Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Update on The only American ever executed in Northern Ireland

Back in 2010 I posted about an Eddie Cullens who was an American citizen, hanged for murder in Northern Ireland in 1932. I quickly was able to learn some additional information but never posted it here:

According to his US Naturalization petition (1927) his birth name was Isaac Joseph Cohen born 4 Feb 1903 in Smyrna. He emigrated to the US from Marseilles on the SS Roma on 20 Jan 1920, arriving in New York on 3 Feb 1920.

I found the ships record at for free: His name was spelled Jsaac Cohen and he was going to his brother Joshua J Cohen who lived on Broadway, his sister Esther Cohen remained in Constantinople. The date and name of ship was the same as on his Naturalization Petition. The brother's name was (mis)spelled Joshna.

So then the challenge came to find any descendants of his brother Joshua, here is some of what I learned:
According to Joshua Cohen' WWI draft registration card, he worked at the 229 E. Bway address but lived at 104 Essex? He was born June 15, 1890 in Smyrna.
I found Joshua and his family in the 1920 census, but couldn't find them in the 1930, or Joshua alone in 1910, or Eddie in 1920 or 1930. On his Naturalization petition, Joshua gave the name, date, and ship of his arrival:
ship Berlin, 18 Jan (possibly June) 1910 arrived in NY.
At, the ship Berlin is shown as arriving on 18 Jan 1910 (and not at all in June) but I checked the whole list a almost all the passengers were Italian.
I did find him in the ship record, in the index his name is transcribed as Tussesa Cohen, but there is an ink blot over his first name and it could be anything. He was travelling with several other people from Turkey but none named Cohen as far as I can tell. He is on line 28 and listed no contact in Turkey, and in New York, "friend Benjamin Cohen 31[?] St. Mark's Place New York"

I had a look at the 1910 census, and either found Benjamin alone, or didn't find any Cohens at the address, I forget which. But it looks like Eddie/Isaac didn't have any close family in NY other than Joshua.

Also on his Nat Pet. Joshua said he was born 15 May 1890 in Smyrna, Turkey
his wife is Louisa born in Bulgaria on 16 Jun (or Jan). He has one child Margaret Cohen born on July 24, 1912.

On his "Declaration of Intent" from 1910 (on the same .jpg file as the Nat Pet), Joshua gives his occupation as Interpreter.

On his draft card from 1917, Joshua's birthday is again given as 15 May 1890, and is a Clerk at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society at 229 East Broadway (the organization still exists but the building is being torn down:

----The whole point of the above is to show that the attached 1920 census return is really Joshua, even though there are some misspellings, and they list him as being born in Russia. On the 1920 census, Louisa and Margaret are listed, and so is daughter Edith, age 1 year  6? months.

We contacted the HIAS where Joshua worked, they were helpful, but they couldn't find much more than. They found the death certificate for Joshua's wife, but no record of next of kin, etc.
So that's where we left it back in 2010. Perhaps there is something more to learn now that the 1940 census is available. It is such an interesting story.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cullens of Carrick, Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon, Ireland

Gerry Cullen of Australia sent me this story:

"My great great grandfather was James (or at least we are led to believe from one old land notice) who was said to be married to Sarah Cullen, of Carrick, Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon, Ireland. Sarah died circa 1861 and the land and house was inherited by my great grandfather Michael Cullen who was married to Mary Scarry, Michael was born circa 1829 and died 1881 aged 52. Therefore his mother Sarah would have been born in the early part (or possibly even before) the 1800's.

"There is no mention of James Cullen in any other documents but an Andrew Cullen appears between the years 1832 and 1840's and I am anxious to find out if this Andrew was in fact an elder brother of Michael or perhaps Sarah's husband (and not James). It is also possible that this Andrew may have died or emigrated during the Great Famine period in Ireland as his name is not mentioned in any documents after. The name Andrew was inherited by my grandfather Dominick Andrew Cullen so there may be a very close family connection.

"Please note that the name Cullen was also spelt Cullinane in this days (with or without the 'e') Records in Ireland are very scarce as most were destroyed by the Civil War in Ireland in the 1920's including the most precious years of the famine era. While I have had no success in finding the answers to the above in various genealogy websites, I though it worth while to include it here as someone living outside Ireland may be a descendant of the abovementioned Andrew Cullen or Cullinane if he did actually sail to America to escape starvation and death."

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The only American ever executed in Northern Ireland

Eddie Cullens was a Jew born in 1904 in the eastern Mediterranean, different sources say Crete, Cyprus, or Smyrna (Turkey). It is not known what his name at birth was, I think it's unlikely he was born a Cullens. At some point. he moved to the US and was naturalized as an American citizen in 1928 while living in the Bronx, New York. In 1931 he boarded a ship to England and his occupation was listed as "motion-picture projectionist", and he was traveling with a Mr. Zaro Agha, a native of Turkey. According a story from the BBC, Edward Cullens was involved with a circus exhibition of Mr. Agha, the "oldest man in the world" at age 156!

Eddie went to Belfast with another Turkish circus worker, Achmet Musa, who was found shot dead one day. Eddie was convicted of the murder and hanged at Crumlin Road jail, all the while protesting his innocence. As was the custom, he was buried in an unmarked grave on the Crumlin grounds.

