He is the grandson son of Thomas and Annie Crosby Biggins who emigrated in 1889 to Chelsea, Massachusetts. He is the son of Thomas and Ella Biggins.

Family Tree. A family tree for the Biggins family from The Neale and Ballynalty is shown below.

John Biggins
John Biggins married Ellen Rochford 1841-1881. They lived in Turloughmore, The Neale (John and 3 children listed in 1901 Census for Cahernagry West; 2 children listed in 1911 Census for Cahernagry West)
Patrick Biggins 1833-1888 married Honor Thornton 1843-1924. Born in Beechgrove, The Neale. They lived in Turloughmore, The Neale (Honor and children listed in 1901 Census for Cahernagry West; Honor, children, and grandchildren listed in 1911 Census for Cahernagry West)
Thomas Biggins married in 1881 to Bridget Walsh of Ballycusheen, Kilmaine b. 1850. They lived in Ballynalty (Thomas, Bridget, and children listed in 1901 Census for Ballynalty; Bridget and children listed in 1911 Census for Ballynalty).
Bridget Biggins, teacher

Mary Biggins 1866-1937, married in 1901 to Pat Luke Varley 1860-1927
  • Luke Varley b. 1902
  • John Varley b. 1903, living with Thomas and Mary Ellen Murphy Biggins in the Bronx in the 1930 US census (see middle column)
  • May Varley b. 1905
  • Delia Varley b. 1909
Patrick Biggins 1868-1961, married Maggie Burke d. 1978
  • John Biggins 1930-2001
  • Philomena Biggins
Margaret J. Biggins b. 1870, emigrated 1891 to Boston, married 1896 Robert Barrett b. 1871, living at 35 Matthews Street in 1900, 67 Cottage Street in 1910
  • Ellen T. Barrett b. 1897
  • John E. Barrett b. 1899
  • Robert Barrett b. 1901
  • Thomas F. Barrett b. 1904
  • George H. Barrett b. 1906
  • James J. Barrett b. 1909
  • Margaret J. Barrett b. 1912
  • Grace L. Barrett b. 1918
John Biggins b. 1871

Thomas Biggins b. 1873, married in 1895 to Mary Biggins (see middle column for children)

Sarah Biggins 1875-1941, married 1900 James O'Malley 1876-1943, lived in Creevagh, The Neale. Grandparents of Mary Alexander, who provided much of the information on this tree
  • Luke Patrick O'Malley 1901-1996, married Kate Moran 1907-1992, had five children, died in Castlebar
  • Mary Catherine O'Malley 1902-1984, worked in New York, retired in Ireland
  • Eileen O'Malley 1903-1990, became Sister Enda of the Sisters of Mercy
  • Bridget Gabrielle O'Malley 1906-2003, emigrated to New York, married Tim Reilly from County Cork, had four children
  • Martin Joseph O'Malley 1908-1990, became a Carmellite priest, ordained in Rome in 1937
  • Patrick O'Malley 1911-1986, married Mary Flannery 1914-1991, had nine children
  • Sarah O'Malley b. 1912, emigrated to Lancashire, England, married Patrick Cooney 1913-1947 and had three children, then Robert Burns 1913-1992 and had two children
  • Honora O'Malley b. 1915, married Thomas Farragher 1907-1984, emigrated to Kent, England, had seven children
  • Margaret O'Malley 1917-2005, became Sister Columbanus of the Sisters of Mercy, at convents in Cornwall, Warwickshire, and Dorset
Michael Biggins b. 1877

James Biggins b. 1880
John Biggins 1868-1955, emigrated to Yorkshire West Riding, England, where he lived with his brother Martin. Died in Don Valley, Yorkshire West Riding

Thomas Biggins 1870-1950+, emigrated in 1889 to Chelsea, Massachusetts, m. 1892 Annie Crosby 1869-1920+
  • Catherine Biggins b. 1893
  • John Joseph Biggins 1894-1970
  • Thomas Joseph Biggins 1895-1993, m. 1922 Ella. Their son Walter F. Biggins had a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States
  • James P. Biggins 1897-1979
  • Martin Edward Biggins 1899-1980, m. Mary Hoy. Their granddaughter is Lorraine Biggins
  • Biggins b. 1900
  • Luke Biggins 1904-1963
  • Walter Biggins 1906-1920
Michael Biggins 1872-1921, emigrated to Northumberland, England with his brother Patrick. Died in Maltby, Yorkshire West Riding, England

Patrick Biggins 1874-1941, emigrated to Bell's Close, Northumberland, England, m. 1903 Elizabeth Woods 1881-1951, emigrated to 1913 Bulli, N.S.W., Australia
  • Catherine Biggins 1903-1904
  • Patrick Biggins 1904-1906
  • Mary Honour Biggins 1905-1906
  • Norah Biggins 1907-1907
  • Elizabeth Biggins 1908-1964
  • Catherine Biggins 1910-1913
  • Norah Honour Biggins 1912-1913
  • John Biggins 1916-1991
  • Michael Francis Biggins 1921-1976
Mary Biggins b. 1875, m. 1895 Thomas Biggins, lived in Turloughmore, The Neale until 1899-1911-13, then in Cushlough (Lough Mask road), Ballinrobe (see left column for the family of Thomas Biggins)
  • Thomas Biggins 1895-1980, emigrated in 1921 to The Bronx, New York, worked as a trolley motorman; m. 1929 Mary Ellen Murphy (b. 1908 Ballinrobe) in The Bronx; moved to Elmsford, New York; one daughter a nun, Sister Marie Goretti; granddaughter is Kathleen Biggins who hosts A Thousand Welcomes, an Irish music program on Fordham University's FM station, WFUV
  • John Biggins 1897-1898
  • Michael Biggins 1899-1921
  • Ellen Biggins 1903-1972; emigrated with 7 other women in 1929 to Villa de Matel, Houston, Texas, to join the Sisters of Charity; became Sister M. Amatus; served in hospitals and orphanages in California, Texas, and Louisiana
  • Patrick Biggins 1906-1986
  • James Biggins b. 1909
  • Margaret Mary Biggins b. 1911
  • Nora Biggins b. 1913, married Flannery, a widower with children, lives in Ballinaga (The Neale road)
  • Delia Biggins 1915-1963
  • Mary Ellen/Anne Biggins 1916-2008, married 1960 Ernest Sutton, lived in Canterbury, Kent, England
Bridget Biggins b. 1877, m. 1918 Thady Connor
  • Jack O'Connor
  • Mary O'Connor
Martin Biggins 1878-1966, emigrated to Derbyshire and West Riding, England, m. 1909 Catherine Boylan 1889-1975
  • Nora Mary Biggins 1909-1990
  • Delia Bridget Biggins 1911-1996
  • John Biggins 1913-1979
  • Thomas Biggins 1915-1984
  • James Biggins 1916-1981
  • Catherine Biggins 1918-1989
  • Ellen Biggins 1920-1921
  • Patricia Biggins 1922-2004
  • Frances Biggins 1924-2001
  • Veronica Biggins 1926-2005
  • Anne Doreen Biggins 1930-2003
Ellen Biggins b. 1880, married Pat Owen Varley, lived in Drumsheel
  • Mary Ellen Varley b. 1921
  • Owen varley
  • Joseph Varley
Edward Biggins 1883-1950, emigrated to Doncaster, Yorks, West Riding, England, m. 1912 Gertrude Goulding
  • John J. Biggins 1913-1914
  • Eileen Biggins 1918-1996
  • Edward F. Biggins 1919-1995
  • Nora Biggins 1922-1922
  • Nora C. Biggins b. 1925
  • Ellen Selina Biggins 1928-2006
Luke Biggins 1886-1962, m. Honor Morrin d. 1968
  • Patrick Biggins 1924-1996
  • John Joseph Biggins 1926-2003, lived in Wiltshire, England
  • James Biggins 1927-1929
  • Nora Biggins b. 1929
  • Mary Ellen Biggins b. 1931
James Biggins 1888-1902
Mary Biggins b. 1882, never married

