Hi.  We’re the Bodkin Brothers of Long Island, New York (Matt & Bill).  Well, we’re not the only ones, but we are the ones who have started this blog dedicated to publishing the information we (mostly Matt) have gathered concerning Bodkin family genealogy, in the hopes of educating the far flung Bodkin family about it and potentially obtaining any additional information concerning the Bodkin family tree.

Who are the Bodkins?  The Bodkin clan is one of the Fourteen Founding Tribes of County Galway.  You can see the Bodkin family herald hanging in Galway City’s Eyre Square.  The Bodkin family is one of the smallest of the “tribes.”  The odds are excellent if you’re a Bodkin and Irish or of Irish descent, we’re related.

Our great-great grandfather, Christopher P. Bodkin (1845-1905), came to New York City in the 1880’s under, well, as you can see from another post, somewhat interesting circumstances.  He had three children survive to old age: Christopher (1879-1956), John (1881-1956) and Alphonsus (Stan or Al) (1886-1958).   We are descended from John’s branch of the family.

We would encourage all Bodkins (and those crazy enough to love them) to join us here, and to freely share any information with us: stories, legends, lore, and, perhaps most of all, verifiable facts (We love documents!).

Thanks.  We’re looking forward to a great conversation.


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42 Responses to Introductions

  1. David Bodkin

    I think the lawyer would agree the term ‘alleged’ should be inserted before interesting circumstances.

  2. Thomas W. Bodkin

    Hello Fellow Bodkin,

    I found that this is a interesting link about the origins of the name.

    • matt_bodkin

      Welcome Thomas! My apologies for the delayed response. Seems your post was stuck somewhere in a spam filter. All fixed now. Indeed, Hardiman is one of the Bodkin historical sources.

      There are lots of Thomas’s floating around my end of the family tree. We should compare notes.

  3. Barbara Hettwer

    Hello Long Island Bodkins,
    I am descended from the John J. Bodkin line. I don’t know how far back you would have to go to connect our lines. John was born in Tuam, Galway, one of 15 children (Sarah, Dominick, Patrick, etc.).
    From the “Bodkin files” in the Tuam Archives:
    “Sarah had a brother Dominick who was to become one of four Christian Brothers who pioneered Catholic education in Australia”.
    “The year of John J. Bodkin’s departure for the U.S. (1867) was marked by a Fenian uprising in Ireland. Amongst those arrested in Tuam were Martin Andrew O’Brennan, editor of a local newspaper, The Connaught Patriot. The newspaper was accused of involvement in the Fenian movement and closed down. O’Brennan went to America.”.”
    John arrived New York 10 Sep 1867 on SS Tarifa from Liverpool. He was a school teacher who settled near Chicago (some relatives stayed in that area). He taught and was married at St. Genevieve Catholic Church in St. Genevieve, MO. He married Marian O’Brennan, the daughter of the famous Martin A. O’Brennan. He moved to the Los Angeles area in 1875 where he lived in Olive then San Gabriel. He wrote the history of the San Gabriel Mission. He shot & killed an angry neighbor who was trespassing on his property but was found not guilty at his trial within a few days.

  4. Barbara Hettwer

    My John J. Bodkin was the son of Thomas Bodkin of Tullinadaly (Tuam) and Jane Keavney. I cannot find a link to the other Bodkins, but surely there is. My grandparents had the Crom A Boo crest hanging in their home and we were told that we are related to all the Galway Bodkins. My uncle, Henry Grattan Bodkin and his son Henry Grattan Bodkin Jr. both visited Galway at different times, I think back in about the 1960’s. I know Jr. visited Mr. Heaney at Tullinadaly (which is just a farm at a fork in the road).

  5. Barbara Hettwer

    Hi Anne, Nice to hear from you. What is your interest in the Bodkins of Tuam?

  6. Barbara Hettwer

    Here’s what I know of Thomas Bodkin which is as far back as we could trace.
    Born 1802 or 1810
    Married Jane Keavney (180301881)
    Died 24 February 1883 on Bishop St. in Tuam
    a farmer at Tullinadaly, Tuam
    These items were mentioned in the Last Will and Testament of Thomas’ son, John J. Bodkin:
    Thomas wrote a letter in 1836 to his attorney in Dublin
    There was a letter from Concillor Jenings to Thomas in 1840
    License to keep arms issued to Thomas Bodkin of Tullinadaly

    Still living in Tullinadaly in 1874 when Anne got married.
    Daughter Sarah M. Costello was present at his death at Bishop Street.
    One of his daughters who stayed in Ireland married a Mr. O’Brian (not related to Ellen’s husband Mr. O’Brien) and had a son named T. O’Brian who lived in Claugh and attended his Aunt Sarah’s funeral.

