Wills Families of Ireland

Searching for that Elusive Irish Ancestor is the title of a brochure at the local Family History Center. It quotes http://www.ancestryireland.com for more details.

Also noticed was a publication that stated that there were 40 Wills families listed in the telephone book for Ireland. A search of the Ireland White Pages on the web and a quick call or two may bring results. Or if you have the time, copy the snail mail addresses of those listed and a letter to each of them may find that missing ancestor. It has worked for others.

The number of
Wills households in each county in the Primary Valuation property survey of 1848-64.

The Scottish clan, Gunn, was of Norse descent and the septs (or member names) of Clan Gunn included the name Wills.

World Wide
The World Wide Wills Family History Center

Information For more information regarding the James Wills family in California, please contact
Susan (Wills) Dunlap.

Tracing Your Roots - Civil Records - Census Records - Church Records - Property Records.

Irish Family History Foundation -
Works with local volunteers, historical societies, clergy, local authorities, county libraries and government agencies.

Clover leaf
A Wills Family

James Wills was born in Ireland on December 10, 1816. When he was young, he worked in mills near London. When he was older, he worked at the nurseries and gardens of the Royal Gardens. After hearing of the discovery of gold in California, he left Ireland and went to America, arriving at San Francisco in the winter of 1849/50. He went to the areas where gold was being worked out of the streams and rivers. He "struck it rich" and found land in Byrd's Valley, Placer County, where he staked a claim for a homestead.

With about 15 pounds of gold on him, James returned to Ireland to marry his sweetheart, Maria Ryan, born on January 10, 1831 in Newtowncremer, County of Mayo, Ireland. Maria was the daughter of Patrick Ryan, a shipbuilder at Killala Bay. Maria's mother was Katherine Wills. Their marriage on December 27, 1851 was held in the Church of Ballisbury, Killala, County of Mayo, Ireland.

t Shortly after their marriage, they began the trip back to California. After a three-week delay in Southampton, England, in February 1852 they boarded a ship, the "North America", an extreme clipper built by Donald McKay in September 1851. They arrived at San Francisco on September 1, 1852. The trip from Ireland to California took seven months!

James and Maria traveled by oxen wagon to the 147 acres of land James had claimed. They built a home, planted trees and farmed the land while raising seven children. James Wills died on September 13, 1880 and was buried in Michigan Bluff Cemetery. Maria (Ryan) Wills died on March 16, 1906 and was buried in Michigan Bluff Cemetery.

If you wish to post messages on Wills Family message boards it is suggested that you go to the Message Board of the World Wide Wills Family History Center.

I have read many messages on Wills boards from various web sites and have found very few people who are discussing Irish Wills ancestors. I am very interested in having communications with people who are researching their Wills family ancestors in Ireland, especially in the County of Mayo. Please contact me, Susan (Wills) Dunlap, at ddranchers@earthlink.net.

This Web Site was designed by Tom Wills in March 2002.
Last updated 14 June 2013.