Julia Biggins b. 1883, emigrated to New York, never married, died circa 1960

Bridget "Delia" Biggins b. 1885, emigrated to Boston with sister Ellen in 1906; never married

Margaret Biggins b. 1886, stayed in Ireland, died circa 1983

Ellen Biggins 1888-1978, emigrated to Boston with her sister Bridget in 1906; married 1923 Michael Maguire, lived in Masssachusetts
  • Eugene Maguire b. 1926
  • Mary Maguire b. 1928, married Chambers
John Biggins, 1891-1965, emigrated to Boston and lived with Ellen and Michael Maguire, never married

Thomas Biggins, 1893-1965, married in 1934 Katie Grimes, 1908-2004, who was born in Ballytrasna and is the sister of Mary Grimes who was mother of Anne Mahon (Anne Mahon of Riverside House B&B contributed to this table), lived in Wallpark (formerly part of Ballynalty) on Lough Corrib
  • Paddy Biggins, 1943-2007, married Nora, had 4 daughters, lived in Queens, New York, family now in Hyde Park, New York
  • Tommy Biggins 1941-2012, married Kathleen Hyland, live in Glencorrib, had 3 sons and 2 daughters
  • Bridie Biggins 1939-1984, married Vinny McGuire; had 6 children, live in Floral Park, New York
  • Ellen Biggins b. 1940, immigrated to America in 1958, married 1965 Jerry Sullivan, living in Monroe, New York; have 4 sons (including Father Paul Sullivan, ordained a priest in the Diocese of Phoenix in 2007 and assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glendale, Arizona) and 4 daughters; Ellen and her daughter Helen have contributed to this table
  • Julia Biggins, deceased, lived in Queens, New York, daughter Maureen lives in Tappan, New York
  • Anne Biggins, lived in New York City with her sisters Kathleen and Peg, moved to San Francisco with daughter Bridget
  • Kathleen Biggins, married Sharkey; lived in Queens, New York, now lives in Westchester County, have 2 daughters and 1 son
  • Peg Biggins, married Roder, have 3 sons and 2 daughters; lived in California, now live in Stoney Creek, New York, wrote article about her mother entitled "The experiences of Katie Biggins in America" that was included in Glencorrib National Schools, 1854-2004, a copy of which was provided by Michael and Bridie Biggins of Ballynalty (see below)

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Biggins Family from Ballinrobe and Rostaff

Biggins Bar, Ballinrobe. Research prior to my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe indicated that there was a Biggins Bar in Ballinrobe. The existence of this establishment was a major reason for selecting Ballinrobe as a base for Biggins family research. Biggins Bar is on Bowgate Street, which is an informal section at the south end of Main Street. The first night I went to Biggins Bar and introduced himself to John Biggins, the proprietor. I also met a first cousin of John Biggins, known as John Joe Biggins, who had returned not long ago from working in Dublin at The Stephen's Green Hibernian Club, founded in 1840 by Daniel O'Connell and others. My brother Jim had coincidentally gotten John Joe's phone number from staff at the club, when he and his wife Anne stayed there a year earlier.

I did research at Biggins Bar every night for six nights, enjoying a couple pints of Guinness each night. I was able to verify what my brother Bill had always told me, that Guinness tastes best in Ireland. Bill had traveled to Co. Mayo following his discharge from the Navy during the Viet Nam conflict.

Biggins Bar is a favorite place to purchase flies for fly fishing. John's father Sean was an avid fly fisherman. After his father's death in a car accident in 2003, John established the Sean Biggins Memorial Cup for the best Ballinrobe angler in the annual World Cup Trout Fly Angling Championship at Lough Mask, a few miles west of Ballinrobe.

Established 1863. John Biggins says that Biggins Bar is the oldest continuously operating bar in Ballinrobe. As indicated on the sign, it was established in 1863. It originally was in the Farragher family. The first Biggins proprietor was John Biggins, grandfather of the current owner, who married Mary Farragher. According to a 1987 guide to the history and folklore of Ballinrobe, Itchy Feet & Thirsty Work, by Bridie Mulloy, Biggins Bar "is possibly the oldest license in town. The license was originally for a house in Brewery lane - off Bridge Street - but through the goodwill of Colonel Knox, for whom Sean's maternal great grandfather was gardener, a house was leased in Bowgate Street which still prospers."

Biggins Bar in Ballinrobe
Biggins Bar on Bowgate Street, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, Ireland, 2006. Just after the name on the sign, it says "Est. 1863." The left side of the sign says "Beer Garden." The right side says "Fishing Tackle." From left: Peter Biggins, researcher, and John Biggins, proprietor.
Deirdre Biggins drapery shop in Ballinrobe
Deirdre Biggins drapery shop on Chapel Street in Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, Ireland, 2006. Sign in widow announces "Wedding Feathers - Now in Stock."

D. Biggins, Ballinrobe. On my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe, I went to the drapery shop of Deirdre Biggins Cameron (ladies' and children's wear) on Chapel Street in Ballinrobe. Deirdre is a sister of John Biggins of Biggins Bar. This Biggins family originally came from Rostaff, which is in Co. Mayo on the Galway border. Deirdre's grandfather, John Biggins moved to Ballinrobe and opened a drapery shop. My sister Emily and her husband Jack visited the John Biggins shop in 1971 and spoke with his wife Mary. Her husband John had died in 1962.

Cyril Biggins, Ballinafad, Connemara. In 2011, our friend Marie Whitla O'Reilly was visiting Connemara and happened upon a fishing guide named Cyril Biggins at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel. I sent an inquiry to the Hotel and received an email back from Cyril's wife Brid O'Malley who told me Cyril was a cousin of John Biggins of Biggins Bar. He is the son of Liam and Josie Carney Biggins and brother of John Joe Biggins and Celine Biggins. "Cyril works as a fishing guide and instructor here at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, where I also work, in administration. I will attach a couple of photographs and you can check out if you think he looks like any of the other Biggins!! He is a complete Carney, I think." Sadly, Brid also told me that Cyril's brother John Joe and their mother Josie had died unexpectedly in February two weeks apart.