    In 1857 From Griffith’s Valuation
    Occupier Thomas Bodkin
    Lessor James Lynch
    County Galway
    Barony Ballymoe
    Parish Templetogher
    Townland Brierfort

    Dog License paid 6 for on 13 April 1867 yellow sheep dog, residence listed as Tullinadaly Lodge
    Dog License paid 6 for on 29 March 1873 black male dog, residence listed as Tullinadaly
    Dog License paid 6 for on 13 March 1875 gray male sheep dog, residence listed as Tullinadaly
    Dog License paid 6 for on 15 July 1876, D. & gray Jo, residence listed as Tullinadaly
    Dog License paid 6 for on 31 March 1877, female black & white Scotch, residence listed as Tullinadaly
    Dog License paid 6 for on 23 March 1878, male black D, residence listed as Tullinadaly

    Probably not the same as Thomas J. Bodkin, Esq. who also lived in Tuam

    Had 15 children (?H0noria), Sarah (married Patrick Burke & Michael Costello), Mary (married Nicholas Mahon of Ballinrobe), John P. (died young), Anne (married Thomas Heaney), Patrick (moved to Australia), Jane (married James Forde in U.S.), Ellen (married Mr. O’Brien), John J. (married Marian O’Brennan in U.S. ), Dominick (Christian Brother in New Zealand), Catherine, Nannie, Fannie, plus 2 others I don’t know about.

    • matt_bodkin

      Hello! There was also a Thomas Bodkin, 1808(?)-1868 who was a merchant of Galway. He married an Eliza Lynch who died in childbirth, then an Elizabeth Downey. I am descended from the latter marriage.

      There was another Thomas Bodkin who also died in 1868, within a month or two of my ancestor. He was reported to be “Master of the Roscommon County Harriers” and have “fallen from his horse in a fit of apoplexy” while leading the hounds. The event received what we’d call a lot of press coverage.

      I’ve read quite a bit about the Bodkins of Tuam but haven’t been able to connect my branch and yours. Let’s compare notes.

  7. David

    Hello all,

    Quite a lot can be found about the Bodkins at the Landed Estates database of the NUIG.

    Most of the Bodkins referred to here are all connected to one another in a line of land-ownership stretching mainly north and east of Tuam.

    The fortunes of the Bodkins, like many of the numerous catholic landowners of Galway, were on the slow decline from the beginning of the 19th Century. Large families, litigation, various land reform acts, the Famine all played their part in gradually dissipating the Bodkin estates.

    But you can rest assured that any Bodkin who is mentioned in a newspaper of the time, or recorded as acting in any official capacity etc. will be one of the Bodkin clans from the four main branches:

    Bodkins od Kilclooney (Quarrymount);
    Bodkins of Annagh:
    Bodkins of Castletown (Tullinadaly)
    Bodkins of Bingarra ad Thomastown (pf the famour Bodkin murders, cousins to the above).

    The Bodkins were not unique of the galway landowning families to have thier large broods assembled in various houses on their lands. This would explain why they are still there by the beginning of teh 20th Century, no longer landlords, but usually making money in the professions (doctors, lawyers, the army) or academia/religion (professors, nuns, priests).

    Quite a lot can be found up there

  8. Barbara Hettwer

    Hi Matt, My brother is having his Y-DNA tested. My Thomas Bodkin was not the J.P. one nor the merchant. He married Jane Keavney and lived & died in Tuam. We currently have a cousin David Mahon, of Dublin, who is researching all the info. and going to write a book on his ancestors. He is from the same Thomas Bodkin as I am. Feel free to contact me directly for more information. I do not want to post David’s email on here, but I don’t mind mine being known. It is all over the interet anyway.

  9. DJB Mahon

    And I don’t mind my email being here either! Feel free to contact.

    My research is showing that the Thomas J. Bodkin of Tullinadaly was descended from the Bodkins of Castletown, specficially John Bodkin of Casteltown, who established a large farm/estate around Casltetown (nowadays Tullinadaly) from the 1780s.

    I believe this John of Castletown to be an offspring of one of the survivors of the Bodkin Murder tragedies: dual murders (one a fratricide and the other a mass murder of the family and attendants), which took place around Tuam in 1739 and 1741 respectively.

