Joseph was a farmer and lived in Lenamore (also spelled Leanamore), Ballylongford, Co. Kerry. While Griffith's Valuation (1848 to 1864) has no Nolans listed as occupying land in Lenamore, indicating that Joseph may have been born elsewhere, a Mary Nolan of Lenamore married a Thomas Shanahan in Ballylongford in 1836. Could Mary have been a sister of Joseph's?
By the time of the birth of his daughter Elizabeth (January 1862), Joseph was living in Lenamore.
The only Nolans listed in Griffith's Valuation for Aghavallan (equivalent to today's parish of Ballylongford) were the following:
Cornelius (Aghanagran Lower)
Perhaps one of the above was Joseph's father.
Both Joseph and his wife, Kitty, had died by the time of the 1901 census and no Nolan households in Lenamore were found in eiher the 1901 or 1911 census suggesting that Joseph and Kitty had no surviving sons. There was only one Nolan household in the entire parish of Ballylongford listed in the 1901 census (none in the 1911 census), that of Tom Nolan in the townland of Tullahennell. Could Tom have been related to Joseph? The informant on Joseph's death certificate was his son-in-law Nicholas Madden of Lenamore so it is possible that Nicholas and his wife, Sarah, were left the Nolan family farm.
Joseph died of "paralysis" from which he had been suffering for nine months, according to his death certificate.
The Nolan surname is very common throughout Ireland, especially in the south-east. It is strongly linked to the Carlow area where it is an anglicised form of O Nualláin. The prevalence of the name in Mayo and Galway is explained by the migration of a branch of the Carlow family there in the sixteenth century. There was also a separate Ó hUallacháin family from west Cork, whose name was anglicised as Nolan. Could Joseph have been a descendant of these west Cork Nolans?