Ballynahinch has long been famous for its fishing guides and the tradition has continued in the same families from generation to generation. Photographs in the hotel of fishing guides from the 1800’s confirm this long-standing practice. Fishing guides teach the inexperienced angler and direct the more practised angler to where the big fish are. Fishing at Ballynahinch is by fly only. Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is set in a private 450 acre estate of woodland, rivers, and walks in the heart of Connemara, Co. Galway. The hotel overlooks its famous salmon fishery, with a backdrop of the Twelve Bens mountain range.

Ballynahinch Guides
Fishing guides at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel. Cyril Biggins is second from the left.
John D. Biggins
John D. Biggins, Professor of Mathematics, The University of Sheffield.
Ballynahinch Guides
John S. Biggins, Research Fellow, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University.
John D. Biggins
Mark Biggins, conductor, pianist, singer. Graduate student, School of Music, Yale University.

John D. Biggins, Professor of Mathematics. On March 4, 2014, there was an article entitled "Startling Video Explained" by James Gorman in the Science section of the New York Times. It was about "beads leaping out of a jar in an arc before falling to the floor." The article mentioned John S. Biggins, a Cambridge physicist. I sent John an email and found out that his grandfather was Patrick Biggins (1925-2006) from Ballinrobe, who had emigrated to England. His father was John D. Biggins, a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Sheffield and a Deacon in the Catholic Church of St. William of York. Being a church webmaster, I went to the parish website and found a series of beautiful homilies by John Biggins.

Another son of John D. Biggins is Mark Biggins, who is a conductor, pianist, and singer. He is currently a a graduate student at the Yale School of Music in New Haven, Connecticut.

Family Tree. The family tree of the Biggins family from Ballinrobe and Rostaff is shown below.

Patrick Biggins b. 1841 and Bridget Phew b. 1861 were married in Rostaff, Co. Mayo, in 1880 and had seven children (Patrick, Bridget, and family listed in 1901 Census for Moyne):
Mary Biggins b. 1882

Michael Biggins b. 1884

Thomas Biggins b. 1885

Patrick Biggins b. 1888, moved to Tuam, opened a drapery shop, married (based on 2002 obituary for Thomas Biggins of Tuam provided by John Biggins of Biggins Bar)
  • Noel Biggins, Captain, New York Police Department
  • Thomas Biggins d. 2002, carpenter, emigrated to Birmingham, England, and New York, married Patricia Mills
    • Susan Biggins
    • Andrew Biggins
    • David Biggins
  • Francis Biggins, sales manager, Erin Foods
  • Tony Biggins, detective, Garda
  • Margaret Biggins, Civil Service
Honora Bridget "Nora" Biggins b. 1891, emigrated to America, married twice

John Biggins 1892-1962  moved to Ballinrobe and opened a drapery shop, m. Mary Farragher d. 1990
  • Patrick Biggins 1925-2006 emigrated to Wolverhampton, England, m. Margaret McEnroe from Co. Meath
    • John D. Biggins, Professor of Mathematics, The University of Sheffield; Deacon, St. William of York Parish, m. 1980 Lesley (son John S. contributed to this table)
  • Mary Bridget Biggins b. 1926
  • William A. "Liam" Biggins 1929-1957  m. Josephine "Josie" Carney d. 2011
    • John Joseph Biggins 1952-2011
    • William Cyril Nicholas Biggins b. 1955  m. Brid O'Malley
    • Celene Biggins
  • Norah Patricia Biggins b. 1933
  • Anne P. "Nan" Biggins b. 1935  m. Duffy (contributed to this table)
  • Michael John "Sean" Biggins 1938-2003  m. Carmel Horan
    • John Biggins - Biggins Bar (contributed to this table)
    • Kieran Biggins
    • Deirdre Biggins, m. Richard Cameron
    • Siobhan Biggins
Helena "Nellie" Biggins b. 1895  m. Michael Hogan
  • Patrick Hogan (contributed to this table)

Table of Contents     

Biggins Family from Ballynalty

On my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe, I visited with Michael and Bridie Murphy Biggins on their cattle/sheep farm in the townland of Ballynalty, which is 8 miles south of Ballinrobe, near Glencorrib. Ballynalty is just north of the Black River, which separates Co. Mayo from Co. Galway on the south. The post office for Ballynalty is Headford, which is in Co. Galway.

IFA
Michael Biggins on his farm in Ballynalty
Michael Biggins with cattle on his farm in Ballynalty, Co. Mayo, Ireland, 2006.
Michael was Mayo County chairman for the The Irish Farmers' Association from 2002 to 2008. Michael and Bridie have five children.

The farm has been in his family for hundreds of years. Michael took me over to his mother's house for a visit. Her name is Norah and her maiden name was Biggins. Norah has a brother John Biggins in Boston. Her husband, Thomas Biggins, died in 2003 at the age of 82. I was served tea at Norah's house and then dinner at Michael's house. Following that, Michael took me on a tour of the farm and down to Headford to see his son who was working at the cattle sale.

Michael referred me to Eamon Martin who is doing genealogical research. Eamon, who is married to Frances Biggins and lives in Dublin, has provided some interesting information on Peeter Beaghan in the 1650s. Peeter who was given 673 acres of land in Co. Mayo to partially replace land confiscated in Co. Monaghan. Cromwell confiscated land owned by Catholics east of the river Shannon to compensate soldiers who helped put down a rebellion in 1641 and to reduce the influence of Catholics east of the River Shannon. Peeter's new land consisted of seven parcels in Shrule (Muckallgee, Balynalta, Carrownaheele) and Mooragagh (Killinebringe, Carrowmore). This information is included in the Book of Survey and Distribution on Martin Ryan's Shrule Web site. Peeter also received land back in Co. Monaghan. One explanation may be that he bought land from soldiers who had received it.

Michael also referred me to his niece Kathy Keane who is doing genealogical research. She has emailed me a family tree that allowed me to create a Biggins descendants chart for Michael's great great grandfathers on both his mother's and father's sides. Michael's parent are in italics on both sides of the chart.

In 2013, Lori Kaltenbronn sent an email and provided valuable information for the chart above. She is a great granddaughter of Mary E. Biggins and Thomas Luke Martin from Tuam. Family legend is that they met on the ship when emigrating. They came to the America about 1885 and settled in St. Louis. Her brothers James and John also lived here. When James died he left money to Bridget Murphy and Denis Biggins of Ireland in his estate. They were identified as his sister and brother. I'm not sure what happened to John. He wasn't listed in his brothers estate like the other siblings.

Lori also has some relationship to descendants of John Biggins and Katherine (Kitty) Sheridan. Their son Michael J Biggins came to St. Louis as well. He married Winnifred Finn. "I don't know how the two Biggins families are related, but family legend says they are."