    This John Bodkin had two sons: John Dominick of Bengarra and Dominick George of Louth Lodge., possibly daughters too.

    J.D. and D.G. had numerous children, though I have not been able to trace all of them. One of J.D.’s daughters married a Bodkin of Annagh and produced an heir to the estate and one of D.G.’s daughters married a Bodkin of Kilcloony, also producing an heir.

    The Casteltown Bodkins thus became closer kinsmen of the Annagh and Kilcloony Bodkins: though their fortunes were less lucky.

    A combination of many lawsuits by in-laws and debtors lead to a total dissipation of the Castletown Bodkins, the estate being reduced from 3,000 acres c. 1800 to less than 300 by the 1880s (the lands held by Thomas James Bodkin around Tullinadaly at the time of his death in 1883).

    While I have no genealogical proof yet, I believe this Thomas James Bodkin of Tullinadaly to be the son of Dominick George, so a grandson of John of Castletown.

    • Steven Bodkins

      Hello all;
      I’m confused regarding my last name. My Grandfather Leslie Bodkin had four children Edward, Gerald, Larry and Jimmy. As the story is told, my grandfather placed an (s) at the end of the Bodkin name because he he so many boys.
      My father Edward married a woman with the last name of McInanny (not quite sure of the spelling), who is from Pennsylvania.
      My question is are there any relations between the Bodkins and Bodkins name.

  10. Justin Duncombe

    I live in Alexandra Headland, Queensland, Australia. My mother was Nancy Jean Duncombe( Bodkin), her siblings were Alan Bodkin, Moira Briggs(Bodkin), Elizabeth(Betty) Ryan (Bodkin). I remember in the late 1970’s,early 1980’s my mother visited her relative Bodkin,who was an attorney in New York,the next year one of their sons visited my parents in Australia. Couls we be related.

    • Al Davis

      Hello Justin,

      You would be in our line of Bodkins. Nancy Duncombe and family are descended from the same Thomas Bodkin and Jane Keaveney as is Barbara Hettwer (and me, Al Davis). They were my great-great grandparents and I assume yours or perhaps your GGG grandparents. My great-grandmother was Jane Bodkin Forde (1838-1932). Barbara’s ancestor and mine both left Ireland together to come to the United States. I’ve tried to trace out the Australian family—hard to do from thousands of miles away. I do have some contact with some members of the Australian Bodkins, largely through Facebook searches and intuition. I was in Australia just after the Cairns airport opened to international travel. If I’d planned better I would have visited with the family at Mitchell but couldn’t put it together at the time. My aunt and uncle visited with (I think) your mother when they were in Australia-probably about 30 years ago. I am not familiar with the reference to the New York attorney and his son. Best to you.

    • Al Davis


      You are a part of the Bodkin family which Barbara Hettwer and DJB mention above and mine. My great grandmother was Jane Francis Bodkin Forde who left Ireland with her brother John J Bodkin for the USA. Another sister, Ellen Bodkin O’Brien also came to the USA. Jane ended up in Chicago whee she married James Forde, an Irish immigrant from Ardrahan. Your ancestor was Patrick Bodkin who emigrated to Australia. Another brother, Father Dominic Fursey Bodkin, was a Christian Brother who established schools in Australia.

    • Barbara Hettwer

      Hi Justin, I believe the attorney was from Los Angeles & not New York. I know Henry Grattan Bodkin visited relatives in Australia. Years later his son, Henry Grattan Bodkin II, visited. They were both attorneys in Los Angeles.

  11. Nikki McGowan Marks

    Hi there!! I am so happy to have found this! I just recently started the process and it has gone faster than expected- I found that wiki tree and ancestry were pretty helpful. My grandfather (before he passed) was able to get us pretty far up the tree. His father was James Bodkins (added the s at some point) and we followed the tree up to Richard Bodkins- fortunately for us Richard liked to pass his name down! His family resided in Highland Virgina. Richard came over in 1741 with his kids- Richard jr, hugh, charles, john, and james. I would love to hear more and share my finds. Nikki

    • Angela dawson

      I’m lookin for decedents of John bodkin and Louise Alice dawson of Melbourne . Louise died in Rangoon in Burma in 1904. She had a daughter called Helen emma . Would love any information

  12. Nathan Bodkin

    Hello, I am happy to find this as well. I am from Lexington Kentucky. I like learning about genealogy. My farther traced back our roots all the way to a man named Fitzgerald that supposedly killed a man in battle with a bodkin point and took on the name Bodkin. Let me know if this rings any bells with any of you I would like to learn more about this. .

