John Whalen and Teresa Corcoran

This image is believed to be of John Whalen. According to the record on ancestry, the image is held by one of John’s granddaughter’s descendants and was contained in an album presented to the granddaughter in 1903.

When John Whalen Jr. was born in (about) 1827 in County Carlow,  Ireland, his father, John Whalen Sr. (1790-1850) and mother Bridget (née Doyle) were 37.

*Authors note: there are some variations in the spelling of the name “Whalen.” As most documents related to this family spell it with “Whalen” and not “Whelan,” I have used it here for consistency’s sake. Having a firm spelling of one’s name is a fairly recent occurrence.

John married Teresa Corcoran in the early 1850s (the precise date and location of the wedding is unknown, although it is believed to have occurred in Canada).

(John’s brother Daniel married Teresa’s sister Elizabeth and brother James married Teresa’s sister Bridget – their children were double first cousins and shared both sets of grandparents). 

Teresa Corcoran was born in (about) 1829 in Ireland, the daughter of Michael Corcoran and Ann.

The couple had five daughters and one son:

  • Bridget Whalen (1854-1936) married John Mulrooney (1851-1918)
  • Anne Ellen Whalen (1856-?)
  • Jane Whalen (1861-1943) married Thomas Whalen Mulrooney (1849-1905)
  • Teresa Whalen (1862-?) married Thomas Whalen (1854-?)
  • John Whalen (1864-1888)
  • Ellen Whalen (1868-1949) married Daniel Moher (1857-1900) and Michael Doran (1861-?)

(Bridget and Jane married brothers as well—so their children were also double first cousins).

I had some trouble with the birth dates for John and wife—I have settled on going with the dates recorded in at the time of their deaths. A document prepared by a family member insists that John and his brother Thomas were twins, but the documentation does not appear to support this assumption unless you ONLY consider the 1881 census. The recorded information on various census documents seems to suggest that John was born up to 15 years later than his brother, but the dates vary pretty wildly, with the first document suggesting what is likely the correct date, and with the last document in 1891 suggesting that John was six years younger than he had been in the census ten years prior. The only thing that is recorded consistently is that John and wife Teresa and Thomas and wife Margaret lived on neighboring farms. Even at the time of his death in 1892, John appears to have aged six years from the census which was less than one year before.

Our first solid record of the family is on the 1861 Canadian census, showing John living on a farm between his brother Thomas and father-in-law Michael Corcoran. John is identified as 30 years old, as is Teresa (spelled Teressa on the census). Given their eldest daughter, Bridget is 6, this would suggest that John was in his mid-twenties when he married, which would be an appropriate age. Daughter Anne (4) and two labourers round out the household. The census suggests that their home is a log cabin.

1851 Canadian Census (image via

Although the younger children were likely baptized, no record of baptism is found until Jane Whalen is born on March 22nd and baptized on April 14, 1861, at Assumption of the Blessed Mary Church in Erinsville.

Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923 (image via

The next child is Teresa, named for her mother, born November 5, 1862, and baptized on January 3, 1863.

Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923 (image via

The couple’s first and only known son, John, named for his father and grandfather, is born April 11, 1864, and baptized on May 29th.

Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923 (image via

A final daughter, Ellen, rounds out the family, born in 1868. A baptismal record has not been located.

In 1871, the Corcoran family is no longer adjacent, but brother Thomas is still next door. Since the last census, John has apparently aged 14 years – his age is 54 (same as Thomas). Theresa is 40. Bridget (16), and Anne (14) are joined by the children born in the intervening years—Jane (10), Teresa (8), John (6), and Ellen (4).

1871 Canadian Census (image via

In 1881, John is two farms from brother Thomas, as Thomas’ son John has made a residence in between. According to the census, John is now 66 years old, Theresa is 57. Still living at home are “Annie” (21), Teresa (17), and Ellen (14).

1881 Canadian Census (image via

In 1891, John is still living two farms away from Thomas (and surrounded by several other Whalen families). This census suggests that John has gotten younger in the last ten years, and is now 60, as is his wife Teresa. The census lists a child, Robert, also in the home. I have not found any other records for Robert, and at 12, he’s probably too young to be Theresa’s child, even if she was actually 60 at the time of the census.

1891 Canadian Census (image via

John died on February 3, 1892 and is buried in a family plot in St. Edmund’s Church in Stoco, Ontario with his parents, his wife, and several of his children.  The stone appears to read:

Pray for the soul of John Whalen 
died February 3, 1892 
Aged 65 years
St. Edmund’s Stoco

I have not located Teresa on either the 1901 or 1911 Canadian Census. The next record we find is a record of her death on May 23, 1911, witnessed by her grandson Patrick Joseph Mulrooney (son of Jane and Thomas). The document suggests she was 82 years old at the time of her death (placing her birth in 1829).

Ontario Canada Deaths (image via

As above, Teresa is buried with her husband in the family plot at St. Edmunds in Stoco.

Are you related to this family? Do you have photos or stories you’d be willing to share? Please contact me using the comment form below or find me on Facebook! Want to know where this family fits in my tree? Check out the Index!


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AG Knapper

I’ve been researching my tree for over twenty years…and I’ve found some easy branches, and some gnarly ones…

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