Thomas Biggins b. 1830, Ballynalty (Thomas and son and family listed in 1901 Census for Ballynalty)
Denis Biggins 1800-1884, married Winifred 1806-1876
John Biggins b. 1846, married Katherine K. Sheridan b. 1849
Patrick Biggins b. 1866, Ballynalty, married Nora McHugh b. 1876 Headford
  • Michael Joseph Biggins, 1897-1985, married Margaret Walsh 1902-1982
    • Nora Biggins b. 1928 Ballycurran married Thomas Biggins 1921-2003
    • May Biggins married Berbard Shaw
    • Thomas Biggins d. 1984
    • Philip Biggins
    • Ger Biggins married Kathleen
    • John Biggins married Mary, Emigrated to Boston
    • Imelda Biggins married Thomas O'Donoghue
    • Teresa Biggins
  • Thomas Biggins b. 1898
  • Mary Biggins, b. 1900
Patrick Biggins 1837-1867, Ballynalty, married Bridget Connor
  • Mary Biggins
  • Margaret Biggins
John Biggins, 1839-1879, Ballynalty, married 1860 Mary Biggins b. 1841 Ballynalty (Mary and children listed in 1901 Census for Ballisnahyny)
  • Bridget Biggins b. 1861
  • Mary E. Biggins 1864-1927 b. Cong, d. St. Louis, Missouri, emigrated in 1885, m. 1889 Thomas Luke Martyn (Martin) from Tuam
    • Mary A. Martin 1890-1970, m. Michael Gannon 1889-1961
    • Ella Bridgette Martin 1892-1943, m. 1919 William Charles Dooley
    • John Joseph Martin 1894-1884
    • Thomas Martin 1898-1900
    • Cecilia Martin 1901-1995, m. 1927 James D. McCarthy 1902-1970
    • James Francis Martin 1907-1980, m. 1937 Dorothy Cecelia Wunsch 1911-2000
  • Denis Biggins 1866-1946 b. Cong, d. Moyne, married Ellen Fallon b. 1946 Kilconnely (Bally-roe)
    • Jack Biggins 1906-1995 married 1943 Mary O'Rourke. Son is Patrick Biggins of Hayfield, north of Ballinrobe.
    • Michael Joseph Biggins 1909-1986 married 1951 Bridget Diskin, owned Biggins Foodstore across from Glencorrib Church from 1947 to 1996
    • Bridget Biggins b. 1912 married Frank Joyce
    • James Biggins 1914-1945
    • Patrick Biggins b. 1915 married Bernie Keogh
    • Denis Biggins b. 1919 married Mary Kelly
    • Thomas Biggins 1921-2003 Ballinsnahina married Nora Biggins b. 1928 Ballycurran
  • John Biggins 1870-1927, emigrated to St. Louis, Missouri
  • Bridget Biggins 1871-1939+, b. Cong, married 1902 Michael Murphy
  • James Edwin Biggins 1877-1939 b. Cong, d. St. Louis, Missouri
Mary Biggins b. 1873, Cong

Michael Biggins b. 1873, Cong

Pat Biggins b. 1873, Cong

John Joseph Biggins b. 1874, Cong, emigrated to Hartford, Connecticut, m. Catherine Godfrey 1879-1939
  • John J. Biggins, 1905-1970, b. Connecticut, d. San Francisco
    • John Biggins b. 1924
  • Michael D. Biggins 1906-1966, m. Emma Parker 1904-2003
  • Francis Biggins, 1908-1920
Pat Biggins b. 1876, Cong

Michael J. Biggins 1880-1953, b. Dringin, emigrated to St. Louis, Missouri, m. 1911 Winifred Finn 1884-1953

  • John J. Biggins 1912-1946
  • Rev. Edward P. Biggins, b. 1914
  • Mary C. Biggins, 1915-2010, m. 1940 John David Shine 1916-1944, m. John F. Hederman 1915-1997
    • Mary Ann Hederman m. Bruce Lockett
    • Kathleen Hederman
    • John F. Hederman
Mary Biggins b. 1880, Dringin, Tipperary

Catherine Biggins 1882-1953, m. McVeigh

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Mayo Abbey
The history of Mayo begins with the Synod of Whitby in 664, to resolve the conflict between the Celts and the Romans on the date of Easter. Having lost the debate St Colman left Lindisfarne and returned to Iona, later going to Innisboffin and from there to Maigh Eo, later to become known as Mayo of the Saxons.

Fr. James Biggins, Mayo Abbey

On my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe, I visited the Ballinrobe library and found a five-volume history of Co. Mayo that mentioned a Fr. James Biggins at Mayo Abbey.

After seeing the mention of Fr. Biggins in the Mayo history, I drove to Mayo Abbey. A Castlebar library patron kindly escorted me to the Mayo Abbey road. Mayo Abbey is a small town where the ruins of the old abbey are. St. Colman founded a monastery there in 668 A.D. The abbey was regarded as a center of learning equal to that of Kells and Augsburg in Germany. In 1152, it became the seat of the Diocese of Mayo. In the 16th century, the diocese gave its name to Co. Mayo. In 1631, the seat of the diocese was changed to Tuam.

The parish church in Mayo Abbey is St. Colman's Church. Kathleen Delaney wrote in response to a telephone call that Fr. Biggins was born in Castlebar in 1872 to Denis and Mary Biggins. He was baptized on December 24. His mother was from the Killeen family in Claremorris. He was ordained at Maynooth in June 1898. In 1896 St Patrick's College Maynooth had attained the status of a Pontifical University for its courses in Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law. At one time, Maynooth was the largest seminary in the world.

In the 1901 census for England, there was a Roman Catholic priest named James Biggins in Birkenhead. He was age 28 and born in Ireland. Birkenhead is in Merseyside, across the River Mersey from Liverpool. Birkenhead is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury and has four parishes today. See English Records of Irish Born.

Fr. Biggins became the Parish Priest (Pastor) at Mayo Abbey in 1931, having come from Castlebar. At Mayo Abbey, Fr. Biggins renovated the church interior, put down a boarded floor, studded the walls, and painted the inside. He built the curate's residence. An unassuming man, he was well liked by the people. For some years before his death he suffered from heart trouble. He died February 8, 1950, aged 77 years, and is buried in the New Cemetery where the tombstone to his memory was erected by the parishioners.

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Sister Teresa Biggins

Sister Teresa Biggins is a member of The Sisters of St. John of God in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

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Biggins Foodstore
Biggins Foodstore across from Glencorrib Church, 1847-1996. Source: Glencorrib National Schools, 1854-2004.

Biggins Foodstore in Glencorrib

In December 2006, I received a Christmas card from Michael and Bridie Biggins from Ballynalty, whom I had visited on my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe. Included with the card was Glencorrib National Schools, 1854-2004, a book published in 2004 celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Glencorrib National Schools. Included in the book is an article about the Biggins Foodstore, which was situated directly across from the Glencorrib Church from 1947 to 1996. It was owned and operated by the Michael (Mick) Biggins (1909-1986) and Bridgie Diskin Biggins family. Initially, they sold ciarettes, papers, and general groceries, but oveer the years the store became more of a general store selling drugs, clothing, and hardware. Mick and Bridie had seven children who eventually helped out in the store: Michael, Mary, John, Bernadette, James, Bridget, and Patrick.

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St. Mary's Church in Ballinrobe

On my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe, Monsignor Thomas Shannon, of St. Mary's Church in Ballinrobe, provided a list of 27 Biggins baptisms. He had no record of Biggins marriages.