  13. Jim Tirabsaai

    Trying to find out about Bodkin in Tuam. I have GGP from there Thomas Margaret (Qualter) Bodkin. They had 6 children Michael (b. 1860 – ?), Bridget (b. 1862 – ?), Margaret M my GGM (b. 1867 – moved to US in 1880’s), Patrick (b. 1869 – moved to US in 1880’s), William (B. 1871 – d. 1872), Catherine (b. 1873 – moved to US in 1890’s). All the documents I’ve seen for the oldest children reference Basket Town and Churchfriar (finally figured this last one out), then on the later children the town is Corralea.
    Some of the names of locations keep me from finding out where the sites really are. Does anyone have any connection to these Bodkins?

  14. Diane (Botkin) Huff

    I am a Botkin from Richard Bodkin (1710-1773) and Elizabeth. They had five children, one son Richard, Jr. is my line. They came from Ireland to Virginia about 1741. No paper trail has been found on Richard but believed to be from County Galway.
    At one time, I thought I read about a castle being named for Bodkin. Does anyone have information about this and where it was located or photos?
    I would appreciate any information on this line. I will be happy to correspond by email.

  15. Scott Botkins

    I recently learned via Ancestry DNA that my great-grandfather changed his last name from Bodkin to Botkins. I come from the family line of Ambrose Bodkin and John Bodkin of Galway, Ireland.

  16. Dale Botkin

    Greetings, fellow descendants of the Bodkin family… I’m one. Even though our family name is now Botkin, having changed apparently some time in the early 1800s, I’ve traced my family back as far as John Bodkin, who was living in the area near what is now Charlestown, WV in 1790. I’m pretty sure he and any other Bodkins in the Colonies at that time were descended from Richard Bodkin. I’m still digging for details prior to the late 1700s.

    As I write this I’m sitting in Belfast, on a week long trip for my job, but we’ll be headed for Galway this weekend.


  17. Barbara Hettwer

    We have not found any connection to the East Coast early arrival Bodkin line. Do you know Jan Therkildson Bodkin? She is more connected to that line. and on Facebook
    Are you part of the Family Tree DNA Bodkin group?

  18. David Bodkin Mahon

    Dear Dale,

    I am a real Bodkin. BODKIN.

    Ambrose Bodkin was, indeed, a gentleman and famed duellist in 18th Century Irleand.

    But none of the Bodkin family changed their surname to Botkin.

    I believe you are incorrect in your sources, and research: no proper Bodkin (the ones who went across the Atlatnic in the 1600s kept the name BODKIN.

    In doing some research, I see that BOTKIN is a Russian name in origin.

    And I do not believe for one second that a Bodkin would have changed their name to BOTKIN.

    I think, therefore, that you are erroneous in your research. And need to do some more.

    But, you can be assured that no real BODKIN would change their family name to BOTKIN – for what reason would they?

    You are going up a very wrong field of research here if you think BOTKINS are in any way connected with BODKINS.

    Sorry to inform you of this. And happy to provide you with more information around these facts if you need more information…better to be re-focussed than to continue following a wrong path!

  19. David Bodkin Mahon

    Hi there,

    I have traced the Bodkin family back to the 1200’s, and have also then digested that down to the main Bodkin families (not Botkin) existing in Ireland from the 1600s-1870s.
    There are no ‘BOTKINS’ in this story. I am dubious, historically and genealogiocally speaking, of people who might want to change their surname: seemingly people of the name BOTKIN think they are connected to those bearing the Bodkin surname.

    There was no reason to change the name: it was a proud and rich one.

    The Bodkins of Galway are not at all connected with the Botkins of wherever…
    Certainly not in 19th Century history.

    David Bodkin Mahon

  20. Dale Botkin

    You’re certainly welcome to your opinion, but you’re simply wrong in this case. My family is on no way connected to the Russian or English Botkins, and the lineage goes back well before the 19th century. Believe what you will; spelling errors and changes were not uncommon in the 18th and 17th centuries. And that’s what we’re talking about here; descendants of Richard Bodkin who was here before the French and Indian war.

    Have a wonderful day….