Because of new construction at the site, the government is planning to allow the bodies of the executed men to be claimed by relatives, identified by DNA testing if necessary, and reburied in cemeteries. The Jewish community of Belfast is interested in burying Eddie in their cemetery, but so far no relative of Eddie has come forward.

I recently received an email from an interested party who is searching for any relatives or information. Eddie is believed to have had a brother who remained in New York. By searching databases, I was able to find Eddie's 1928 Naturalization index card, where he was listed as single, living at 1709 E. 174th St., and his ship's arrival record in Southhampton, England in 1931. I have not been able to find him in any census.

If you have any ideas or information, please email me at

Friday, December 04, 2009

1911 Irish census: Spelling variations

Cullen is much more common than any of its variant spellings or similar surnames (except for Collins of course). Here are some of the different names/spellings found in the 1911 census of Ireland.

What is interesting about this? Some of the names that appear somewhat common in the U.S are rare or absent (Cullens and Cullins for example, also Cullum/Cullom is rare--maybe it's more of an English name?) Also names mentioned in the surname histories as being variants of Cullen are absent (Culloon, Culhoon).
If a number is not given, there were less than 10 people with that name in the census, usually only 1 or 2.

CULLEN-7181 names

variant spellings and very rare surnames:

Then there are some names that are clearly different families, not just spelling variations:
CULHANE (611, mostly Limerick)
CULL (232, Down, Leitrim, Antrim and a few other counties)
CULLINEY (44, Mayo and Clare)
CULLINAN (863, Waterford to Roscommon)
CULLINANE (1240,Waterford to Roscommon)

Then there are the variant of McCullen:

This list is only for names containing CUL, so names like COLLEN, COLLINS, KILLEN, QUILLEN, and McQUILLAN are not listed

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Complete 1911 Census of Ireland now available online, for free

One of my contacts just informed me that the complete 1911 Census is now available and easily searchable at:

Be sure to click through to see the original handwritten census returns.

The 1901 census will be made available within a year, hopefully. All earlier censuses for Ireland were destroyed, and later censuses have not yet been released for privacy reasons.

My own great-grandfather had already emigrated to Chicago by 1911, but his sister and other relatives in Tullycorker, Tyrone appear in the census.

In the coming weeks I hope to add some posts about Cullens in the 1911 census, about things like different spellings of Cullen, Protestant Cullens, and Irish speaking Cullens.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cullens in Chile

Here's a posting from Dr. Juan R. Cullen, MD, about his Cullen family who emigrated from Dublin to Chile, South America around 1908. Other members of the family ended up in Liverpool, England, and Louisiana USA.

I don't want to post Juan's email address here without his permission, but you can leave comments here or email me ( and I will forward them. Just be sure to leave an email address so we can contact you!

Juan R. Cullen wrote:

"I need any information about Robert Cullen (gr-grandfather), living second half of the 19th Century in Dublin (7 Greenville Terrace, South Circular Road). Robert was Assistant Curator Pathological Museum TCD (Trinity College Dublin). Married Catherine Delaney, and parents of Robert Cullen Delaney (my grandfather), who was born on February 17th., 1885. Robert Cullen Delaney emigrated to Argentina (first arriving to Sandy Point in Chile, and later settled in Rio Gallegos, Argentina) on board the ship Oriana, leaving Liverpool on December 16th., 1908. My grandfather had at least two brothers: Joe (Joseph), who emigrated to Louisiana, USA, around last years of the 19th. century, or most probably at begining 20th. century. I’ve no other details about his life. The other brother, Patrick, born about 1897, had to leave Ireland due to be pursued by the English army as it was an IRA member. He left Liverpool on 08 July 1920, at the age of 23 years, aboard the ship Orduna, and shelter with my grandfather in Rio Gallegos. Later he went to Louisiana to see the other brother, and finally return to the Republic of Ireland.

My grandfather also had at least one sister who joined a religious order and remained until about twenty years ago in a convent in Liverpool. She is almost certainly already dead.

My grandfather was married in Rio Gallegos with Lavinia Cox, daughter of an administrator of the coal mines in Chile, which had been recruited in Wales.

Robert Cullen Delaney, my grandfather, married and with three children (two men and a girl, all between five and ten years old at that time) had to leave Argentina for health problems, and headed to California to settle there, but the ship that they moved made a landfall in Chile, and they decided to stay in this country.

Any information regarding siblings of my grandfather and my great grandfather and other ancestors would be very grateful."

Great site for Cavan Cullens:

Mark Cullen of Canada has created a great site with the history of his family who went from County Cavan, Ireland to Quebec:

In Mark's words: "
John Cullen of Killinkere area and Elizabeth Carolan, daughter of Simon Carolan and Catherine Clarke of Doon, emigrated in 1826 to Bytown, Upper Canada and resettled to Templeton Township with their children Mary, Anthony, Michael, Bernard, Elizabeth, Catherine and John. They became important farmers and squared timber operators and leaders in church and community affairs and local politics."

This is of interest beyond Mark's own family--many Irish first emigrated to Canada before moving to the US (and of course some stayed in Canada). And eastern Cavan was home to a large cluster of Cullens, as my maps below show.

Mark has a comment submission form on his website.