Based on baptisms in the 1870s and 1880s, it was possible to reconstruct five Biggins families from St. Mary's Church in Ballinrobe.

Five Biggins Families from Ballinrobe:
Denis Biggins m. Mary Killeen from Claremorris
  • James P. Biggins 1872-1950; ordained at Maynooth 1898; parish priest at Mayo Abbey 1931-1950
  • Bridget Biggins b. 1874
  • Mary Biggins b. 1876
  • Catherine Biggins b. 1878
  • Margaret Biggins b. 1878
  • Ellen Biggins b. 1879
  • Ann Biggins b. 1880
  • Patrick Biggins b. 1881
  • John Joseph Biggins b. 1883
Michael Biggins m. Bridget Biggins
  • Elizabeth Biggins b. 1879
John Biggins m. Winifred Mullahy
  • John Biggins b. 1884
  • Mary Biggins b. 1885
James Biggins m. Bridget Farragher; was a shopkeeper on Shop Street in Westport in 1865
  • Thomas Edwin Biggins b. 1865 Westport
  • Mary Biggins b. 1871
  • William Biggins b. 1873
  • Margaret Biggins b. 1876

Based on baptisms in the 1910s, it was possible to reconstruct one other Biggins family from St. Mary's Church in Ballinrobe, first cousins Thomas and Mary Biggins. This family appears above under "Biggins from The Neale and Ballynalty." The father is a son of John and Ellen Rochford Biggins. The mother is the daughter of Patrick and Honor Thornton Biggins.

Thomas Biggins m. 1895 Mary Biggins
  • Nora Biggins b. 1913 Ballinaga (The Neale road)
  • Bridget Biggins b. 1915 Clooncurrane (Lough Mask road)
  • Mary Anne Biggins b. 1916 Clooncurrane

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Biggin in Ballinrobe in 1782.

On my 2006 Trip to Ballinrobe, I spotted a stone sign embedded in the wall of a house saying "This House Built By Thomas Biggin - 1782." The sign was on a building just after you turn on the Ballyglass Road heading north out of Ballinrobe.

On my return trip to Ballinrobe in 2009, I talked to Tom Watson, who lives across the street from the sign. He said the row of buildings where the sign was were built by the Courtney Kenny family. The Kenny family had lived in the Ballinrobe area since the late 17th century and owned a brewery and flour mill there. The theory is that Thomas Biggin was a journeyman stone mason and chiseled the sign into the side of the building during construction. It was plastered over but uncovered when the plaster was redone in 2004. The former Kenny home, Robe Villa, is on High Street, around the corner from the Biggin sign.

Biggin sign
Stone sign on Kenny building, 2006: "This House Built By Thomas Biggin - 1782."
Biggin sign
Kenny buildings on the road to Ballyglass, with High Street to the right, 2009. The Biggin sign is on the building just to the left of the road signs that appear in the foreground. The ruins of the Kenny flour mill on the Robe River are in back of these buildings. The Kenny home, Villa Robe, is at the far right edge of the photo. Walking down the street in the middle of the picture is Tom Watson, perhaps on his way to lunch, not long after our conversation.

See Maggie Land Blanck's Web site for some great 2004 photos of the buildings above when they were being refurbished, as well as the Kenny home and flour mill and other places in Ballinrobe, and old photos of Ballinrobe.

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Bob Biggins
Bob Biggins.

Bob Biggins, Illinois General Assembly, 1993-2011

Bob Biggins was the representative from the 41st District to the Illinois General Assembly from 1993 to 2011. Committee assignments included Aging; Tollway Oversight; Mass Transit; Sales and Other Taxes; Executive; Revenue & Finance; Appropriations-General Service.

He was born in 1946 in Oak Park, Illinois, and now lives in Elmhurst, Illinois.

His great great grandparents were John and Mary Moghan Biggins of Rossdaff, County Mayo, Ireland. Their son, James E. Biggins, was born in 1841 and immigrated to Maine in 1855. He married Mary Nolan and moved to the west side of Chicago in 1872-73.

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The King's Speech
The King's Speech, Momentum Pictures, U.K. Best Picture winner of 2010. Includes 1500 inflatables.

Joe Biggins, The Inflatable Crowd Company

Joe Biggins started The Inflatable Crowd Company in 2002. Since then, his Inflatable Crowds have been seen (but not noticed) in over 80 feature films and many TV shows and commercials.

Movies include Seabiscuit, Best Picture nominee of 2003, and The King's Speech, Best Picture winner of 2010.

Says Joe, "texture is the key to making inflatables a realistic solution. We provide an unparalleled level of detail customized to match the look of your crowd including everything necessary to blend the inflatables seamlessly among the real, non inflatable extras: real clothing, individual 3D faces, wigs, hats." See various images.

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John C. Biggins, Inventor of the Bank Credit Card

John C. Biggins Obituary
New York Times obituary for John C. Biggins, September 19, 1971.

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In 1946, banker John C. Biggins (1910-1971) introduced the first bank card, “Charg-It,” into his Brooklyn neighborhood. Whenever a customer charged a purchase at a local merchant, the charge was forwarded to Biggins’ bank, which reimbursed the merchant and retrieved payment from the customer. It was a relatively simple transaction, as all Charg-It cardholders were also account holders at Biggins’ bank.According to MasterCard's History of the Card Payments System, since their inception in 1946, payment cards have become a global force - the fastest, most secure, most convenient and most cost-effective method of payment in the world.

On pages 146-147 of his 2011 book (Princeton University Press), Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink, Louis Hyman says that Charg-It was created by John C. Biggins while working at his father's small Flatbush National Bank. Shortly thereafter, his father sold the bank to the large Manufacturers Trust Co., which shut the program down. Biggins then joined the Paterson Savings and Trust Company as head of their personl loan department and restarted the Charg-It program. Here the program was successful, and John C. Biggins ended up as the bank's president. Louis Hyman is assistant professor in the Labor Relations, Law, and History department at the ILR School of Cornell University.

The Flatbush National Bank of Brooklyn was established in 1926. It began as a state bank and eventually became a national bank. It was merged into Manufacturers Trust Company on May 8, 1946. In 1961, Manufacturers Trust merged with Hanover Bank and the combined bank was called Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company (Manny Hanny). Ron Scherer, a former economics reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, is writing a book that touches upon the invention of the credit card and has done some research at the Brooklyn Public Library. He has learned that John Biggins became president of the Flatbush bank in 1927. Prior to that, John Biggins was president of a manufacturing company. Ron reports that the bank was located at 830 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and is now Fulton Stores (furniture and appliances).

John C, Biggins (1910-1971), his father John E. Biggins (b. 1877) and grandfather James Biggins, (b. 1839) have been found in the U.S. census as follows.