  21. Barbara Hettwer

    An interesting debate! I am not agreeing with either side. While a proud Bodkin may have never deliberately changed his name on purpose, there are many accidental changes that happen. Bodkin and Botkin sound very similar so some doctor may have mis-written it on a birth record. I have a Bodkin descendant who married someone from the Starbuck line–very honorable name of early American sailors. Suddenly one child had the last name of Starbird and that is who my Bodkin lady married. There are many such mysterious changes.

  22. Scott Botkins

    I believe our name change was accidental. Below is part of my tree where the name change occurred.

    Richard Bodkin III arrived from Ireland (1710-1773) > James Bodkin > John Bodkin > William Stephen Bodkin > James Lafeyette Botkins (1853) (Not sure why he changed it. His siblings did not change their name as it remained Bodkin.)

    More about James Lafeyette and siblings:

    • Dale Botkin

      Hi cousin,

      My family also traces back to Richard as far as I have been able to determine. I’ve got well documented history back as far as a James Bodkin living in Kanawha County in what is now WV in the late 1700s, and some earlier records of him including his service in the Revolution. I’m having trouble figuring out just how many Johns and James there were in that extended family in the latter 2/3 of the 18th century. There’s no shortage of incomplete and contradictory information on

      We just returned from a couple of weeks in NI and Ireland, including an obligatory stop in Galway where sadly the only trace of the Bodkin name we could find was the banner in Eyre Square. I’m looking forward to getting more time to research the trail backward from James Bodkin, but I think all of the Bodkins I have found in the colonies during that period all seem to be descendants of Richard. If you’ve got other or better sources, I’d love to compare notes.

      • Scott Botkins

        Yeah I’m using as well. I would have never known about this if I didn’t take their dna test and then notice some of my cousin dna matches had the last name Bodkin and Botkin. I’ll definitely post anything I find intriguing on here.

  23. David Bodkin Mahon

    Hi again,

    Many people, especially catholic people with some means, left Ireland in the 1700s – and those that did leave in this period were not poor peasants, semi-forced to leave, but rather well-to-do people with a sense of adventure and an inclination to get away from the wet bogs of the west of Ireland!

    The story of the Bodkins is not really one of hardship and difficulty, and nothing close to starvation, but rather one of seeking to explore new things (with a little bit of an economic ‘push’ to move away from the boring, non-enterprising landscape of their own land).

    There could be many reasons why one of the Bodkins to cross the Atlantic in the 1770s changed (or even had changed) the spelling of the name from ‘Bodkin’ to Botkin’. Could easily have been just an administrative error, or it could have been your descendant wanted to change his name, for whatever reason. The world was a differnt, much wilder place back then, so it’s always difficult to ascertain the motivations of individuals in their actions…



  24. Christian Bodkin

    Greetings all!
    My name is Christian Bodkin from Long Island NY.
    I come from the Martin R. Bodkin (1835-1912) Born in Galway and died in NYC came to the US in 1848. His father also came with him to the US John Bodkin of Taum (1798-1848) John was married to Eleanor O’Donnel. John had 2 siblings from what i can find (Michael b.1799 and Catherine b.1791). John’s father also John (b.1760) of Galway…but earlier than that there is some fall off on my line for about 2-3 generations…going earlier than that the there’s Richard Bodkin Fitz John (b.1670) Richard is a family name still being used beyond that i have found a link to Thomas Fitz Richard (the first of the Bodkin circa 1300). I am trying to find our link to Margaret Bodkin 1825-1882 Galway who was married to Hon. Martin Ffrench and the 2-3 missing generations…

  25. Wallace Bodkin

    I carry the name “Bodkin” with little information about how my family (past & present) got the name. We are dark-skinned and in the West of Africa. I am 5th generation, Bodkin, here in Sierra Leone, and would like to really know how we got the name. All I know is that the first, Bodkin, in Sierra Leone came to be a church preacher. If any of your people had contact with black people in time, i’d like to know the story of that.

    • matt_bodkin


      First, my apologies for the long delay in approving your post.

      I have heard of dark-skinned Bodkins from the New York City municipal archive records. Where they are from or how they came by their name, I do not know. Perhaps someone here has an idea.

      I am certainly interested in finding out, though.

  26. Gregory Bodkin

    Jack Bodkin, my 1st cousin, has written an extremely well written and highly researched book as to how my family got here from Galway in 1848. It’s called “Briarhill to Brooklyn. He has created a website for the tome and you can probably reach him through the site.
    I gleaned a lot if family information from him and found out a lot about my heritage.

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