  • In the 1940 census, John C. and his father John E. lived in separate households.
    • John C., 29, is living with his wife Catherine in Sayville, New York. He was an officer of a bank. Image
    • John E., 62, is living with his wife Catherine, son Edward, and daughter Margaret at 1031 E. 24th Street in Brooklyn. John E. was a bank president. Image
    John C. and his brother Edward, 23, were born in New York, but father John E. was born in Pennsylvania. Margaret, 27, was born in Massachusetts.
  • In the 1930 census, the family was counted twice, in a home they owned in Sayville out on Long Island and in a a home they owned in Brooklyn.
    • In Sayville: John C., 18, is living with his father John (E.), 52, mother Kathryn, 50, and brother Edward, 13, in Sayville, New York. John (E.) was a bank president. Margaret Biggins, 55, a sister of John (E.) was also living there. John C. was born in New York, but his father John (E.) and his grandfather (James) were born in Pennsylvania. Image
    • In Brooklyn: John C. is not listed. John (E.), 50, is a bank president living with his wife Catherine, 50, son Gerard, 13, and sister Margaret, 50, at 1015 Mansfield Place. The information may have been reported by a neighbor, because the ages are rounded and parent birthplaces are simply U.S. Image
  • In the 1910 census, John C. and siblings were not yet born. John (E.), 33, was living with wife Catherine at 326 Newfield Street in Brooklyn. They had been married two years. He is a superintendent at a galvinizing company and was born in Pennsylvania. Image
  • In the 1900 census, John E., 23, is living with his sister Margaret, 27, at 233 Gates Street in Philadelphia. He was a clothing salesman. He was born in Pennsylvania, his sister in Massachusetts, and their parents in Ireland. Image
  • In the 1880 census, John E., 3, is living with his father James, 41, and sisters Margaret, 10, and Mary, 8, at 4515 Mitchell Street in the Manayunk area of Philadelphia. James worked in a cotton mill and was born in Ireland. John E. and Mary were born in Pennsylvania. Margaret was born in Massachusetts. Image
  • In the 1870 census, James, 28, is living with his wife Rose, 24, and daughter Margaret, 1, in the Manayunk area of Philadelphia. James worked in a cotton mill and was born in Ireland, as was his wife Rose. Margaret was born in Massachusetts (born August 11, 1869, to James and Rose Biggins in Lawrence). Image

John C. Biggins is most likely related to the Biggins family from Cloondaver, County Mayo, Ireland. Brian Biggins of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, sent a letter in 1996 to my son Edward in New York hoping to find the relationship between his family from Eldred, Pennsylavania, and nearby Olean, New York and a Biggins ancestor who lived in Brooklyn, New York. Edward passed this "strange" letter on to me, and Brian and I corresponded by mail. For the first time in my life, I did a little genealogical research. No connection was found between our families, but I received a great introduction to Biggins genealogy. This correspondence with Brian Biggins indicated that Brian's great great grandparents, Patrick and Mary Maloy Biggins, were from Cloondaver. Brian's great grandfather, James Biggins, was born in Cloondaver in 1834, emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1851. Brian had 1921 correspondence from John E. Biggins, who had a manufacturing, galvanizing, and tinning business in Brooklyn in the 1920s called the John E. Biggins & Co. and located at 69 & 71 Ingram Street in Brooklyn (5 miles from the Flatbush Bank). Brian says that his older aunts and uncles recall that that the New York Biggins family had some connection to the Flatbush National Bank and that some of the family moved to the Boston area.

John E. Biggin
Postcard from John E. Biggins in Brooklyn to his cousin, dated August 31, 1921 (Wednesday). He says he will be passing through Olean, New York, on Saturday. Source: Brian Biggins.

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Barbara Biggins, OAM
Barbara Biggins, OAM.

Barbara Biggins, OAM

Barbara Biggins OAM, BSc, Grad Dip Lib, is a graduate of the University of Adelaide. She has made a lifetime study of children’s relationship with media. Drawn into the area by observing the potential for both positive and negative impacts on her own 3 children, and informed by her years as Senior Librarian at South Australia's Child and Youth Health service, she has been a longtime advocate for children’s interests, and has served on a range of government Boards related to children and media. She was President of the Australian Council on Children and the Media (1991 – 2003) and currently serves as its volunteer CEO. She received a Medal of the Ordrer of Australia (OAM) for service to the arts, is a Churchill Fellow and was SA’s Senior Australian of the Year in 2004.

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David Biggins and the Boer War

David J. Biggins is the author of three books on the Anglo Boer War, which took place from 1899 to 1902. Also, he has built a website that makes available information on the Anglo Boer War and provides a forum for discussion of the many aspects of this conflict. The website is at: AngloBoerWar.com. The site is free to use and has grown over the years since it was started by David and his brother Chris in 2004. It currently consists of over 2,500 articles, in excess of 11,000 images and more than 12,500 pages in searchable PDF format.

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1913 Nazzaro Corza Targa Florio
1913 Nazzaro Corza Targa Florio purchased by David Biggins in 2005. Amanda de Saws, driver; David Biggins, passenger.

David Biggins, Filmmaker

David Biggins of Surrey, England, owns a 1913 Nazzaro Corza Targa Florio, which he purchased in 2005. It is one of three Nazzaro cars still in existence. David bought his Nazzaro from a recently closed Italian collection/museum. Felice Nazzaro (1881-1940) won the 979 km Targa Florio race in 1913 driving a Nazzaro Tipo 2. David currently is working on a documentary film of Sicily, the island where the passion for motor sport was born with the introduction of the Targa Florio race by the wealthy pioneer race driver and automobile enthusiast, Vincenzo Florio (1883-1959), in 1906, in the mountains near Palermo. The film is to be presented and narrated by Francesco da Mosto, who comes from a very old Sicilian noble family . See Historic Motoring Documentaries.

David's DNA is kit No. 125892 in the Biggins DNA project at Family Tree DNA. His DNA is classified as Niall of the Nine Hostages--also called Northwest Irish. The other people in the Biggins project have the DNA of the Three Collas. They are from the Ulster area of Ireland, which is where the Collas originated. There also are people named Biggins in County Mayo, Scotland, and England.

David's ancestor, Henry Biggins, was born in Yorkshire in 1859. The 1851 UK census for Yorkshire includes 200 people named Biggins. Only one was born in Ireland. Only four are named Henry, including the one born in Ireland. He was age 30 and worked as a cutler. The 1851 UK census for Yorkshire also includes 148 people named Biggin. None was born in Ireland. Only 11 are named Henry.

David is the uncle of Sue Biggins below.

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Sue Biggins
Sue Biggins, Principal Investigator, Biggins Lab, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Sue Biggins and Biggins Lab

Sue Biggins, a Ph.D. molecular biologist from Princeton University, heads up the Biggins Lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The Biggins Lab is studying how cells get the right chromosomes. Says Sue, "Our goal is to understand the mechanisms that ensure accurate chromosome segregation and thus maintain genomic stability and prevent human disease. This work is critical not only for elucidating fundamental aspects of this essential biological process, but is also required for the design of better therapeutic interventions in the long-term."

Sue Biggins is a niece of David Biggins above.

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Christopher Biggins, Actor

Christopher Biggins (born in 1948 in Oldham, Lancashire, UK) is a British actor well recognised on British television. A comedy actor, he was also a regular character in the popular situation comedy Porridge. Other comedy shows he appeared in include Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (1973), Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973 & 1978), Brendon Chase (1980) and a regular role in the children's television programme Rentaghost (1978-1983) as Adam Painting. He is more versatile than many people assume: he played Nero in the acclaimed BBC dramatisation of I, Claudius by Robert Graves, and also appeared in the BBC's famed adaptation of Poldark. He also appeared in the Big Finish Productions audio drama The One Doctor, based on the television series Doctor Who. His film roles include The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and he is also known in the theatre; for example, he has recently appeared in the stage adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He was co-host on Surprise, Surprise and hosted children's quiz On Safari (TV) in the 1980s.

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Biggin, a town in Derbyshire

Biggins is a small town in Derbyshire, England, about 5 miles south southwest of of Ashbourne and 10 miles northwest of Derby.

Biggin, another town in Derbyshire

Biggin Hall Biggins is also a small town in Derbyshire, England, near Hartington, called sometimes Biggin-by-Hartington. There is an historic house of 17th century origin, Biggin Hall, which is a now a hotel and restaurant.

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Biggin, a town in Yorkshire

Biggin is a small town in North Yorkshire, England, about 13 miles south southwest of the city of York and 18 miles east of Leeds. Biggin is a farming community a mile east of Little Fenton. The road between Biggin and Little Fenton is called Biggin Lane. Little Fenton is about a mile south of Church Fenton.

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Biggins Farm

On page 251 of Volume III of Surrey Archaeological Collections, there is a description of Biggin Farm: "A farm of some extent lying at the foot of Norwood hill. The name, in 1584, was bygin farm, and I think may fairly be deduced from Saxon bykan, or byge (whence are drived bay and bight), signifying a corner. The farm is situate in the angle, or corner, between the Selhurst wood and the great North wood." See 1832 map. Now, all that remains of Biggins farm is two streets: Biggin Way and Biggin Hill, in what is now the Borough of Croydon, about 22 minutes south of London.

Biggin Hill Airport

Since 1917, there has been an airfield in Biggin Hill, about 45 minutes southeast of London, in the Borough of Bromley. The air station played a major role in World War II, serving as a base for Spitfires and Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain. It is featured in Dan Brown's fiction, "The Da Vinci Code."

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On The Late Captain Grose's Peregrinations Thro' Scotland

In Collecting The Antiquities Of That Kingdom, the poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) uses the word biggin in referring to an old, owl-haunted dwelling (italics added).

bigging
Oxford English Dictionary.
Hear, Land o' Cakes, and brither Scots,
Frae Maidenkirk to Johnie Groat's;—
If there's a hole in a' your coats,
I rede you tent it:
A chield's amang you takin notes,
And, faith, he'll prent it:

If in your bounds ye chance to light
Upon a fine, fat fodgel wight,
O' stature short, but genius bright,
That's he, mark weel;
And wow! he has an unco sleight
O' cauk and keel.

By some auld, houlet-haunted biggin,
Or kirk deserted by its riggin,
It's ten to ane ye'll find him snug in
Some eldritch part,
Wi' deils, they say, Lord save's! colleaguin
At some black art.

Ilk ghaist that haunts auld ha' or chaumer,
Ye gipsy-gang that deal in glamour,
And you, deep-read in hell's black grammar,
Warlocks and witches,
Ye'll quake at his conjuring hammer,
Ye midnight bitches.

It's tauld he was a sodger bred,
And ane wad rather fa'n than fled;
But now he's quat the spurtle-blade,
And dog-skin wallet,
And taen the—Antiquarian trade,
I think they call it.

He has a fouth o' auld nick-nackets:
Rusty airn caps and jinglin jackets,
Wad haud the Lothians three in tackets,
A towmont gude;
And parritch-pats and auld saut-backets,
Before the Flood.

Of Eve's first fire he has a cinder;
Auld Tubalcain's fire-shool and fender;
That which distinguished the gender
O' Balaam's ass:
A broomstick o' the witch of Endor,
Weel shod wi' brass.

Forbye, he'll shape you aff fu' gleg
The cut of Adam's philibeg;
The knife that nickit Abel's craig
He'll prove you fully,
It was a faulding jocteleg,
Or lang-kail gullie.

But wad ye see him in his glee,
For meikle glee and fun has he,
Then set him down, and twa or three
Gude fellows wi' him:
And port, O port! shine thou a wee,
And Then ye'll see him!

Now, by the Pow'rs o' verse and prose!
Thou art a dainty chield, O Grose!—
Whae'er o' thee shall ill suppose,
They sair misca' thee;
I'd take the rascal by the nose,
Wad say, "Shame fa' thee!"

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English Surname

The name Biggin appears in dictionaries of English names.

Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names by Mark Antony Lower, 1860, includes this entry:

BIGGIN. A common termination of local names, especially in the North. It means a building of considerable size — a house, as opposed to a cottage. A-Sax. byggan to build.

A Dictionary of English Surnames by P. H. Reaney and R. M. Wilson, 1991, includes this entry:

Biggin, Biggins: Thomas del Biggyng 1391 FrY[Register of the Freemen of the City of York (Surtees Soc. 96, 102, 1897, 1899]; William atte Byggyngge 1397 PN C[Place-Names of (e.g. PN Bk, Place-Names of Buckinghamshire, &c. English Place-Name Society)] 191, ME bigging 'dwelling-place, home', used also of an outbuilding as distinct from a house.

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Coffee Biggin

According to "The Coffee Bean Queen," in 1780, Mr. Biggin became the revolution of the coffee world. Who is Mr. Biggin? Well, it is not a who, but rather, a what. Mr. Biggin was a coffeepot built with a filter, shaped like a tea cosy, which sat inside the pot. It was originally called “bagging” and it has been reported that the name “Mr. Biggin” allegedly came about because of the poor use of English. It was shaped like a tall, oval teapot with a spout at the bottom.

Coffee Biggin
Oxford English Dictionary.
Coffee Biggin
Coffee Biggin.
Biggin Manor House
Biggin Manor House, now called The Priory, Cosgrove, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.

According to All About Coffee, written in 1922 by William Harrison Ukers for the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company, "the coffee biggin, said to have been invented by a Mr. Biggin, came into common use in England for making coffee about 1817. It was usually an earthenware pot. At first it had in the upper part a metal strainer like the French drip pots. Suspended from the rim in later models there was a flannel or muslin bag to hold the ground coffee, through which the boiling water was poured, the bag serving as a filter. The idea was an adaptation of the French fustian infusion bag of 1711, and of other early French drip and filtration devices, and it attained great popularity. Any coffee pot with such a bag fitted into its mouth came to be spoken of as a coffee biggin. Later, there was evolved the metal pot with a wire strainer substituted for the cloth bag. The coffee biggin still retains its popularity in England."

The inventor of a forerunner of the percolator coffee pot was George Biggin, 1755-1808, who lived in Cosgrove, between Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire in southeast England. Cosgrove is 44 miles northeast of Oxford and is now part of a new town called Milton Keynes. George Biggin was a successful scientist of the time and close friend of the Duke of Bedford. He developed new techniques in the tanning process and was the inventor of the Coffee - Biggin, a coffee filter system which was a forerunner to the percolator. The Biggin Manor House in Cosgrove was built in the 17th century by the Rigby family. It became known as the Priory around 1810 and is now the UK headquarters of Pericom Plc.

The Oxford English Dictionary claims that this device was named after a "Mr. Biggin." Some sources surmise that the name came from the Dutch "beggelin", meaning to trickle. Confusingly, certain French coffeemakers are labeled as Biggins. These devices are essentially drip pots, whereas to be labeled a Biggin, the device must operate by the steeping method: holding the coffee and water together, then isolating the spent grounds after the period concludes.

In Little Dorrit, a serial novel by Charles Dickens published originally between 1855 and 1857, there is a reference to a coffee-biggin as a popular household object in Book One, Chapter 25:

Against these obstacles, the lame foreigner with the stick had to make head as well as he could; not absolutely single-handed, because Mr Arthur Clennam had recommended him to the Plornishes (he lived at the top of the same house), but still at heavy odds. However, the Bleeding Hearts were kind hearts; and when they saw the little fellow cheerily limping about with a good-humoured face, doing no harm, drawing no knives, committing no outrageous immoralities, living chiefly on farinaceous and milk diet, and playing with Mrs Plornish's children of an evening, they began to think that although he could never hope to be an Englishman, still it would be hard to visit that affliction on his head. They began to accommodate themselves to his level, calling him 'Mr Baptist,' but treating him like a baby, and laughing immoderately at his lively gestures and his childish English--more, because he didn't mind it, and laughed too. They spoke to him in very loud voices as if he were stone deaf. They constructed sentences, by way of teaching him the language in its purity, such as were addressed by the savages to Captain Cook, or by Friday to Robinson Crusoe. Mrs Plornish was particularly ingenious in this art; and attained so much celebrity for saying 'Me ope you leg well soon,' that it was considered in the Yard but a very short remove indeed from speaking Italian. Even Mrs Plornish herself began to think that she had a natural call towards that language. As he became more popular, household objects were brought into requisition for his instruction in a copious vocabulary; and whenever he appeared in the Yard ladies would fly out at their doors crying 'Mr Baptist--tea-pot!' 'Mr Baptist--dust-pan!' 'Mr Baptist--flour-dredger!' 'Mr Baptist--coffee-biggin!' At the same time exhibiting those articles, and penetrating him with a sense of the appalling difficulties of the Anglo-Saxon tongue.

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Biggin Cap

The Biggin Cap (also called a "coif" or "arming cap") was worn by all classes, ages, and sexes. It can be worn alone or under a straw hat, a flat cap or a helmet. A biggins cap kept the wearers hair in place. It has a cord sewn in to tie at the throat. It was called earlier a begin or biggen and got its name because it was the "beginning" cap placed on infants.

Biggin Cap
Oxford English Dictionary.
Infant Biggin
Infant biggin from Two Centuries of Costume in America, Vol. 1 (1620-1820), by Alice Morse Earle.
Biggin under flat cap
Biggin under flat cap from Two Centuries of Costume in America, Vol. 1 (1620-1820), by Alice Morse Earle.

Henry IV, Part 2

In act IV, scene 5 of Part 2 of Shakespeare's Henry IV, written in 1597, Prince Henry has a soliloquy where he mentions his sleeping father's homely biggen (italics added).

Why doth the crown lie there upon his pillow,
Being so troublesome a bedfellow?
O polish'd perturbation! golden care!
That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide
To many a watchful night! sleep with it now!
Yet not so sound and half so deeply sweet
As he whose brow with homely biggen bound
Snores out the watch of night. O majesty!
When thou dost pinch thy bearer, thou dost sit
Like a rich armour worn in heat of day,
That scalds with safety. By his gates of breath
There lies a downy feather which stirs not:
Did he suspire, that light and weightless down
Perforce must move. My gracious lord! my father!
This sleep is sound indeed, this is a sleep
That from this golden rigol hath divorced
So many English kings. Thy due from me
Is tears and heavy sorrows of the blood,
Which nature, love, and filial tenderness,
Shall, O dear father, pay thee plenteously:
My due from thee is this imperial crown,
Which, as immediate as thy place and blood,
Derives itself to me. Lo, here it sits,
Which God shall guard: and put the world's whole strength
Into one giant arm, it shall not force
This lineal honour from me: this from thee
Will I to mine leave, as 'tis left to me.

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Biggins Lace

Biggins Lace
Presencia-Biggins, Keel Court, Enterprise Close, Medway City Estate, Rochester, Kent, UK.

The Biggins Lace Company, which is now Presencia-Biggins, sells lace patterns, craft threads, and other lace-making equipment and supplies. They are located in Rochester, Kent, United Kingdom.

Wings

Wings was an American sitcom that ran on NBC from April 19, 1990 to May 14, 1997. The show was set at a small airport on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, where Joe Hackett operated Sandpiper Airlines. Roy Biggins (played by David Schramm) was the owner of Aeromass, the only other airline on Nantucket. Generally competitive, arrogant and unpleasant, Roy often belittles Joe for having a small-time operation, mocks Joe's business skills, and generally implies by his comments that Joe is inferior to him altogether. Despite this, Roy obviously feels threatened by Joe's presence as a competitor, and makes numerous attempts to either buy Sandpiper or put them out of business. Roy was married once to a woman named Sylvia; for several years he claimed that she died, but it was later revealed that she had actually left him, and is now living in Boston and married to a wealthy plastic surgeon. The couple have one son, R.J. (Roy Junior), who is gay.

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Biggins Potatoes
20-pound bag of Biggins baking potatoes, extra large, $8.49, at Costco in Norwalk, Connecticut, 2010.

Biggins Potatoes

According to Rachel Leach, marketing manager of Russet Potato Exchange in Bancroft, Wisconsin, the name Biggins has been used as a trade name for their baked potatoes since 1998. The name was adopted because their potatoes are big--twice the size of the average potato. "This is Biggins Country, where the potatoes are big, hearty, and full-flavored, and they’re not afraid to stand up for what they believe in; the right to a thick, juicy steak, the right to a big dollop of sour cream, and the right to unlimited trips to the salad bar."

 Robert

Biggins Cupcake

Chef Robert "Biggins" Hesse, was a season five contestant (2008-09) on the Fox reality TV cooking series, "Hell's Kitchen." His nickname is "Biggins," perhaps because he weighs close to 400 pounds. After the show, Hesse worked as a chef in the New York Yankees locker room. On Memorial Day weekend 2009, he opened a new restaurant with a fellow "Hell's Kitchen" contestant called Georgica in the Hamptons on Long Island. In December 2009, he became the chef at newly reopened Catamaran's Restaurant on Solomons Island in southern Maryland, transforming the former lounge into a restaurant providing homemade dishes. In September 2010, he created the "Biggins" cupcake for The Cupcake Stop. Hesse, from Quogue, Long Island, is a graduate of the American Culinary Academy in Lakeland, Florida.

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